The Uncertainty Principle

The Uncertainty Principle

Learn to trust your readers and feel certain in poetic uncertainty.

Part of what makes poetry unique is the way that poets deliberately leave gaps for the reader to fill. Sometimes poems contradict themselves, or infer subtextually through irony and symbolism. Sometimes a poem examines one thing in terms of another. As poets, we have to wager that the Reader’s response to these gaps and uncertain features will somehow cohere with our own feelings and ideas. But how can we calculate such probabilities? How can we weigh and trust uncertainty in our work, and why is doing so, so important?  

This class will teach you to explore these moments of risk in your poems, encouraging you to trust the Reader more, and trust yourselves to write poems in which both poet and Reader are collaborative participants. 

One-day In-Person session on 12 March 2022, from 10.30am–4.30pm GMT

This course will take place 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

To apply for a concession rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. More information about how our In-Person Courses work can be found on the In-Person Courses page. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]

Image credit: Photo by Jed Owen

About Jack Underwood View Profile

Jack Underwood is a poet, writer and critic, based in London. His debut collection of poems Happiness was published by Faber in 2015 and won the Somerset Maugham Award. His work has appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Five Dials, PracCrit, New Statesman, The Observer, TLS, Poetry, The White Review and Tate etc., as well as internationally, and in translation. He has collaborated with artists, composers and musicians, including work for radio and opera, and he is a Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. 

His non-fiction book, Not Even This, was published by Corsair in 2021 and explores poetic language, knowledge, and uncertainty, and his second collection, A Year in the New Life, was published by Faber in 2021 and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. 

'Poetry School has been an excellent route into poetry and I have become a better poet through workshops, assignments, wider reading and live chats. It's great to collaborate with other poets and I have made valuable friendships and connections. I have written and published more poems and been place in competitions. There is such a vibrant community of tutors and poets and a wealth of new ideas and material at hand. All the courses are fresh, original and exciting.'

- Summer 2021 Survey Response

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