Flying Instead of Falling: Overcoming the Fear of Poetry

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Starting with principles of dialogic learning, I use freedom and listening to encourage L2 English learners in CW workshops to meet language with confident uncertainty. Participants build confidence through experimentation and find comfort in uncertainty through learning to listen to language elements beyond denotation. Most participants ultimately choose to write both fiction and poetry; while their approach to fiction is rarely conflicted, many say, at the outset, “I’ve always been afraid of poetry.” So my recent thinking about pedagogy has been about the fear of poetry, its origins and its antidotes. Since my workshops are also listed as language learning, poetry serves here as a playground for language’s innate music, its rhythms and sounds, as well as for its possible self-transcendence in riddle and inference. Considering fear has, in turn, led me to reconsider borders, and border crossings, between inspiring and preaching, between affinity and assignment, and between facilitation and provocation in teaching.
Period15 Sept 2018
Event title5th International Conference of the European Association of Creative Writing Programmes
Event typeConference
LocationBrussels, BelgiumShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational