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The art of poetry and the poetry of art

Weekend-long art history and creative writing course

Short course

  • 23 February 2019, 10am — 5pm
  • 24 February 2019, 10am — 5pm

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Tom Phillips, Dante in his Study (Detail), 1982.

Silkscreen. 76.5 x 54.5 cm. Courtesy of Tom Phillips Studio - tomphillips.co.uk.

In this creative writing course, participants are invited to join leading poets, writers and artists in exploring the history of the rich relationship between art and poetry, as inspiration for writing their own poems about works in the Academy’s galleries.

“A poem is a speaking picture, a picture a silent poem” – Simonides of Ceos.

From the ancient world to the present day, art and poetry have been in constant dialogue with each other. With artists and poets each trying to recreate the special effects of the others’ media within their own, the histories of art and literature are, and always have been, intertwined.

From Greek statues of Homer’s heroes, to the Old Masters’ Ovidian obsessions, through to Modernism and Surrealism, and on into conceptual, video and performance art, art and the written word have never been far apart. And in a world where the extremes of human experience seem increasingly hard to express, the questions of how to transmute words into meaningful silence and how to make silent pictures speak to us are more pressing than ever.

Drawing on his own experience as a literary critic, art writer and poet, Tim Smith-Laing will be joined by guest speakers including Dr. Kathryn Murphy of Oriel College, Oxford, to lead participants through the relationship between art and poetry, as inspiration for their own poems. Featuring expert lectures, readings and artist talks alongside writing workshops with leading poets, the course will allow participants to dive into the complex history of the continuing relationship between art and poetry through their own creative writing.

Participants will work towards two poems across the weekend: one directly inspired by works on display in the Academy’s exhibition galleries, and the other taking on the challenge of creating and describing a fictional work of art. With direct feedback from the poets and course leader, and the chance for participants to read their work in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, this is an opportunity for experienced poets and new writers alike to flex their writing muscles and gain fresh inspiration.

Open to anyone with an interest in art and literature, from published writers to curious gallery-goers, this weekend will give participants a unique chance to think about art and poetry through both literary and art history and personal practice.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 23 February 2019, 10am — 5pm
  • 24 February 2019, 10am — 5pm

General Assembly Room, Royal Academy of Arts

£420. Includes all materials, light refreshments at the beginning of each day and wine reception at the end of day one.

Book now