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How to Write Poetry: Form and Feeling | Goldsmiths University

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SE14 6NW

Goldsmiths, University of London

Lewisham Way

London

SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

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Wordsworth defined poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.’ While ‘feelings’ are an important aspect of poetry, form also helps to shape ideas in interesting ways. We’ll study great traditional and contemporary poets as a way to produce our own new writing. Inspired and informed by what we read, we’ll craft our own verse, learning about sound techniques, line breaks, imagery, and poetic language, using objects, memory and life experience to develop our ‘spontaneous overflow.’

This 10-week course is suitable for both new and experienced writers. You will receive practical guidance on how to read and write poetry, simultaneously broadening your literary knowledge through critical thinking, and sustained focus on improving your writing technique. Each lesson will include an initial workshop of previously written verse. This will enable the poet to develop their ability to comment upon their own work, and for the rest of the class to focus on developing critical analysis, in their role as reviewer. These workshops will be focused on providing positive and constructive feedback, in an effort to build a useful and mutually supportive working group.

We will then perform a close reading of selected verse, using both traditional and contemporary examples, in order to explore formal context and development in relation to our own workt. This will be followed by a discussion of formal aspects, as well as questions of techniques and experimentation. Prompts will be provided so that you can then begin to draft your formal piece, finishing the work at home between classes. Our work in class will be supported by closed social media group sessions dealing with suggested further reading, queries and practical advice on competitions, submissions and other literary opportunities.

Over the 10-week period we will pay close attention to ten different poetic forms, including: the nocturne, haibun, prose poem, villanelle, golden shovel, pantoum, epistle, elegy, acrostic, couplet, ekphrastic. Other associated poems may inform the classwork as examples, and a wide selection will ensure a commitment to diversity of culture and voice.

Why Study this Course?

• Immerse yourself in published poetry in order to understand and appreciate what poetic form can achieve.
• Apply form to your own writing, developing a sense of the meaningful relationship between form and subject matter.
• Explore your own imagination and past for emotional content and narrative to employ within your poetry.
• Create a set of workshopping tools with which to edit, revise and polish your own work, while offering constructive feedback to others.
• Learn about poetry magazines, journals and contests and how best to present you work in order to get it in print.
• Develop your critical skills and practice how to articulate your feedback relation to others’ work as well as apply others’ suggestions to your own writing.
• Cultivate literary skills that can be transferred to other fields of work and to future writing projects.


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SE14 6NW

Goldsmiths, University of London

Lewisham Way

London

SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

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