Myth, Magic, & Monsters: Ancient Stories, New Truths

Myth, Magic, & Monsters: Ancient Stories, New Truths

Mine the magical in modern and historic poetry; creating your own personal poetic of myth.

Myths and folk/fairy tales are essential to the story-telling heritage of every culture. Their enduring appeal is multi-faceted and, through stories involving the supernatural, the heroic and the ‘monstrous’, reflects deepest human needs, longings, fears and desires.  

On this course, we’ll look at the ways poets (including Sylvia Plath, John Agard, Grace Nicholls, Margaret Atwood, Audre Lorde, Imtiaz Dharker, Anne Carson, Clare Pollard, Seamus Heaney, Jo Shapcott, Eaven Boland, Leanne O’Sullivan, and Carol Ann Duffy) have engaged with ‘magical stories’. We’ll find inspiration for new dramatic monologues, mythical/story transpositions and time travel, image patterns, re-imaginings, re-workings and subversions, conversations and arguments, sequences and cycles. Our new poems will re-imagine myths and folk tales that resonate with us, to become part of our own ‘personal mythologies’. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 8 May 2024. Live Chats on fortnightly Wednesdays, 7–9 pm (BST); first Live Chat: 22 May 2024.


Concessions & Accessibility

To apply for a concessionary 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, wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, or require any form of adjustment to access our courses, please email [email protected]For more information visit our Online Courses page.

Image credit: @hrustall

About Catherine Smith View Profile

Catherine Smith has published two pamphlets (The New Bride and The New Cockaigne) and three full collections of poetry, The Butcher’s Hands, Lip, and Otherwhere. Twice shortlisted for Forward Prizes and once for the Aldeburgh/Jerwood First Collection Prize, she was selected as one of ‘the twenty most exhilarating poets of her generation’ in the PBS/Arts Council ‘Next Generation’ promotion, and also one of Mslexia’s Top Ten Women Poets. She co-adapted her pamphlet-length supernatural narrative poem, The New Cockaigne, for a Live Literature show. She has performed her poetry at The Royal Festival Hall, and Latitude and Port Eliot Festival. Her poetry for adults and for children is widely anthologised. She has taught poetry for adults, teenagers and children for over 20 years and many of her students are now published poets. 

"The Poetry School has opened my eyes to the numerous possibilities of poetry-related tasks, some involving other complementary arts such as drawing and photography. I have benefited hugely in terms of reading lists, suggestions, and simply the space in which to experiment. These courses help to build confidence and are so enjoyable. They can be stretching, too!"

– Autumn 2023 survey response

Related Courses