Insects & Poetic Inspiration Masterclass

Insects & Poetic Inspiration Masterclass

Join us for this mini-beast masterclass, where we'll explore what benefits insects can bring to your poems' ecosystems.

From the Old Testament to Shakespeare, to Lewis Carol and Kafka, insects have long held a prominent place in some of our most well-known literary works. 

Poets, in particular, seem to have a special fascination with the insect world. Ogden Nash said of fireflies, ‘I can think of nothing eerier / Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a person’s posterior’. Some of the finest poets have used insects to depict themes of troubled relationships, the unconscious mind, raw passion, the grotesque, death, and the idea of the other. 

In this Masterclass, we’ll explore how poets draw on the world of insects to amplify these themes. Using examples of both free verse as well as metrical poems, we’ll investigate the depiction of insects in work of Fiona Benson, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Hamilton Adair, Yusef Komunyakaa, Alice Oswald, and others. This class will also pay special attention to effective use of line breaks and generating sound in poems. 

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our International Courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12-week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.  

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected]. Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image credit: NeONBRAND

About Jodie Hollander View Profile

Jodie Hollander’s work has appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, The Harvard Review, PN Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry London, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015. Her debut full-length collection, My Dark Horses, was published with Liverpool University Press & Oxford University Press. Her second collection, Nocturne, was published with Liverpool & Oxford University Press in 2023 and was longlisted for the Laurel Prize in nature writing. Hollander is the recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and a Fulbright fellowship in South Africa. She is also the originator of ‘Poetry in the Parks,’ in conjunction with several National Parks and Monuments in the US. She currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

"To feel part of a writing community and to hear positive feedback has been encouraging and healing."

– Summer 2023 survey response

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