The Persona Poem (Masterclass)

The Persona Poem (Masterclass)

Say 'Not I!' and unleash hidden multiplicities

‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been’ – George Eliot

Write what you know is the advice often given to new writers, and it’s true that our stories are the starting point for much of our writing. If you are not Karl Ove Knausgaard, however, you may tire of your life story and yearn to transcend the limits of your experience. Writing in a persona, whether historical or fictional, offers infinite freedoms, transporting the writer beyond the familiar self. Taking inspiration from poets including Kei Miller, Carol Ann Duffy and T.S. Eliot, we will explore the possibilities a persona offers as a prism to see things newly. We will play with the ‘I’ in our poems, assuming identities and using myth and fairytale to transform autobiographical material into story. We will also explore poetry of witness and reflect on questions of appropriation and authenticity as we consider which stories may not be ours to tell.

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.

Image credit: Thomas Hawk

About Shazea Quraishi View Profile

Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistani-born Canadian poet, playwright and translator whose poems have appeared in UK and US publications including The Financial Times, The Guardian, Modern Poetry in Translation and Poetry Review.  Her collection The Art of Scratching was published by Bloodaxe in 2015, and she is adapting her chapbook The Courtesans Reply as a play. In 2015, she was the recipient of a Brooklease Grant from the Royal Society of Literature, and an Artists International Development Fund award. She teaches with English PEN, Translators in Schools and The Poetry School, and is an artist in residence with Living Words.

‘I have the opportunity to enjoy teaching by very experienced and dedicated poets, ready to share their knowledge and vision and to encourage their students.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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