Short Short Poems: White Space and Silence (Masterclass)

Short Short Poems: White Space and Silence (Masterclass)

Leave no word unturned

Living in this age of constant word bombardment, why not give your reader the gift of a bit more white space, a little more silence? A poem can be any length, from one line to a whole book. But there is something magical about the very short poem, under ten lines or so; while less is not necessarily more, it is definitely different. ‘The short poem, at its best, brings about an almost instantaneous surge of both understanding and sensation unavailble elsewhere’, writes Simon Armitage in the introduction to the Short and Sweet anthology. In this advanced Masterclass we will be exploring the tiniest of poems, written by poets from Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson and Charles Causley to Rae Armantrout, Andrea Cohen and Selima Hill, alongside the shortest new offerings in today’s poetry journals. We will weigh the weight of each word, each breath and comma, to assess what needs to be said and what can remain between the lines, a useful skill for any writer. We will also create our own short poems, as well as exploring the effects of a constellation of poems on a page, and excavating our longer works-in-progress to see what treasures might be hidden inside.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our Interactive and International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no regular live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

(Image credit: Mats Edenius)

About Tania Hershman View Profile

Tania Hershman’s debut poetry collection, Terms & Conditions (Nine Arches Press) and her third short story collection, Some Of Us Glow More Than Others (Unthank Books) were published in 2017. Tania is also the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open, and two collections of short stories and flash fictions, My Mother Was An Upright Piano, and The White Road and Other Stories, and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014). Tania is curator of short story hub ShortStops (, and has a PhD in creative writing (prose and poetry) inspired by particle physics. Hear her read her work on and find out more here:

‘Having had some difficult times in the past few years, I have found great diversion and support from every class I’ve been to. My confidence has increased and my interest in and knowledge of poetry has improved as well. The standard of engagement and tutoring is very high.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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