Poetry of the Spirit: a workshop

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Winchester Discovery Centre, Saturday 28th September

10am – 4pm, £25 (£22.50 concessions)

Autumn is just around the corner, so it’s time for new classes and courses. Poetry of the Spirit is my first offering this term.

I have always thought of poetry as a spiritual art. For me, as for many others, the ultimate purpose of poetry is to reach past what’s in the ordinary world, in our daily lives, and find something beyond. Even when a poem is about something as resolutely physical as a stone, or as mundane as chatter on a bus, I believe that the writer will be trying to find something wider, deeper, stronger, that lies behind, or above, or within the subject matter. Postmodern thought may be fascinating and tempting stuff, but I don’t believe its statement that we can’t get beyond language; that poetry is only a rhetorical trick. If I did, I’d stop writing. Poetry had its origins partly in a desire to express something of the divine in language, I think it’s still trying to do the same thing today.

That is the kind of writing about ‘Spirit’ that I will be looking at in this workshop. I will draw on the poetry of great English Christian poets such as Donne, Herbert, and Hopkins; and I will bring in  poetry by contemporary believers in different religions. But I will also be looking at poets with no specific religious beliefs, but whose work nonetheless explores that awareness of something other, and the search for what it might be.

At the same time, I will be helping you to create your own poems that try to convey some aspect of the spiritual. If you have a religious belief, all well and good, but it’s not essential at all for this workshop Merely wanting to make poetry will mean that you have the tools you will need to take part, and find it rewarding. So I hope you will come along.


Booking is through Winchester Discovery Centre: online box office, on 01962 873603, or in person at the Box Office.


Image from Oddsock on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/ Used under Creative Commons.

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