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 seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017) draws on her travels in the Amazon rainforest and won the 2018 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize for best evoking the spirit of a place and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Her eighth collection Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe, 2020), won a Royal Society of Literature Literature Matters Award while in progress. Fauverie (Seren, 2014), was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and five poems from it won the Manchester Poetry Prize. She was one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets in 2004 and has had three collections selected as Books of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and The Observer. Her books have been translated into Spanish in Mexico, Chinese, French and Serbian. In 2015 she received a Cholmondeley Award.
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.