The Poet’s Toolkit

The Poet’s Toolkit

Hone your craft, explore poetry’s inner workings, and look at techniques to help your poems achieve lift-off

A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words – William Carlos Williams

In this practical course we will consider the poem as a flying machine and explore its inner-workings. Taking inspiration from poets past and present, from Baudelaire to Anne Carson, we will explore what is needed for a poem to achieve lift-off. Through discussion and writing new poems, you will hone your critical skills and be encouraged to enquire into your own poetics. Each term will include workshop sessions with feedback on new material.

In Term 1 we will investigate craft basics, including lineation & white space, rhyme & rhythm; clarity, syntax & logic; endings and beginnings.

Term 2 will explore the freedoms and challenges of traditional forms including the sonnet, terza rima, the sestina, syllabics, and the ghazal.

In Term 3 we will focus on the prose poem and experimental and invented forms.

10 weekly sessions on Mondays, 6.45–8.45pm, starts 30 September. This is the first term of a three-term course.

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 for further information.

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 Books 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 never realised I was ‘passionate about words’ before until our tutor described us, our group, as ‘obviously’ like this. It was a lightbulb moment!’

– Spring 2019 survey response

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