Poetry and Structure

Poetry and Structure Workshops: reading, writing and building [click the title to access our project updates and blog]

Some people say that poetry is inaccessible, and that it has nothing useful to say. We disagree!

In this collaborative project, we want to show that if you can turn a poem into a piece of artwork, or into a 3D shape, then you can begin to see how it might interact with the everyday world.

With the support of the University of Oxford’s PER Seed Fund, we run workshops with local groups in Oxfordshire to show the possibilities of poetry. Each workshop will begin with a poem and use it as a springboard to think about connections between the internal structure of a poem and structures in the outside world. What is the relationship between the two, and what can we build from this understanding?

Participants are encouraged to come up with their own designs, poems or other responses and therefore to think more deeply about the ways in which poetry might interact with the world beyond the page.

We are Dr. Tara Stubbs (OUDCE), an Oxford-based Lecturer in English and J. D. Haigh, a Visual Artist, working on the relations between poetry, structure and visual art.

Join us for a workshop

Are you a school group working on a set poem from a syllabus; do you have students who you want to inspire about poetry; or are you a writing group working on a particular form (such as a ballad or a sonnet)?

We want to hear what you what think poetry is and what its relationship is with other forms of artistic expression, such as photography or sculpture.

We'll run a 90-minute workshop and discussion based around your group’s chosen poem or poems, during which we will encourage the participants to create their own structures, design art-works, or write poetry responding to the chosen poem(s). In so doing, we hope to demystify people's fears about the relationships between poetry, art, and everyday life.

If you're interested, email tara.stubbs@conted.ox.ac.uk to discuss your ideas and arrange a workshop with your group.

Workshop example: the Curiosity Carnival

For Oxford University's Curiosity Carnival, we ran a workshop at the Botanic Garden based on Robert Frost's sonnet 'Design'. We turned the poem into origami roses; we brought along 3-D printed flowers based on lilies in the Botanic Garden's pond imprinted with lines from the poem; and we wrote the lines of the poem onto wooden planks, asking participants to create new structures with the poem. We learnt so much from this experience that we wanted to extend the workshop to the wider community; but this time we want to hear from you about what poem you'd like to think about.

We made a video of the day, and you can view it here: Curiosity Carnival on Robert Frost's 'Design'