Towards a Tantric Poetics: Tantra, Magic & Mysticism (International)

Towards a Tantric Poetics: Tantra, Magic & Mysticism (International)

Think through gender, sexuality, and erotics in relation to mysticism and magic

What is magical thinking, and why is it so popular in poetry right now? Are you interested in writing your own spells, in breaking spells, or, perhaps, in demystifying magic? This course will invite writers to think about poetry in relation to Hindu and Buddhist Tantric traditions, and to mysticism and magic more generally. We will begin with a selection of poems from the recent anthology Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry, asking questions about what occultism means in the context of this book and in the wider social and political context of its publication. We will read work by some contemporary poets whose work engages with occultism, mysticism, and magic, including Sandeep Parmar (via H.D.), Rebecca Tamás, Francesca Lisette, Callie Gardner, and MacGillivray. In what ways do these poets think through gender, gendered experience, sexuality, and erotics in relation to mysticism and magic? Then, following on from the notion of erotics in poetry and erotic poetics, we will think about Hindu and Buddhist Tantric traditions. Tantra signifies a multitude of questions, ideas, and practices, and writers will be provided with a brief introduction to some key themes. We’ll focus on tantra in relation to weaving, etymology, mythic traditions, and ritual practices. With those themes in mind, we will read Cecilia Vicuña, Anne Waldman, Bob Kaufman, and Giovanni Singleton, and listen to Alice Coltrane. You can try your hand at weaving words, dreaming up origins, and inventing poetic rituals. Materials will include poems as well as images, performances, and sound recordings.

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

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online 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.
Image Credit: tannr

About Nisha Ramayya View Profile

Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow and is currently based in London. Her debut collection States of the Body Produced by Love is forthcoming with Ignota Books. Recent publications include the pamphlet In Me the Juncture (2019) published by Sad Press; poems in a special feature on contemporary British and Irish poets in Chicago Review (2019); and Threads (2018), a critical-creative pamphlet co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil, published by clinic. She is a member of the ‘Race & Poetry & Poetics in the UK’ research group ( and a lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London.

‘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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