The Big Idea: Building The Sonnet Sequence

The Big Idea: Building The Sonnet Sequence

What could be better than a sonnet? A sonnet sequence!

John Donne once scathingly claimed  ‘The Spanish proverb informs me that he is a fool which cannot make one sonnet and he is mad which makes two’. And yet for English poets from the renaissance onwards the sonnet sequence has continued to hold its appeal. A gift for any poet interested in form, the sonnet sequence is a compulsive and propulsive medium combining the individual sonnet’s properties of integrated thought and feeling with space to develop many-angled exploration, free association and narrative.

In this workshop, you’ll spend some time reading conventional and less conventional takes on the single sonnet before moving on to sequences, crowns and heroic crowns of sonnets. You’ll consider modern sequences from poets like George Meredith, Marilyn Hacker, George Szirtes and Patricia Smith. The sonnet sequence provides you with an opportunity to begin to engage with a big idea, one that needs time and space to grow and develop; the trick is in finding the right kind of material to fill such a capacious vessel. In this workshop you’ll begin to write your own sequence and go home with the start of a substantial, infuriating, satisfying and obsessive project to keep you going for a very long time.

Saturday 24 November. One-day workshop, 10.30am – 4.30pm.

This workshop will be in our new offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

About Jacqueline Saphra View Profile

Jacqueline Saphra is a playwright, screenwriter, poet and keen collaborator. Her first book, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye 2011) was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women was published by (The Emma Press 2017) and won the Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. In 2017 A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller (Hercules Editions 2017) was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award and her latest collection from Nine Arches Press, All My Mad Mothers, was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize. She lives in London.

‘The Poetry School has given me more confidence and valuable experience with a variety of courses to choose from. The teachers are top quality and the material is excellent.’

– Spring 2018 survey response

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