Speaking as a Multitude: Long Poems & Sequences

Speaking as a Multitude: Long Poems & Sequences

Break out of compact discrete lyric poetry and explode into the fragments and multiplicities of long poems and sequences.

We often focus on the lyric poem: neat, complete, and digestible on one page, at a single sitting or in a five-minute performance slot. And yet, many of our most celebrated poetic works are long, cyclical, narrative, fragmentary, multi-vocal or exploratory: think Dante’s Divine Comedy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh or Ted Hughes’ Crow. In this course, we will consider poetry that invites a connective reading across its parts, in which fragments are juxtaposed to generate dialogue, and which speaks to us as a multitude or immerses us in a longer, cumulative experience. Exploring different ways in which sequences might be begun, propelled, assembled, collaged, and organised, we will engage with important contemporary works such as Alice Oswald’s Dart, Stephen Sexton’s If All the World and Love Were Young, Ailbhe Darcy’s ‘Alphabet’ and Denise Riley’s ‘A Part Song’. Through a series of guided activities, we’ll look at how to explore a theme, build a structure, involve different forms or voices and add elements of narrative, supporting each other to develop our own sequences over the duration of the course. If you want to deepen your engagement with a particular subject matter, or if you’re enthusiastic to write poetry which fragments, resists closure, quests or sparkles with unexpected connections, then this course is for you.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 28 September 2020. Live chats on Monday, 7-9 pm GMT; first live chat 12 October

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

Image Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia

About Phoebe Power View Profile

Phoebe Power’s debut poetry collection, Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet, 2018) was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. She has collaborated with other artists on projects including a live performance of her pamphlet Harp Duet (Eyewear, 2016), and Christl, a video installation involving poetry, visual art and sound. Phoebe received a Northern Writers’ Award in 2014 and an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2012.

‘The quality of teaching and course material has impacted positively on my poetry.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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