The Language Art: Modern Art & Poetry

The Language Art: Modern Art & Poetry

Explore the intersections between the post-war traditions of modern art and avant-garde poetry.

Over this intensive weekend, you will discover poets and artists who make use of language, sound, space, printing, and writing, to see how these practises are fundamental to both artforms. We’ll also bring light to some great moments in modern art and poetry that have enriched the traditions of both writing and art-making.

This is a practical course for people interested in developing their skills in either art forms, alongside furthering their understanding of experimental poetry and contemporary art; the onus will be on how these great moments in modern art and poetry can enrich writing and art-making, rather than dense historical analysis. Over the weekend we will focus on:

The Sound Poem
Language as Sound / The condition of being resonant / Multi & non-lingual / Vocal / Performativities / Technologies / Abstract scores
Drawing from the work of John Cage, Bob Cobbing, Jean Debuffet, Marina Abramovic, Bp Nichol.

The Abstract letter
Asemic poetry / Making new languages / Abstract writing / Avant-garde calligraphy
Drawing from the work of Christian Dotremont, Henri Michaux, Li Yuan-chia, Yves Klein.

The Printed Word:
Printing / The letter as symbol / Poster / Minimalism / Repetition / Words in space
Drawing from the work of Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, Carl Andre, Louise Bourgeois, Victor Pasmore, Jonathan Borofsky.

The Painted Word:
Handwriting / Writing as art / Colour / Writing as frame, focus, context / Illustration
Drawing from the work of Fiona Banner, Cy Twombly, RB Kitaj, Chris Ofili, Joseph Beuys.

The Collective: 
Collaboration / Collective methodologies / Painter to Poet, Poet to Painter
Drawing from the work of Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Constant, Asger Jorn, Stephen Gilbert.

The Concrete poem
Visuality as meaning / The page as canvas / Font as content
Drawing from the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Mary Ellen Solt, Emmett Williams, John Sharkey, Eugen Gomringer.


Saturday 11 July & Sunday 12 July, 10.30am – 4.30pm.

All classes will be in our 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.

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 [email protected] for further information.
Image Credit: Adrien Converse

About sjfowler View Profile

S.J. Fowler is a writer and artist. He has published multiple collections of poetry and been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, Tate Britain, the London Sinfonietta, Wellcome Collection and Liverpool Biennial. He has been longlisted for the Forward Prize and been sent to Peru, Bangladesh, Iraq, Argentina, Georgia and other destinations by the British Council. He has read at festivals including Hay on Wye, Cervantino in Mexico, Berlin Literature Festival, and Hay Xalapa. He was nominated for the White Review prize for Fiction in 2014 and has won awards from Arts Council England, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Ireland, and multiple other funding bodies. His plays have been produced at Rich Mix, where he is associate artist, and his visual art has been exhibited at the V&A, Hardy Tree Gallery, and Mile End Art Pavilion. He’s been translated into 22 languages and produced collaborations with over 90 artists. He is the founder and curator of The Enemies Project, editor at 3am Magazine, lecturer in creative writing at Kingston University, teaches at Tate Modern and is the director of Writers’ Centre Kingston.

‘Brilliant atmosphere, productive and constructive environment. Very good tutor.’

– Autumn 2019 survey response

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