ONE of the reasons I haven’t been updating this blog very much is that I have been taking online poetry classes at the London Poetry School.
In our hyperbolic age, I find it hard to characterise the course that I’m just finishing – Andrew Philip’s On The Line – adequately.
I have learnt so much.
Andrew is, as are all the tutors at LPS, an accomplished poet. His second collection, The North End of the Possible, is just out from Salt, and already critically acclaimed. I have ordered it but I’m ashamed to say I don’t know his work well. Anyway, I wouldn’t presume to comment.
As a tutor, he’s been a ladder up, at least to my mind. You can make up yours about that here, until the end of the month. The first poem Fifteen-hundred-year-old colander in the museum was written as an assignment for Andrew. I wrote it on a family holiday, having been abandoned to my uncoordinated fate on a sofa by my ski-fab family.
Andrew is unusually categoric for a teacher of poetry, although in a field which can be vague, he’s only relatively categoric. He and his meticulous course materials have given me new ways of thinking about lines of poetry and new tools to enrich my words.
When I wrote the colander poem I was sitting with pen and paper, concentrating hard. After some hours, I had one of those wonderful moments of doing a double-take at what I saw on the page before me. I felt like I’d regurgitated a fish. I didn’t know I’d eaten a fish, I thought, as I stared. The fish thrashed about a bit but finally stopped moving. When I looked again it wasn’t quite as beautiful and iridescent as I’d thought, but I still love it.
Now, of course, I want that feeling again. I’m addicted.
Thank you, Andrew.