What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Explore this joyous, painful, essential emotion and learn to write ‘from the heart’ without recourse to sentimentality or cliché.

Love is a primal, universal emotion – both a noun and a verb – and something that writers of all kinds have long explored: it’s in the air, it hurts, it makes the world go round, it lies bleeding, it does not alter when it alteration finds… 

Divine love, courtly love, erotic love; love of country, love of family, love of place, or even a type of weather – all of these loves are ripe for exploration. But how can we, as twenty first-century poets, write ‘from the heart’ without seeming trite, or relying on clichéd tropes and images? 

Throughout the course, we’ll take inspiration from many different types of ‘love poems’ and explore varying approaches to writing about who – or what – we might love.  We’ll read poems by (among others) Sappho, Edna St Vincent Millay, Blake Morrison, Sharon Olds, Edwin Morgan, Cempulappeyanirar (1st-3rd Century CE), A.S. Mukthayakka,  Clare Pollard, and Imtiaz Dharker. We’ll look at some particular poetic forms – including the sonnet, of course – as ways of expressing love; we’ll ‘make it new’ with our choices of imagery; we’ll take risks, leave our comfort zones, and explore this joyous, painful, essential emotion without recourse to sentimentality or cliché. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks, starting 17 May 2023. Live Chats on fortnightly Wednesdays, 7–9 pm (BST); first Live Chat: 31 May 2023. 

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: Thiébaud Faix

About Catherine Smith View Profile

Catherine Smith has published two pamphlets (The New Bride and The New Cockaigne) and three full collections of poetry, The Butcher’s Hands, Lip, and Otherwhere. Twice shortlisted for Forward Prizes and once for the Aldeburgh/Jerwood First Collection Prize, she was selected as one of ‘the twenty most exhilarating poets of her generation’ in the PBS/Arts Council ‘Next Generation’ promotion, and also one of Mslexia’s Top Ten Women Poets. She co-adapted her pamphlet-length supernatural narrative poem, The New Cockaigne, for a Live Literature show. She has performed her poetry at The Royal Festival Hall, and Latitude and Port Eliot Festival. Her poetry for adults and for children is widely anthologised. She has taught poetry for adults, teenagers and children for over 20 years and many of her students are now published poets.

‘The assignments take writing to other places and levels, stimulating and challenging at the same time.’

– Autumn 2022 survey response

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