Poetry: Smiling at the Storm

Mon 13 May 2024 - Fri 17 May 2024
Tutors / Inua Ellams & Hanan Issa
Guest Reader / Momtaza Mehri (Digital)
Course Fee / From £625 - £725 per person
Genre / Poetry
Language / English

In times of emotional difficulty, of stress, of trauma, and of grief, humans are repeatedly drawn to the comfort of poetry. The power of poetry’s concise combination of words, its visual metaphors and structured meter can help us better express ourselves as we make sense of the world and our place in it. But during such hard times, is there still room to play? Is there space for joy? How might humour, lightness, and pleasure be injected into spaces of desolation?

Join Inua Ellams and Hanan Issa on a light-filled journey into using play as an act of resistance. With examples, practical tips, writing exercises, deep discussions and gentle prompts, the tutors will guide you towards discovering new ways to create pieces about harsh times whilst continuing to smile at the storm.


Inua Ellams

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist and designer and founder of: The Midnight Run (an arts-filled, night-time, urban walking experience.), The Rhythm and Poetry Party (The R.A.P Party) which celebrates poetry and hip hop, and Poetry + Film / Hack (P+F/H) which celebrates Poetry and Film. Identity, Displacement and Destiny are recurring themes in his work, where he tries to mix the old with the new: traditional African oral storytelling with contemporary poetics, paint with pixel, texture with vector. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches, Penned In The Margins, Oberon & Methuen.  


Hanan Issa

Hanan Issa is a Welsh-Iraqi poet, filmmaker, and artist. Her publications include her poetry collection My Body Can House Two Hearts (Burning Eye Books, 2019) and Welsh Plural: Essays on the Future of Wales (Repeater, 2022). Her winning monologue With Her Back Straight was performed at the Bush Theatre as part of the Hijabi Monologues. She is part of the writers room for Channel 4’s award-winning series We Are Lady Parts. Hanan is co-founder of the Where I’m Coming From open mic series. She was the recipient of the 2020 Ffilm Cymru / BBC Wales Ffolio commission for her short film The Golden Apple. She is the current National Poet of Wales and 2022-2023 Hay International Fellow.  


Guest Reader

Momtaza Mehri (Digital)

Momtaza Mehri is a poet and independent researcher working across criticism, translation, anti-disciplinary research practices, education, and radio. She is a former Young People’s Poet Laureate for London and Frontier-Antioch Fellow at Antioch University (Los Angeles). She has completed residencies at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Library, and has won an Eric Gregory Prize. Bad Diaspora Poems (Penguin), her debut poetry collection, was released in Summer 2023. 


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