Riddle of the Sphinx: Poetry and the Mysterious

Riddle of the Sphinx: Poetry and the Mysterious

Write along the edges of the unexplainable

In this workshop we will explore the use of mystery in poems: sacred prayers and crafty riddles; anonymity and the unfinished; symbols, metaphors and oxymorons; the surreal, ineffable and unexplained. Are such enigmatic instances elitist and wilfully difficult? Or is there something stimulating and inclusive in their use, which requires readers to approach a text with their own strategies to connect and find answers? We will read the work of poets from different periods of literature, including anonymous Anglo-Saxon scops, visionaries such as Emily Dickinson and Kathleen Raine, surrealists inspired by André Breton, and reader-conscious writers like W. S. Graham and Jorie Graham. We will attempt to capture our own sense of the mysterious in verse through specially designed writing exercises.

This course is a half-day workshop running 10.30am – 1pm on Wednesday 10 April and is part of our Tutor Academy week.

About Lavinia Singer View Profile

Lavinia Singer lives in London. She is a former editor of Oxford Poetry, and worked at Enitharmon Press from 2013 to 2016. She is currently the Assistant Editor, Poetry at Faber & Faber. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. For the Poetry School, Lavinia co-taught a course on ‘The Poet’s Book’ with Anna Robinson, led an open workshop on ‘Aesthetic Experiments’, and was the Poetry School’s tenth Digital Poet in Residence.

‘The tutor on the last Poetry School course I attended was outstanding – well prepared, socially skilled, self-aware and good at holding the group together. Her classes were a joy – reawakening my enthusiasm for writing. Her suggested approach to daily writing has become a welcome habit – a pleasure to complete each day.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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