Propel: The Poetry Masterclass Series
Starts: Wed 3 Oct 2018
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 7 Wed evenings + 1 Sat morning
Cost: €250/€230 Members
This unique course offers new, emerging and professional poets an inside look at the craft and processes of those who have previously excelled at the form. This series of curated masterclasses, taking place over eight weeks, is designed to encourage the experienced poet to step outside his/her comfort zone through exposure to the working techniques and ideas of practising poets at the top of their game. Over an eight-week period, a different poet will deliver a masterclass on a theme of their choice.
Join Sarah Clancy, Theo Dorgan, Gerard Smyth and others to discover new ways to get to the heart of your own work.
Week 1: Revisiting the Line with Jane Clarke
Wed 3 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
Let’s look at the line afresh; examining how poets use line breaks to focus the reader’s attention, to surprise, to create pattern or dissonance, to slow or propel momentum, to increase or decrease intensity. How does lineation enhance the music and meaning of the poem? Participants are invited to bring three of their own poems to the class so that they can also reflect on how they use the line and what they might do differently.
Week 2: The Poet and the Poem with Catherine Phil McCarthy
Wed 10 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
This session investigates the point of view in a range of poems. It considers poems that begin from moments of observation that come to life through first, second or third pronoun, or none at all where the poet appears absent in the lines. In the process we’ll discuss changes in the handling of tone, voice, and metaphor, and who or where the speaker is depending on the perspective. Participants are invited to send poems at least two days in advance of the Masterclass.
Week 3: Spoken Word Poetry with Sarah Clancy
Sat 13 Oct • 10.30AM - 12.30PM
Participants will be introduced to some powerful pieces of spoken word and political poetry where the poets are saying something that matters deeply to them in a way that really gets through to their audience. Sarah will ask attendees to examine the techniques used in the writing and performance of these pieces with a view to adding more poetic tools to their own toolkit. Participants will then have a chance to experiment with writing their own personal poetic manifestos in a relaxed environment. This will be an informal workshop and is suitable even for those who dislike spoken word poetry but who might wish to add impact to their own written work. Poets featured will include Danez Smith, Warsan Shire, Andrea Gibson, Claudia Rankine, Toria Garbutt, and Rafeef Ziadah.
Week 4: Crediting Poetry with Philip McDonagh
Wed 24 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
What looks the strongest has outlived its term:
the future lies with what's affirmed from under.
(Seamus Heaney, From the Canton of Expectation)
In this workshop, we will ask how politically minded poets such as Thomas Moore, WB Yeats, and Seamus Heaney responded to the circumstances of their time and whether they were seeking to affirm political or cultural values in their poetry. We will then look at our own writing in the light of this discussion, focussing on two questions:
- is 'crediting poetry' analogous to crediting political possibilities?
- what are the possibilities that might inspire a young Irish or European poet today? Or the dangers that might 'hurt her into poetry'?
Participants are recommended to study Seamus's 1995 Nobel Lecture 'Crediting Poetry' in advance of the workshop and to submit ideas on current possibilities and dangers to help inspire our group (emails please to: email@example.com
Week 5: Spoken Word Poetry as Sociopolitical Tool with Clara Rose Thornton
Wed 31 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
Granting specificity and dimension to the study of spoken word, this masterclass explores performance poetry via historical, cultural, digital, and political lenses. Participants dive into ancient roots of spoken word, studying African griot and Irish and Scottish seanchaí traditions. Participants leap into the now, analysing performance poetry’s distinct capabilities in contemporary society as compared to page poetry. Digital ubiquity and our tense Western political climate provide the backdrop to a dynamic contemporary study. Artists surveyed include The Lost Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Saul Williams, Hollie McNish, Kate Tempest, Neil Hilborn, and Danez Smith.
Week 6: Editing and Revision in the Writing Process with Gerard Smyth
Wed 7 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
Comparing a poem to a newborn child, the Brazilian poet Adelia Prado likens revision and rewriting to clearing away the placenta, what she called the bloody evidence of the process of birth.
This session will focus on the necessity and importance of these two functions as part of the creative process looking at Gerard Smyth’s own experience as a longtime contributor to journals and his role as a Poetry Editor who receives a vast amount of new work. The session will also address the Do’s and Don’ts of sending out work to editors.
Week 7: Travelling the Distance with Maria McManus
Wed 14 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
Who is your audience? How might we diversify the audience for poetry? How might we engage with people beyond those who write it, love it, read it and enjoy it already? How can we make sure we are not just echoing in a silo? How can we get the message 'out there'? This practical workshop will support writers to critically evaluate who their audience is, discuss ways of connecting with them, not only through readings, in print and online but also through examination of other methods such as interventions and innovations in public spaces.
Week 8: Step Out of Your Own Way with Theo Dorgan
Wed 21 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
In revising a poem, the hardest thing is to step out of your own way, to allow the poem to find its own last and best shape. This workshop will examine practical ways to look at what your poem most fully intends to be, and how you can do your best to let it be. *Participants will be asked to put forward 3 poems each for distribution to the group; these poems will provide the material for our practical work, so they should be poems with which the author is not yet satisfied.
About the Poets
Sarah Clancy is the author of three collections of poetry, including The Truth and Other Stories ( Salmon Poetry, 2014), Stacey and the Mechanical Bull (Lapwing Press, Belfast, 2011) and Thanks for Nothing, Hippies (Salmon Poetry, 2012). She has another collection due out soon if she ever gets her act together.
Jane Clarke’s first collection,The River, was published by BloodaxeBooks in 2015. Her second collection, When the Tree Falls, will be published in 2019.
Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s collections include The Invisible Threshold (Dedalus, 2012). She received The Lawrence O Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry in 2014 and is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review. A forthcoming collection,Daughters of the House is due for publication.
Philip McDonagh served as Ireland's ambassador at a number of posts, retiring in 2017. His poetry collections include the The Song The Oriole Sang (Dedalus 2010). His verse translation of Nikolay Gumilev's Gondla was published by Arlen House in 2016. Philip currently holds academic appointments at Princeton and in Ireland.
Maria McManus is a poet and playwright born between the bridges of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh and now lives in Belfast. She is the author of Available Light (Arlen House, 2017), We are Bone (2013), The Cello Suites (2009) and Reading the Dog (2006) (Lagan Press). Her writing for theatre includes work with Kabosh, TinderBox, Red Lead, Replay, Big Telly and Off the Rails, a dance company.
Gerard Smyth is a poet, critic and journalist. He has published nine collections of poetry, including, The Yellow River, with artwork by Seán McSweeney (Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, 2017), A Song of Elsewhere (Dedalus Press 2015), and The Fullness of Time: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010). He was the 2012 recipient of the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award and is co-editor of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press), the One City, One Book choice in 2014. He is a member of Aosdána and Poetry Editor of The Irish Times.
Clara Rose Thornton is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, event organiser, and RTÉ radio and television broadcaster. Her work focuses on the arts and their intersection with social justice, identity politics, history, and place. She is a multiple slam poetry champion, including a three-time Dublin/Leinster Poetry Slam Champion. She performs her provocative spoken word at festivals and venues across Europe and North America.