Reading Course: Those Various Scalpels – Four Modernist Women

Reading Course: Those Various Scalpels – Four Modernist Women

Smash the patriarchy and bring light to the exceptional work of some major female Modernists.

The Modernist era is often critiqued as being overly patriarchal and predominantly promoting the work of male writers. Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, Lola Ridge, and HD, are four major Modernist poets – incredibly distinctive characters, with original oeuvres – whose exceptional work challenges these prejudices and presents rich material for contemporary readers. This course encourages wide reading of poems and extracts from these four poets, alongside occasional criticism, letters, and relevant work from other writers, to shed light on their important and revered work in this era.

Over the course we will touch on Moore’s poem ‘Those Various Scalpels’ and how it is thought by some critics to be a complex commentary and reaction to Mina Loy’s beauty; we’ll look over Ezra Pound’s Hilda’s Book, written for HD, and in her own work see why she was considered a leading light of the movement; we’ll explore how Marianne Moore’s complex, obscure, and witty poems also found fame in baseball stadiums; we’ll discuss Mina Loy’s early, idiosyncratic Feminist manifesto; and track Lola Ridge’s initial rise, her later erasure from “the canon” by The New Formalists, and then her inevitable rise again. The course will encourage reading and debating the work of these poets and, in making such inter-connective and associative leaps between their writing and those around them, we will touch on issues that chime with current debates around poetry and culture, such those raised in Kate Zambreno’s book Heroines.

Note: this is a reading course and, as such, there will be no in-class writing exercises or workshopping of your own poems.

10 weekly sessions on Tuesdays, 6.45-8.45pm, starts 21 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: Tor Lindstrand

About Matthew Caley View Profile

Matthew Caley’s Thirst [Slow Dancer, 1999] was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He’s published five more since then, three with Bloodaxe, making his  latest, Trawlerman’s Turquoise, his sixth. His work has featured in many anthologies including Poems of The Decade [Forward Editions]; Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poetry and The Picador Book of Love Poems. He’s read his work from Morden Tower, Newcastle to The National Portrait Gallery, London; from Galway to Novi Sad. In previous lives he was on the fringe of the Small Press revival in the 1980’s; designed record sleeves; lived in squats in Brixton during the 80’s-90’s; and has taught in art schools. Recently, he’s tutored for The Poetry School and been Associate Lecturer in Contemporary Poetry/ Creative Writing at The School of English, St Andrews University and is currently HPL at The University of Winchester. He lives in London with the Czech artist Pavla Alchin and their two daughters, Iris and Mina.

‘Brilliant place to learn.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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