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How to write contemporary poetry

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)

How to write contemporary poetry

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Event Details

Rumours of poetry's ill health are, as always, greatly exaggerated. Poetry continues to find new and innovative ways to adapt, and thrive, in the twenty-first century, whether it's Christian Bök encoding a poem into a strand of DNA, hipster poet and internet sensation Steve Roggenbuck bringing alt-lit to a new generation, or Poetry Parnassus releasing 100,000 poems over London's Southbank.

Join two of modern poetry's most distinctive contemporary voices for this exciting weekend masterclass examining the new opportunities the era offers poets. Over the two days you will be introduced to some key contemporary poets and the styles, techniques and perspectives that characterise their work, and develop your own ideas about how to refresh and invigorate your poems through exercises, workshops and discussions.

Course description

The class will be a mixture of practical and theoretical, and will explore issues and themes illustrated by examples from the genre before being discussed by the group. Participants will then have the opportunity to produce their own work through a series of writing exercises and finally to share their work with the group and receive feedback. Topics covered on the course include: 

  • The state of the art: how poetry is evolving in the twenty-first century
  • Dissecting the style and substance of poetry's contemporary voices
  • Contemporary poetry dos and don'ts, and poetry 'moves'
  • Breaking the law: taking risks in poetry
  • Cliché: use and abuse
  • How to be a poet in the self-publishing era
  • How to be original – or does that even matter?
  • Workshops and feedback sessions

This course is for you if...

  • You have some experience of writing poems but are looking for a fresh perspective or the chance to rethink, spur on or develop your approach
  • You're a fan of poetry looking to broaden or refocus your reading habits

PLEASE NOTE: This should be considered an intermediate level class, i.e. not for complete beginners. Participants should have written some poetry and be committed to developing their craft. Previous workshop experience helpful but not essential.

Tutor profiles

Emily Berry and Jack Underwood are part of an emerging generation of young British poets. Berry's debut poetry collection Dear Boy was published by Faber & Faber in 2013, winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. Underwood's pamphlet was published in 2009 as part of the Faber New Poets scheme, and his first full-length collection will be published by Faber in 2015. He teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, London and reviews new poetry for Poetry London and Poetry Review. Berry and Underwood have both taught for the Poetry School, and are past winners of the Eric Gregory Award (2007 and 2008), a prestigious prize for poets under thirty.

Their work has been widely anthologised, for example in Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (2009) and Dear World and Everyone In It: New Poetry in the UK (2013). Together (with three fellow poets) they co-edit Stop Sharpening Your Knives, a poetry anthology series showcasing new poetry.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about How to write contemporary poetry? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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How to write contemporary poetry
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