The Bright Field: Poetries of Personal Faith (Masterclass)

The Bright Field: Poetries of Personal Faith (Masterclass)

How can we write poems of genuine faith in an increasingly disingenuous world?

The space of the poem has always been used for religious expression, whether to praise, sorrow, question or meditate. But how do we write contemporary religious poems that feel true without sounding sentimental or pious – and without falling back too heavily on irony? In fact, what is a religious poem in this day and age? During this Masterclass course we’ll go deep into the experience of reading and writing poems of faith, and we’ll look at a variety of texts, from the psalms to the work of mystics such as Julian of Norwich. We’ll work together in a spirit of discovery and experimentation to unlock new poems. We’ll be interested in formal questions too, particularly sonic effect and the use of white space. There’ll be a selection of background reading material, with attention to the anthology, A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith (Tupelo Press). Looking closely at example poems by contemporary poets including R.S. Thomas, Lucille Clifton, Marie Howe, Denise Leverton, Les Murray, Kazim Ali and Stanley Moss, we’ll investigate a variety of writing approaches. Our aim is to expand our ideas about what religious poems are – and can be. (Note: this is an expanded version of Kathryn Simmonds’ 2014 course The Problem of God).

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our Interactive and 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 regular 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.

A 10% discount is available to residents local to the Poetry School (anyone currently living in Rotherhithe, Riverside, Surrey Docks, South Bermondsey, Grange or Livesey).
Please contact for further information.
Image Credit: CG Hughes

About Kathryn Simmonds View Profile

Kathryn Simmonds has published two collections of poetry, Sunday at the Skin Launderette (2008), which won the Forward Prize for best first collection and The Visitations (2013). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Guardian, The New Statesman and other journals, and in 2013/14 she was poet in residence at the Charles Causley Trust in Cornwall. She has taught poetry for Morley College, Oxford University Continuing Education and The City Lit. A graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, she has also published a novel and written a number of short stories for Radio 4. She lives in Norwich with her husband and two young daughters.

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