Machines Poétiques: Transreading Twentieth-Century French Poetry

Machines Poétiques: Transreading Twentieth-Century French Poetry

Stretch and twist language(s) in this course examining the intersection of the mechanical and multilingual practices.

This course offers a multifaceted introduction to twentieth-century French poetry. Through its focus on formal experimentation, it opens up new ways of working with, between, and beyond language(s). 

The five sessions of this course examine the intersection of the mechanical (rules, systems, but also: chance) and the poetic, by looking at a variety of approaches, including those of Raymond Queneau and Georges Perec, two members of the Oulipo (‘Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle’, ‘Workshop of Potential Literature’), Christophe Tarkos’s Patmo (‘pâte-mots’, ‘word paste’), Kati Molnár’s poetic ‘Readymades’, Bernard Heidsieck’s Poésie Action (‘Action Poetry’), Lily Robert-Foley and Camille Bloomfield’s work with experimental translation, and the idiosyncratic voices of Samuel Beckett and Gherasim Luca.  

From the timeless wheel of the sestina, existential stuttering and repetition techniques, to the systematic methods of conceptual and aleatoric compositions, each session seeks new ways of stretching and twisting language(s), fumbling through words and thought alike. 

Machines Poétiques also provides students with a wealth of tools and resources through which to grapple with a wide array of process-led writing strategies involving formal constraints, found material and experimental translation. These ways of working and the course’s focus on French and English language poetry will lead us to explore questions of linguistic hegemony and translational norms, multilingual practices. 

This course is suitable for poets and poetry enthusiasts with all levels of French. Writing in both languages isn’t necessary but will be encouraged.

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

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to administ[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: Alexander

About Iris Colomb & Jérémie Wenger View Profile

Iris Colomb is a French poet, artist, performer, curator, editor, and translator based in London. Her practice explores various relationships between visual and verbal forms of text through projects involving experimental translation, book objects, multilingual writing, and improvisation.   

She has published three pamphlets: I’m Shocked (Bad Betty Press, 2018), just promise you won’t write (Gang Press, 2019), and Flakes of Fickle Quicklime (Earthbound Press, 2020). Her poems have also appeared in several UK magazines and anthologies, as well as French, Russian, Austrian, Spanish, German, Brazilian and US publications.   

Iris has given individual, collaborative, interactive, and durational performances online as well as in the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Austria and Romania; at Intrications Poétiques Transnationales (Paris), the Bucharest International Poetry Festival, the international transmedial poetic festival räume für notizen (“room for notes”, Vienna), and the Southbank Centre’s Poetry International Festival, among others.   

Iris is the founder of the investigative poetry and performance platform SLANT and the Co-Editor of HVTN Press and a founding member of the interdisciplinary collective No Such Thing. Iris is also currently working as a Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton.  

Jérémie Wenger was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1983. After Humanities studies in his hometown, he first came to the UK on a scholarship in 2011, then moved to London and dedicated himself to writing. In 2017 he discovered the Masters in Computational Arts at Goldsmiths College, teaching programming to artists, where he discovered algorithmic approaches to textuality. Jérémie’s current practice explores the intersection between literature and artificial intelligence, as well as generative processes and constraints.  

He has exhibited works in Switzerland and Finland, his hybrid texts have been accepted for publication in the Irish journal Gorse, he has collaborated with writer and film-maker Alan Cunningham on an AI writing project supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and he has been involved in a Franco-Swiss project using an AI to generate live dialogues on stage. Constrained projects include an exploration of word squares as a poetic form, letter-based pattern search, like subword decompositions or common subsequences, as well as a framework for generalised sestinas. He is currently working as an Associate Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence at Goldsmiths College, London. 

‘I have attended several courses at the Poetry School and all have been of a very high standard. The tutors have been well prepared and provided a wide range of material to generate discussion and ideas for writing poetry. Fellow students have been supportive and offered constructive criticism. I would recommend the Poetry School to any aspiring poet, whatever their level of expertise.’

– Spring 2023 School Survey

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