Revolutionary Poetics: Writing Against the Grain

Revolutionary Poetics: Writing Against the Grain

Alternate art; busting open the poem to embrace new and experimental forms.

* This course will take place on the video-conferencing platform ZOOM * 

Another poetry is possible! This course will push against and beyond the boundaries of common-sense and conventional definitions of poetry to look at poetry as performance, book art, sound, visual poetry, film, cabaret, clowning, and ritual, as well as innovative page-based forms. We will think about how a refusal to accept the terms of poetic hegemony might parallel or model a revolutionary politics equally unwilling to carry on with business as usual. We will look at historic and contemporary exemplars, and attempt to draw their revolutionary poetics into our own work.

We will draw inspiration from Russian Futurists in the age of the Bolshevik Revolution, such as Varvara Stepanova, Vasily Kamensky, Olga Rozanova, and Aleksei Kruchyonykh; Dadaists like Hugo Ball and Kurt Schwitters; Situationists like Asger Jorn and Guy Debord; John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Cornelius Cardew, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Tom Phillips, Johanna Drucker, Hannah Weiner, Anna Mendelssohn, Kenneth Goldsmith, Holly Pester, Jeff Hilson, Caroline Bergvall, and more. Not all of these practitioners are exclusively or even primarily ‘poets’, but they are case studies for how the best innovative poetry has always been in dialogue with both general aesthetic theory and with other art forms. 

Throughout the course we will take various poetic conventions and attempt to write against the grain of them – against form, against originality, against the page, against the audience’s wishes, against sense – and through doing so we will strive to make our own poetry more un-conventional. 

 5 fortnightly Zoom sessions on Thursdays, 7–9pm (BST), starts 30 May 2024.

Concessions & Accessibility

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected]; conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions, wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, or require any form of adjustment to access our courses, please email [email protected]For more information visit our In Person Courses page.


Image credit: @indraddd

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. He is currently conducting doctoral research into nonsense and revolution at Birkbeck. His poetry has appeared in magazines including Hotel, HVTN, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, and Tentacular. His collection unboxing, teardown was published by Veer Books in 2018, and a visual poetry collaboration with Ali Graham is forthcoming from Hesterglock Press.

"The choice of material and prompts are really well chosen and I particularly enjoy the balance of thematic content and form. Everyone's contributions are valued by the tutor and the atmosphere is always relaxed and friendly."

- Autumn 2023 survey response

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