teaching Maintenant for the Poetry School in 2015 as an International course

I'm really delighted to say that in January 2015 I shall be once again teaching my Maintenant course for the Poetry School. This is exciting on two fronts:

The first is that this course, the first time round, was undoubtedly my most positive experience teaching, ever. I got very lucky with the group of people who came to share their thoughts, but also years of research, really from the start of my writing as a whole, as well as from the 98 issue deep interview series I ran here www.maintenant.co.uk, into contemporary European poetry came to bear. I knew more than I had thought I knew, and had a passion for much that I had forgotten. This in the ideas behind the movements more than anything - in teaching the course I came to realise so many of these brave, wondrous engagements with experimental literature on the continent since WWII had genuine and fully realised political, ideological and philosophical ideas driving them, and these were good ideas. Not at all pretentious or removed, so many of these movements were about responding to the horrors of the middle 20th century and could be gleaned for the unique problems, and opportunities of our time. So I realised more than I had that the European avant garde was wholly relevant to me, that I shared, often, its concerns, and so took much away in realisation of how and why my writing had become what it has. I think the 16 people who came every two weeks to speak with me at the Poetry school thought so too. So we engaged deeply with the potential of technology and writing, of political and social engagement, of collaboration and community. Their amazing energy and their desire to make these historical groups and movements new and real to them was palpable, and amongst other things, at one of my events celebrating Danish poetry, they did this:

The second reason in that this second go of Maintenant is an International course. This means it can be taken by anyone in the world and, I would hope, many from Europe as well as beyond. It's very exciting to be able to relate my ideas and my thoughts about these 5 great movements with people who have a wholly other perspective than my own. This accessibility is such an exciting prospect, and a credit to the innovative pedagogical approach of the poetry school and will undoubtedly produce a really interesting experience for me, as much as, I hope, those who take up the course. Moreover it means the course is assignment driven, i.e. writing driven, and this was always the hope, that the course would be a platform for others to create their own work, their own movements, or at least radical and personal ideas for themselves and their writing. Here is the syllabus:

Week One:  – Oulipo
Georges Perec, Jacques Roubeau, Raymond Queneau up to Frederic Forte and British Oulippeans like Philip Terry. The constraints that emancipate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oulipo

Week Two:  – Austrian postwar modernism
Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, Elfriede Jelinek. How to deal with the legacy of Fascism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Handke

Week Three:  - Concrete poetry
Hansjörg Mayer, Bob Cobbing, The Vienna Group, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Marton Koppany up to Anatol Knotek. The visuality of the poem as its meaning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_poetry

Week Four:  - CoBrA
Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont, Pierre Alechinsky. Dutch, Danish, Belgian & beyond, poetry as art revolt & primitivism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COBRA_(avant-garde_movement)

Week Five:  - British Poetry Revival
Tom Raworth, Bill Griffiths, Maggie O’Sullivan & many many more. Those every British poet should know, our immense late 20th century Vanguard heritage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_poetry_revival

You can also read an indepth interview with me about this course and other stuff here: