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Tutor Academy – April 2019

Put a spring back in your poems’ step, and see new inspiration bloom at our brand new Tutor Academy!

This spring we have collaborated with  Martha Sprackland, editor at Offord Road Books, to co-curate a week of exciting half-day workshops led by ten poets who are teaching for the Poetry School for the first time. We are delighted to welcome these new tutors to the school to teach on topics as varied as pop music and prophecy, Rudolf Laban, the heartbeat of trees, violence, food, mysteries and more. Browse the full listings to see what’s on offer, and make sure to sign up fast – places are very limited . . .


Wednesday 10 April, 10.30am – 1pm

Explore the use of mystery in sacred prayers and crafty riddles; anonymity and the unfinished; symbols, metaphors and oxymorons; the surreal, ineffable and unexplained. Through reading anonymous Anglo Saxon scops, visionaries such as Emily Dickinson and Kathleen Raine, surrealists inspired by André Breton, and reader-conscious writers like W. S.Graham and Jorie Graham, you will capture a sense of the mysterious. Book here.


Life-Cycles – Jade Cuttle

Wednesday 10 April, 2.00pm – 4:30pm

In this workshop, you will study nature’s life-cycles and the symbolism at play in natural phenomena. You’ll examine how poets such as David Morley, Helen Mort, Louise Glück, Paul Sutherland and others unravel the possibility of a poetic parallel universe in the natural world. The workshop will include a short walk to a nearby park to stethoscope trees and hear the hum of their heartbeats. Book here.


Thursday 11 April, 10.30am – 1pm

Join Helen Charman to think about the borrowing of other words in our own work. You will close-read around aspects of intertextuality – including work by Denise Riley, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Sam Riviere, Daisy Lafarge, and afterwards will interweave specific quotations through your poems, allude to them, refer to other texts, and learn how to beg, borrow and steal from elsewhere. Book here.


Pop, Prophecy and the Profane – Rishi Dastidar

Thursday 11 April, 2.0pm – 4:30pm

This workshop will explore how poetry can work with, through and against two historically distinct modes: the pop song and the prophecy. You will examine the role of repetition and melody, and the use of the language of desire and sexuality. Come and discuss works by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, D. H. Lawrence, Pablo Neruda (and a selection of one-hit wonders from the 1990s!) Book here.


Eat Your Words: Poetry and Food – Sean Wai Keung

Friday 12 April, 10.30am – 1pm

Bring to this workshop a recipe, photograph, menu or memory of a food you feel a connection with. You’ll read Zilka Joseph, Hannah Lowe, Robert Burns, Kamau Brathwaite, and Fred Wah, and will examine how these writers have used food as a way to explore labour, family, culture, and politics. How is food represented on TV cookery shows? In memes? Snack on some bitesized morsels whilst discussing their history and significance, and then write about your own memory-foods, to discover exactly how our poems are what we eat. Book here.


Poetry and Violence – Ed Luker

Friday 12 April, 2.00pm – 4:30pm

From Walt Whitman to Mahmoud Darwish, poetry has often explored violence. In our present moment, the world feels increasingly violent, and the imperative to witness and consume it through images and videos more pervasive than ever. You’ll look at an array of poets, including J. H. Prynne, Warsan Shire, and Verity Spott, to ask questions such as How can poetry express an opposition to violence? What are the ethical problems with the reproduction of relations of witness and victim? How can these relations be critiqued through style and form? Does poetry that avoids these questions fall short? Can any poet ever truly come away with clean hands? Book here.


Typography for Poets – James Harding

Saturday 13 April, 10.30pm – 1pm

This half-day introduction to typography will take you from the basics of page layout through to producing a print-ready poem. It is suitable for anyone who would like to submit or publish poetry to a high typographical standard, with, among other things, an eye to the importance of first impressions when submitting or distributing your poetry; it’s also a great tool for those looking to explore using concrete or visual techniques in their work. Book here.


Saturday 13 April, 2.00pm – 4:30pm

This course will offer an introduction to experimental poets both ‘canonical’ and marginal. Moving along a scale of micro- to macro-botanical tropes, we will consider the use of pollen as grammar and text of motherhood in Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, queer erotic florality in Elisabeth Bletsoe, weedy disruption and leafy books in Susan Howe, and perhaps a deer park or two in Redell Olsen. You will consider botanical evocations in Modernist and post-modern prose and film – trees bearing witness to violence, forests and experiments of innocence, and impressionist gardens – to explore the cross-fertilisation of matter, medium and material. Book here.


Sunday 14 April, 10.30am – 1pm

Join Dzifa Benson for a workshop that channels the techniques of dance theorist Rudolf Laban, whose ideas can be applied to the voice as much as movement. Learn how to invest your voice and body with the dramatic tension already inherent in a poem, so that you can speak it with confidence and brio in front of an audience. Book here.


Patterned Language – Nasser Hussain

Sunday 14 April, 2.00pm – 4:30pm

A definition for poetry: poetry is language with a pattern. This patterning can take place on multiple levels: content, form, and the words themselves. You’ll be exposed to a number of works  ̶  some ‘traditional’, others notably less so – including work by concrete poets like bpNichol and Derek Beaulieu, Christian Bök’s lipograms, forms like the sestina and ghazal, and works that try to ‘find’ poetry in neglected fragments of language. Book here.

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