Start Writing Poetry with Helen Ivory
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Where do poems begin? How can we make language sing? Whether you’re new to writing poems or have dabbled in the past, join Helen Ivory on a journey into the transformative world of poetry. You’ll read inspiring poets, explore how poems take shape, and begin to create and share your own work with a friendly supportive group.
This course is for those who have never written poetry before, or who have done some writing but not in a sustained way. It is also for those who may have written poetry, but who have had little or no feedback and would like to improve.
“I thought it was all a brilliant experience and has changed my writing for the better. Helen was absolutely wonderful.”
Previous poetry student
You will learn to:
- Consider different sources for poems
- Use the imagination and memory
- Observe and listen
- Study poetic form
- Explore examples of imagery and metaphor
- Examine contemporary poetry
- Play with language
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Feel confident to write poetry
- Explore the power of language and use it more confidently, skillfully and appropriately
- Begin to develop your own voice
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of poetic form
- Keep a notebook/writing journal
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.
The course is divided into six modules, each of which introduces an aspect of the craft of writing poetry. At the end of each module, the tutor will set an assignment. You will receive written feedback from your tutor for all six modules, with hints and tips on how to strengthen your poem.
The modules are posted fortnightly. Every two weeks you will submit an assignment to your tutor, who will then respond with constructive feedback and advice.
Module One – What is Poetry Anyway?
We will think about what poetry is, and how it is different from prose. We will look at some poems about poetry and some quotations about poetry to help us with our thinking. We will consider where poems come from and generate some writing exercises that will help take us there.
Module Two – The Image
We will look at ways you can make images with words with as few brush strokes as possible. We will consider the simile and how to make words work really hard in order to create original and exciting images.
Module Three – The Metaphor
One of the ways you can create imagery in poems is by building metaphors. We will explore just what a metaphor is and consider what happens when you extend one over the whole of a poem.
Module Four – White Space
The most obvious way in which poems separate themselves from prose is the way they use the white space of the page. We will look at line breaks and stanza breaks and think about when to use them and what effect they have on your poem.
Module Five – Who’s Talking?
We will consider the speaker of your poem. The narrative ‘I’ of your poem does not have to be you, which can be liberating. We will think about what mirrors might say if they could talk and how sloth might sound.
Module Six – Musicality
Poetry comes from song, and in this module we will look at some poems that use repetition as a device and focus on the way the sound of a poem is as important as the images it makes.
About the tutor
Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist. Her fifth Bloodaxe collection is The Anatomical Venus (May 2019) examines how women have been portrayed as ‘other’; as witches; as hysterics with wandering wombs and as beautiful corpses cast in wax, or on mortuary slabs in TV box sets. She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears. Fool’s World , a collaborative Tarot with Tom de Freston (Gatehouse Press) won the 2016 Saboteur Best Collaborative Work award. A book of mixed media poems Hear What the Moon Told Me appeared from KFS in 2016, and a chapbook Maps of the Abandoned City was published by SurVision Press (January 2019). She lives in Norwich with her husband, the poet Martin Figura. She has nearly 20 years of teaching experience at all levels and as well as teaching for UEA/NCW has taught for for The Poetry School, The Arvon Foundation and The Poetry Society. Website