Courses

Bridging Two Different Lands: Identity & Place

Ahead of her upcoming workshop, Romalyn Ante writes of the power of place in making us who we are   The city teaches the man – Simonides   The concepts of place and identity have always been interlinked, whether in geography, environmental psychology, urban planning, or ecocriticism. In this one-day workshop we will explore how…

Read More

Ancient Tongues and Hybrid Texts

  Ahead of his upcoming course in Bristol, Rowan Evans writes about the intricate link between ancient languages and experimental poetry.   Language started shaking ok the day started shaking ok words are a matter of shaking – Caroline Bergvall, Drift (Nightboat Books, 2014).   This Autumn I begin practice-based PhD research at Royal Holloway,…

Read More

Fuck Lyric

Ahead of his upcoming online course, Joey Connolly writes on the politics of ‘the lyric’.  In an unnamed poem in her 2017 book Fourth Person Singular, Nuar Alsadir writes:   ‘On the local platform at 86th Street waiting for a 6 Train, I noticed, written on a column in thick Sharpie, “Fuck Lyric:”     I…

Read More

‘My ghost you needn’t look for’ – Searching for Robinson Jeffers

The Venice of my birth, a far cry from Casanova’s Serene Republic, at whose spectre tourists chase to the tune of hundreds of euros a day, had already been pimped out to cruise-ships by the time I had learned to walk in the late 1980s. A stone’s throw from its noxious canals, life on the mainland…

Read More

The Decisive Moment

‘The real prayers are not the words, but the attention that comes first’ says Mary Oliver in her poem of the same title. Oliver’s detailed exploration of a hawk’s tumultuous flight essentially pays homage to a moment of perception. She leaves out no detail and describes the specificity of the moment with deep respect. Tied…

Read More

Get Stuffed: Why We Need to Pay Attention to Things

Lately, Stuff has been on my mind – reading, writing, life. We’ve just moved into our first home and have installed U. A. Fanthorpe’s ‘Atlas’ in a frame on the wall. It’s a great example of how the largest themes can emerge from ‘storing the WD40 and knowing when to use it’ [sic]. I now…

Read More

‘It feels like a time of poetry again’ – the Revolutionary Moment(s) of 1968

Obsessed, bewildered . By the shipwreck Of the singular . We have chosen the meaning Of being numerous. . (George Oppen) In Giedre Zickyte’s 2012 film How We Played The Revolution a Lithuanian politician looks back to the time when his country peacefully withdrew from the Soviet Union. ‘It was a time of poetry,’ he…

Read More

Please – No More Poetry: Writing in Response to Trauma

The idea for my upcoming online course – Please – No More Poetry – began with a question that has occupied my thoughts for many years now: what is the relationship between poetry and trauma? In a conversation with my doctoral supervisor – a wise scholar and wonderful poet – I described my fascination with…

Read More

We Cannot Stop the Rumbling Trains

I live in Nanjing, just down the road from the Chaotian palace and, in the other direction, the Hanzhongmen section of the city’s ancient wall. This section of the wall is mostly in bits now, but it’s a lovely spot, opening up into an area for gathering with friends. As the sun sets on the…

Read More

Against English: an interview with Harry Giles

Will Barrett:  Hi Harry. Tell us about your upcoming course with the Poetry School, ‘Against English: Dialects, Distortions and New Vocabularies’. Harry Giles:  Hi! ‘Against English’ grew out of a one-off session I did with the Poetry School a few years ago, exploring the overlaps between writing in regional dialects, in experimental constraints, and in sound…

Read More

Digital Poetry Beyond the Prehistoric

I think digital poetry is a genre that can offer poets exciting possibilities to create new work that explores and expands language. And that’s what I’m aiming to do with my new course at the Poetry School. Without disappearing down an internet wormhole ‘researching’ the topic of what is digital poetry, what are digital poetics…

Read More

The God in the Forest: Finding the Spiritual in Nature

In the Iliad, there is a passage where Zeus calls all the gods to an assembly on Mount Olympus. But it is not only the Olympians who come – along with them are all the streams, and the nymphs of the woods, the rivers and the meadows. The Homeric world is one in which nature…

Read More

Course Quick Guide – Autumn 2018

Face-to-Face Courses London Three Term Courses: The first term of our flagship year-long courses (3 x 10 week terms)   The Poet’s Toolkit (Autumn 2018) with Shazea Quraishi Explore poetry’s inner workings, hone your craft, and take a close look at various forms and techniques to help your poems achieve lift-off.   Pamphlet / Portfolio…

Read More

Archiving Your Self Yourself: an interview with James Davies

James Davies is interviewed by James Davies – his uncannily named next-door neighbour – about his upcoming course for Poetry School, Archiving Your Self Yourself: Quantified Self Studio James Davies:  Hi there James. How are things this morning? James Davies:  Really really great James. Right now I’m dandy. I’m usually dandy. I see the birds….

Read More

What is a Metic Poet?

The question most writers ask me at the beginning of a Metics workshop is ‘What is a Metic?’.   The simple answer usually is: You are! A fish does not know it’s a fish until it leaves the water. The term ‘Metic’ means a foreigner whose allegiances are split between their homeland and their new country. Metic is a Greek word, which we might…

Read More

Talking Back: Poetry, Dialogue and Voice

In her 2017 collection Stranger Baby, Emily Berry stages a dialogue between voices living and dead, a sort of haunted (and haunting) psychodrama, both intimate and fiercely private: “I wish you would put some kind of distortion on my voice,” says the speaker in ‘The End’, “so people don’t know it’s me.” This is poetry…

Read More

The Opposite House: But We Never Go In That Room!

  [T]he borders of our minds are ever shifting, and…many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy.   from ‘On Magic’ by W. B. Yeats.   Childhood is a time when our brains are, as Yeats states, ‘ever shifting’. We are laying the…

Read More

Fully Automated Radical Pessimism

Some of my favorite books to teach are dystopian, like George Orwell’s 1984, M.T Anderson’s Feed, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. All of these books inform my work, but especially Station Eleven. In the book, Mandel asks the question: what would survive in the end of the world? Shakespeare…

Read More

Naming the Hill: A Conversation with the Non-Human

Ahead of her new online course, Die Like a Wolf: Writing the Non-Human, Suzannah Evans discusses the non-human in her poem ‘Naming the Hill’, published for the first time here.   Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man…

Read More

‘Why do dominant cultures translate so much?’

Translation is a hot topic. Search for ‘translation’ in Google and you’ll see numerous news stories; many are to do with an innovative array of emerging translation technologies – for example, earbuds that can translate languages in real time. Whereas human translators may find simultaneous translation mentally exhausting, machine translators can last as long as…

Read More

Why do we read, and write, taboos?

A few years ago I read Tiger Tiger, a controversial memoir by Margaux Fragoso which chronicles her long-term relationship with a 51-year old man, Peter, which began when she was just seven years old. As a culture, we are collectively repelled by paedophiles – the acts they engage in, or even fantasise about, with children…

Read More

Two for Joy: Happy Poems

Sky entered and held surprise wide open (‘The Skylight’, Seamus Heaney) . It seems I was called for this: / To glorify things just because they are (‘Blacksmith Shop’, Czesław Miłosz, translated by the author and Robert Hass) . Pass the tambourine, let me bash out praises (‘The Way We Live’, Kathleen Jamie)   Happiness…

Read More

Transreading the Baltics

Want to see Riga? Or, for that matter, any other place in Latvia. Or Lithuania. Or Estonia… In July 2009 I moved out of Poland, which – five years after joining the European Union – hoped to be perceived as a central part of its continent, rather than its eastern addition. I moved out of…

Read More

Summer 2018 Courses Quick Guide

The Summer 2018 Term is now open for booking! We are delighted to open the booking period for the final term of our 20th anniversary year at the Poetry School. Remember that new students get 15% off all courses, just give us a call to get your discount! Concessions are available, and applications for bursaries –…

Read More

Rules Were Made to be Broken

Despite the title I have chosen for this workshop, rules in poetry are not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone thinking of entering a poetry competition for the first time, for instance, would do well to read Fleur Adcock’s hilarious ‘The prize-winning poem’, which gives a very clear idea of the kinds of things that are…

Read More