Living in a Different World: Poetry, Of, Through and After 1968 (International)

Living in a Different World: Poetry, Of, Through and After 1968 (International)

Radical readings and revolutionary spirit from 1968 – the year that shook the world

‘By the shipwreck
 / Of the singular

 // We have chosen the meaning / Of being numerous.’

– George Oppen

When there are uprisings, there often occurs a more ‘poetic’ culture and desires. Indeed if some reports are to be believed, every French student and worker who participated in the events of the ‘Mai 68’ uprisings of les souixante-huitards in Paris was a poet – the walls were covered in poetry, and flyposters and handouts exalted the coming revolution in elevated language(s). It feels like a time of poetry again, and on this course we’ll look back at looking forward, focusing on the radical force and potential of poetry in the revolutionary movements of and around the epochal year of 1968, those riotous times made by protest, inequality, human and civil rights movements and the emergence of new institutions, an era that overwhelming structures much of our contemporary reality fifty years on. Through the poetry of the late 60s and early 70s, including the ‘poetic’ texts of Situationism, cinema and propaganda, we’ll look at the dreams and reality of this time of upheaval. Drawing mainly on writing in English at the time (mainly in the US and UK), we’ll touch on war, work, the nation state, infrastructure and of course the complex axes of class, race and gender that coalesced and fragmented during this period. To do this, the course will ask you to pay attention to what we understand by ‘poetics’ and the politics of form. What is the relationship between a radical politics and a radical poetics? What did a ‘radical’ literature and culture mean then? And what does it or could it be for us, half a century on?

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.

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

(Image credit: ‘Karsten Seiferlin’)

About Gloria Dawson View Profile

Gloria Dawson lives in Leeds, UK and mainly writes poetry as well as essays and prose/experimental work for performance. Her pamphlet Circlusion is published by Zarf Press (2018). Work can be found in para.text, Zarf, Datableed, Poetry Review, Front Horse, and The Literateur. She also performs at and organises poetry events in Leeds and the North West. She most recently taught the sellout Poetry School course, Writing as Wanting: Desire Studio. More at:

‘I was the only American in the class and initally apprehensive about that. My fear quickly subsided when I read the introductory posts of the other students. They were all so friendly and enthusiastic! It was clear we had a lot in commom–we all spoke and worked in the language of poetry. The strength of that connection increased as we communicated weekly. Working together, though separately, for the same goal and purpose gave me confidence in my writing and a greater appreciation for the work of others. The instructor enabled our friendly yet productive environment to thrive.’

Spring 2018 survey response

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