The Art of Memory: Poetry of the Past and Present

The Art of Memory: Poetry of the Past and Present

Investigate how poetry can engage with memory, both individual and collective, in order to reflect on the past and produce innovative work aiming towards the future.

Memory and identity are inextricable. Who we think we are is bound up with our memories of who we were in the past. And yet, as the work of neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists has shown, our memory of the past is open to constant re-interpretation, shaped both by our environment and our subsequent experiences. Poets, in particular, have always been fascinated by memory, whether as practitioners of classical ars memoria, commemorators of individual and collective pasts, reciters of epic poetry, and explorers of the shifting nature of memory in the present. On this course, we will investigate how poetry can engage with contemporary scientific and cultural scholarship on memory, both individual and collective, in order to reflect on our relationship with the past and produce innovative work that challenges readers to think about that relationship from new perspectives. We will look at the factors that influence the relationship between memory and selfhood, the relationship between memory and autobiography, the literary representation of traumatic memories, and the role of collective memory in society and poetic responses to cultural institutions, such as museums, where that collective memory is preserved. And students will be prompted to draft new poems that engage both with the work of other contemporary poets on these themes and with key research findings from the field of memory studies.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Tuesdays, 7 – 9pm GMT, first live chat starting 30th May.

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

About David Clarke Profile photo of David Clarke View Profile

David Clarke’s first pamphlet, Gaud, won the Michael Marks Award in 2013 and his first collection, Arc (Nine Arches Press, 2015) was longlisted for the Polari Book Prize. A new pamphlet of poems, Scare Stories, is published by V. Press in 2017. He blogs at http://athingforpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/

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