Plein Air Poetry: Rewilding Your Poems

Plein Air Poetry: Rewilding Your Poems

Look inside-out at how we approach and evoke the natural world

I found the poems in the field
And only wrote them down

– John Clare

‘A wall of forest looms above’, ‘a green-barked yew tree is my roof’. These are lines from two of the earliest poems written in Irish. The poet is sat in the poem. Mostly likely living in the wildwoods. In this course, we’ll look at poets who wrote on location, whose practice is akin to that of naturalists or plein air artists, and radically explore how and where we write. We’ll take ourselves back into, and next to, writing ‘live’, outdoors or in-situ with our subjects. We’ll look at the importance of walking, swimming, wilderness and place on creativity. Most of all though, the focus will be on playfulness, surprising ourselves, learning and enjoying how we write as much as what we write. Examples of poems composed as an immediate response to nature reach back throughout history, from current international poets, to ancient Japanese and Chinese hermit-poets. In this time of ecological crisis it has become increasingly urgent to look anew at how we approach and evoke the natural world, to place language back into its natural environment, to relate any act of poem-making as a means of understanding our surroundings and therefore working as a gesture of ecological activism.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Tuesdays 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 22 October 2019.

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

A 10% discount is available to residents local to the Poetry School (anyone currently living in Rotherhithe, Riverside, Surrey Docks, South Bermondsey, Grange or Livesey).
Please contact for further information.
Image Credit: Willy Revel

About Anna Selby View Profile

Anna Selby is a poet and naturalist. She works collaboratively with dancers and choreographers, writes poetic-studies of different species in the field, directly from life, often underwater, and aims for these poems to share a sense of compassion and attentiveness to the environment. She is doing a PhD on Plein Air Poetry, empathy and environmentalism at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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