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All the groups in our Network.

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

’It is true that this poem is false.’ with Jay Bernard (Open Workshops)

Private Group with 13 members

The thing about life is that it’s a series of mysteries, puzzles, contradictions and paradoxes – our histories, our imaginations, our relationships and our desires. In this workshop, Jay Bernard invites you to write a paradoxical poem – one that makes no attempt to hide its contradictions. You will create a poem that strives towards truth, but is thwarted at every turn by the terms of its own existence, and in doing so get at the tricky natures of memory, history and time.

More info:

Tidemarks and Timelines

Private Group with 9 members

For centuries we have noted the passing of time using the rise and fall of the tides, with their associated moon phases throughout the seasons. Even our language is linked to this, the word tide (Old English tid) originally meant time, period, era. How do these phenomena affect our poetic minds? We will examine earth and skies by visiting tidal riverbanks, coastlines and look at the night sky through astronomers’ telescopes in Regent’s Park. This course will add our own representations of time to our on-site research, and create new poems that trace the tidal time-marks of our lives. (This course includes suggested visits and trips which students will arrange according to their availability. The Thames Barrier trip will incur an additional charge (no more than £20) depending on the number of students who take part).

Behind the Scenes of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Private Group with 16 members

A unique opportunity to work with the Scott Polar Research Institute, the world’s oldest international centre for Polar Research within a university. Each monthly session will be led by an institute researcher and a poet. You’ll get privileged access to the museum’s collections of journals, paintings, photographs, clothing equipment, maps and other materials illustrating polar exploration, history and science, and then you’ll write new poems based on the stories and artefacts you discover. As a group, you will work towards a publication and a performance of the work that you create over your three-month museum residency.

Wunderkammer! Writing the Curious (Summer 2014)

Private Group with 13 members

‘The first and the simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is Curiosity. By curiosity,I mean whatever the desire we have for, or the pleasure we take, in novelty’ – Edmund Burke. Are you a curious person? Would you follow the white rabbit or unlock all of the doors of Bluebeard’s Castle? Do you see science as organised wonder? Are you enthralled by the idiosyncratic? Do you ask lots of questions? Then you’ve come to the right place. In the 16th Century, Wunderkammers or ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ were put together by apothecaries, physicians and botanists who wished to study the objects they had assembled. They were used to expand knowledge and also as reliquaries to pleasure, and such cabinets are the precursors to contemporary galleries and museums. On this course you will consider the nature of curiosity, make use of online resources, examine curious objects and explore the idea of memory as a Wunderkammer. There’s the White Rabbit! No time to lose!

How Free is Free?

Private Group with 2 members

This course will look at contemporary UK and US poets who use what we call free verse, that which does not rely on form and pattern to drive the poem’s structure. Does free verse truly exist? Where does it cross over with fiction? When is it successful, and not merely chatty? Students will be encouraged to write and share poems which are sparked by the work we look at.

Poetry and the Stuff of Modern Living

Private Group with 1 member

Much poetry addresses the timeless or nostalgic -relationships, family, memory, landscape – but this course will consider how contemporary poets incorporate specifically modern aspects of their lives in their work. We’ll consider poems about work – why they are rare, and how they can be successful. Then we’ll visit contemporary urban spaces such as hotels, cafes, car parks and shops in search of inspiration. Finally, we’ll take a look at what role modern objects(the smartphone, the HDTV, the Oyster card) might play in poems. How will we balance the excitement which comes from addressing the detail of our real lives now with the risk that poetry which is too specifically current can swiftly become dated? How contemporary can we be and still write poetry which lasts?

Is Nature Poetry Dead?

Private Group with 1 member

Is Nature poetry – like us – an endangered species? Certainly our manner of observing nature and its importance to our lives may have changed. In this course, comparative readings of poetry from the USA, UK and Ireland will prompt discussions of such topics and those concerning stylistic and cultural differences of approach. Bring a favourite nature poem. There will be writing exercises and a session devoted to workshopping your own poems.

Half-remembered Things (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 9 members

In this workshop, you will dig through your childhood memories, picking out something half-remembered and twisting it into something new. You might change something small, or transform it into a whole new tale. You’ll then put this story into a poem, using dialect or slang words you might have used as a child – to make the tale sound raw, as though it only happened last week.

To book your place:

A Century of Scottish Poetry, Part 1 – ’Scotland small?’

Private Group with 3 members

This year, Scotland will vote on its future independence from the United Kingdom at the same time as the centenary of World War I. One of Scotland’s most famous and divisive poets, Hugh MacDiarmid, participated non-violently in that war for the sake of small nations, coming out of the trenches with a renewed interest in Scotland and a belief in its potential as the locus of a literary movement his friend Denis Saurat termed ‘the Scottish Literary Renaissance’. A great polyphony of poetic voices has emerged from Scotland since, impacted by a remarkable century of restless social change and political ferment. This innovative course will explore some of Scotland’s finest poems over the last 100 years, beginning with the poetry of WW1 and the ballad tradition and ending with a crop of young poets writing their best work right now. By looking at four to six poems per decade, per session, you will see that Scotland is anything but small when it comes to its poetry!

This course will be followed next term by ‘A History of Scottish Poetry, Part 2’

To book your place on this course, please go to:

Online Feedback Course with Liz Berry

Private Group with 16 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 poetry 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 shape or size to these workshops for detailed written feedback once a fortnight from a tutor, and general forum feedback from fellow students. This group will be especially good for those working towards a manuscript, or those with a large batch of poems that they are looking to ready for magazine submission.

Form and Freefall

Private Group with 12 members

This workshop group will use published poems to generate writing exercises and discussion that explore the use of form. We will look at poems that observe structural rules and/or break and change them. We will also question what we mean by ‘risk’, and how we can be riskier in our own writing. Every second week will be dedicated to workshopping poems arising from the course – participants will therefore be expected to produce at least one new rough draft every fortnight for the course’s duration.

The Bloomsday Project: Ulysses Writing Course

Private Group with 12 members

Chris McCabe’s three-term course takes students on a literary odyssey using James Joyce’s epic text as inspiration. Ulysses is a one-man compendium of forms, inspirational for its radical rethinking of what literature can be. From found poetry to sound; from the recycling of previous genres to the inspiration of food and the city, students will not only create new poetry responding to sections of Ulysses but will also discuss ideas around Joyce’s thinking as a writer. The course will build towards an event performed by students on 16 June 2014, the 110th anniversary of Bloomsday.

In this Spring term, you’ll use Ulysses as a prompt to create new pieces of writing.

Find out more here:–ulysses-writing—performing-course.php#sthash.4jP7BV0A.dpuf

The Plot Inside the Poem

Private Group with 4 members

Beginning with the premise that inside every poem there’s a nugget of story, or at least that our minds are complicit in seeing one, you’ll examine the often hidden role of narrative in poetry, and practise some of the techniques that poets use to disguise, subvert and mutate the story whilst retaining enough of it to entice the reader to read between the lines, read on, and read again.

Pamphlet Potential

Private Group with 1 member

Are you entering a pamphlet competition or gathering your work to send to pamphlet publishers? If you would like some help working through principles to help you increase your chances of success come along to Daljit’s course. In the sessions, Daljit will help you realise the potential of your poetry by getting you closer to the essence of your work so it shapes the reader’s response whilst ensuring its best qualities are evident.

New Homers – a Reading & Writing Course

Private Group with 2 members

Christopher Logue, Alice Oswald, Michael Longley and Derek Mahon have all written brilliant adaptations of Homer, from the cinematic drama and violence of Logue’s War Music to the majestic sweep and poignancy of Oswald’s Memorial and the compact lyrics of Longley and Mahon. We will examine and discuss their very different approaches and draw inspiration for our own new poems from them. No previous knowledge of Homer required.

Every Page a Stage

Private Group with 1 member

A series of five writing workshops over two weeks, experimenting with ways to dramatise the imaginative worlds of your poems using composition tricks held in common with drama and scriptwriting. Looking at the power of scene and setting, the dynamics of characterised voice and spot-dialogue, as well as suspense and tension, each workshop will consist of exercises to produce draft new poems for revision and development in your own time.

Pull Out All The Stops poets

Private Group with 12 members

A group for the poets involved with the South Bank Centre’s Pull Out All The Stops project …

Advanced Poetry Workshop (Pascale Petit)

Private Group with 9 members

This is a Campus group associated with Pascale Petit’s Advanced Poetry Workshop, a place for course members to share work, resources and conversation.

Course description: For poets writing at an advanced level, an in-depth feedback workshop of your poems in progress and discussion of the direction and development of your work. There won’t be writing exercises, but each session will be kicked off with reading published poetry to spark off new ideas, and to keep your poetic discipline focused over the year.