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I’ve just finished another online course hosted by the Poetry SchoolAccidental Love Poems with David Tait.

Image courtesy of The Poetry School

Founded in 1997 by poets Jane Duran, Mimi Khalvati and Pascale Petit, the Poetry School is a plethora of all things poetry and the UK’s largest provider of poetry education. It offers a variety of courses of differing lengths and levels, with a new program published each term. I opt for the international courses using its online platform CAMPUS, as there’s no live chat allowing me to write and feed back on work at a time to suit before each deadline.

David is a British-born poet working as a teacher in China and I’ve completed a previous course by him that focused on cities. The prompts have been wonderful and inspired some incredible work, and I’m rather happy with my own batch of poems produced. Before this I did Writing Emotion with Rebecca Tamás and next term I’ve signed up for Elena Karina Byrne‘s Ekphrasis, Art and Translation.

What I love about these courses is discovering new poets, not just through fellow students, but through the assignments and reading set, plus feedback is invaluable, both honing your skills providing it and applying it to your work. And of course they drive you to write! So if you haven’t already, check out the Poetry School, if only to explore the variety of resources and information available.

April’s already here and I haven’t blogged or published, but I have been writing. One of my monthly poetry groups has resurrected itself, albeit online, and I’m near completion of another Poetry School course called Writing Emotion: Contemporary Confessional Poetry.

image courtesy of The Poetry School

Facilitated by Rebecca Tamás, author of the poetry collection WITCH, a blend of feminist exploration and occult expression published by Penned in the Margins, this course invites us to give breath and bone to some difficult stuff, to give it a voice. Over five fortnightly assignments and reading the likes of Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire, we are challenged to tackle experiences and feelings through the safety of prompts, such as masks, spells and play. The emphasis, however, is on an outward view; to share intimacies the reader can connect with and relate to, so they experience our emotion as their own.

It’s not surprising that with recent events, the poems I’ve produced reference the invasion of Ukraine and climate change (both wars involving humankind and no winners), one of which was my first specular, a challenge in itself, but a satisfying one. I have been surprised though with where the prompts have taken me, for example, what starts off as a poem about the man in the moon morphs into something else entirely, weaving in elements from my past I thought I’d tidied, which is the power of confessional poetry I guess, catharsis at its best.

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