The Devil is in the Detail - description in poetry
‘The need to translate experience into something resembling adequate language is the writer’s blessing or the writer’s disease, depending on your point of view.’ - Mark Doty. In this course, you’ll launch off from a grounding in the nuts and bolts of descriptive language to explore ways of detailing the worlds and experiences you attend to in your work through vivid and startling detail, with the challenge of balancing precision, musicality, accuracy and invention.
Writing the Difficult Stuff: The Confessional
Confessional poetry has many pitfalls and is often viewed with caution, or even hostility. Yet poetry is what people turn to in difficulty; the success of the Bloodaxe anthologies is one of the testimonies to this. Producing poems about complex feelings can bring an understanding to the writer. The course will explore approaches that enable the writer to explore difficult memories and go beyond the facts into the imagination, where metaphorical truth comes into play. It will look at critical distance and how understatement can produce challenging poems that engage and move the reader.
‘No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.’
Whether you’re just setting out on your journey into poetry or have already been on the road a while, Robert Frost’s statement rings true. Taking this idea as our jumping-off point, we’ll pull apart some of the ways that poets create surprise – such as line breaks, word choice, structure and tone – then use the writing exercises try to put them back together in our own ways. Meanwhile, we’ll play with a few tricks to help get your writing brain into the mood to surprise you.
Prose Poetry & Flash Fiction
Interested in trying your hand at prose poetry or flash fiction and not sure where to begin? This online course will introduce you to both forms, with well-honed writing exercises, lively discussion about sample works, and advice about publishing.