Poetry’s Cinematic Propositions

Poetry’s Cinematic Propositions

Explore different points of view as you become director, cinematographer, and actor in new cinematic poems.

Raymond Chandler, the American-British novelist, and screenwriter, reminds us, ‘A good story cannot be devised, it has to be distilled’. This ten-week class will explore poetry and cinema’s lively, shared engagements.  

The assignments will examine the kinaesthetic power of narrative within the dream-like realms of memory and the visual imagination. We’ll discover new inroads for writing poems using a broad range of inspiring materials (poem samples, political and social news headlines, film stills, and screenplay excerpts).  

During this problem-solving adventure, we will adopt new vantage point and methods of seeing, like a director, cinematographer, actor, ‘scene’ editor, etc. Our five poetry lesson categories include Plots, Propositions & Cinematic Actions; Characters, Subtext & Dramatic Monologue; Settings, Obstacles & Emotional Spaces; Memory & The Detective’s Clues; Light, Insight & Endings. 

Along the way we’ll take inspiration from writers including Ilya Kaminsky, Philip Levine, Natalie Diaz, Solmaz Sharif, Maggie Nelson, Charles Simic, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jane Campion, Wes Anderson, Andrei Tarkovsky, and many more. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.  

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to administ[email protected]. Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image Credit: Merch HÜSEY

About Elena Karina Byrne View Profile

Elena Karina Byrne is an editor, freelance lecturer, Programming Consultant & Poetry Stage Manager for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the Literary Programs Director for the historic Ruskin Art Club. Former 12-year Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America, Elena served as a final judge for PEN’s Best of the West award, the 2022 co-judge for the Laurel Prize, one of the final judges for the Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards in Poetry from 2016–2018 and visiting speaker for the 2018–2019 ten university consortia in the Georgia Poetry Circuit. Her lecture and teaching artist positions include the University of Southern California, Poetry Barn, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Claremont Graduate University, Todos Santos Writing Workshops, The Los Angeles Film School, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry recipient, Elena’s five poetry collections include If This Makes You Nervous (Omnidawn, 2021) and No Don’t (What Books Press, 2020). Elena’s writing screenplays while completing her collection of essays entitled Voyeur Hour.

‘The Poetry School has helped me to find a way of going deeper into the poem-writing process; I have learnt how to read other poets' poems and have gained more knowledge about how to give feedback and receive it. The feedback I was given by the tutor was very useful and helped me become a critic of my own work.’

– Spring 2023 School Survey

Related Courses