Nothing Beyond Routine Greatness: Speechwriting and Poetry

Nothing Beyond Routine Greatness: Speechwriting and Poetry

Borrow the tools and tricks of oration to deliver persuasive poems

‘A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep!’
– Peggy Noonan

Is speechwriting, as Montaigne once wrote, ‘a vanity of words’ or the most accurate truth in defence against fake news? Is the political language ‘that gives solidity to pure wind’ the most murky and poetic rhetoric of our time? What can poetry learn from speechwriting, and vice versa? This course, led by Alex MacDonald (an Eric Gregory Award-winning poet and a professional speechwriter) will trace the line between Seaborn and Sebald. You will read famous speeches of the last hundred years, learn their techniques and how to write a good professional speech, as well as close-read poems by Elizabeth Bishop, James Tate, Eileen Myles and many others, using – and subverting – the rhetoric principles of ethos, pathos and logos (character, emotions and logic) to create lots of new poems.

5 fortnightly sessions on Tuesdays 6.45pm – 8.45pm. 15 January, 29 January, 12 February, 26 February, 12 March

All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

(Image credit: ‘antonioraposo’)

About Alex MacDonald View Profile

Alex MacDonald lives and works in London. His work has been published by Poetry London, Best British Poetry, the Rialto, Ambit and others. He received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2016. His debut pamphlet Knowing This Has Changed My Ending is out with Offord Road Books.

‘The Poetry School has made writing poetry part of my life and it’s a more exciting life because of that.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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