Voicing Rootlessness: Writing Beyond Exile

Voicing Rootlessness: Writing Beyond Exile

Write poems of connection in an age of mass uprooting and movement

‘To be of the Middle World is to have broken away from the parochial, to have left ‘home’ for good (or for worse) whilst carrying all of it with you.’
– Breyten Breytenbach

As the 21st century has shown us thus far, while ethnic cleansing and exile are still part of our human experience, how will the ever growing category of the stateless and dispossessed respond creatively to their rootlessness? Taking a cue from Breyten Breytenbach’s groundbreaking 2009 essay, ‘Notes from the Middle World’, which examines the new tribe of cosmopolitan writers who emerged in the wake of WWII and who produced bodies of work that transcend the cultural specificities of the nation-states they were originally attached to, this course will investigate the notion of how one may be able to write unmoored from the concept and physical realities of homelands. We will read poems written by Breytenbach’s ‘Middle Worlders’ as prompts to write our own. In doing so, we will learn how to one write emotionally-affecting work about belonging without necessarily having a ‘fixed address’.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats 7-9pm GMT on Mondays, first live chat starting 4 February 2019.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

(Image credit: ‘Georgie Sharp’)

About André Naffis-Sahely View Profile

André Naffis-Sahely’s debut collection is The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017). His translations include over twenty titles of fiction, poetry and nonfiction from French and Italian, including works by Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Abdellatif Laâbi and Alessandro Spina. He is poetry editor at Ambit magazine and a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Manchester Writing School.

‘It [Poetry School] has become central to my life and essential for my progress.’

– Summer 2018 survey response

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