Time’s Fool: Time as Subject & Technique

Time’s Fool: Time as Subject & Technique

Reflect on, and mess about with, time in your poems, as we explore a range of strategies to harness the magic of time in your writing.

If one of the most interesting subjects for poems is time, it’s also true that poems are often at their most interesting when messing about with time: speeding things up, jumping about to other periods, accelerating suddenly somewhere in the middle. To go into a room and pick up a pen can be to rush forward into the future or back into the past – whether it’s our own or someone else’s.  

In this course we will look at how history – our family history, perhaps, but also wider history, filched from biographies and historical texts – as well as speculations on the future, can offer fertile subjects for poems. But we will also consider time as poetic technique: the way in which a volta, a huge jump in time, can turn a Mark Doty poem on its head, for example, or the way in which Holly Pester’s ‘Comic Timing’ uses the time-frame of a day to maximise the poem’s impact.  

In On Poetry, Glyn Maxwell writes, ‘You master form you master time,’ and we will explore how a range of forms can be used to create time-travelling poems that endure. From the success of the Back to the Future franchise to the lovers poised, forever about to kiss, on Keats’s Grecian Urn, our culture is full of work that resonates because of our interest in reflecting on, and messing about with, time; this course will explore a range of strategies to harness the magic of time to make your poems, and your process, more exciting. New and beginning writers welcome.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.  

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image Credit: Heather Zabriskie

About Jonathan Edwards View Profile

Jonathan Edwards’s first collection of poems, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014), received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award. It was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His second collection, Gen (Seren, 2018), also received the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award, and his poem about Newport Bridge was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2019. Jonathan has read his poems on BBC radio and television, recorded them for the Poetry Archive, and led workshops in schools, universities and prisons. He lives in Crosskeys, South Wales.

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