Tell Me True: Poetry of Testimony, Memory, & the Archive (Masterclass)

Tell Me True: Poetry of Testimony, Memory, & the Archive (Masterclass)

Explore poetry’s power to re-present testimony, tell the truth, and draw attention to voices that might otherwise remain unheard.

How can we use poetry to tell challenging truths? Like documentary, verbatim theatre, or like the polyphonic writings of Svetlana Alexievich, poetry can dramatise and re-present testimony – curating, animating, and drawing attention to voices and experiences that might otherwise remain unheard. Inspired by recent work including Jay Bernard’s Surge, David Cain’s Truth Street, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Richard Osmond’s Rock, Paper, Scissors, this course will look at the rewards and challenges of poetry as individual and collective testimony. We will write poems based on personal memory, re-telling, interviews, found text and archive material. We’ll consider the ethics of research and representation, and explore what it means to tell the truth through poetry.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our 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 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: Jon Tyson

About Kate Potts View Profile

Kate Potts is a London-based poet, academic and editor. Her debut poetry pamphlet Whichever Music (tall-lighthouse, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society choice and was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. Her first full-length collection is Pure Hustle (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). Her second collection, Feral, published by Bloodaxe in September 2018, was a Poetry Book Society recommendation and a Telegraph poetry book of the month. Kate teaches poetry and creative writing for Middlesex University, Royal Holloway and The Poetry School, freelances as a mentor, editor and events producer, and works for an independent publisher.

‘The Poetry School programmes such thoughtful and unusual courses and enables poets to feel validated, to become more curious, more skilled, more engaged in poetry and the world’ – Summer 2019 survey response

– Summer 2019 survey response

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