Approach poetry as an act of conjuration, capable of altering other states of perception
‘The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper’ – WB Yeats. When we hear a poem, something acts within us, something of consequence we are altered, shaken, healed, destroyed, transformed by the non-physical entities of words, symbols, narrative, almost as if by magic. Despite the attempts of modernity to misconstrue it as mere superstition – what Max Weber termed ‘the disenchantment of the world’ – magic has become an increasingly important byproduct of the individual’s struggle for meaning and renewal of self against the soulless, normalising forces of science, technology, and capitalism. Occult ideas persist – from the spiritualism and theosophy of the 19th century, to 20th century druidry, Wicca, Satanism and chaos magick, to today’s urban witch movement – as society persists (Blake called it Urizen, Freud ‘superego’), because magic is our protection. This online course looks at the centrality of language and poetic consciousness to the magician’s craft, and how occult knowledge and practice has long drawn poets to its flame. Starting from Celtic dream incubation chambers and the mnemonics of composition, we will be exploring poetry as an alternate language of evocation and invocation from the Sioux death song to the astrological work of Joseph MacLeod. We will trace the origins of poetic imagination to the Gaelic alphabet of trees and navigate the poem as a numinous forest, evident in work by Dante, Robert Graves, Shakespeare, Yeats and TS Eliot. Using scrying and divination devices as catalysts for form and content, we will examine the implications of Tarot, cut-up techniques, spirit writing and dream imagery as counter-cultural poetics from the Yeatsian vision to the Blakeian angelic. The mytho-poetic, intuited imaginative and third critical eye will be our tools, as we abandon traditional form to participate in a seance of the sinister, providing left-handed approaches to the essential place of poetry as an act of conjuration capable of altering other states of perception.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Tuesdays, 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 6 February.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
(Image: ‘Caio Costa’)
About MacGillivray View Profile
MacGillivray is the Highland name of Scottish writer, performance artist and musician Kirsten Norrie, reflecting her matrilineal Highlands heritage. MacGillivray is the author of two poetry collections and eight albums with the soundtracks to two major British films to her credit. Forthcoming is a non-fiction book and a novel. Her first poetry collection, The Last Wolf of Scotland, was published by Pighog in 2013 and her second, The Nine of Diamonds: Surroial Mordantless, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016. A third collection is forthcoming in 2019. www.macgillivray.org.uk
The Poetry School enables poets of all levels to stay in touch with the wider world and each other. The courses, delivered by experienced poets, are inspirational.