Speaking in Tones: Crafting Musical Poetry (International Course)

Speaking in Tones: Crafting Musical Poetry (International Course)

Craft musical poems and investigate how sound can work in the poetic line

Our language-making is inseparable from our musical sense; as Duke Ellington famously said, ‘It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing).’ On this course we’ll look at how to craft a musical poem by studying some of the basics of metrical poetry and investigating how sound works within the poetic line. Students will learn how to create an ear-pleasing poetry, with a special focus on tempo, pacing, crafting a line in iambic pentameter and the effective use of line breaks. More broadly, we’ll consider how sound works as a gateway to the senses and how musicality creates its own kind of meaning within a poem. We’ll also read and listen to audio examples of both metrical and free verse poems from musical masters, such as Robert Frost, Louise Bogan, Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Robert Mezey, Rachel Hadas, Donald Justice and others. This is a course for anyone who wants to make their poetic line more musical and exercises will be designed to help students draw inspiration from their own experiences, and then effectively transform these observations into powerful, singing poetry.

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

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About Jodie Hollander Profile photo of Jodie Hollander View Profile

American poet Jodie Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England, and her work has been published in journals such as The Poetry ReviewPN Review, The Dark Horse, The RialtoVerse DailyThe New Criterion, The Manchester Review, Australia’s Best Poems of 2011, and Australia’s Best Poems of 2015. Her debut pamphlet, The Humane Society, was released with tall-lighthouse (London) in 2012; her full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press and Oxford University Press. Hollander is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, a residency at Cheateau de La Napoule in France and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She currently lives in Colorado.

‘The Poetry School’s international courses have been a great way of staying connected with the poetry scene in the UK and also to write more and better poems. If it didn’t exist, I’m not sure how much poetry I would still be writing or what language it would be in.’

Spring 2017 Online Survey response

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