Line, Space, Beat: Learning Poetic Rhythm

Line, Space, Beat: Learning Poetic Rhythm

Develop your ear for rhythm and learn the many styles and techniques available to you in this poetic craft.

‘Poetry is the sound of language organized in lines.’ – James Longenbach

Poems have a pulse, their own kind of musical structure made of language. How do poets achieve this, and why does it matter? How can accenting certain words give a poem its energy and momentum, and when, and how should we pause and be silent?

This course aims to develop your poet’s ear by exploring some fundamental principles of rhythm, line, punctuation and spacing. As well as engaging with the origins and contemporary uses of traditional metre in English, we’ll consider alternative rhythmic approaches adopted by poets past and present, such as alliterative verse, vers libre, syllabic forms, the ‘sprung rhythm’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Charles Olson’s ‘projective verse’. We’ll ask what a line might hold – playing with lines long and short – and reflect on the power of that special linguistic tool, unique to verse: the line-break.

Through a series of guided readings and writing prompts, you will be encouraged to expand your poet’s toolbox and try new approaches, supported by feedback on your work from the group and your tutor. Whether you’d like to use more white space in your work, experiment with slashes and dashes, gain confidence in identifying techniques or get the hang of iambs, this course is for you!

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting  29 September 2021. Live chats on Wednesdays, 7–9 pm GMT; first live chat 13 October.

To apply for a concession 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]

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image credit: Rachel Loughman

About Phoebe Power View Profile

Phoebe Power’s Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet, 2018) was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her most recent publication is Sea Change (Guillemot, 2021), an illustrated pamphlet about the Durham Coast co-authored with Katrina Porteous. Further collaborations include a live performance of her pamphlet Harp Duet (2016), and Christl, a video installation involving poetry, visual art, and sound. Phoebe lives in York.

‘The Poetry School courses are professionally run and inspire me to write (rather than to think about writing!’

– Spring 2021 survey response

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