Window, Mirror, Knife, Disaster, & Reinvention: Poetry of Glass

Window, Mirror, Knife, Disaster, & Reinvention: Poetry of Glass

Wipe off your monocle, have your glass armonica tuned, move the tomatoes into the greenhouse, and smash the glass ceiling with Judy Brown.

Glass has long been associated with innovation and science, as well as other more fractured, isolating, and disturbing connections. In this workshop, we’ll look at what poets have made of glass over the years; exploring its transparency, impermeability, fragility, and capacity to return and distort to see how, like many everyday substances, glass has been a fruitful resource for poets – its homely concreteness coexisting with a rich capability for symbolism.

We will look at what poets might see through glass and find poems that were born in its reflections; while poems about windows and mirrors are everywhere, we’ll take inspiration from some more inventive examples. We’ll look at how easily glass can break – and how sharp it is when it does; we’ll investigate the supposed slow flow of glass (often used as a proxy for time passing) and navigate the glass architecture of churches, shopping centres, and urban landscapes, exploring what is close and distant, alongside testing out some altered and controlled states of vision. We’ll also take this opportunity to explore some of glass’s odder and newer presentations – such as smart glass, toughened glass, glass ceilings, and the glass walls of commerce, gentrification, and surveillance, plus the mandrake-like fulgurites left in beaches after lightning.

Over the day we’ll read work by many exciting poets – including Greta Stoddart, Martha Sprackland, Sylvia Plath, Tracy K Smith, Charles Tomlinson, Claire Crowther, Michael Donaghy, Zaffar Kunial, Kate Miller, Peter Redgrove, Jane Draycott and Michael Ondaatje,  amongst others – and, in exploring the poetic usage of glass, we’ll look at how we might make our own new uses of it and expand our sense of how materials shift over time in the ideas they attract and the weight they can bear.

Saturday 14 March, 10.30am – 4.30pm.

All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face 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 [email protected] for further information.
Image Credit: PedroRibeiroSimoes

About Judy Brown View Profile

Judy Brown’s collections are Loudness (2011, shortlisted for the Forward and Aldeburgh prizes for best first collection) and Crowd Sensations (2016, shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize and a PBS Recommendation). Both are published by Seren. She has won the Manchester Poetry Prize and Poetry London competition. Judy was Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust during 2013, and at Gladstone’s Library in June 2014. In summer 2019 she held a creative fellowship in Exeter University’s Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. She teaches and mentors, including giving poetry surgeries for the Poetry Society.

‘I feel part of a strong and supportive community.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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