This Goes There, That Comes After: List Poems

This Goes There, That Comes After: List Poems

Get things in order and explore the many uses of the list form with James Davies.

*In line with current government advice, this course has now been moved online and will take place via the video conferencing platform Zoom. All students will be sent an email invitation to the session, alongside any instructions and information necessary in advance.*

The notion of the list, or the list poem, goes back to our earliest writings, in texts such as the Iliad and countless religious volumes. From poems that we might call “simple cataloguing” to the list’s appearance as a structural device in complex forms, like the sonnet, you’ll find that it’s everywhere in poetry. Indeed, if we take the word to mean that one thing follows another and that what follows is related to what’s passed, and also that most lines in poems can be placed into categories, then the list is ubiquitous to all poems…

In this day workshop you will explore the multiple possibilities of the form through close reading, writing, and some in-class collaborations to see that, in poet and critic Larry Fagin’s words, in order to write a successful list poem, you need to find ‘a poetic bump in the road’.

While exploring this simple, yet endlessly playful and inventive approach to writing poetry we will take inspiration from contemporary poets, including Caroline Bergvall, Miles Champion, and Matthew Welton, as well as a whole host of poets from the past, and by the end of the day you will have produced a diverse batch of new list poems, covering a variety of different forms and subjects, that will rivet your readers.

Saturday 18 April, 10.30am – 4.30pm The course will take place using the video conferencing platform, Zoom.

Image Credit: aarongraham

About James Davies View Profile

James Davies has published a number of poetry books including stack, a book-length minimalist poem published by Carcanet and Plants, a series of conceptual poems published by Reality Street. He is also the author of a number of artists’ books including A Dog, snow, and Absolute Elsewhere. Since 2008 he has edited the poetry press if p then q. From 2008-2018 he was the co-organiser of The Other Room reading series & resources website in Manchester, and in 2017-18 was Poet in Residence at The University of Surrey. A novel, written in collaboration with Philip Terry, came out from Crater Press in May 2019 entitled When Two Are in Love or As I Came To Behind Frank’s Transporter and in September 2019 a second novel, The Wood Pigeons, came out from Dostoevsky Wanabee. Find out more at

‘I’m a member of a local Poetry School workshop that meets monthly – it has transformed my writing, my knowledge and my confidence and given me a community of fellow poets to share work with. Joining is one of the best things I’ve done!’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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