Poetry x Class Reading Group: The Master’s Tools with Andrew McMillan
21 March @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
What does an authentic poetry of working-class ‘work’ look like? If ‘work’ is often defined by the parameters of the employer, and pushed down onto the employee, then what power does poetry have to rename and reframe the notions of ‘work’, and how far can this be seen as a reclamation of power? Are questions like that a bit wanky? Does any of it matter? In this reading group session, I’m interested in considering the approaches different poets have taken to writing about their work, to framing their position within their place of employment and how poetry is used to speak back to the employer in a way the poet might feel they, or the persona of the poem at least, would never be able to do in real life. Audre Lorde of course famously said, that the Master’s Tools will never dismantle the Master’s House. But what if you rename, reframe and reimagine the tools, so they are no longer recognisable to the master? What would this mean of the ‘job’ of a writer, which has class implications: either a life of poverty, or one supported by wealthy, independent means? Is a reclamation, or a more realistic vision of the ‘job’ of a writer possible?
- Geoff Hattersley, Harmonica (Wrecking Ball Press), 2003
- Martin Hayes, Roar (Smokestack Books), 2017
- Peter Robinson, Overdrawn Account, from Collected Poems, (Shearsman), 2018
Also the poets Rita Dove, Philip Levine, Fred Voss….
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