Our Summer School is designed so that students can fit in one last blast of poetry writing before the holidays: for a whole week in July, we’ll be running a series of workshops, some for a full day, some for the morning or the afternoon, so that you can fit them in around your packing and suncream runs. This year’s Summer School will be distinctly festival themed: full of celebrations, music, memory and joy …
Monday 20 July (10.30am – 4.30pm): ‘Celebrate Your History’ with Nick Field
How can poetry express the joys, sensations and narratives of shared celebrations? Can we capture these significant moments in all their complex glory and make them relevant to others? You will create poetry based around memories and experiences of festivals, celebrations and get togethers. Working with autobiography, you’ll be led through practical exercises aimed at making these experiences into engaging, rich and resonant poetry, with sharings of work created.
Nick Field is a writer, contemporary performer and educator based in London. He has been Writer in Residence at Keats House, has created commissioned pieces for The Coffee House Journal and Love Map for Apples and Snakes, and has performed his work across England and Europe.
‘Celebrate Your History’ (£69, £66 (60+), £55 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Tuesday 21 July (10.30am – 1pm): ‘Epiphanies and Other Movable Feasts’ with Nichola Deane
‘Boat-races, birthdays, marriages, martyrdoms.’ These are what Michael Donaghy called ‘immovable feasts.’ But in this workshop we’ll look more at the moveable feasts and festivals. Inspired by Donaghy’s lines ‘we’re summoned to our lonely ceremonies anytime: / B minor, the mouldiness of an old encyclopedia …’ we will celebrate the ‘architecture of moments’ that give rise to poetry. We will look at epiphanies and negative epiphanies in the work of poets such as Richard Wilbur, Alice Oswald, and Donaghy himself, and investigate ways we can deepen our power of attention to the moments that make up our lives.
Nichola Deane’s work has been published in a number of magazines, including Poetry London, Archipelago and The Rialto. Her pamphlet, My Moriarty, which won the Flarestack Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2012, was also PBS Pamphlet Choice for Winter 2012.
‘Epiphanies and Other Movable Feasts’ (£35, £31 (60+), £27 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Tuesday 21 July(2 – 4pm): ‘Surprised by Joy’ with Dai George
Poetry can bear witness to the full range of human experience, from the dark times to the good. But happiness is in many ways a simple emotion, difficult to articulate without falling prey to sentimentality and statements of the obvious. In this workshop, we will read a range of poets who have captured moods of joy, celebration, wonder and optimism. In seeking to learn from them, we will come to write our own joyful – and surprising – poems, sharing them at the end of the class in a celebratory group reading.
Dai George has had poems and criticism published in The Guardian Online, The Boston Review, New Welsh Review, Poetry Review and others. His poetry has appeared in several anthologies and first collection, The Claims Office, was published by Seren in 2013.
‘Surprised by Joy’ (£35, £31 (60+), £27 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Wednesday 22 July (10.30am – 1pm): ‘Call and Reponse’ with Rishi Dastidar
As well as the mud, mischief and mayhem, it’s the music that provides many people’s festival highpoints, whether it’s the big headline act on the main stage, sounds drifting over distant fields or even the campfire singalong at 3am. But as well as memories, music can provide great inspiration for writing poems too. Join Rishi for a mashup of melodies and an esoteric playlist crossing different eras and genres from the 1950s up till now, which will get you in the rhythm to write. Just bring some paper, pencils – and your ears.
Rishi Dastidar is a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, and his work has featured in the 2012 anthologies Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins) and Lung Jazz (Cinnamon Press / Eyewear Pubishing), and most recently in 2014’s Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe). He is also currently part of The Rialto / Poetry School’s editorial development project.
‘Call and Response’ (£35, £31 (60+), £27 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Wednesday 22 July (2pm – 4.30pm): ‘A Festival of Opposing Forces’ with R A Villanueva
This course will be a celebration of unlike things and opposing forces. Like the rich traditions of feast days and their often-contradictory impulses (consider: the denial of Lent and the extravagance of Easter) we will think about poems as spaces to memorialize, illuminate, and make new. Through a cycle of exercises, experiments, and conversations, we will cross beauty with fear, certainties with doubts. Expect to encounter a catalytic array of contemporary poems and to adopt a generative frame of mind, provoking new drafts rather than pausing to revise.
R A Villanueva’s debut collection of poetry, Reliquaria, was selected by Kwame Dawes as the winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2014. New work is forthcoming in The Wolf, and he is a founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art.
‘A Festival of Opposing Forces’ (£35, £31 (60+), £27 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Thursday 23 July (10.30am – 4.30pm): ‘A Long Drink for a Hot Day’ with Holly Hopkins
Whether it’s teenagers with vodka siphoned into ‘water bottles’ in a park or Pimms at the vicarage garden party, the hazy days of summer are often hazier for a few drinks. Booze has long been a bulwark of both summer festivities and poetry. In this workshop we will taste some less-than sober poems by Kathleen Jamie, Don Paterson and J O Morgan among others, as well as creating our own work inspired by spirited exploits.
Holly Hopkins’ debut pamphlet, Soon Every House Will Have One, won the 2014 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. Holly received an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and she is an assistant editor of The Rialto.
‘A Long Drink for a Hot Day’ (£69, £66 (60+), £55 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
Friday 24 July (10.30am – 4.30pm): ‘Playing with History: Using the Past in Poetry’ with Kelley Swain
‘Behold the Wonder of this present Age / a Famous River now becomes a Stage …’ (1684, Walton and Seller, from a print sold on the frozen river.) This workshop will focus particularly on London’s Frost Fairs, raucous festivals that broke out when the river froze solid, creating a new landscape unbounded by laws and conventions. We will write from the history of Frost Fairs, as well as from direct observations of life along the Thames, gathered in a walk which will comprise part of the workshop. The workshop will include discussion of poems new and old, from Poetry School tutor John McCullough’s 2009 collection The Frost Fairs, to souvenir rhymes printed on the frozen river itself, such as this 1683 quip: ‘And sure, in former Ages, ne’er was found / A Press to print where men so oft were droun’d!’
Kelley Swain’s award-winning verse drama, Opera di Cera, tells a tale of 18th century anatomical models, and she is editor of Pocket Horizon, an anthology of poems inspired by historical objects. From 2009 – 2013, Kelley was Poet-in-Residence at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge.
‘Playing with History…’ (£69, £66 (60+), £55 (Concs.)) is available to book online or by calling us on 0207 582 1679.
For the full details of all of our Summer School workshops and for booking details, visit our website or give us a call on 0207 582 1679.