The Poetic Sequence (Exeter)

The Poetic Sequence (Exeter)

Find out why and how poets group their poems, and what makes a successful grouping

Looking at poetry sequences, including Amanda Dalton’s Room of Leaves, Liz Berry’s Black Country and Sharon Old’s Stag’s Leap, we’ll study how poems can be braided and bound together to create a woven whole, a thematic if disparate narrative. A poet can use the sequence to construct a sweeping engagement with their subject: images, verbs, idioms and tones can be repeated, manipulated, developed, threaded and unravelled to pull the reader into a detailed, concrete and absorbing world. There is a venerable history of poetic sequences (T.S. Eliot, C.K. Williams, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound). We are interested in why and how poets group their poems, and what makes a successful grouping. It might be motifs: memories, clothing, colour, bird life, fantasy or disintegration. It can be language, aspects of place or dialogue and expression. We will look at the ways these elements can be linked and repeated, working on a subliminal level to build empathy or understanding, widening and deepening as the sequence progresses. Effects are ultimately created by a collage or ‘jigsaw’ which can shift in time and in tone, creating a plausible, satisfying whole. We’ll end this module with an idea of how to formulate a themed narrative in poetry, learning how our poems can speak to one another and to the outside world.

5 fortnightly sessions on Wednesdays, 6.45 – 8.45pm, starting 16 Jan.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

About Miriam Darlington View Profile

Miriam Darlington writes the regular Nature Notebook column for The Times. Her first collection of poetry, Windfall, was published by Oversteps in 2008. In 2009 on a fully-funded Creative and Critical PhD at Exeter University she produced Otter Country a travel and nature memoir. Owl Sense, a memoir about the wild owl species of Europe, was published by Guardian Faber in February 2018, serialised by BBC Radio Four for Book of the Week, became a Sunday Times bestseller, and was long listed far the Wainwright Prize.

Praise for Owl Sense: ‘Darlington gives back a sense of dignity and wildness to a creature that captures our imagination like no other’ – The Times.

‘Achingly beautiful’ The Observer.

‘A beautiful book, wise and sharp-eared as its subject’ – Robert Macfarlane

‘The poetry school has supported me on a journey to rediscover and connect with poetry again after decades of feeling poetry was for other people. I now have the confidence to write out the poems that have been residing within me for so long.’ – Summer 2018 survey response

Related Courses