Radical Resistances: Writing Against Sense

Radical Resistances: Writing Against Sense

Join the avant-garde, issue a radical challenge to sense, and interrogate the nature of meaning in poetry.

When thinking about Nonsense Poetry, we often envisage the quirky, imagistic style of writers like Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear; even Surrealist Poets’ attempts at senselessness took an imagistic form – what John Ashbery called “mere lists of exotic and goofy images”. But if we think of sense-making in terms of fulfilling “common sense” expectations, then there are a host of such pressures operating in poetic convention, which can easily go unseen – i.e. syntactic, grammatical, visual sense; subvocalisation and performance conventions; the demand for content and meaning.

This course will explore radical resistances to poetic sense-making, focusing on avant-garde moments including Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés, the Russian Futurists/Formalist nexus, Dada, Oulippo, the Situationist International and Concrete Poetry, as well as contemporary political discourse and its crisis of meaningful language, as manifested in the rhetoric of Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Boris Johnson, amongst others.

We will interrogate the nature of meaning, and our work’s relation to it, seeing how far we can take our resistance and asking what the broader political and social consequences of this challenge to (common) sense may be.

5 fortnightly sessions on Thursdays 6.45–8.45pm, starts 30 January.

All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face 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 [email protected] for further information.
Image Credit: Sharon Pazner

About Mischa Foster Poole View Profile

Mischa Foster Poole is a London-based poet and language artist working in performance, sound, digital poetry, visual poetry, book art, object poems, and page-based work. His debut collection unboxing, teardown is published by Veer Books. His poetry has appeared in 3:AM, Hotel, HVTN, Perverse, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, SALADE, Stride, Tentacular, and X-Peri.

‘I did this course at the same time (more or less) as another. I came to the courses on the recommendation of one of my MA tutors as a way to continue structured learning and writing whilst I decide whether or not to do a PhD. I am very impressed with the high standard of the courses and am planning to sign up for more in the next academic year.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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