2011 Poetry: a Practical Workshop

Who: Peter Skrzynecki
When: 2 x Sunday mornings: 20 & 27 November 2011, 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: Full price: $180; Member: $125; Conc Member: $110
Code: 11SKRZ11

Peter Skrzynecki is the author of nine volumes of poetry including the award-winning Headwaters, There, Behind the Lids and Immigrant Chronicle. Join him for a practical, round-table discussion of your work in a friendly, supportive environment.

Here’s how it works: each student will bring in no more than 5 poems of no more than 30 lines each. Make sure you don’t include your name anywhere on the poem. Poems will then be discussed by the class, with the author remaining anonymous, providing constructive feedback and insight into each work.

We’ll keep these three essentials in mind:

1. Appreciation: Poetry in our daily lives, the attempt to try and understand why we read it and try to write it. What kinds of poetry appeal to you? Why do we continue to enjoy it above other genres?

2. Encouragement: A positive approach that hopes to establish confidence in writers and readers. There is nothing dogmatic or prescriptive in this course. Travel at your own pace without anxiety or embarrassment. Allow yourself to ‘be’ yourself, whatever that means to you.

3. Authenticity: What does it mean to have an ‘authentic’ voice? Is there such a thing? How do you/we achieve this in a world of rapid change, constant distractions from the media and literary theorists?

By way of generating discussion participants will be given a copy of Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s “Ode” and asked to apply its expressions of nationalism and solidarity to the world of poetry. If the Irish are the “music-makers” and the “dreamers of dreams”, the “movers and shakers of the world”, how appropriate is this to the world of poetry which is challenged by a corporate world where the principals of politics and monetary profits override the altruism of poets?

Expected Learning Outcomes

You will receive a greater appreciation of your attempts to write poetry; the knowledge that you are not alone in trying to express the inexpressible. If you are a beginner this course does not guarantee to turn you into a poet.

Student Requirements

Bring no more than 5 poems, each no longer than, say, 30 lines, with 12 copies of each. Leave them anonymous. Please note, we cannot guarentee that all of your poems will be read.


Tea and coffee making facilities will be provided. Course participants are advised to bring their own lunch as there are no cafes within easy walking distance.

About the tutor

Peter Skrzynecki has published seventeen volumes, including nine volumes of poetry, two novels and a memoir. He has received several awards for his contributions to Australian literature, including the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry in 1972, the Captain Cook Bicentenary Poetry Prize, the Henry Lawson Short Story Award, an Order of Cultural Merit from the Polish government in 1989 and, in 2002, an Order of Australia. His most recent publication is Old/New World: New and Selected Poems (UQP, 2007). His most recent publication is Red Trees (Vagabond Press, 2010).

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