Poetry & The Family

Poetry & The Family

Explore sensitive and truthful ways to represent family relationships in your work.

Whatever else we are experts in, we are experts in family, and poems about family are often the most moving and memorable in a writer’s body of work. From Heaney’s ‘Follower’ to Duffy’s ‘Water’, our familial connections are often why we come to poetry, and why we write it. The course will consider family from a range of perspectives, facilitating descriptive poems and poems drawing on significant familial memories, events and experiences. We’ll think about the way in which great poems often mythologise the family, making the personal universal, writing about everyone’s family by writing about one. Family history is also an important resource for poems – the stories of our great grandparents, and the gaps in these stories, can be great material for poems which illuminate the past. The family can also be a great source of comedy, and we’ll consider how this can be brought into moving and celebratory poems. Whether you want to write a poem for your daughter or to imagine the very different life of an ancestor, this is the course for you. New and beginning writers welcome.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 12 May 2021. Live chats on Wednesdays, 7–9 pm GMT; first live chat 26 May.

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

Image credit: James Schultz

About Jonathan Edwards View Profile

Jonathan Edwards’s first collection of poems, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014), received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award. It was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His second collection, Gen (Seren, 2018), also received the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award, and his poem about Newport Bridge was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2019. Jonathan has read his poems on BBC radio and television, recorded them for the Poetry Archive, and led workshops in schools, universities and prisons. He lives in Crosskeys, South Wales, and is editor of Poetry Wales.

‘A light in the darkness of a challenging year. How wonderful to sit and write, read and comment on other writer’s work, open your creative horizons while the world closes down around you. For many of us this has been a life-line of hope, warmth and friendship.’

– Autumn 2020 survey response

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