Explore the political and bodily implications of nature’s variety, and see how poets have sought out queerness, and even eroticism, in the natural world.
In his sonnet ‘Pied Beauty’, Gerard Manley Hopkins sought to praise ‘All things counter, original, spare, strange’. In this course we will explore nature’s infinite variety, its flamboyance, how poets have sought out its queerness, and even its eroticism. We’ll write poems that experiment with new ways of decentering and questioning the self, considering the body’s endless exchange with its environment. The question of what is “natural” has often been taken for granted, and used as a lever of power, against queer people in particular. But nature breaks these bounds.
In this course we will investigate the plurality of the natural world – the split gill fungus alone has nearly 24,000 sexes! – to explore new ways of decentering and questioning the self, and see how our poems can take on all the infinite variety of both human and non-human life.
Reading poems by John McCullough, Jos Charles, Carl Philips, Mark Doty, Audre Lorde, Vahni Capildeo and Isabel Galleymore, amongst others, we’ll write poems of our own that celebrate variety, difference, and all of nature’s magnificent queerness.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
Image Credit:Timothy Dykes
About Seán Hewitt View Profile
Seán Hewitt won an Eric Gregory Award in 2019, the Resurgence Prize (now the Ginkgo Prize) in 2017, and a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016. His debut pamphlet, Lantern (Offord Road Books) was Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice in 2019. His first collection is Tongues of Fire (Jonathan Cape, 2020).
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