The Poetry Masterclass
Alvy_Carragher Irish Writers Centre
Eleanor_Hooker Irish Writers Centre
Kit_Fryatt Irish Writers Centre
Macdara_Woods Irish Writers Centre
Medbh_McGuckian Irish Writers Centre
Pat_Boran Irish Writers Centre
Harry_Clifton Irish Writers Centre
Peter_Sirr Irish Writers Centre
Irish Writers Centre - Dublin, Ireland

The Poetry Masterclass Series with Multiple Poets

Regular price €230.00

Starts: Wed 28 Sept
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 8 Weeks
Cost: €250/€230 Members

Spring 2016 - This course has now passed

This unique course offers new, emerging and professional poets an inside look at the working techniques and processes of poets who have previously excelled at the craft. Incorporating a range of themes including the connection between the personal and the political as well as the art of reinventing memoir, attendees will have an exclusive opportunity to look at new ways to explore and engage with poetry, in order to develop and grow their own work. Each week, a different poet will deliver a masterclass on a theme of their choice. Join Pat Boran, Alvy Carragher, Harry Clifton, Kit Fryatt, Eleanor Hooker, Medbh McGuckian, Peter Sirr and Macdara Woods to discover new ways to get to the heart of your work.

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Poetry Masterclass Propel


Week 1: The Middle Stretch with Harry Clifton
Wed 28 Sept • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

'This middle stretch' wrote Louis MacNeice 'is bad for poets'. Both the going back to rudiments of vision and technique and the re-invention of the poetic self in middle age are areas of consideration in this session.

Week 2: Thinking like a poet with Peter Sirr
Wed 5 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Les Murray said ‘You’ve got to be able to dream at the same time as you think to write poetry. You think with a double mind’. This session will focus on learning to think like a poet and investigate how to attempt to use our double minds to spark the beginnings of new poems.

Week 3: The Personal and the Political with Medbh McGuckian
Wed 12 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Here Medbh McGuckian will discuss poems on the 1916 rebellion and compare with modern Troubles poems to examine how, or if, poets can learn from these to incorporate the personal with the political.

Week 4: Scaffolding for the well-made clock* with Macdara Woods
Wed 19 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Pumping the sewage. Connection, Coincidence  and Translation. The well-stocked mind /the foul rag and bone shop. These are all possible ways into a discussion of how to write poetry. While examining these propositions, and others as they may arise, we shall read and discuss poems, work by the students and whoever or whatever may come up in context. *Attendees will need to submit three poems at least two weeks before this session and work by each individual participant will be considered by the whole group.

Week 5: The Art of Reinventing Memory in Poetry with Alvy Carragher
Wed 26 Oct • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Memory is a story passed along, a glimpse backwards, a part of us that can never fully be recaptured, that will never fully be true. In this interactive course participants will be asked to explore how memory is a force that has been twisted and manipulated to create poetry, and to find ways in which they can reinvent their own memory or that of others. Memory will be treated as a tool to be used, manipulated and transformed.  

Week 6: The Physical and the Metaphysical with Eleanor Hooker

Wed 2 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 
This session will examine where meaning exists in a poem and whether it is a necessary condition to appreciate it.  Attendees will be asked to consider the following quotes and poems in advance of the class: "Poems, like dreams, have a visible subject and an invisible one. The invisible one is the one you can't choose, the one that writes itself" Alice Oswald from Get Writing,2004; "A poem is somehow alive. There's a more-than-enoughness of life and of language in it. It is that to which you being says Yes." Seamus Heaney, BBC2, October 1997.

Week 7: Revising & Editing Your Work with Pat Boran
Wed 9 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 
Knowing where a poem is going is a good thing; not knowing is arguably better. In this session participants will learn to look for unplanned pattern and continuity, and see how recognising it might allow them to revise and open up their own poems.

Week 8:Losing your Voice with Kit Fryatt  
Wed 16 Nov • 6.30PM - 8.30PM
This session will use a series of exercises to explore poetic alternatives and challenges to the lyric self: for example, writing in a persona, collaborative writing, and the use of 'found', non-poetic texts. We'll also discuss--with practical examples--how performing poetry shapes the poet's sense of self and self-expression.

About the Poets

Harry Clifton was Ireland Professor of Poetry 2010-2013. Ireland and its Elsewheres, his lectures have just appeared rom UCD Press. His Portobello Sonnets are forthcoming from Bloodaxe Books and Wake Forest Press.

Peter Sirr’s latest collection, The Rooms, was published by Gallery Press in 2014. The Thing Is, published by Gallery Press in 2009, was awarded the Michael Hartnett Prize in 2011. He has seven poetry collections published by Gallery Press.

Medbh McGuckian was born in 1950 in Belfast where she still lives and where she taught for many years at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. Among the accolades she has received are the Rooney Prize, the American Ireland Fund Literary Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

Macdara Woods has been publishing since his teens and has given readings from Moscow to Berkeley, and from Toronto to Buenos Aires. He has published twenty books, 14 of them poetry, has issued a number of CDs, and has worked with musicians and composers in Ireland, Italy and the U.S. His latest book, Music From The Big Tent, (Dedalus), was launched on May Day 2016.

Alvy Carragher is an award-winning poet, whose first collection Falling in Love with Broken Things is available from Salmon Poetry. She has a First Class Honours in her MA in Writing from NUIG. She's performed across the country, as well as in Edinburgh, and recently represented the Poetry Ireland Introduction Series at a reading in New York.

Eleanor Hooker is an Irish Poet and Writer. The Shadow Owner’s Companion (Dedalus Press) is her first collection of poetry.

Pat Boran is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction as well as the popular writers’ handbook, The Portable Creative Writing Workshop. A former presenter of The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1, he is currently editor/publisher at the Dedalus Press and a member of Aosdána.

Kit Fryatt is a lecturer in English at Dublin City University, a poet and performer who has also been extensively involved in poetry events organisation. Recent poetry publications include The Co.Durham Miner's Granddaughter's Farewell to the Harlan County Miner's Grandson (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2013).


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