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All the groups in our Network.

Routes Into Poetry 2015

Private Group with 15 members

This course is appropriate for beginners and those who have written some poetry but who would like to take a more structured approach to their writing. You will examine the basics of rhyme, metre, verse forms, lineation and stanza structure. Through exercises, reading, writing and feedback, you will also begin to construct a voice, to create shapes on the page and develop your first drafts with confidence.

Liberating Poetic Chaos

Private Group with 13 members

W.B. Yeats once dismissed the work of a ‘minor poet’ with the words, ‘he lacks chaos’. Although Yeats did not precisely define what he meant by ‘chaos’, it seems clear that he sought to combine in the term something like the position, attitude and visionary striving from which arises the distinctive voice that informs and defines a poet’s characteristic expression — and which constitutes their occult genius. ‘Liberating Poetic Chaos’ is a course designed to enable poets to identify, explore and write from their own particular ‘chaos’ including consideration of parallel or related concepts, including voice, viveza, mala leche, gnosis, vision, ‘thorn-in-the-flesh’, muse, duende and inspiration.

Transreading Central Europe

Private Group with 12 members

This is the first in a new series of online courses suitable for international students, as well as those based in the UK. They are the same as our interactive online courses, however there are no live chats (all feedback is written) and the courses can be completed from any time zone.

‘Translating is reading, reading of the best, the most essential kind’, wrote William H. Gass introducing the concept of ‘transreading’. Would you like to read beyond Herbert, Holub, Popa, Šalamun or Szymborska, writing your own translations and independent poems? In this course you will respond to  recent work by Central European poets, strengthening your knowledge of other literatures and invigorating your own  poetry. You don’t need to speak Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian or Slovenian – all you need is curiosity and a love of anything trans: transmigration, transgression, transfiguration. Every fortnight you will experiment with one ‘rewriting strategy’ (homophonic translation, erasure, annotation, recontextualization) and transform the texts you’ve read into your own versions. Your fifth and final poem will be a ‘straight’ translation from a Polish crib, which will evolve into a collaborative work composed by the whole group.

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

Stramash

Private Group with 7 members

Stramash is a private group set up in 2014 by attendees of a Poetry School online course on autobiographical poetry run by Katrina Naomi. We don’t accept new members (other than by invitation from the group). Our aim is to provide a supportive environment and “fierce” criticism of each other’s work.

Rewriting Dante

Private Group with 1 member

Staggering in its imaginative scope, haunting in its explorations of human passion and character, Dante’s Divine Comedy is often described as the greatest poem ever written. It’s been translated many times and has been a colossal influence on English language writers. Starting with a brief overview, this course will look in detail at some of the most famous and moving episodes in translations by different modern poets and will show how Dante has influenced writers like Yeats, Eliot and Seamus Heaney. We will explore how Dante can feed your own writing and will discuss poems produced by the group. No one will be put under pressure to put work forward, though, and so the course should suit both people whose essential interest is in reading and those who want to develop their own writing skills.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/rewriting-dante.php

Instructions for Throwing your Voice

Private Group with 1 member

Ventriloquism: the art or practice of speaking in such a manner that the voice does not appear to come from a speaker but from another source. From bus shelters to Biblical characters, taking in animals, weather, famous portraits and numberless other representations of silenced peoples, poetry has a long history of ventriloquism. Referring to contemporary and historical examples in poetry; we’ll look at why poets might want to speak in voices other than their own. We’ll find material in visual art, mythology, and social history; as well as personal artefacts and stories. As we address the possibility that we can speak for all people and all things, we’ll explore the freedom – and the ethical dilemmas – that this approach opens up for us. This course is suitable for new writers looking for inspiration, fun, and support – and for experienced writers who want to expand their focus and to explore the complexities that may arise when the poet’s voice is ‘thrown’ into other people’s stories. One guest session led by poet, visual artist and creative writing tutor Janine Pinion.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/instructions-for-throwing-your-voice.php

Writing Your Losses

Private Group with 1 member

Loss is part of our lives from the moment we are born. Some losses are inevitable, many are welcome, some tear us apart. Each is unique yet universal. Loss has inspired the world’s greatest literature. We will look at different approaches to writing about loss, illustrated in the work of poets from John Clare to Christopher Reid, Jackie Kay,
Kate Clanchy, and many others. Exercises which look at loss from a range of perspectives will be offered to stimulate writing both in the session and afterwards. Celebration and humour have a place alongside sadness, the global alongside the personal. Not a therapeutic course, but exploring the essence of being human.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/writing-your-losses.php

The Voice in the Poem

Private Group with 1 member

Some poems seem to sing themselves boldly from the page while others whisper or ramble, speak in code, eventually decrypting their meaning in our gut, or our mind’s eye. Some poets choose the stage for their poems, and others prefer the silent telling of print upon a page. Sometimes, people make sense of their own story through writing poems, and some give voice to others through the narrative they write. This short course allows participants to consider their own poetic voice: what it is and what are its strengths or constraints? You will be able to come to a better awareness of these things through participating in a range of listening, writing, feedback and discussion exercises. We will look a selection of narrative poems that have influenced us or our culture; will consider what makes some poems better for text or for performance; and we will listen to and compare styles of spoken word, and practice these, as well as taking some time to examine how to make better use of our physical voices. There will also be, of course, many opportunities to draft new poems and develop some of them.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/the-voice-in-the-poem.php

The Poetry Archivist

Private Group with 1 member

Archives are a rich source of inspiration for poetry, and we have world class archives of so many different kinds in London. And yet, they are often untapped as resources for creating and developing poetry. In this course Nick, currently Artist in Residence at London Metropolitan Archive, will lead you through a journey of discovery of London’s diverse archives and how to draw on their collections, and indeed your own personal archives, to create new pieces of poetry that can illuminate both history and our contemporary experience. This practical course will help you develop your poetry writing skills, explore new sources of inspiration, and how to turn documentary materials and archival items into rounded and realised poems. The course will include a tutored day on site at London Metropolitan Archive as part of the Streetlife London project.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/the-poetry-archivist.php

Sounds and Sweet Airs

Private Group with 1 member

What effect do certain sounds have on us? What role does sound play in our significant memories? And what about music? Or silence? We’ll be exploring these questions through a series of listening and writing experiments spread over the 5 sessions. We’ll also be reading and discussing contemporary poems that respond to sounds and music both beautiful and ugly. There’ll be a chance to think about the silences and sounds inside your own poems and how they relate to rhyme in all its variety, and stanza and line break. You should come away with several poems-in-the-making and a plethora of ideas for approaching the subject, and there’ll be a chance in the later sessions to share your own work.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/sounds-and-sweet-airs.php

Poetry Postbox

Private Group with 1 member

Writing by hand gets the pen moving and the creative brain working. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a way to get into poetry or a more experienced poet hoping to shake your style up, this course will enliven your writing through the delights of handwritten correspondence. Each session will lead you towards a new poem, with inspiration from poets old and new. You will also be paired with a fellow participant and begin a ‘creative correspondence’ via the Poetry School Postbox. You will receive in-depth feedback on at least one new poem, develop a small portfolio of work and have the chance to share writing and images with the CAMPUS community.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/poetry-postbox.php

Devouring and Creation

Private Group with 1 member

From Williams’ plums and Basho’s melons to Swift’s mutton and Bishop’s ‘coffee… on a certain balcony’, this class will tempt readers and writers of poetry with the most sensuous and satisfying poesy – the devouring and creation of food poetry. We will be guests at a C16 table as we articulate elegance in bitter olives, capers and lemons in Ben Johnson’s ‘wine sauce’. We will study and make poems with our favourite foods, stirring memories and quickening hearts. We will learn why food is the metaphor for poetry, revealing feeling in flavour and exploring the flavour of words. Are we soothed or ensnared by green herbs and saffron in Thackeray’s ‘Boiuillabaisse’? Can a meal capture aloneness? Grief? The red meat indulgence of a first date? Or a shyness of clear noodle soup? Come and savour!

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/devouring-and-creation.php

16 Ways of Writing a Poem

Private Group with 2 members

This hands-on trawl of all the major pathways into poems is as comprehensive as it is unique. Yes, we really will cover, in one short course, virtually all of the ways in which a new poem can come into being. These include observation, the senses, personal memory, reflection, imagination, narrative, other people’s work – indeed, everything from the ‘found poem’ to Larkin’s pickles. Mario’s wide-ranging experience in the field fuels a class geared towards enjoyment, variety and the establishing of outcomes of enduring value for each individual writer. There will be a balance between teaching, process and composition, with chances for read-back and feedback on the pieces you compose. As a bonus, the course closes with an editing session exploring what kind of writer-editor you are, and offering insights into how to hone your freshly-made work.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/16-ways-of-writing-a-poem.php

Putting A Poet In Your Pocket (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 12 members

Reading other people’s poetry is vital to keep our own poems alive and breathing. In this workshop, you are going to be carrying around a poet in your pocket, or more accurately a poem. You are going to carry this poem to work with you, or take it on the school run. You are going to sleep with it next to your bed. You should have it with you when you eat. If you are really keen, you’ll memorise it. You will then explore the different ways you can give your poem its own shadow poem that will keep it company.

Online Feedback Course with Steve Ely

Private Group with 1 member

Do you have a heap of discarded poems 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 left-for-dead poems in need of resuscitation. Bring poems of any shape or size once a fortnight and receive detailed feedback from your tutor and general advice from fellow students. These courses are ideal for those looking to ready poems for magazine submission.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/online/online-feedback-course-with-steve-ely.php

Training the Poem

Private Group with 9 members

Terrance Hayes said ‘… a stork brings the poems. They are little creatures I have to train and send out into the world.’ If you already know the basics, have a few fledgling poems and are looking for ways to take your work to another level, this course is for you.

This is a three-term course but you can start at the beginning of any term. You will be encouraged to experiment and play and at the same time expand the knowledge of your craft through close readings of published poets and the work of other students.

There will be an emphasis your own writing process and how understanding this can help you develop a style and voice. You’ll explore ways in which you can free your unconscious mind to move towards the poem’s point of discovery. You’ll begin to develop your own methods of working on your poems using your conscious writerly mind to craft, revise and complete them.

Workshops will include writing exercises and feedback on your work and
each term will include the close reading of a complete published collection or pamphlet, as a way of examining in depth an individual poet’s style, voice and aesthetic.

’Written in Juice of Lemon’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 9 members

To apply for a free place on this workshop, please read our announcement here: http://tinyurl.com/writteninjuiceoflemon

In this workshop you’ll be looking at poems which are designed to be published, broadcast or inscribed in unconventional ways, on unconventional surfaces or through unconventional media – on buildings, as graffiti, tapped out in morse code, recorded in binary or beamed into space. Examples include Sidney’s sonnet ‘Do not disdain, O straight upraised pine’ (which is carved into a tree by Pamela in the Old Arcadia, and uses tree-qualities as tropes to consider love, pain and virtue), and ‘Written in Juice of Lemon’ by Abraham Cowley (a fiery love poem written in invisible ink that must be heated over flames to be read, eventually causing it to catch fire). You’ll then be asked to think of an unusual way of sending a poem into the world and, more importantly, to write a poem which is fully aware of the uniqueness of its form and thoughtfully participates in it.

Make New & Mend (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 14 members

What makes a poetic image stay with you? It’s hard to remember an entire poem by heart, but often, a particular image will stick in the mind for days, months, even years after reading. In this Open Workshop, Claire Askew will challenge you to create imagery that is unforgettable. You’ll take a common poetic theme or idea and write a poem in which you make that idea new and striking once again. You’ll learn image-making techniques that you can use in the future to make your poems stand out and be remembered.

For more more info, please go here: http://campus.poetryschool.com/open-workshop-make-new-mend/

This Enchanted Isle – reading W H Auden’s ’The Sea and the Mirror’

Private Group with 20 members

W H Auden published his long poem ‘The Sea and the Mirror’ in 1944, five years after he left war-torn England to take up residence in America. It is billed as a ‘commentary’ on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and includes a number of individual pieces in a wide variety of forms (terza rima, sestina, sonnet, villanelle, blank verse, prose) voiced by the play’s characters. This reading course will offer an excellent opportunity to enter Auden’s mysterious, multi-layered world and explore these virtuoso poems in their own right as well as in relation to Shakespeare’s text, or Peter Greenaway’s film, or any other incarnation which takes your interest. The course will take place over ten weeks, with reading notes provided every week in order to generate discussion and your own poems.

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

Is There a Doctor in the House: The Poetry School’s PhD Festival

Public Group with 28 members

It’s a boom time for the poetry PhD. We put out a call for news of current PhD candidates’ studies and interests and have compiled a choice selection into a one day festival of ideas and inspiration. A programme of mini-lectures and micro-workshops will give you a brief introduction to our tutor-poets’ PhD concerns. You’ll come away with dozens of new ideas for future reading, writing, performing and publishing projects.

Sessions will be led by Tara Bergin, John Challis, Kathy D’Arcy, Alireza Hassani, A B Jackson, Lisa Matthews, Janet Rogerson, Helen Taylor. A full programme of lectures and workshops can be found here: http://www.poetryschool.com/courses-workshops/face-to-face/is-there-a-doctor-in-the-house–the-poetry-school-s-phd-festival.php