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All the groups in our Network.

‘Make Your Own Filmpoem’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 11 members

Have you ever thought of turning your poems into a short film or Youtube video? Poetry films – or ‘filmpoems’ – merge two genres to create a new piece of art, and through the hybridisation, augment and extend both genres.

In this Open Workshop, Eleni Cay will cover basic techniques for creating poetryfilms, and video poetry, and will challenge you to create your own poetry video. We will jointly explore which poems are most suitable for filmpoetry, how to identify the right platform to create your own filmpoem and the right channel for sharing it with others. This Open Workshop is open to all poets, particularly those with minimal knowledge of making films or feeling less comfortable with technology.

Mixed Borders – poets in residence in London gardens

Private Group with 17 members

The Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust have hybridised! As part of London Open Gardens Weekend (13-14 June) we are offering the chance for you to take part in your own garden-based residencies. You’ll be paired up with anything from an allotment to a garden square, and you can use the opportunity to write, perform, inspire or otherwise create poems following your own skills and interests. During the morning of the April session, Sarah (poet and Event Manager for London Open Garden Squares Weekend) and Julia from the Poetry School will explore some residency options and styles with you, and allocate the gardens. In the afternoon, we’ll work on some garden-themed writing exercises to propagate your green and leafy poetry ideas. You don’t need to have had previous poet-in-residence experience to take part in this project, but you do need to be writing at an advanced level and be able to organise and carry out the particulars of your own residency.

The Lyric iPod: an Online Reading & Listening Group

Private Group with 21 members

We often talk about the musicality of poems, but it’s rare to see that many poems directly inspired by music. An offshoot of Rishi’s ‘Call and Response’ Summer School workshop, this online reading group – or rather, online listening group – aims to remedy that. Over ten weeks we’ll range across a variety of different styles and genres – hip hop, jazz, indie, pop and much, much more – listening to some hits and some maybe some misses too. And we’ll delve not just into the lyrics of great songwriters, but also think about the traditions they reflect, the subjects and themes they articulate and the sonic landscapes they work in. Each time we’ll cue up a new playlist and use what we listen to, and some writing prompts, as the basis to inspire new poems. And when you next hear a song, you might even think, “There’s a poem in that.”

Fragments, from the Thought to the Page (Spring 2016)

Private Group with 14 members

In this genre-bending course, we will look at poets, fiction writers, philosophers and psychoanalysts who think and write in fragments, use modes of interruption or whose work simply survives in fragment form. Fortnightly reading and writing assignments will aim to broaden your ideas of what is and isn’t a poem, demonstrate the value of omission and the unstated, and suggest new ways of observing yourself and the world, and of communicating those observations. The course will include texts by Sappho, Lydia Davis, Kimko Hahn, Simone Weil, Adam Phillips, Wallace Stevens, Theodor Adorno, Gertrude Stein, Sam Riviere, Nuar Alsadir, Simon Smith, Anne Carson and others. (This is a repeat of a course that has run previously.)

What Work Is

Private Group with 14 members

Effort, toil, task, job, labour, slog, chore, drudgery, exertion. In an article published by Jeremy Seabrook in The Guardian in 2013 he argues that “Words indicating labour in most European languages originate in an imagery of compulsion, torment, affliction and persecution”. How has our concept of work changed and how have contemporary poets tackled this subject? Using Philip Levine’s beautiful poem ‘What Work Is’ as our touchstone, we will set off exploring this question to expand our definition of what work is or can be. We will look at how poets have written about work and write our own poetry about this thing that we will spend, on average 90,000 hours of our lives doing. We’ll also be thinking about useful and meaningful work, and how the right work can be essential to poets, exploring the ideas of the Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez on what the true ‘work’ of a poet is. Throughout the course we will be moving towards creating our own ‘poetics of work’.

Trust the Image

Private Group with 14 members

The image is a poem’s engine; for poets, writing fresh and powerful imagery, encouraging the reader to think about the content of a poem in more than one way, is a joyful experience. On this course we’ll look at how poets use figurative language; how to avoid safe/predictable tropes in favour of daring/surprising imagery; the role of the physical senses; simile and metaphor, synecdoche and how/when to use these devices; the role of symbolism in poetry, and how certain poets – e.g. Wallace Stevens – use encoded symbolism in their work; image clusters; the extended metaphor; and audacious metaphors/the conceit. We’ll read lots of examples of published poetry and try different strategies/approaches to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to create whole new ‘image banks’ for new work.

‘The Word Made Fresh’ — Restoring the Bible to English Poetry

Private Group with 13 members

The late mediaeval/early modern English translations of the Bible are among the fundamental texts — alongside Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare — of English literature, comprising an unrivalled treasure-house of content, themes, forms and techniques that contemporary poets might appropriate and incorporate into their work. On this course, you will identify characteristic Biblical literary techniques such as parallelism, repetition, rhetorical questions, precise lexis, compression and economy, patterns of imagery, distinctive approaches to conjunctions/prepositions and much more, writing your own poems under their influence, as well as considering the distinctive content of the various texts and the parallels between the verse structures of the original Biblical languages and Old English prosody. Key texts, pre-sessional reading and other necessary contextual material will be made available before the course starts.

Hearing Voices: World Poetry in Translation

Private Group with 10 members

If the normal intelligible outdoor range of the male human voice in still air is 180 metres (Guinness World Records), how will the voice of a Sudanese poet reach us with poems steeped in the tradition of Sufi mysticism? And if a Tamil poet in Chennai publishes a book entitled ‘Breasts’, provoking death threats and a public suggestion that she be doused in kerosene and set alight, will her voice reach us still? In this course your poetic practice will be invigorated by work which springs from diverse cultures and aesthetics, crossing landscapes and languages. We will read work by some of the most compelling poets writing today including Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi [Sudan], Kim Hyesoon [South Korea] and Kutti Revathi [India] as we investigate what do we write for? and what do we write against? Each session will generate new work inspired by texts in translation. In collaboration with Modern Poetry in Translation magazine.

Fortnightly Feedback with Jonathan Edwards

Private Group with 17 members

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.

‘The Art of Ventriloquism’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 15 members

Originally, ventriloquism was a religious practice. The name comes from the Latin for to speak from the stomach, i.e. venter (belly) and loqui (speak). The noises produced by the stomach were thought to be the voices of the unliving, who took up residence in the stomach of the ventriloquist. The ventriloquist would then interpret the sounds, as they were thought to be able to speak to the dead, as well as foretell the future.

This Open Workshop with Clare Shaw looks at examples of ‘ventriloquism’ in contemporary poetry. Putting our mouths, hearts, stomachs and minds to work, we’ll read poets who have dug deep, spoken out and given voice to an array of inanimate objects, works of art and animals, as well as those who have projected their voices onto silenced people in mythology, social and personal history. We’ll identify the possibilities this opens up for us as writers and the practical strategies that we may draw on; and then we’ll have a go ourselves!

For more information and to book your place: http://campus.poetryschool.com/open-workshop-art-ventriloquism/

Online Feedback Course with Catherine Smith

Private Group with 18 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/catherinesmithfeedback

A Life on the Edge: Hinterlands and Homelands

Private Group with 14 members

Most of us have grown up made our homes in the suburbs, those small towns, hinterlands and no-places on the ‘edge of the ordinary… cast between what is and what might be’ (Gallery Press on Alan Gillis). But where are ‘the’ suburbs? For many of us our memories are made of these spaces, places that walk a tightrope between urban and rural, dramatic and tedious, often tucked into the corner of larger conurbations, unsure how much of local identity remains. On this course we will explore half-hidden areas of our homelands, their edges and contradictions, peeking under the hood of the overlooked and almost everyday. We will learn from poets who thrived in small towns, suburbs and the bits beyond ring roads and found poetry in allotments, railways, brownfield sites, empty business parks, run-down markets, landfills and driveways. We will also be influenced by those who chaffed in against their surroundings, trapped on the brink of Metroland and the wilds. Taking a lead from poets including Kay Ryan, Glyn Maxwell and Fiona Dowling, we will create our own poems and investigate the secrets of where we have all once lived.

Trust the Image (Face to Face)

Private Group with 13 members

The image is a poem’s engine; for poets, writing fresh and powerful imagery, encouraging the reader to think about the content of a poem in more than one way, is a joyful experience. On this course we’ll look at how poets use figurative language; how to avoid safe/predictable tropes in favour of daring/surprising imagery; the role of the physical senses; simile and metaphor, synecdoche and how/when to use these devices; the role of symbolism in poetry, and how certain poets – e.g. Wallace Stevens – use encoded symbolism in their work; image clusters; the extended metaphor; and audacious metaphors/the conceit. We’ll read lots of examples of published poetry and try different strategies/approaches to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to create whole new ‘image banks’ for new work. And in a first for us – we’re running the same course online and face-to-face at the same time. Face-to-face students will have two intense generation sessions followed by a writing break, and the concluding with a feedback session. You’ll keep in touch between sessions via email or CAMPUS.

The Conceit (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 14 members

Some poetry takes everyday reality as its starting-point in order to reveal something about the world we know. But poetry can equally begin with a ‘what if?’ – it can create unreal or unlikely situations and then, by exploring the consequences of those situations, lead us to unexpected ideas and images.

These ‘what if?’ situations could be described as ‘conceits’ – extended metaphors that bring together disparate ideas, making the poem a kind of literary test-tube.

In this Open Workshop with David Clarke, we will explore how conceits can be used to open up our writing to new ways of imagining, while still remaining rooted in a concern for our human experience of the world. We will think about how the use of conceits can draw in the reader, hold their attention, and keep surprising them until the very end of the poem.

The New Concrete: Visual Poetry

Private Group with 9 members

Have you ever thought your poetry could be expressed in a more visual way? Come and see how a poem can catch the eye before it’s read, how all poems, in their spacing, breathing, line breaks and stanza shapes are in fact ‘visual’ and can be expressed in multiple ways. Join us for a ten week course that will be fun, interactive and will finish with a small publication of visual poetry. This course follows on from the Visual Poetry reading course we ran on CAMPUS last term, but you don’t need to have taken that course to enjoy this one.

The Poetry of Pain (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 16 members

As developments in technology increase our access to the world, it can often feel like we are losing touch with the bodies we inhabit, and the remarkable functions they provide from moment to moment.

Whilst we often treat pain as an inconvenience to be blanketed over with medication, it can also provide us with a way to get back in touch with the bodily experience, providing new angles for original writing. In this Open Workshop with Daniel Sluman, we will explore pain as an objective sensation that brings us closer to an understanding of the bodies we possess, and new ways of describing it. We will look at how pain has been used by contemporary writers to bring the human body to life, and how we can use similar methods to better understand our physicality, and how it relates to the outside world.

Training the Poem 2016

Private Group with 8 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 based on readings of published poems You’ll receive regular 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. Where possible, the poet will come and read for us.

We’ll finish the year with a public reading.

The RedWork

Public Group with 2 members

A group for poets whose material springs from the social concerns of our times for e.g. environmental, human rights, surveillance culture, nuclear weapons, refugee crisis etc to share their poetry as well as share opportunities for creative campaigning via poetry.

Dai’s Die Hards

Private Group with 6 members

Feedback group that sprang from Dai George’s ’The One and the Many’. We are open to new members by invitation from the group. Our aim is to help improve each other’s writing by offering constructive criticism.

The Poet’s Book

Private Group with 1 member

Artists use notebooks to both explore and record their creative journey. These books often become artefacts in their own right, incorporating mixed media, found objects, words and images. This process is something that poets can also benefi t from. On this course you will collect materials to use in creating your own set of poems, producing a handmade book that contains your poem and its unique journey. There will be an exhibition of the books at the end of the course.