Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Find new uses for lines, images, and even whole poems you might otherwise throw away

Cliché is perhaps the only thing a poem cannot abide. Clichés are not just trite or overused phrases. They are the images, ideas, and narratives that make up the shared body of knowledge we call “common sense”. In the writing process, we poets often reach for clichés and common sense thinking in times of crisis or discomfort instead of boldly depicting the thing that likely inspired the poem in the first place. Language that is flat and unimaginative can signal, paradoxically, the very passages in a poem that are the most emotionally fraught. Rather than simply discarding them, we might consider ways to honor the original sentiments buried within that stale language. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies for getting at the useful emotionally raw material fossiled into such otherwise disposable language. We will dig through your printouts of failed poems, we will scroll through forgotten files on your laptop, and we will use this material to generate new work that is moving, surprising, and maybe even a little discomforting, but above all fresh.

Saturday 16 November, 10.30am – 4.30pm.

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: Anita Hart

About Gregory Pardlo View Profile

Gregory Pardlo’s ​collection​ Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors​ include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Rutgers-Camden University. Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, was released by Knopf in April.

‘I feel part of a strong and supportive community.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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