Please note, any issues with the booking links email Melanie Birch to secure your place!

Friday 12 May 2023

Workshop 1: Kim Moore

10-12 | Percy Building, Newcastle University | £20


Other Lives, Intertwined

Adriana Cavarero wrote that our existence ‘from beginning to end, is intertwined with other lives – with reciprocal exposures and innumerable gazes – and needs the other’s tale’.  In this workshop we will look at how poets write about people and what is communicated, misunderstood, translated or silenced between them before having a go at writing our own poems. 

Workshop 2: Clare Shaw

10-12 |Percy Building, Newcastle University |£20



Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!”  

There have always been ghostly presences in poetry – indeed, Denise Riley argues that poetry is itself a kind of ghost. In this workshop, we will explore the ways in which we are haunted – by experiences as far-reaching as loss, love, colonialism, homophobia and trauma. Following in the footsteps of writers like Shane McRae and Carolyn Forché, we will employ the ghost poem as a form of personal and political expression and critique. And drawing on haunting poetic techniques like rhyme, refrain and fragmentation, we’ll use the uncertainty at the heart of ghostly experiences to explore how we construct our own stories: “I know what I saw” …. 

Saturday 13 May 2023

Workshop 3: Ahren Warner

10-12 |Percy Building, Newcastle University |£20


If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it’s… 

In his 1917 essay on poetry, ‘Reflections on Vers Libre’, T.S. Eliot famously argues that ‘free verse’, a kind of poetry without rhyme, rhythm or formal pattern, does not really exist. 

Writing at the dawn of Modernism, this might sound like the cantankerous polemic of an erudite conservative (which, in fact, it is), but there is something more subtle to Eliot’s argument: that the break from traditional forms that ‘free poetry’ purported to enact was only really a new kind of dialogue with the stricter forms of literary tradition. 

This workshop will take Eliot’s position as it’s starting point, but move instead to think about poetry as a discipline, as a kind of writing practice in dialogue with, and operating in the shadows of, other disciplines: from the prose novel and non-fiction to film and art writing.

Together we will read, watch and listen to poems, and to the expanded poetics produced via other art forms, and we will try to think and to produce poems that inhabit a more relaxed relationship to the apparent boundaries of their own formal identity.

Workshop 4: Valzhyna Mort

12-2pm | Percy Building, Newcastle University | £20


Stay Restless

During our two hours together, we will trace a route a poet’s mind takes through a poem. We will talk about turns, leaps, lists, estrangement, image, metaphor, repetition, tone, and tension. The goal of this close-reading session is to give you generative writing prompts that will keep your mind turning towards surprise instead of stalling at the threshold of memory.