The Wood for the Trees: Significant Poets of the British Isles (Reading Course)

The Wood for the Trees: Significant Poets of the British Isles (Reading Course)

Explore forty poets from Old English to the mid-twentieth century

A new reading course designed for writers and lovers of English-language poetry, who may not have formally studied its history or traditions. This could apply to a poet at any point in their career, from just-starting out to much-published, or to non-writing students of the craft. We will look at forty significant poets of the British Isles, from Old English to the mid-twentieth century, with a focus on evolving styles, subjects, and viewpoints. The choice of poets does not propose itself as an unalterable or desirable canon – there may be some poets you can’t get close to at all – but as a broad historical consensus that it would be both fruitful and enjoyable for students or working poets to address, as they form themselves in reaction to, or against, major movements of times past. The poets will be read in more-or-less chronological order and there will be space reserved for a ‘favourite poet’ of each participant, so that their work can be seen in deeper context. The approach will prioritise close reading of specific works, rather than wide assumptions about themes or ‘schools’. Just the timeless, greeted afresh, without fear or favour. Background reading will be suggested and no particular historical knowledge is required. ‘Come with a good will or not at all’.

Note: this is a reading course and, as such, there will be no in-class writing exercises or workshopping of your own poems.

10 weekly sessions on Tuesdays 6.45pm – 8.45pm.  15 January – 19 March.

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.

(Image credit: ‘junaidrao’)

About Glyn Maxwell View Profile

Glyn Maxwell has published many poetry collections, including Pluto, Hide Now, The Sugar Mile and The Breakage. His new volume, How The Hell Are You, will be published by Picador in 2019. His critical guidebook On Poetry (2012) has been described as ‘a modern classic’ (Spectator) and ‘the best book about poetry I’ve ever read’ (Guardian); he published its fictional sequel, Drinks With Dead Poets: The Autumn Term in 2016, and is currently working on a further sequel, Last Night In England: The Spring Term, which will be published in 2019.

Glyn’s plays include Liberty, which was staged at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2008, Babette’s Feast, which was staged at the Print Room in 2017, The Lifeblood, which was awarded British Theatre Guide’s ‘Best Play’ on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, and The Only Girl In the World, which was a Time Out Critics’ Choice at the Arcola in 2008. He has adapted several classics for Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre in Chester, including Wind in the Willows and Cyrano de Bergerac, which was broadcast by BBC Radio in 2015. His new versions of Alice in Wonderland and The Beggars’ Opera opened Chester’s new Storyhouse Theatre in the summer of 2017.

His opera libretti include The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Royal Opera House and UK tour) and Nothing (Glyndebourne and Aarhus), both for David Bruce; The Lion’s Face (Royal Opera House and UK tour) for Elena Langer; and Seven Angels (Royal Opera House and UK tour) for Luke Bedford. His new libretto for Mozart’s The Magic Flute was staged by Opera UpClose at Soho Theatre in 2017 and toured the UK.

Glyn wrote the screenplay for Clara Van Gool’s film The Beast In The Jungle, which premieres in 2018. He is currently based in London, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

‘The Poetry School is unique in offering workshops and tutoring across the board from beginners to experienced poets. It is hard to find advanced sessions in other parts of the country – the Poetry School fills a unique slot.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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