Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty (Masterclass, Spring 2020)

Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty (Masterclass, Spring 2020)

Fiercely exceed the fetters of self-censorship

Brave or timid, we’ve all been forbidden from saying what we need to – at least once, and almost certainly when it mattered most. In poems, as much as in everyday living, we often refuse ourselves access to the one, true thing we need to write about, above all else. When we hide our poems because of whom they might offend, we’re hurting, not helping, the stories within us – and denying ourselves drastically in the bargain. On this Masterclass, we will identify the sources muzzling our work, and take steps to combating societal scorn (and the ever-looming threat of self-censorship) and locate the One True Thing in our poems, asking the question: what, if not for the reality of the poem we are making, would never be spoken, at all? We will: read poems of honesty and ferocity by Caribbean women writers, as guideposts for unlocking our own radical truth, including close readings and analysis of works by Vahni Capildeo, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Safiya Sinclair, and Malika Booker; conduct exercises meant to strip down barriers keeping ourselves from our most vital poems, employing techniques such as erasure, freewriting, ekphrasis, and golden shovels; consider how to move forth with ferocious honesty, buiding tools for keeping the censure/censor demons banished from your best verse; and participate in the original experiment designed for this class, called Seizing the Snake in the Basket of Fears, which asks us to map the un-mappable, and say it out loud. All participants will receive, at workshop’s conclusion, a document of workshop notes, links to audiovisual material, and written feedback on poems produced in the session.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our Interactive and International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no regular live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

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

Image Credit: AniaMendrek

About Shivanee Ramlochan View Profile

Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, arts reporter and book blogger. She is the Book Reviews Editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine. Shivanee also writes about books for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the Anglophone Caribbean’s largest literary festival, as well as Paper Based Bookshop, Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest independent Caribbean specialty bookseller. She is the deputy editor of The Caribbean Review of Books. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, was published by Peepal Tree Press on October 3rd, 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Felix Dennis Award for best first collection.

‘The Poetry School has transformed me from feeling like someone skirting the suburbs of poetry to being someone living right in its vibrant metropolis.’

– Spring 2019 survey response

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