On October 26th, Creative Writing students on the course Poetry: Other Voices, Other Forms were treated to a seminar and workshop on narrative poetry with Carole Coates. Carole has published four full-length collections of poetry, the latest of which is a novel in verse, Jacob (Shoestring Press, 2016), described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘an extraordinarily riveting narrative poem on the pain of childhood and its long reach, written with forensic care and heart-stopping empathy.’
Carole read from two of her collections, took questions from the students, and set a number of writing exercises. Key points included: ‘Don’t write what you know. Write want you want to find out about’; ‘with poetry you can tell a story by flashes of lightening – you don’t have to spell everything out as you would with a novel’; ‘if you are writing a narrative poem, get inside the head of your character’; ‘don’t be afraid to fictionalise to make your poem more interesting’; and ‘spend lots of time drafting’.
The visit was organised by Dr Ian Seed.