The Ethics of Perspective

The Ethics of Perspective

Explore the art, artifice and ethics of bearing witness and taking up other's perspectives in your poetry.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” Does this suggest that we’re fatally blind to our true selves? Do we always need the witness of others – and, in turn, to witness others – in order to know who we are? For many poets, like Paul Celan, Geoffrey Hill and Carolyn Forché, poetry is an art of witness. But what should we bear witness to and how does the perspective we take up on a subject change what we see? Looking at poems by Wilfred Owen, Patricia Smith, Ocean Vuong, Gwendolyn Brooks, Eduardo C. Corral and others, we’ll use this workshop to play with ideas of perspective and explore how witness can elevate our writing.

This course is a half-day workshop running 10:30am – 1pm on Wednesday 25 July and is part of our Summer School. To find out more about the courses in the Summer School, please see here.

Image credit: ‘hannahsmetana’

About Will Harris View Profile

Will Harris’s chapbook of poems, All this is Implied, was joint winner of the LRB Bookshop Pamphlet of the Year in 2017 and shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award by the National Library of Scotland. Mixed-Race Superman, an essay, was published by Peninsula Press in May 2018. His poems also feature in the Bloodaxe anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation and have been published in The Poetry Review, Granta and the Guardian.

‘The Poetry School and its tutors has restored my confidence in my poetry and process, given me new avenues of reading and thought, along with connecting me to like-minded, but still different, practitioners.’

– Spring 2018 survey response

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