Science & Poetry

Science & Poetry

Fissile material; experiment with scientific stanzas and supercharge your poetic skills.

‘The gleaming wings of science.’ – Winston Churchill 

What, really, is a ‘science poem’? Better still, what can it be coaxed into, so as to galvanise and enrich our preferred subjects? Can those complex force lines of scientific knowledge be made to percolate and invigorate our work, simply? Is science being used predictably to engender earthbound poetic clones, or can its DNA mutate our poems towards flight? 

This fascinating, hands-on, 10-week course investigates the many ways of amalgamating science and poetry. Amazingly, no scientific expertise is required for you to fully benefit!  Mario Petrucci’s ideas on how to utilise science in/as poetry simply don’t exist anywhere else; as a practising physicist and ecologist who has won major literary awards with his science/ecology poems, he has devised an original and inventive set of perspectives and methodologies to guide you on a unique journey. 

The course is principally a dynamo for new work that incorporates science interestingly, provocatively, and productively.  You won’t be writing ‘about’ science, which can sometimes lead to fad subjects like Black Holes; rather, you’ll engage with the far less predictable activity of enlivening and informing your compositional practice through a variety of scientific processes. These processes provide a laboratory of fresh techniques, test-tubes and accidents (yes, accidents!) that can animate any subject, however light or profound, including your more personal, confessional work.  You might even discover subjects you didn’t know existed.   

Largely practical in approach, the course centres on composition and workshopping. Each session, you’ll be set a writing exercise as ‘homework’, which you bring to the following session for group feedback. Interspersed with this will be tutor-led teaching, sample ‘science poems’ for study and debate, and quotes/texts as prompts for group discussion. The atmosphere will be inclusive and open, with an emphasis on enjoyment and exploration, but full of surprises, maybe even the odd illuminating explosion. 

10 weekly sessions on Thursdays, 6.45–8.45pm (GMT), starts 9 May 2024. Sessions for this course will take place at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA.

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: @libraryofcongress

About Mario Petrucci View Profile

Mario Petrucci is a multi-award-winning poet as well as a trained ecologist and PhD physicist. As one of the UK’s original ‘ecopoets’, he is respected internationally for his literary, educational, and research contributions to the poetics of science/ecology, alongside his commissions at major scientific institutions include the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the European Space Agency, the Wellcome Foundation, and the Natural History Museum. His prodigious corpus (more than 20 collections) incorporates science/ecology naturally and innovatively. With three decades of international creative writing teaching behind him, Mario delivers courses of immense variety and enduring value. 

"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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