Poetry masterclasses

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New programme launches in August 2021

Previous masterclass leaders include: Malika Booker, Mona Arshi, Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Bird, Glyn Maxwell, Dai George, Annie Finch, Paul Hetherington & Cassandra Atherton

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2021 Masterclass Seven

Advanced Poetic Metre with Annie Finch – Thursday 10 June 2021

Listening with skilled awareness to a great poem’s meter can carry us beyond the surface of language into a state of wordless, intimate, and sometimes awed understanding… To approach a poem by means of a thorough, attentive scansion yields depths, complexities, and intersections of form and meaning that are not otherwise apparent. Annie Finch

American, Annie Finch is one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on poetic metre, authoring many books and anthologies on the subject. Her incredible knowledge is paired with her inspiring and infectious passion for metre.

Deep dive with Annie into discussion and analysis of the scansion and metre of great poems and their context. Learn more about her approach, wisdom and the history of accentual-syllabic metre in English poetry. She will guide you into writing more instinctively in metre. Let Annie will entrance you with the wonder of metre!

This workshop is for experienced writers who already know the fundamentals of metre and scansion, and want to reach further into its richness (Annie will recap the basics, but only very briefly).

Annie Finch is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Spells: New and Selected Poems. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Paris Review, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.  She earned a PhD from Stanford and has lectured and taught poetry inside and outside universities for decades. Anni is well known for her books on meter and poetic form for poets, scholars, and poetry lovers such as A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry; The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form and the Poetic Self; An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Craft; A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women; Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetry; Villanelles; and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters.

Limited to 14 people only. 2 or 2.5hrs long with a short break.

Double check your timezones:

UK 10.30am // Western Australia 5.30pm // Australian EST 7.30pm

A useful link for checking other timezones: 

https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

£27GBP // $55AUD

Online on Zoom

Enrol via Eventbrite HERE – OR contact me direct for the waiting list. I often draw on a waiting list. ONE PLACE NOW AVAILABLE.

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2021 Masterclass Six

Making and Honing your Prose Poems with Paul Hetherington & Cassandra Atherton – Monday 10 May 2021  SOLD OUT – contact me to join the waiting list (more masterclasses are to come) or JOIN MY MAILING LIST 

Join two international powerhouses of prose poetry to explore the resurgent and marvelously flexible prose poetry form — wonderfully well suited to writing about contemporary everyday life.

How do you craft a good prose poem? It’s certainly not just a matter of swapping line breaks for prose. Prose poetry challenges assumptions about what poetry can be and opens new creative doors.

Paul and Cassandra will explore the prose poem as fragmentary and yet, paradoxically, complete. They’ll look at how it truncates the narrative within a condensed sense of space and time, how it uses suggestive and figurative language and imagistic or sensuous detail.  They’ll discuss prose poems from poets such as Charles Simic, Lauren Russell, Maggie Nelson, Gary Young and Jenny Xie.

As well as discussion, there will be practical writing exercises to help you find fresh angles on writing prose poetry.

 In 2020, Australian poets, Professors Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton published an authoritative introduction to the development and features of contemporary English-language prose poetry with Princeton University Press and the first Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry. Paul is the Head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) at the University of Canberra and has published 15 poetry collections, a verse novel and eleven chapbooks, with many awards and nominations. Cassandra is Associate Head of School at Deakin University, Melbourne. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, authored and edited over thirty critical and creative books. Both are passionate advocates of prose poetry.

Limited to 14 people only. 2.5hrs long with a short break.

UK 10am // Western Australia 5pm // Australian EST 7pm

double check your timezones:

A useful link for checking your timezones: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

£27GBP // $55AUD

Online on Zoom

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2021 Masterclass Five

The Ghazal – an exploration of form and culture with Mona Arshi – Monday 19 April 2021 SOLD OUT – contact me to join the waiting list (more masterclasses are to come)

 A poet of exquisite delicacy and natural poetic flair, Mona will inspire by discussing examples of her favourite ghazals, how the form reflects a radically different philosophy to western traditions. She will compare the ghazal with the sonnet and other forms, examine its tradition and the history and culture its rooted in. What are the challenges and obstacles for poets writing in this form which is circular as opposed to linear? How far can and should western poets veer away from its formal structures?  We will look at writers such as Agha Shahid Ali, Marilyn Hacker,  Judith Wright and Tracy K Smith and other poets and their attempts to transform and revitalise the form.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and a chance to write and share the makings of your own ghazal.  In the process, you’ll find new perspectives in writing and exploring form, becoming more aware of cultural preferences.

The Ghazal: Perhaps the oldest poetic form still in use, the ghazal is composed of couplets often sung, with intonations of melancholy, love, longing and metaphysical questions. It has it’s roots in 7th Century Arabia and was picked up in the 13th & 14th Century by Persian poets such as Rumi & Hafiz. In the 18th Century, the form thrived in Urdu.

Mona Arshi worked as human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry. Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. Her poems and interviews have been published in The Times, The Guardian, Granta and The Times of India as well as on the London Underground. Mona’s second collection ‘Dear Big Gods’ was published in 2019 by Liverpool University Press. Her debut novel ‘Somebody Loves You’ will be published in 2021. In the last few years Mona has judged some of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the UK, including the TS Eliot Prize, The Forwards,  and The National Poetry Prize.

Limited to 14 people only. 2.5hrs long with a short break.

double check your timezones:

UK 10.30am // Western Australia 5.30pm // Australian EST 7.30pm

A useful link for checking other time zones: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

£27GBP // $55AUD

Online on Zoom

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2021 Masterclass Four

Poetry with Fire in its Belly with Malika Booker Monday 12 April 2021 SOLD OUT – contact me to join the waiting list (more masterclasses are to come)

The winner of the 2020 Forward Prize for the best single poem (with a poem which focused on the death of her mother), Malika Booker is a poetry powerhouse. Spending time with her is always inspiring and will jettison your creativity and poetry to new places. She is well known for her passionate, direct, empathetic and emotionally intelligent poetry. She often tackles difficult, traumatic or taboo subjects. (Some of you came a reading she featured in that I hosted last year where she set our Zoom screen on fire.)

Malika will explore how to be bold, daring and to stay with your poems for longer with more depth. Learn from a poetry master on how you can write about weighty, political, social and often personally difficult issues with authenticity and passion.

Malika will look at examples of contemporary poetry tackling some of the major issues of our time. We will discuss how these poems give permission, as well as offer techniques in order to write your own poems of magnitude. She will explore how African and Caribbean writers use techniques to explore what is often hidden, unspoken and systemically oppressive. There will be some sharing (but particularly as you may write about things that are challenging for you in your notebooks, there is no pressure to share at all.)

Malika Booker, is a poet, theatre-maker, performer and multi-disciplinary artist of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. She is winner of a Society of Authors Cholmondeley Award for poetry. She has won and been shortlisted for the Forward Best Single Poem Prize. Her collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas and the Seamus Heaney Centre prize.

Limited to 14 people only. 2.5hrs long with a short break.

double check your timezones:

UK 10.30am // Western Australia 5.30pm // Australian EST 7.30pm

A useful link for checking other time zones: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

£27GBP // $55AUD

Online on Zoom

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Masterclass 3

Dive into imaginative worlds with Caroline BirdMonday 17 May – SOLD OUT- Click here to CONTACT ME about the waiting list.

Explore imaginative blocks and ideas for jumping off into exciting poetic landscapes led by vivid imagery. Caroline will show you how to plunge into surprising and arresting imagery from the first line and enter worlds that are very real and captivating.

We dream in images. Imagery is the container of emotions, the potency of poetry. Caroline will offer plenty of ideas for creating vivid imagery and leave us with a writing exercise to share together. You’ll be sent a set of poems from Caroline in advance to help bring the workshop to life.

This is a rare opportunity for a small group masterclass with the winner of one of the biggest poetry prizes in 2020, The Forward Prizes. Caroline Bird is a poetry prodigy who published her first collection at 15 and she’s particularly well known for astonishing leaps of imagination and imagery.

Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. She has six collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Her most recent collection, The Air Year, won The Forward Prize for Poetry 2020, and was shortlisted for the Costa Prize. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and The Ted Hughes Award. A two-time winner of the Foyles Young Poets Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published by Carcanet in 2002 when she was 15. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.

Double check your timezones:

UK 10am // Western Australia 5pm // Australian EST 7pm

£25GBP // $50AUD

Limited to 14 people only. The session is 1.5 hours in total: one hour-long workshop with Caroline, followed by writing together with Cath Drake for half an hour.

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