Writing (& Writing Through) the Animal Other in the Age of the Anthropocene (Masterclass)

Writing (& Writing Through) the Animal Other in the Age of the Anthropocene (Masterclass)

Consider how we might write about our ‘animals others’ in an age of mass extinction.

What does it mean to write, and write through, the animal other? At a time when the rights and agency of nonhuman subjects are increasingly theorized and considered, these same subjects are experiencing an unprecedented destruction at the hands of human beings. In such a climate, what might be at stake for poets writing about or as the animal? 

Over this twelve-week masterclass we’ll explore different poetic approaches to writing the animal other, beginning with the Middle English lyric ‘The Names of the Hare’ we will discuss well-known animal poems by John Clare, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and Seamus Heaney, and delve into the work of contemporary poets as diverse as Pascale Petit, Daria-Ann Martineau, Juliana Sphar, and Ariana Reines. 

We will think critically about how poetry might be used to master and classify the animal, or to preserve a species on the edge of extinction. We will consider the animal as a cipher for certain kinds of human experience, and ask ourselves what it means to move beyond the animal as subject. We will look at different strategies for representing the voice or consciousness of the animal in text and use this to generate animal poems of our own. 

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

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

Image Credit: Elephas – Der Naturen Bloeme – Jacob van Maerlant

About Fran Lock View Profile

Fran Lock is a some-time itinerant dog whisperer, the author of numerous chapbooks and seven poetry collections, most recently Raptures and Captures, the last in a trilogy of works with collage artist Steev Burgess (Culture Matters, 2019), and Contains Mild Peril (Out Spoken Press, 2019). Her latest collection Hyena! is due out next year from Poetry Bus Press. Fran is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, and she edits the Soul Food column for Communist Review. Fran has recently gained her practice-based Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, titled, ‘Impossible Telling and the Epistolary Form: Contemporary Poetry, Mourning and Trauma’.

‘This site is a wonderful place for poets to get together from all over the world. The UK is so lucky to have such a society. Australia is a poor place for the quality of tuition in poetry, despite all the writing Societies all over the different states we have here. I urge anyone who is interested to take part in this tremendous resource.’

– Summer 2019 survey response

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