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All the groups in our Network.

Love, Death, Art, Time and Nature: A Short Course in Creativity and Criticism

Private Group with 1 member

Over five sessions you will explore these five great poetic themes: love, death, art, time and nature. Why have these themes remained so central to poetry throughout the centuries, and how might we as poets approach them in our own writing? Focussing on a different theme each week, you’ll carry out close readings of related poems, guided writing exercises and group feedback on your writing.

Developing a Style: A Conversation with the Past

Private Group with 1 member

This is the third of a trio of student-centred courses designed both for experienced writers looking to widen their repertoire and for beginners looking for a more structured approach to their writing. You will have the opportunity to consider how much of today’s poetry has its roots in the work of innovative poets from the nineteenth and twentieth century. Drawing on the work of key Romantic, Victorian and Modernist poets and their successors, you will continue to develop your individual approach to writing and start to build up a body of creative work with a definite individual identity. Through exercises, reading, writing, group feedback and small group planning sessions, you will be encouraged to construct an independent voice, while maintaining a dialogue with poetic traditions. While students who have completed the courses ‘Choosing a Style’ or ‘Defining a Style’ will be given priority when booking, ‘Developing a Style’ is also suitable for those seeking a one-term standalone course. As this course contains completely new material it may also be of interest to students who have attended Tim’s courses in previous years.

The Tao of Poetry

Private Group with 1 member

The Tao of Poetry – An Introduction to the Great Poets of the T’ang and Sung Dynasties (c. 700-1225) Discover the masterpieces of the great flowering of Classical Chinese poetry – and all that contributes to making it feel so contemporary: from its empiricism to the way it combines the secular and the spiritual, from its affinities with modern science and ecology to its radical feminism. We will use our study of these powerfully delicate poems as a jumping off point for learning the Tao (the way) into our own poems, helping us both to generate new poems and to revitalise our own poetic practice. Liane has been returning to these poems since she first came across Kenneth Rexroth’s translations One Hundred Poems from the Chinese and Women Poets of China as a graduate student. They are her temporary refuge from the Metaphysicals who were among her first, biggest influences, as well as from her sometimes overly full, overly busy, overly complicated days.

Alien vs Predator – Poetry & Pop Culture

Private Group with 1 member

Is Kim Kardashian a fit subject for great poetry? Can 4chan fire a poet’s imagination? What can Don Draper tell us about the way we live now? This lively fortnightly course will explore what happens when the two apparently hostile worlds of poetry and pop culture meet – and what strange and beautiful music can result. We’ll be reading poets from both the UK and the US who have engaged with mass media, icons, fandom and hype, in ways both explicit and subtle, in order to tell their own story – and the story of an age. We’ll use their example as a stimulus to write our own poems and to discover, along the way, a little more about what it means to be a poet – and human – in the relentlessly shifting twenty-first century.

The Anti-Poetic

Private Group with 1 member

Hugo Williams talks about writing poetry ‘without the safety net of the poetical.’ Cultivating the Anti-Poetic would seem like a chimera, a contradiction. Ultimately we want a poem to make its mark, to change our sense of things. These sessions will consider how we might escape the straitjacket of the ‘well-behaved’ (mainstream? orthodox?) poem – the poem, albeit crafted, which seems like so many others. A poetry course which seeks to break the poetry course mould!

Chemical Poetry – The Periodic Table & Poetry

Private Group with 1 member

Come and use the famous ‘periodic table of elements’ as a springboard and playground for new writing. We all know about the periodic table from our schooldays and the opening titles to ‘Breaking Bad’ but how have artists and writers reinvented and rearranged it over the years? Write from the point of view of a randomly chosen element. Compose a ‘Self-portrait as Einsteinium’. Invent your own elements and see what happens when you plunge them into poetry (a previous student of Simon’s chemistry class discovered ‘Philandrium’ in the test tube of their imagination). Learn about some of the unsung heroes and heroines who devoted their lives to completing this elegant chart. As we fizz around the table, we will learn about the elements that combine to make good poetry and develop new work through workshops and discussions. Noble, inert, explosive, reactive, unstable,toxic, sublime: who knows what this poetic chemistry set will produce? No scientific background necessary.

Sound Poetry and Performance Technique

Private Group with 3 members

This course will look at how you can make your poetry performance creative and dramatic. Great performers use not only words but also silences, changes in volume, tone of voice and sometimes even sound effects to enhance their performance. You will study recordings of storytellers and poets from all over the world to see how they use their voice to create atmosphere and musicality, looking at early pioneers of sound poetry such as the Futurists and Dadaists and modern performers such as Bob Cobbing. You will then write a series of poems using techniques that will make your ‘page voice’ come alive in an authentic and considered way. It would be useful if you have the facilities to record your own voice, but not essential.

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 [email protected]

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 33 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

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.