Taboo: Saying the Unsaid (Spring 2021)

Taboo: Saying the Unsaid (Spring 2021)

Confront forbidden topics through a literary lens.

Every culture has taboos: the unthinkable, untouchable, unsaid things. In this course, we’ll consider how writers approach, examine, criticise, and question long-held taboos in Western society. First, we will investigate poetry which tackles divisive topics, such as death, sex, divorce, abortion, nudity, and menstruation; later, we will discuss writing which confronts darker taboos, like incest, paedophilia, familial murder, and suicide. Together, we will read things which make us uncomfortable. Over ten weeks, we will focus on contemporary poets – like Sharon Olds, Elena Georgiou, Carla Drysdale, and Max Ritvo – whose writings haul taboos into the open. In reading this work, we will develop our own language for saying unsaid things and explore how to write in a way which actively engages with visceral, hard-to-reach topics. Throughout the course, participants will also have the chance to practice poetic techniques, devices, and forms used by these ‘taboo writers’. This is a course for anyone who would like to explore forbidden topics; it is for those who seek to create a space, temporarily removed from society, in which to read, write, and discuss that which usually goes unsaid. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 21 January 2021. Live chats on Thursdays, 7–9 pm (GMT); first live chat 4 February.

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

Image credit: Erol Ahmed

About Christina Thatcher View Profile

Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off-campus as Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board, and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. Her poetry and short stories have featured in over 50 publications including The London Magazine, North American Review, Planet Magazine, The Interpreter’s House and more. She has published two poetry collections with Parthian Books: More than you were (2017) and How to Carry Fire (2020). To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.

‘A Poetry School course is one of the best ways I know to develop your poetry. It is also extremely good value for money.’

– Summer 2020 survey response

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