LYRICISM in Lambeth

Technical and inspirational tuition from poetry’s most influential figures by Chloe Hodge


celebrating its 16th Birthday this year, The Poetry School was established by Mimi Khalvati, Jane Duran and Pascale Petit due to a shared ambition to teach the technical side of poetry to a wide and varied audience. Beginning as a series of discussions around a kitchen table, the school moved into rented spaces across London before taking on its own classrooms in Lambeth. It now also holds classes and workshops in Exeter, Durham and Manchester, and has recently gained an international audience through comprehensive online courses.

Each year professional writers approach The Poetry School with the intention of passing on their passion to the 900 budding poets, including teenagers, young professionals and retirees, who attend the school for anything from a weekend workshop to a year-long course. Whilst each class will inevitably teach the necessary scaffolding of poetry – rhyme, meter, form – they are generally governed by the interests of the tutor, whose specialisms range from writing sonnets about the solar system to the poetry within comic books. Always practising poets, tutors can also provide students with practical advice on how to really get ahead in the world of poetry.

This effect of this is clear as a vast number of the school’s students – from beginners to already published poets – go on to win prizes, take jobs in leading universities and produce books. Of course, the one thing that brings together the school’s varied alumni is an urge to illustrate experience and convey emotion through beautifully written, rhythmic language.

In many ways this unification of like-minded individuals is as valuable as the school’s formal tuition; allowing students to discuss ideas, hold group crits, collaborate and even just socialise – evening classes often being followed by a poetic pub trip.

To suit their studentship The Poetry School holds over forty courses and workshops each year, almost always outside of working hours and teaching a huge range of styles and disciplines. Term starts on the 16th September with classes held by tutors including Hannah Lowe, shortlisted for the Forward Prize; Penelope Shuttle, esteemed English poet; and Ahren Warner, Editor of leading international magazine, Poetry London.

Even with such celebrated writers passing on their expertise, The Poetry School remains affordable and can also offer grants covering up to 70% of any course price. It began as, and is conscious to remain, an inclusive circle of friends brought together by the desire to hone in on everyday experiences, transforming them into something material

81 Lambeth Walk
London Borough of Lambeth
SE11 6DX
t: 020 7582 1679

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