Searching & Finding: The Poetry of Road Movies

Searching & Finding: The Poetry of Road Movies

Journaling the joy of journeys – hit the highways of your own poetic hinterland.

In this course we will explore the wide-ranging genre of road movies in order to take your poetry on new and unexpected journeys. What is a road movie? Does it always include a road? Is the journey always physical? Or can it be psychological? Do road movies always involve vehicles? Surely the first road movies were, in fact, Westerns…? Maybe nowadays they involve spaceships; isn’t Star Wars a classic example of the quest/buddy/odyssey tropes so often found in road movies?  

Road movies are often associated with the US, where ideas of landscape, history and identity are an integral part of such films, but this concept is turned on its head by films such as, Last Orders, with a UK setting where the physical ground covered is minimal, but the psychological journey is huge. Films such as Thelma and Louise introduce complex ideas of gender and spectatorship. Sample poems will explore a number of the ideas uncovered in these movies, as well as a chance to engage with key films such as: The Wizard of Oz, Grapes of Wrath, Thelma and Louise, Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Straight Story, Wild at Heart, Last Orders, and Night of the Hunter. 

NB content warning: some of the films on this syllabus deal with triggering subject matter – especially Wild at Heart, which features violent content – so the course will require a willingness to engage with difficult topics. We will endeavour to build a safe space in which to discuss and share ideas around these movies and our writing. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.


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 Online Courses page.

Image credit: @elcarito

About Sue Burge View Profile

Sue Burge is a poet, freelance creative writing and film studies tutor, mentor, and editor based in North Norfolk, UK. Her poems appear in a range of publications including The North, Mslexia, Magma, Under the Radar, Strix, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, The Ekphrastic Review, Lighthouse, and Poetry News as well as in themed anthologies on science fiction, modern Gothic, illness, Britishness, endangered birds, WWI, and the pandemic. Sue’s three poetry collections are: In the Kingdom of Shadows (2018) Confetti Dancers (2021), and The Artificial Parisienne (2024), all published by Live Canon. Her two pamphlets, Lumière (2018) and The Saltwater Diaries (2020), and both published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. 

"It has opened my eyes to the wealth of talented poets. It has made me realise that anyone can be a poet and you don't have to be a published poet to get fulfilment out of poetry. With discipline of the mind, anything is possible."

– Autumn 2023 survey response

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