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, legends, 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, Elizabeth Acevado, Imtiaz Dharker, Anne Carson, Clare Pollard, Ana Blandiani, Seamus Heaney, Jo Shapcott, Eaven Boland, Leanne O’Sullivan, Louise Gluck, Rita Dove, 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, legends and folk tales that resonate with us, to become part of our own ‘personal mythologies’. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 17 Jan 2024. Live Chats on fortnightly Wednesdays, 7–9 pm (GMT); first Live Chat: 31 Jan 2024. 

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: @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. 

"I first joined Poetry School when I was based in Asia, in a different time zone and was not part of any local learning or poetry community. Poetry School was truly a lifeline at that time and continues to be a major part of my poetry life. It's fair to say that I have only succeeded in writing some half-way decent poetry because of Poetry School."

– Summer 2023 survey response

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