Myth, Body, Belief

Myth, Body, Belief

Start to depict your own multitudes and forge pathways of poetic connection.

It is almost cliché to say that human beings are made of stardust. But stars are responsible for almost all of the elements that make up the human body. We were composed of the dust and detritus of many generations of stars. There’s also a universe within us, a microbiome of more bacterium than human cells. The Earth shapes us; the weight of gravity determines the size of our heart and the design of our body and circulatory system. We are unmistakably earthlings. We are also heavily influenced by our cultures and belief systems; narratologically speaking, our ideas of self are not fixed but develop through stories we tell ourselves, and were likely told to us. 

This course suggests that the boundaries of the body and self are not fixed but malleable. Over 10 weeks we’ll explore what makes a mythic or more expansive rendering of the body believable and why a poet might want to use myth, surrealism, cosmic elements, etc. to depict the body. Through writing assignments, discussions with peers, and interdisciplinary resources, we will start to depict our own multitudes and discover poetic pathways to connection. 

The course will be divided into three components: The Supernatural Human (The Body Rooted in Myth), Body Cosmos (The Body Rooted in Astronomy), and The Posthumanist Body (The Body Rooted in Nature). Participants will read work by poets including Jericho Brown, Natalie Diaz, Ntozake Shange, Brenda Shaughnessy, Walt Whitman, any many more. 

In a time when our physical interactions and inter-personal connections are limited, join us to explore poetry as a collective, communal experience – a kind of connective tissue linking us together and to the worlds around us. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 14 January 2021. Live chats on Thursdays, 7–9 pm GMT; first live chat 28 January.

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

Image credit: Greg Rakozy

About Zakia Carpenter-Hall View Profile

Zakia Carpenter-Hall is a writer, tutor and critic. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Magma, Wild Court, 3:AM and various visual poetry exhibitions. She was an inaugural winner of Poetry London’s mentoring scheme and her chapbook Event Horizon was published by Sampson Low. Her poetry reviews and essays have been published by Poetry London, The Poetry School, Wild Court and The Poetry Review. Additionally, her approach to teaching and course design has gained the interest of Airbnb Experience and BBC Radio where she was interviewed about her course ‘Awakening the Writer Within’. Her most recent project collaborations include Crossed Lines: Literature and Telephony with Nottingham Trent University, her poem ‘Fortune Cookie’ is featured in the ‘Dial-a-Poem’ mobile app, and her poems will feature in an eco-socialist project with Storybox Collective and The William Morris Society. She is a 2020 Jerwood Bursary Recipient, London Library Emerging Writer and shortlisted for The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. 

‘I can honestly say I would not be a published poet now if it were not for the Poetry School with its combination of skilled tutors and a supportive and nurturing environment.’

– Summer 2020 survey response

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