Poetry & Profanity

Poetry & Profanity

Get profane with Inua Ellams to learn how four letter expletives can actually enrich your writing.

For the longest time I believed that it showed linguistic laziness to swear or to include profanity in poetry. I believed it claimed the space for a more visceral, insulting, aggressive, wounding, and precise language, and to settle on any four letter word showed a distinct lack of imagination. Then, I came across an interview in which James Brown begrudgingly complimented a rival artist saying “that mutherfucker is a mutherfucker” and various winds blew through my brain.

I realised a cultural context, subtext, meaning and levels of understanding involved in understanding James and the African American world, what tone he might have employed in saying this, and his place and standing in his world, and its relation to mine. In so doing, I found new batteries for a new strand of work and started writing Fuck / 45, a book of poems, each titled with that ubiquitous word. In this workshop, we will discuss and dissect the pros and cons of using, and the various approaches to writing with bad language.

Monday 15th July 2.00–4.30pm.

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: Kelly Stevens

About Inua Ellams View Profile

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a cross art form practitioner, a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer and founder of the Midnight Run — an international, arts-filled, night-time, playful, urban, walking experience. He is a Complete Works poet alumni and a designer at White Space Creative Agency. Across his work, Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in which he also tries to mix the old with the new: traditional african storytelling with contemporary poetry, pencil with pixel, texture with vector images. His poetry is published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches & several plays by Oberon.

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