Poets Plunder the Archive

Poets Plunder the Archive

Explore archival writing processes to see what poetry can be developed from a life’s detritus

Packets of love letters. Boxes of insurance documents. Stacks of weather diaries. Shelves of ships logs. Bound volumes of minutes from committee meetings. Hard drives. Browser histories. Backups. As we move through life, we leave an archive in our wake. What poetry can be found in this human detritus?  

In The Place of Scraps, Jordan Abel uses erasure techniques to carve out a new understanding of the writing of Marius Barbeau, an early-twentieth-century ethnographer, who studied First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest. In MOTHERBABYHOME, Kimberly Campanello uses techniques from conceptual and visual poetry to excavate voices from historical and contemporary sources pertaining to ‘The St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home’ run by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of the Irish State.  

In this course, J. R. Carpenter will share reading strategies for these and other contemporary poets working with historical and archival materials. Participants will be presented with writing exercises based on the compositional processes Carpenter used to create her recent archive-inflected books This is a Picture of Wind, An Ocean of Static and The Gathering Cloud. 

*This course is process-oriented and so unsuitable for beginners. 

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 [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: Jan Antonin Kolar

About JR Carpenter View Profile

JR Carpenter is a UK-based artist, writer, performer, and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Her pioneering works of digital art and literature have been presented in museums, galleries, and festivals around the world. She is a winner of the CBC Quebec Writing Competition, the QWF Carte Blanche Quebec Award, the Expozine Alternative Press Award, the Dot Award for Digital Literature, and the New Media Writing Prize. Her debut poetry collection, An Ocean of Static, was highly commended for the Forward Prizes 2018. Her second collection, This is a Picture of Wind, was published by Longbarrow Press in 2020. She was President of the Board of Directors of Oboro New Media Lab in Montreal from 2006-2010. She was a faculty mentor for the In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency program at The Banff Centre from 2010-2014. In 2015 she completed a PhD in Performance Writing from the University of the Arts London. She is a Fellow of the Eccles Centre For North American Studies at the British Library (2015) and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway (2019). She will be Writer in Residence at University of Alberta September 2020 – May 2021. http://luckysoap.com 

Poetry School courses help to keep me on my toes as a poet and up to date with developments in poetry and ways of approaching it. A number of poems written as a result of attending courses have been published.

- Spring 2021 Survey

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