Get inside circular forms to see why repeating yourself can be a useful poetic technique.
‘And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down.’ – Joni Mitchell.
Are we captive on the carousel of time, as Joni Mitchell suggests? Poetry has a great interest in the idea of circularity – we only have to think of all the circular and repetitive poetic forms available to us as writers: the sestina, the rondel, the villanelle, the pantoum… We could go around in everlasting circles.
But what does circularity express and how is it best approached in the poem? Do we want to explore ‘stuckness’ or the possibility of eternal re-creation? Is our narrative voice comically frustrated, or caught in the wheels of love? Over this course we’ll examine five different circular forms: the villanelle, ghazal, pantoum, triolet, and rondel. With each assignment, our aim is to get inside the form; we’ll take it apart and see how it works, and we’ll read example poems by a range of contemporary poets. We’ll then write a new poem in that form.
The course will end with a Zoom meeting – running 7–9pm on Thursday 7 Mar– in which we all come to together to discuss what we’ve learned, to think about repetition and its many modes, and to have a go at some writing prompts.
Studio+ Courses are an expanded version of our Studios and feature a portfolio of preliminary reading, alongside 4 writing assignments, and some additional bonus features bespoke to each course, such as Zoom sessions, collaborative projects, and inter-disciplinary work. There are no Live Chats on this course. Suitable for UK & International students.
To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected]. Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. For more information visit our Online Courses page.
Image credit: Luis Alberto
About Kathryn Simmonds View Profile
Kathryn Simmonds’s third collection, Scenes from Life on Earth, is published by Salt (Oct, 22). Her poems have appeared in various publications including Poetry, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Poetry Review and The Irish Times and, along with her short stories, have been broadcast on BBC radio. She lives in Norwich with her family and has run a number of courses for The Poetry School.
"Poetry School offers the most innovative and creative poetry workshops I've had the pleasure to attend. The tutors are world class and the themes and topics varied and interesting. "