Karen McCarthy Woolf was born in London to English and Jamaican parents. Her book An Aviary of Small Birds was nominated for both the Forward and Fenton Aldeburgh first collection prizes and was a Guardian/Observer book of the year. As an Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral scholar at the University of London, Karen is researching new ways of writing about nature and the city. In 2015 she was poet-in-residence at the National Maritime Museum, responding to an exhibition on migration, and Voyage, a co-authored pamphlet is the outcome of that endeavour. Karen is the editor of four literary anthologies, including The Complete Works II and III which showcase new poets from the national mentoring scheme that seeks to establish and sustain diversity in British poetry publishing.
Poetry: Transforming Trauma
“Poetry should be strong enough to help,” so said the Greek poet George Seferis, and many contemporary poets agree, from Seamus Heaney to David Constantine. On this course we’ll explore ways to write poetry that can help us, not just to express the trials of our lives, but we’ll also attempt to transform trauma through the joy and playfulness of writing, having fun with form, imagery and language. We humans are not alone in our suffering: our companion species and the environment are also under increasing stress. Through discussion, reading and writing, we will have a range of possibilities to choose from, whether writing the personal, or looking outward at eco-trauma and beyond. The tutors Karen and Pascale have both written about personal and eco-trauma and can offer a variety of approaches.
Karen McCarthy Woolf
Pascale Petit’s sixth collection Fauverie was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and won the Manchester Poetry Prize. Her fifth collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, and was a Book of the Year in The Observer. Her books have been chosen as Books of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and The Observer. She is the recipient of a 2015 Cholmondeley Award. Bloodaxe publish her seventh book Mama Amazonica in 2017.
Malika Booker is a British-Caribbean poet. She is the founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, Pepper Seed published by Peepal Tree Press (2013) was longlisted for the OCM Bocas 2014 prize and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She was the inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and is the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing / literary Arts at Leeds University. She is published in Penguin Modern Poets 3 ‘Your Family, Your Body’ with Warsan Shire and Sharon Olds.