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All the groups in our Network.

First Collection Surgery

Private Group with 12 members

Join Kayo Chingonyi, Miriam Nash and Jasmine Cooray for a term-long manuscript surgery aimed at poets working on a first collection. Each session will focus on a different aspect of the process of shaping a group of poems into a book. This course is suitable for poets with at least 20 poems to work with who are looking for a generative and supportive environment. Class sessions will be augmented by an online group on CAMPUS for critique and inspiration outside the fortnightly sessions.

Carnival and the Masks of Bacchanal

Private Group with 9 members

‘Carnival is… the loss of self’ – Roger Turton. Bacchanal is a Caribbean word for confusion, scandal or wild revelry. It is also the corybantic freedom experienced during the pre-Lenten days of Carnival, only to be reined in on Ash Wednesday. For these few days, social hierarchies are willingly displaced. In this course, we revellers will displace our own poetic hierarchies. We’ll inhabit Masks of Bacchanal with a touch of hedonism. Using Carnival props, music and food we’ll experiment with becoming and writing with other voices, and perhaps even, learn how to play our selves.

Beyond English – Poems in Constructed Languages (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 13 members

Nadsat, Riddleyspeak, Klingon, Zaum, Lapine, Newspeak: what happens when we take a hammer and nails to language? What happens when we break a language apart, or try to start a new one? Constructed words and languages can be for play and imagination, like Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, and they can be part of a broader political project, like Hugh MacDiarmid’s Scots, and they can expose the uncomfortable workings of a dominant language and create new possibilities. On this new Open Workshop with Harry Giles, you’ll look at how words and languages can be made and remade, and start putting them together into your own poems.

To book your place, please email online@poetryschool.com

Generating Poems

Private Group with 3 members

This is a Campus group associated with Hannah Lowe’s Generating Poems course, a place for course members to share work, resources and conversation.

Course description: This course will look closely at how poems can be provoked or prompted, considering how ‘constraints’, whether formal or thematic, can actually release and stimulate the imagination. We will explore emulation and modelling from other poems, as well as using other texts (film, music, art) as inspiration. We’ll also consider old and new poetic forms, exploring the link between form and content. This class will involve both writing exercises in class and at home and will offer feedback on participants’ writing alongside the broader discussions.

Poetic Prosthetics, or ‘The Six Million Dollar Poet’

Private Group with 2 members

In this short course, students will consider how they are already ‘plugged in’ and extended by contemporary technologies, and what that might mean to their writing practice. You will read through works by a number of contemporary writers who make explicit use of ‘prosthetics’ in the act of writing – and in so doing, complicate the very idea of the ‘author’. From the conceptual purity of Kenneth Goldsmith to historical predecessors like the poetry-writing program RACTER, you will take every opportunity to use the unique resources that having the Internet at our fingertips provides to generate new texts and new ways of thinking about texts.

’The List Cause’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 11 members

When does your shopping list become a poem? Is there hidden poetry in your New Year to-do’s? Find out on our latest Open Workshop with Beverley Nadin. The structure of the list can build a cumulative atmosphere, narrative or scene. Train stations, molars, fallen men… Sequential or random, protracted or efficient, informative or plain indulgent, the list is playful, recognisable, and strangely imperative. What ‘whole’ do the discrete parts seek to portray, organized in this way? How might the list poem convey tone and voice? Can a list have progression and closure? What does it convey that other modes don’t? We’ll consider examples and create poems of our own to add to the long list of lists.

Please note: this Open Workshop is now fully booked and no longer accepting applications.

Online Reading Group: T S Eliot’s ’The Waste Land’

Private Group with 34 members

‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins’, says the speaker in T S Eliot’s The Waste Land. These words thematically mirror this seminal poem’s fragmentary structure, episodic nature, and allusiveness to a range of texts and perspectives. This course will examine the connection between this aesthetic of fragmentation and the ‘ruins’ of a post-War Europe that Eliot attempts to recreate. How does the stylistic polyphony of voices in the poem affect the way we read it? Does Eliot’s use of what he called ‘the mythic method’ in Joyce’s Ulysses contribute to the poem’s overarching structure? You will also focus on the aural resonances of the poem and, by listening to performances of the text, will appreciate its inherent, if elusive, humour. Finally, students will be encouraged to explore multiple ways of engaging with this modernist poem in order to better understand, and revision, its relevance to contemporary poetic practice.

To book your place on this course please visit: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/online/online-reading-group–t-s-eliot-s-the-waste-land.php

Crimes and Misdemeanours (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 13 members

Think of all the rules you’ve heard in poetry workshops: Show don’t tell. Be more concise. Restrain your use of adverbs and adjectives. On this Open Workshop with Kathryn Maris, you’ll be ripping up the workshop rulebook with a roguish disregard for good taste and ‘respectable’ writing. With the help of a step-by-step assignment devised by Kathryn, you will write a poem in which you wilfully ignore all the usual workshop advice and wisdom, using material re-worked from Kathryn’s ‘Breaking the Rules’ course to guide you. Feeling anarchic?

Mosaics from the Broken Mirror – Writing and Revising the Ghazal (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 11 members

The ghazal makes unique rhetorical demands on the Western writer. In our latest Open Workshop, Jason Schneiderman will be getting you to think through your ghazals and to explore the multiple ways to revise these modular poems. Do you enjoy finding a hand-crafted wooden puzzle in your Christmas stocking more than a satsuma? Prefer origami to sports? Then this may be the poetic challenge for you. Prepare to get crafty with your verse with this most elegant and versatile of forms.

Vanguard

Private Group with 13 members

Explore the expansive modern tradition of British experimental poetry, as S J Fowler presents a necessarily idiosyncratic insight into the vibrant innovative poetries which have sought originality in the UK over the last 50 years. The sessions will explore the distinctive qualities of the British avant garde and chart a course through an enormous field of writing. Not formed by generation, region or faction, Vanguard explores characteristics that are possessed by, but in no way encompass, the work of many great British poets.

Samuel Beckett & Poetry

Private Group with 7 members

Simon Barraclough is a life-long devotee of the works of Samuel Beckett: he once directed ‘Endgame’ at a theatre in Nottingham, and became unhealthily obsessed with the radio play, ‘Embers’. Now he would like to explore the ‘poetry’ of Beckett’s writing, with a view to inspiring new work from the class. The course will cover Beckett’s poetry, plays, novels, short prose, radio plays and film work, and will examine his themes, imagery, comedy, style, and innovations. The class will involve reading, viewing, listening, discussing, and writing. An anthology of work produced during the course will be published on CAMPUS.

Writing the Tempest

Private Group with 4 members

‘The Tempest’ is one of Shakespeare’s most-loved texts. This course will, over ten sessions, take a sideways look at the famous work, and also other works (poems, films, music) which have been influenced by it or draw on its themes. Students will be encouraged to create new poems which draw on characters in the text and after the course, there will be an event featuring these poems.

Taking Time Out

Private Group with 1 member

Guiding you over five weeks through five centuries of poetry in English, John Greening (whose recent Carcanet collection ‘sends dispatches across the years’ ) will suggest ways that we can learn from earlier writers. In intensive fortnightly sessions of chronological reading, writing and discussion, expect to try your hand at forms and techniques that have been overlooked. What might medieval allegory, Metaphysical conceit, Augustan satire, or even Imagism offer the poet of 2015?

Relight Your Fire

Private Group with 1 member

Suitable for writers at any level, this five week course will offer you prompts and exercises to kickstart your writing; along with passion and enthusiasm in bucket loads. With new – and old – writing to fuel you, you’ll be reminded of the power of the word, and of the principles that ensure the power of your own voice in poetry. Busy, blocked, ill, or in a rut …. you’ll be supported in facing your demons; reordering your priorities; and you’ll leave with practical strategies, information and ideas to keep you writing into the future.

Poetry of Place

Private Group with 1 member

Not a travelogue, this course will look instead at the many ways in which place can be used in poetry. It is designed for poets who want to enlarge their scope and develop their skills as they explore new approaches to the subject. Place as home, as a point of departure, as something imagined, remembered or yearned for, as the source of emotional nourishment and inspiration: all this, and more, will be considered. Over ten weeks, we will look at a broad range of poems from different parts of the world – including the UK, Ireland, the USA, Spain and the Caribbean – and participants will be encouraged to share their own poems written in response to, or inspired by, the work covered in class. Workshopping and critical discussion will be conducted in a wholly friendly and constructive atmosphere.

Poetry & Time

Private Group with 1 member

We will begin by looking at how imagery can be used to suggest the passing of time and how it measures out the poem. Our second session will concern the actual timing of a poem: rhythm, metre, syllabics, phrasing, pace and so forth. We will spend our third week looking at how to handle discrete slices of time, from the snapshot to the grand narrative. In the final two weeks, we will look at historical time and ‘other times’ as subject matter, as well as considering how poets handle philosophical ideas about time. There will be plenty of time (of course!) to write exercises and share those in class, as well as learning through discussion and the close reading of published poems.

Classics Across Cultures – a reading & writing course

Private Group with 1 member

Li Po and Tu Fu have been among China’s favourite lyric poets since the 8th century AD. Dante’s spiritual epic The Divine Comedy has been a colossal influence on writers since its composition in fourteenth century Florence, and is often described as the greatest poem ever written. The anonymous Old English epic Beowulf disappeared from sight for over a thousand years, to come into its own again in the 20th century. Their Chinese, Italian and Anglo-Saxon authors offer hugely contrasting visions of the human condition, and equally contrasting suggestions to the writer. We will approach the originals via synopses and translated passages, look at how differently translators like Ezra Pound, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Kenneth Rexroth and others have approached them, and explore what stimulus they can provide for fresh writing. Time will be given to discussing writing by members of the group but no one will be under pressure to put work forward.

Online Feedback Course with John Clegg

Private Group with 2 members

Do you have a heap of discarded poems sitting on your sideboard or desktop which just won’t work no matter how many revisions you make? The Poetry School’s online feedback workshops provide a place for the general improvement of your left-for-dead poems, your work in need of refreshment, and your brand new pieces. Bring poems of any size or shape to these sessions for detailed written feedback once a fortnight from a tutor, and general group feedback from fellow students. This group will be especially good for those with a large batch of poems that they are looking to ready for magazine submission.

To book your place on this course, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/johncleggfeedback

Defining a Style

Private Group with 8 members

This student-centred course is designed both for experienced writers looking to widen their repertoire and for relative beginners looking for a more structured approach to their writing. You will have the opportunity to define your goals as a writer while continuing to develop a body of creative work. You will consider different approaches to poetry and aesthetics – as expressed explicitly in manifestos and interviews with writers, and implicitly in writers’ practice – while continuing to explore ways in which writing can engage with public or private themes and examine the different effects of free and formal verse structures and of working within artificial constraints. Through exercises, reading, writing, group feedback and one-to-one or small group planning sessions, you will be encouraged to construct an independent voice, which is consistent from poem to poem and to develop confidence in shaping your work.

Bloodaxe Archive Project

Private Group with 7 members

A private working group for the Poetry School poets working on the AHRC funded project with Newcastle University and Bloodaxe Books