Language Diaries (Studio+)

Language Diaries (Studio+)

Traverse the shifting path to fluency and explore language’s connection to selfhood, before creating your own mini zine.

What happens to the memory
Of other languages,
Carried in the body as poetry,
When everyone on the periphery,
The people who memorise
These poems
On their long journeys
To other lands, is gone.

– Bhanu Kapil, How to Wash a Heart

Many of us live in languages other than English. Many of us grew up speaking English but seek out the languages of our ancestors, which may have been lost, forgotten or forcefully erased. Some of us are multilingual, moving fluidly between tongues in everyday life. Poems, with their flexible physical forms, can mirror the unstable, shifting path to fluency in another language. In this course we will delve into our personal histories of language learning and unlearning. We will treat poems as sites of translation and transformation between and within language(s). We’ll read the work of multilingual poets who have ventured deep into archives, into colonial history, into dictionaries and glossaries, including Layli Long Soldier, Don Mee Choi, Stacey Teague, Zahra Patterson, Safia Elhillo, Victoria Chang, Nancy Campbell, and Nisha Ramayya. Beyond poems, we will also explore longer, multidisciplinary forms connected to poetry, including artist’s books, zines and diaries – all of these being different bodies of language. The course will culminate in an online zine-making workshop in which participants will create their own ‘language diary’ mini zine.

The final zinemaking session will take place 7–9pm (GMT) on 7 December, via Zoom.

Studio+ Courses are a new initiative from the Poetry School and feature a portfolio of preliminary reading, alongside 3-4 writing assignments, and some additional bonus features such as Zoom sessions, collaborative projects, and inter-disciplinary work. There are no Live Chats on this course, but there will be 2 video conference sessions in the first and last weeks.

Image Credit: Hans-Jorg-Keller

About Nina Powles View Profile

Nina Mingya Powles is a writer and zinemaker from Aotearoa New Zealand, of mixed Malaysian-Chinese heritage. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. In 2018, Nina was one of three winners of the Women Poets’ Prize (UK), and in 2019 won the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing and the Landfall Essay Competition. Nina is poetry co-editor of The Shanghai Literary Review, is on the editorial board of the new Aotearoa literary journal Tupuranga, and is founding editor of Bitter Melon, a very small press that publishes limited-edition pamphlets by Asian poets.

‘The Poetry School programmes such thoughtful and unusual courses and enables poets to feel validated, to become more curious, more skilled, more engaged in poetry and the world.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

Related Courses