Starts: Thur 16 Feb 2017 - This course has now passed.
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Duration: 8 Weeks

Venue: Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Co. Derry
Cost: €88*/£80

*Please note this cost is based on the currency exchange rate of £80 on 11 October 2016.

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 a two-week period, a different poet will deliver a masterclass on a theme of their choice.

Join Erin HallidayMoyra Donaldson, Abby OliveiraStephen Sexton and another tbc to discover new ways to get to the heart of your own work.

Week 1: ‘A Poem is a Closed Fist’ with Erin Halliday
Thur 16 Feb • 7PM - 9PM 

In the first session, we will investigate poetic inspiration, using Heaney’s ‘Personal Helicon’ as a launching-point for exploring where poems come from. Poems featured will include Ted Hughes’ ‘The Thought Fox’, Robert Frost’s ‘After Apple-picking’ and ‘Gathering Leaves’, among others. We will use poets’ own ideas on inspiration as frameworks for drafting our own poems, applying devices such as rhyme, themes, or images as starting-points.

 

Week 2: Lineage and Heritage with Erin Halliday
Thur 23 Feb • 7PM - 9PM 

Extending our explorations from the first week, we will look at methodologies of contemporary poets, where they find inspiration in previous poets’ work. Poetic heritage and lineage will be explored, focussing upon Michael Longley’s adaptations of Classical Greek and Latin poetry throughout his career.

Week 3: Poetry From Experience with Moyra Donaldson
Thur 2 March • 7PM - 9PM 

Most writers mine their own lives for material.  This session will look at how we can create poetry by interrogating our life experiences. It will include some classic and contemporary examples, alongside group discussion and the creation of new writing within the class. It will also look at the writing process, and tips and techniques you can apply to your own work.

Week 4: Hearing Voices with Moyra Donaldson
Thurs 9 March • 7PM - 9PM 

This workshop will look at the use of persona in poetry. Using examples from contemporary poets, we will examine how writing in the voice of ‘an other’ can bring fresh perspectives and liberate us to say unexpected things. The session will include group discussion and the creation of new writing. It will also look at the connection between form, content and meaning.

Week 5 & 6: Ekphrasis: Poems after Images with Stephen Sexton
Thur 16 & Thur 23 March • 7PM - 9PM 

“What is description, after all, / but encoded desire?” writes Mark Doty. From Ancient Greek rhetoric to shields, urns, paintings, photographs and The Simpsons, poets and writers have been interested in art objects and images for their immediacy and representational power. This workshop will include discussions of important examples in the genre of ekphrastic poetry, as well as some approaches and strategies for describing images and developing new creative work. 

Week 7: Home: A personal biomyth with Abby Oliveira
Thurs 30 March • 7PM - 9PM 

Our memories and experiences often blur the lines between history and myth.  We create and live in our own personal biomyths - a term coined by the late poet Audre LordeWe will consider the biomyth in relation to the theme of ‘home’.  Participants will consider/discuss the elements of their own biomyth as inspiration for a more personally-focused poem on the theme.

Week 8: Home: A polyvocal biomyth with Abby Oliveria
Thurs 6 April • 7PM - 9PM 

Polyvocality is defined as the use of multiple voices as a text’s narrative mode; participants will explore the use of polyvocality in creating more diverse readings of a theme, and how the use of different ‘voices’ in a poem can enhance its dynamism and appeal.  Participants are asked to source pieces of text that relate to the theme of ‘home’ from a variety of sources.  For example: media reports, song lyrics, recipes, report cards etc; anything that feels pertinent to the writer’s interpretation of the theme.  

About the Poets

Erin Halliday was born in Belfast in 1982, and studied Classics and English at Queen’s University, before taking an MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.  In 2012, her pamphlet ‘Chrysalis’ won the Templar Poetry Pamphlet & Collection Awards. In 2013, she received an award from the Arts Council to fund the completion of her first collection, 'Pharmakon', published in 2015. She is the 2016 recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry’s bursary award. 

Moyra Donaldson is an award winning poet and creative writing facilitator from Co Down. She has published six collections of poetry and is widely published in literary magazines in Europe and USA.

Abby Oliveira is a performance poet based in Derry.  She was the 2014 and 2015 Lingo festival poetry slam champion, and recently completed a spoken-word tour in Australia, supported by the Arts Council NI.  She is currently working on a play in conjunction with Tinderbox theatre co (Belfast) which will combine elements of performance poetry and theatre, and will be part of the company’s upcoming Take-Away Theatre initiative.

Stephen Sexton is a PhD student in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. His thesis looks at recent ekphrastic poetry. Stephen's poems have recently appeared in Poetry London and Poetry Ireland Review. In 2012 he was the winner of the inaugural Funeral Services Northern Ireland National Poetry Competition. His pamphlet, Oils, was the Poetry Book Society's Winter Pamphlet Choice for 2014-2015.

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Kindly supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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