- The Editor
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft’ - H G Wells. While most writers will appreciate this passion, they’ll also understand there’s much more to editing than altering a draft, and that if a promising writer is to become a successful author, he or she must develop sound editorial skills. Together with the honing of individual poems, this course will approach the task of compiling a pamphlet manuscript for publication or pleasure, focusing on choosing poems that collect (and the ordering of them), and considering the possibilities offered by dedications, epigraphs, author biographies, notes and cover blurbs, with the aim of developing a collection with a strong and coherent identity.
- Adventures In Form
Poetry School staff are battling over the office copy of Adventures in Form. Newly released by indie publisher Penned in the Margin, this anthology is 'a compendium of poetic forms, rules and constraints' - but you won't find a villanelle, Shakespearean sonnet or sestina between its pages. This is a book of tweet poems, sudos and sevenlings - dozens of new forms invented by poets swinging from the highest monkey bars in poetry's adventure playground. Want to express your ideas in an Oulipo poem, a mixtape poem or a breakbeat sonnet? We've put together a new course, based on the anthology, to let these and other new forms out into the wild. We've selected 10 poets from the book, including Sam Riviere, Chrissy Williams and Tim Turnbull. Week by week, they will each post their poems in the Poetry School's online classroom, together with an explanation of the new form's rules, and some related writing challenges. Students will post their poetic responses in the forum, talking about their work in progress with fellow students, discussin their poetic joys, concerns and successes.
- Interesting Songs Use Words Well
A song isn’t just a piece of oral literature. It’s a curious confection combining sound and sense, music and language. A good song can join up id and ego, right brain and left, emotion and reason. Above all, a good song gets into your head and lives there your whole life long, popping up at just the right moment to tell you exactly what you’re feeling. This course will help you write better songs - and when we get good enough at putting our thoughts, feelings and experiences into song lyrics, people will start listening in a new way. They’ll start to understand how it feels to be us. What more could you ask of any artform?
The Public and the Personal: Writing the New Political Poem
When poets look at the bigness and the smallness, the chaos and the clarity of today’s world, focusing on the interior experiences of an individual speaker can seem too limited. Contemporary American poets have turned toward political subjects, from terrorism to economic collapse to class tensions, as a way of enlarging their vision and defining what it means to live in their country at this time in history. In this course, we’ll take a look at some recent poems that approach the political and the national in a variety of ways. Assignments will encourage you to open your poems to the interconnectedness of the public and the personal.
- Poetry and the VisualBy utilising an online ‘gallery’ of photographs, works of art and advertising, this course looks at the way we use images as a source for inspiration and suggests poetic strategies for creating narratives and metaphors from received material. This course is suitable for those who have already taken ‘Poetry and the Visual’ in the Summer 2011 term, as well as new students.
- Sonnet StudioThere’s just something about a sonnet! This compact form has captured the hearts and pens of poets for centuries. “I will put Chaos in fourteen lines/and keep him there,” wrote Edna St. Vincent Millay. A huge range of poets, from Shakespeare to Milllay to ee cummings, Marilyn Nelson, and Molly Peacock, have done their best work in the “little song”—drawn to its musicality and emotion, compression and transparency, and to its capacity to be at once timeless and contemporary, personal and universal. For love, inspiration, humor, and even technical experimentation, sonnets are ideal vessels. Join us to delve deeply into sonnets’ techniques and magic, reading and writing under the guidance of one of our keenest contemporary practitioners, poet Kate Light. Whether you are a newcomer or well-seasoned sonneteer, you will deepen and expand your sense of what this powerful form has been and can be!