Another quick blog post with some updates about the Poetry Carousel residential course I’m running from the 7th-10th December 2018 with co-tutors Sean O’Brien, Andrew McMillan and Fiona Sampson. I’m very happy to announce that we have the fantastic poet Rishi Dastidar as our Guest Reader. Rishi will be joining us on the Saturday night of the course for dinner and a reading.
Rishi Dastidar is a fellow of The Complete Works, a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective, and also serves as chair of the writer development organization Spread The Word. His debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018.
Below you will find news of the workshops that we’ll be running over the Carousel weekend. As you can see from the workshop blurbs, they are the usual eclectic mix, so participants really will feel like they’ve been on a carousel!
The Poetry Carousel is currently sold out – however we do sometimes get last minute cancellations. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please ring Abbot Hall Hotel directly on 01539 532896.
Poetry Workshops, 2018 Poetry Carousel
The Long and the Short of It
Does size matter? Of course not – poems come in every imaginable length, from haiku to epic. And yet of course it does – those forms do very different things. We look at scale, structure, and ways to use proportion and other numerological devices in order not to constrict but to release a poem. But don’t worry. No algebra: only music. Which as it happens is some of the theory I’ll be bringing to our workshop too.
Think of those times when you’re walking around a city, or drinking a cup of tea, or staring down into a dim back yard. You’re doing more or less nothing, being nowhere in particular, with nothing much in mind. The world seems to be on a break. And then a door is left ajar, or a light comes on in a room seen across rooftops, and the quiet seems to listen to itself, and for no apparent reason two and two make five. We’ll be considering some poems that touch on this terrain, and writing poems of our own in order to explore it.
Making it Queer
If we trace back the roots of a word which is now being reclaimed by the LGBTQ community, we find its origins in ideas of that which is ‘oblique’ or ‘off-centre’, that which might be ‘pervese’ or ‘odd’ and in older ideas of ‘to twist’.
During this workshop we’ll consider not the queer content of a poem, but what it might mean, more broadly, to make a poem queer, to take our poems off-centre, to make them perverse, to twist them, just slightly, so that the reader encounters them in an utterly different way.
To Look Is An Act of Choice
In his book Ways of Seeing, John Berger wrote ‘We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.’ During this workshop we will be exploring what happens when we change our perspective by focusing on the finer details or zooming out for the bigger picture. What do we choose to look at in poetry, and what do we choose to avoid, and how can we explore in poetry the relationship between the things we look at and ourselves?