The pleasures and puzzles of language

For nearly two decades, The Poetry School has run a programme of courses and workshops to teach adults how to read, write and love poetry.

poetry-wHowever long it is since you left school, the beginning of September always brings with it a little frisson of new school shoes, new pencil case excitement. If the twilit evenings and hint of leaf-fall are triggering a desire to get back to the classroom to learn new skills and meet new people, introduce yourself to the Poetry School on the borders of Waterloo. Spread over three shopfronts in Lambeth Walk, the Poetry School is coming up to its 20th anniversary year.

Students are a mixture of ages (from 17 to 80+) and have come to the School for a variety of reasons. Some are very committed to improving their pure poetry skills with a view to publication or performance, but others find that giving their minds over to the pleasures and puzzles of language for a couple of hours a week has a beneficial effect in the work-place. We have lots of media and creative professionals who enrol in search of ideas and new ways of thinking.

“media and creative professionals enrol in search of ideas and new ways of thinking

The conversation doesn’t stop once the class has finished. The Poetry School sits in the middle of a circle of local pubs and restaurants, and students are often to be found continuing their discussions late into the evening at one of them.

This Autumn, poet Chris McCabe and poet and artist Sophie Herxheimer are leading a short course on William Blake – eighteenth century poet, visionary and local Lambeth lad. Students will create new poems inspired by Blake – and one of the things that will kick start their imaginations is the set of Blakean mosaics (pictured) which are dotted round the train tunnels near the Poetry School’s classrooms.

As well as its courses and workshops, the Poetry School maintains a lively community of poetry writers via its website and social media channels, with students and writers popping in and out to respond to writing challenges. Find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (@poetryschool) to access some inspirational writing prompts. Here’s a recent one, what would you make of it?

What scares you the most? Is it on this list? Could writing a poem about it conquer your fear of it?

The Poetry School launches three seasons of courses and workshops a year. The Autumn term begins on 12 September and is now booking.

For details of courses and workshops
The Poetry School
81 Lambeth Walk
London SE11 6DX
t: 0207 582 1679

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