Collecting Poetry with Hannah Levene (six-week course)

Monday 2 September
National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall
£ 180.00 - (£150.00 conc)

Take those exciting first steps into building a poetry collection with this friendly, supportive six-week course led by Hannah Levene.

From poetry collections to record collections this course will consider poetry’s relationship to assemblages, objects, arrangements, piles, lists, and encourage participants to pay attention to affinities as well as to chance in order to expand the possibilities of the poem.

The course will draw inspiration from poets interested in innovation and play and pay close attention to queer and feminist poetics. Each session will consist of reading and discussing poems, followed by immersive writing prompts aimed at creating a generative writing environment for participants to produce and to collect new work. In this course you will produce new work, improve upon your confidence as a poet, and begin to configure a personal poetics as a foundation for future writing.

The course runs at National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall, 7-9pm, each Monday for six weeks.

Every class was engaging and I never lost interest even for a moment.


Course programme

Week one – Collecting

We will introduce ‘the poet as collector’ as our primary lens with which to read and write poetry throughout the course. Informed by the work of poet Ann Tardos and writer Dodie Bellamy, the writing workshop will explore writing as a process of “letting one word lead me to another” and all workshops will be devised to, as Bellamy states, let “the words tumble in”.

Week two – Lists

We will use the list form to assess the poem as a mode of sorting out versus proliferation, for finding clarity versus complication. The writing workshop will be aimed at each poet exploring their own relationship to these aspects using the list as our guiding principle. Our discussion will be informed by the work of Etel Adnan and Matias Viegener.

Week three – Objects

Zooming into our lists, we will read Gertrude Stein to (dis)orient our relationship to objects and the role they play in poem as well as in the life of the poet. Considering keepsakes, talisman, gifts, junk, our workshop will be formed around the idea of Show and Tell and explore the poem’s ability to do both.

Week four – Piles

In a material enactment of the theories we have been discussing throughout the course, this week we will take up our scissors to engage with poetry as collage paying attention to ideas of proximity, chance, and the tangential in the writing process. We will discuss ownership, citation, copying and pasting, drawing inspiration from the work of Audre Lorde and John Ashbery.

Week five – Resonance

We will consider the resonance between the poems we have read and written during the course paying attention to sameness, difference, repetition, and overlap, and start to consider our own poetry in conversation with others. At this late stage in the course, we will, in a sense, collect ourselves, in anticipation of the final week. The writing workshop will bring together the writing techniques we have covered and aim to write the poems that are leftover or in between.

Week six – Party

The final week will be a celebration of our new collections! The aim is not for poets to have produced a polished poetry collection but for there to have been a space opened up inside of each poet into which the poetry will have and will continue outside of the course, to tumble in. We will consider collections of people, of bodies, consider gatherings, meetings, and parties. The writing workshop will take the form of a poetry disco inspired by Whitney Houston’s proclamation, ‘I don’t know why I like it, I just do’.

How it works

This course takes place over six weeks.

  • No more than 15 students per course to maximise interaction with your tutor and coursemates
  • Live classes led by an experienced tutor
  • Classes include discussion and writing exercises, along with one workshopping session for each student, in which you’ll receive detailed feedback on your work
  • Course materials and notes for each week will be accessible 24/7 during the course, and for one year after the end of the course.

We can offer payment by instalments to help spread the cost of your live evening course. For further information please email [email protected].

Hannah Levene


Hannah Levene lives and writes in Norwich. Her prose and poetry has been published online at Blackbox Manifold, Hotel, Datableed, Fenwomen, and LitHub amongst others and she has worked with National Centre for Writing on their Wandering Words project and as part of their collaboration with Living Wage week. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Roehampton exploring the composition of new butch literature. Her novel Greasepaint is available from Nightboat Books.