The Essential Poet's Toolbox for Readers and Writers
What you'll learn
- You will gain a deeper understanding of the techniques used in contemporary English-language poetry.
- Creative writers will become better equipped to use these techniques effectively in their own writing.
- Understanding these tools and techniques will allow poets to judge their own writing more objectively.
- Readers will gain an appreciation of the tools available to the poet and the effects these create.
- Readers will be able to apply their new knowledge to better judge the technical success of the poems they read.
- An interest in poetry and/or language.
- No previous academic study or qualifications are required.
- You should have at least an intermediate level of English, although the course has subtitles and much of the material is presented with accompanying on-screen motion graphics, which should make it easier to follow for non-native speakers.
For non-poets and for novice writers, modern poetry can seem very arbitrary: poor writers proclaim themselves poets and present us with chopped-up prose labelled as poetry. Unless we understand the poet's tools and techniques, we are powerless to discriminate between good and bad and recognise when we are being sold short.
This course aims to introduce some of the techniques used in modern English poetry and explain how they are used, leading to greater skill in writing and better appreciation when reading.
Learn to recognise and appreciate the techniques that lie at the heart of modern English poetry.
Discover what poetry is and how the definitions lead us towards the tools and techniques available to the poet.
Learn about the emotional effect of metre and discover the innate rhythm of the English language.
Take a closer look at sonnets, haiku and other poetic forms.
Explore the different types of rhyme and other sound effects.
Learn about format and layout, the poet's own specific tools, and discover how line breaks and line length affect the way a poem is read.
Explore other devices that bind a poem together and distinguish poetry from prose.
Note: The course is intended as a general overview to foster understanding and appreciation of the different tools, but does not offer in-depth instruction on each tool, nor on specific poetic forms.
Poetic techniques can be used to enrich creative writing of all kinds, as well as being useful in other genres, including commercial non-fiction and advertising copy.
Whether you want to read or write poetry, enhance your enjoyment by increasing your understanding of the poet's tools.
Poetry is one of the oldest art forms, a way of expressing and channeling our emotions. For both readers and writers, poetry offers a means of exploring topics that may be difficult to talk about: we turn to poetry in times of grief and in times of celebration; we write it to comfort ourselves and to communicate our experience with others; we read it to better understand own feelings and to learn about the world beyond our own experience.
Benefits of writing poetry include improved verbal expression, articulation, self-awareness, spiritual growth, and enhanced linguistic skills, while reading poetry encourages empathy, and memorising poetry can help long-term brain function.
The course contains more than 20 lectures and over 2 hours of video content. It is especially suited to novice poets and readers, as well as writers of other genres who are interested in expanding their repertoire or in understanding their poetical colleagues.
Note: the course focuses on modern English poetry; it is non-technical and does not attempt to teach formal literary criticism.
I have been reading and writing poetry since I was a child; when I first started reading. I simply enjoyed the poems, although I didn't know why, so when I started to write, I just wrote what felt good to me. Sometimes one poem seemed more successful than another, but I didn't have any objective criteria by which to judge that success. Then, when I started to study the tools and techniques that are the essence of poetry, it was like adding a whole layer of meaning and it suddenly all became a whole lot more fun.
Later, I started to attend writing workshops and I realised that much of the time even writers of other genres don't really understand what is going on inside a poem: all too often, they would tell me they thought poetry was entirely a matter of personal taste and if I'd written my poem like that it must, automatically, be right.
I developed this course to shine a light on to some of the inner workings of poetry, to enable others to understand and appreciate what poets are doing, and to help them recognise when this is working. Like most things in life, poetry is more fun when you know what's going on: I hope that by taking the course, you, too, can share the fun.
Who this course is for:
- Poets, especially novices.
- Readers of contemporary poetry.
- Creative writers who would like discover how poetic techniques can enrich their writing.
- Writers in other genres who would like to know more about poetry and perhaps expand their repertoire.
- Note: the course is non-technical and does not attempt to teach formal literary criticism. The sample sessions are typical of the style and format of the whole course.
Award-winning poet, writer, translator and businesswoman, with a career spanning IT, teaching, design and publishing, Gwyneth specialises in copy writing and transcreation, particularly in the fields of lifestyle, travel and technology.
As joint owner of the UK creative agency and publishing house Tantamount, Gwyneth works with businesses, educators and freelance creatives on projects that draw together the threads of publishing, design, technology and training.
As a writer, she is fascinated by the multi-layered aspects of language revealed through translation and poetry, and her creative writings explore the borderlands between writer and narrator, between translation and creation, and between memoir and invention.
Over the years, Gwyneth has organised and been an active member of a number of writers' groups. She is Digital Advisor to the SWWJ, the UK's oldest professional organisation for women writers, for whom she has run workshops and courses in subjects including creative writing, translation, and technology for writers. As well as running workshops, she was poet in residence for TEDx Leamington Spa in 2017 and is a regular at open mikes and on local radio.
You can find out more about Gwyneth at her website, where you'll find information about her books (available from Amazon), as well as links to her personal blog and some of her other writing activities.