Psycho Gastro Studio

Psycho Gastro Studio

Find pleasures and excess in food, drink and other mind-altering substances

This course will focus on food and food-related substances – especially on the different ways we can be both poisoned by them and also, perhaps, cured. We will look at how poets from different backgrounds have used the food of their ancestors, their homes and their families to discuss ideas of mood-alteration, cultural sickness and physical ailments (and awakenings). Through this we will work on our own poetry based on both our own recipes and meal-memories while also exploring the darker side of the culinary – the overloading of pleasure centers in our brains thanks to high fat foods, the exhilaration and anxiety of a coffee high, the effects of alcohol on both ourselves and wider society. We will engage with poems which use these foods and substances as a gateway for historical and cultural discussions as well as the deeply personal; the sharing of a meal across cultural gaps, food as a family business versus the contemporary processed food industry, a memory of a party gone wrong or right. Reading poets such as Nate Marshall, Hannah Lowe, Robert Burns and Vi Khi Nao we will broaden our palates across different times and spaces and whet our appetites as we research and develop our own work, while other sources such as online menus and cookery shows will encourage us to look at representations of food and drink in broader contemporary culture. Food is more than just taste, smell, sight and sound and together we will write poems which go beyond the senses.

Studios are three week intensive courses. Reading material will be distributed before the course begins. There are no live chats so they are suitable for both UK & International students.

For more information visit our Online Courses page.

A 10% discount is available to residents local to the Poetry School (anyone currently living in Rotherhithe, Riverside, Surrey Docks, South Bermondsey, Grange or Livesey).
Please contact for further information.
Image Credit: Gordon McLean

About Sean Wai Keung View Profile

Sean Wai Keung is a Glasgow-based poet and performer with research interests in mixed-culture identity and food. His pamphlet ‘you are mistaken’ won the Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2016 and was named a Poetry School Book of the Year. His poems have appeared in zines such as ZARF and Monstrous Regiment and anthologies including The Dizziness of Freedom (Bad Betty Press, 2019) and Anti-Hate Anthology (Spoken Word London, 2019). He has also performed with organisations such as the National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh Art Fair and Summerhall. He holds an MA in Poetry from the University of East Anglia and a BA in Creative Writing from Roehampton University.

‘There is no poetry community where I live, but these courses have given me access to a busy, responsive, energetic and generous community which has completely changed my writing life in a multitude of wonderful ways.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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