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Poetry Workshop 1


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5

Module description

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. St Augustine.

See the World in a Different Way: Contemporary Poetry of Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia

No queues, no security checks, no footprints, no delays. In this module we travel far and wide without leaving Bloomsbury, through the poetry being written around the world today.

Following an itinerary of close readings, writing exercises and the process of the workshop, we will immerse ourselves in the literal and figurative visions of poets seeing the world - their world and ours - as poets, from a perspective and in a language that is not ours, exploring new ways of allowing our experiences to enliven our perspective on the world and our writing in it. En route, we will develop a sense of what's now and new in poetry out there.

Among the themes we will visit: staying within and going beyond borders, cultural liberties and aesthetic restraints, what it means to be of a particular time and place, what it means to feel like a stranger, what it is to be at home, what it means to be far from home and, finally, in what ways poetry and travel can be said to be, in some essential sense, alike. Because we will be reading deeply of poetry which, even in translation, will feel foreign, we will also take a brief tour of some of the philosophical and practical questions of translation.

This course will include an excursion to the National Gallery, where we will translate a painting into a poem, and require students to view a contemporary foreign film of their choice.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate awareness and control of the elements of poetry
  • discuss and evaluate the work of fellow students and established writers in relation to elements of craft
  • interpret, self-evaluate and communicate constructive feedback
  • maintain a regular writing habit and produce more effective creative work independently
  • use language more confidently, precisely and imaginatively
  • experiment with style and form
  • solve craft-related problems in your poetry writing
  • deepen your knowledge and understanding of world poetry
  • think critically and independently about creative works you have written and read
  • begin to develop the ability to edit and revise, to apply technique and critical analysis to the development of a piece of creative work
  • work more efficiently and constructively within a group to critique work
  • respond more effectively to the work of others; to participate in workshop or small group discussion by listening and contributing ideas in a sensitive and informed manner.