Expand your voice with the thoughts, lives and feelings of others
‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’
– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
From Robert Browning to Carol Ann Duffy, Patience Agbabi to Simon Armitage, a number of writers have explored the joy of how writing from the point of view of someone – or something – else can free the creative shackles and unleash poems of great power. We will explore a range of things that the monologue can do, looking at poems which draw on characters from canonical texts, from history and from pop culture. Monologue can be a way of exploring different occupations and backgrounds, of looking at important themes such as gender, class and place, as in Alan Gillis’s brilliant poem ‘In These Aisles’, but it can also be a way of seeing the world completely differently, through the eyes of an assumed object, animal, tree… We will spend some time reflecting on the nature of voice as a whole – the way in which every poem, by its language and framing, creates a voice which is independent from its author, to say what it wants or needs to. Lastly, we will consider how monologue can work with performance poetry and help give poems a life beyond the page. Through a mixture of close reading, written exercises and feedback, we will seek to develop our own monologues to surprise and delight ourselves, and to illuminate the world – and ‘the rumoured existence of other people’ (Timothy Donnelly) – with understanding and empathy.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats 7-9pm GMT on Thursdays, first live chat starting 31 Jan.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
(Image credit: Jay Reed)
About Jonathan Edwards View Profile
Jonathan Edwards was born and brought up in Crosskeys, south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, has written speeches for the Welsh Assembly Government and journalism for The Big Issue Cymru, and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry Review, The North, Poetry Wales and New Welsh Review. His poetry collection, My Family and Other Superheroes, was published in 2014 and was the winner of that year’s Costa Poetry Award. His second collection, Gen, is published November 2018.
‘The Poetry School is the only place I know where there is a real choice of different ways to work on your poetic skills, with constant encouragement and support.’