Pop, Prophecy and the Profane

Pop, Prophecy and the Profane

Explore the rhythms of speech, prayer and prophecy, from nineties pop to Pablo Neruda

Take my shoes off
And throw them in the lake
And I’ll be
Two steps on the water

– Kate Bush, ‘Hounds of Love’

When Kate Bush sings these lines they sound fearful, exhilarated, brave. But when a thousand people sing the lines in unison, they are transformed. At this public scale they begin to take on the quality of a demand, a libidinal request for a different kind of life – embodied, erotic, transgressive.

Now imagine those words again, whispered in darkness each night before sleep. At this private scale they begin to take on the quality of a prayer, a faithful request for a different kind of life – peaceful, contemplative, without pain.

This workshop will explore how poetry can work with, through and against two historically distinct modes: the pop song and the prophecy. We will examine the role of repetition and melody, as well as suggesting ways in which the language of desire and sexuality might provide routes into writing about those things that tend toward the ineffable. Centering around a core of writing exercises, the workshop will also involve close reading of works by writers such as Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, D. H. Lawrence, Pablo Neruda (and a selection of one-hit wonders from the 1990s!)

This course is a half-day workshop running 2pm – 4.30pm on Thursday 11 April and is part of our Tutor Academy week.

About Keiran Goddard View Profile

Keiran Goddard (b.1984) was born and raised in Shard End, Birmingham and educated in Oxford. His debut collection, For the Chorus, was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Prize and he was runner up in the William Blake Prize. His second collection, Votive, will be published in April 2019 by Offord Road Books. Keiran has worked as an editor and in higher education and now works in policy and advocacy. He is the author of numerous academic publications and is a policy fellow at the University of Cambridge.

‘Made me feel connected to other poets rather than separate from them, helps me to feel normal about finding it hard sometimes and makes me excited there are other regular poem writers with minds wonderfully different to my own.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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