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All the groups in our Network.

Haiku Rebellion Studio

Private Course Group with 22 members

Three lines, syllable counting, nature, Zen. Now, we’ve got those crusty preconceptions and outdated rules out of the way we can take a fresh look at English language haiku in the light of contemporary Western practice. On this intensive 3 week writing course we will re-visit the most misunderstood of all the poetic forms – the haiku – looking at work by experienced practitioners in the UK and USA. We will then practice some techniques that contribute towards making the ordinary extraordinary, writing our own small epiphanies, tiny elegies and snapshots from our daily lives that are charged with clarity, emotion and humour. We will also be setting both our pens and as well as our bodies in motion, as we follow in the footsteps of Basho and compose our haiku while walking, taking advantage of the dramatic changes of the autumn season.

Blues Studio

Private Course Group with 17 members

In this Studio course, we’ll be looking at The Blues — that repurposing of sadness & grief into joy and celebration. We’ll find inspiration from blues rhythms and verses, starting with the traditional blues form and then working through a series of exercises that explode the blues in interesting and innovative new ways, while still encompassing all those things that make the blues what it is: melancholy yet soulful, a way of reflecting on emotional pain with heightened heart and music. When poets have radially experimented with the sonnet beyond recognition – why not the blues? From the prison poems of Etheridge Knight, to the Stax-influenced work of Cornelius Eddy, to the surreal and celebratory work of Mary Ruefle we’ll look at how the blues has influenced poetry and will influence yours.

Advanced Workshop with Special Guests 2016-17

Private Course Group with 18 members

This advanced course will focus on the development of your own poetry through weekly homework exercises and in-depth feedback on your poems in progress. Up to four visiting poets during the term will give a short reading or discussion their work, answer questions, and offer feedback on student poems.

Tiny Timebombs (Spring 2017)

Private Course Group with 15 members

A Campus group for students on ‘Tiny Timebombs’ with Jennie Osborne.

Short poems cut straight to the chase, and often pack a powerful punch. They give our poetic muscles a workout, help us shed our wordy flab. We will look at short forms such as haiku with its related forms, haibun and tanka, sonnets and the miniature forms rondelet and triolet, as well as a variety of techniques for getting the most out of every word. Featured poets include W B Yeats, W S Merwin, Charles Bukowski, William Carlos Williams, Fleur Adcock and many others.

Versification 15/16

Public Group with 7 members

If you have been practising poetry with confidence for some time, this course will help you address some of the more formal challenges of both metrical and free verse in depth and in detail. You will explore the relationship of form and content; metre, rhyme and syntax; stanzaic and fixed forms; lineation and stylistic choices in free verse.

Secrets and Lies

Private Group with 17 members

According to Jean Cocteau, ‘The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.’ This course considers the various ways in which poems manipulate the truth in order to tell it. Drawing on a range of contemporary examples, we’ll look closely at how poets use invention, suggestion, embellishment and surprise to get the effects they’re after, and you’ll be investigating some of these tactics in your own writing. We’ll also consider what poems conceal and the power of silence – what happens in the crucial white space, and how does the poem’s relationship with form affect the way we read it? There’ll be regular writing exercises and you’ll be encouraged to think about your own decisions, particularly when reworking and editing your poems.

“Battle of the Somme” Centenary

Private Group with 1 member

The Poetry School’s contribution to the UK-wide cultural commemorations will be a screening of the Battle of the Somme film followed by a performance of new poems that it inspires. The new work will be performed alongside a public screening of the film at Lambeth’s Cinema Museum in early February 2017.

The Stanza

Private Course Group with 13 members

What are stanzas for? Alongside the poetic line itself, the stanza is one of two main structural features of modern poetry. Nevertheless, many poets feel unsure about how to use them in their own work.

In this course, you will explore the possibilities of established stanza forms, such as terza rima and Tennyson’s In Memoriam stanza, as well as turning your attention to the use of the stanza in free verse, and in contemporary experimental work. In all of these examples, you will learn to see the use of stanzas as a way of clarifying the development of the ideas and images in your poems, as well as improving the dynamic movement of your work.

There will be opportunities for you to discuss and revise poems you have already written in terms of their use of stanzas, as well prompts to create new work in response to the stanza forms employed by other poets. Although there is no right way to use stanzas, this course will help you to sharpen your poetic craft and find solutions that work for your own poems.

The Word Made Fresh (Autumn 2016)

Private Course Group with 15 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. (This is a repeat of a course that has run previously)

2015/16 New North Poets

Private Group with 10 members

A closed group for those taking part in the 2015/16 New North Poets collaboration between New Writing North and the Poetry School.

The Plug Chain

Public Group with 6 members

You can advertise on CAMPUS for free in ‘The Plug Chain’, following one golden rule – if you want to plug your latest self-published book or one man show, you must also recommend something by someone else. Thus – the plug ‘chain’. Recommendations must be genuine and impartial (within reason) or will be subject to immediate moderation.

Beyond House & Universe

Private Group with 6 members

A private group for those of us who want to keep in touch after Rebecca Goss’s wonderful House & Universe course.

‘Dear Zoo – Writing Poems about Rare and Exotic Animals’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 10 members

What’s your favourite wild animal? We’ve all read poems that feature a sea bird, a house cat, a dog, a fox or a bee. Animals that share our home or our back garden.

But what of those more unusual, less-popular creatures? The aardvark, the clown fish, the wombat, the penguin? The snow macaque? The lavender albino python? Surely they deserve some attention too?

On this new Open Workshop with Francine Elena, by examining a few of the rarer animals in poetry, you will have the chance to explore wilder, weirder (or perhaps just cuter) terrain in your writing, bringing to life new creature poems in the tradition of D H Lawrence’s mosquito, Elizabeth Bishop’s armadillo or even Vasko Popa’s ‘starry snail’.

The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Reading Group)

Private Group with 27 members

Understanding visual poetry gives all poets an understanding of the essential but often hidden details of how poems work. This online reading course invites you to immerse yourself in the world of 21st century visual poetry with the editors of The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing) a major new anthology of this genre. Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe have worked with over 100 artists over a two year period and will instigate discussion around the new approaches, ideas and techniques being used in visual poetry. You will get the chance to explore new work being created at the intersection of visual art and literature and see how digital text, image manipulation, modern printing and the Internet has re-energised an approach poetry inspired by the original concrete poetry movement. You will further understand how the phoneme can be used for syntactic play and for sound effect, how the poem can catch the eye before it is read, how white space is the basis for the essence of a poem and can be seen as part of its cohesive whole, and how all poems in their spacing, breathing spaces, line breaks and stanza shapes are in fact ‘visual’ and can be expressed in multiple ways.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:–visual-poetry-in-the-21st-century–online-reading-group.php

Exquisite Corpse (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 10 members

Have you ever wanted to collaborate with a group of poets on one piece of work?

Well, the Surrealists started the Exquisite Corpse enterprise for this very purpose, as a sort of party game or parlour trick, a kinetic placement of ideas and images. So let’s create our monster: no rules, no theme, no demands, except that all contributions are concealed until the body of work is complete, then we will step back to wait for the lightning.

In this Open Workshop with Janette Ayachi, the Poetry School’s Digital Poet in Residence, you will be posting lines and conjoining them together to generate a poem charged from the CAMPUS ether. You will look at how the process began as a visual art form, and you will learn how wonderful it can be to be detached from subject, writing for the sake of writing, automatically and without purpose other than to assist a bigger picture – lines will become limbs and poets will become the donors. The finished body may end up being absurd; but the variability at play, the unforeseen elements and group participation will gloriously disrupt the conscious mind’s affinity for procedure, and possibly invite change to the way you frequently structure your poems.

To sign up and for more information:

Developing a Style 2015/16

Private Group with 8 members

This is a student-centred course 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 practise approaches to writing and start to build up a body of creative work with a definite individual identity. You will consider different 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 reading and discussion, writing exercises, group feedback and small group planning sessions, you will be encouraged to construct an independent voice, which is consistent from poem to poem.

Human / Nature

Private Course Group with 17 members

The natural world has long been a site of fascination and wonder for poets. But how do we write our surroundings now – whether urban or rural – at a time when the human impact on the environment is at its most acute? Taking poetry that responds to the complexities of its surroundings from around the world as inspiration and example, we will read a range of poets including A R Ammons, Liz Berry, Tom Chivers, Lucille Clifton, David Constantine, Camille Dungy, John Kinsella, W S Merwin, Pablo Neruda, Pascale Petit and Gary Snyder. Through close readings and a range of practical exercises, this course will explore how we might approach the pressing global complexities of the 21st century to create poems that are fresh, engaging and politically alert.

Re-Mixed Borders

Private Group with 24 members

30 poets, 27 gardens, 1 Open Garden Squares Weekend. A group for our latest bouquet of garden poets.

Readers of Faces: Poetry as Portraiture

Private Group with 14 members

As babies, the human face is the first thing that we learn to see and to interpret. The idea that we can capture a ‘likeness’ of a person, revealing key truths or fundamental aspects of their character in a single composition has always dominated world art, ever since early man scratched his own likeness. In this course we’ll be examining some of the techniques of portraiture and exploring how they can be applied to poetic composition, creating some of our own poetry silhouettes, caricatures and maybe even a selfie. We’ll also be considering the ethical questions that arise when we attempt to represent another person. What does it mean to have a sitter? What do the other objects and costumes in a portrait tell us about the subject? How do we negotiate the various gazes at work between the artist, the subject and the audience? Come and lock eyes with us, and maybe create some poems that will follow you around a room.

Beyond Romanticism: Green Lanes & Byways (an Online Reading Group)

Private Course Group with 25 members

What are the contours of Romanticism beyond the ‘big six’ poets? There is no doubting the achievements of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Blake, or Byron, Shelley and Keats: but their poetry sprang from a culture as infinitely rich and various as their verse itself, marked by social ferment and the radical ideas of revolutionaries in Europe and the Americas. On this reading course, poet and academic Dan Eltringham leads you down some of the green lanes and byways of British Romanticism, from its roots in 18th century loco-descriptive, agrarian, pastoral and georgic poetry, through its lesser-known poets, thinkers and artists. Setting the familiar Romantic poets in their broader social and artistic contexts, we will encounter on the road the rural cadences of William Cowper and the botanical precision of Charlotte Smith (both great influences on Wordsworth), the neglected Lake Poet Robert Southey, the mysterious Scottish Bard ‘Ossian’, John Clare’s anti-enclosure poetry, and the work of marginalized female poets such as Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Dorothy Wordsworth. The course also glances ahead to the legacy of Romanticism in British and American poetry and aesthetics, and will consider Romantic visual art from Constable and Turner onwards.