Workshop: The Sun, the Earth & The Animals with Jonathan Edwards

Date: Friday 29th July
Time: 11:00
Venue: Workshop Room
Price: £15.00 / £10.00

When the poet Rilke had writer’s block, he was advised by Rodin to go to the zoo, stare at an animal for a few hours and write from his observations. Rilke isn’t alone in experiencing the way in which the terrific life of the natural world can give so much energy to poems, and in this workshop, we will look at a range of approaches for getting the full life of nature into our poems.  

During the workshop, we will draw on the work of a range of writers, including Mark Doty, Pascale Petit, Marvin Thompson and Liz Berry, thinking about different techniques to bring imaginative and emotive power to our work.  Poems about the natural world don’t stop at observation and description, and we will look at a wide range of strategies, from narrative to monologues to the surreal, the natural world as subject and the natural world as setting for poems about humans.  

To read some poems is to see a bird soaring overhead, or even to share its flight. Whitman once wrote, ‘This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun and the animals,’ and we shall take this as our writing mantra for this session. If you’re keen to write poems which live with the wind in their hair rather than the smell of the study, this workshop will give you inspiration for a new group of fluttering, roaring, blooming poems.  

Jonathan Edwards was born and brought up in Crosskeys, south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, has written speeches for the Welsh Assembly Government and journalism for The Big Issue Cymru, and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry ReviewThe North, Poetry Wales and New Welsh Review. His poetry collection, My Family and Other Superheroes, won the Costa Poetry Award 2014. His second collection Gen was published in 2019.