Paula Bohince Masterclass: Poems of Clarity and Mystery, March 25 - 28
Venue: Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street, Cork

Four-Morning, Four Masters, March 25 - 28
Venue: Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork

Manuscript Makeover, one hour appointments availalbe from 3pm - 5pm, March 25 - 28
Venue: Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
SOLD OUT (taking names for waiting list)

Payment will be accepted by cheque/postal order (made payable to the Munster Literature Centre), by credit card via PayPal (link provided on registration), or cash (payable in person at The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork). To book your place please email info(at)munsterlit(dot)ie or phone +353(0)21 431 2955.


Paula Bohince Masterclass: Poems of Clarity and Mystery
Limited to 15 participants, €180
Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am—12.30pm

Successful poems often have a balance of clarity and mystery, parts that are concrete and others that are abstract. This four-session masterclass will examine contemporary poems that inhabit this balance, creating an experience in the reader that is both grounded and wondrous. These poems will serve as guides for your own experiments. Participants will write new work, incorporating various techniques to incorporate the physical and metaphysical. We’ll also workshop previously written creative work.

Wednesday: Nature
Poets have long looked to nature for inspiration, from the sensual details of a flower being revived in spring to the mysterious lives of animals that cannot be fully comprehended. We’ll look at Louise Glück’s “The Wild Iris,” Paul Muldoon’s “A Porcupine,” and Mark Doty’s “Difference” to see how each poet approaches their wild subjects.

Thursday: Objects
An object has a life of its own, with its own history and often a deeper meaning beyond its intended use, making it rife for poetic exploration. This class will look at “Helmet” by Seamus Heaney, “The Iron Key” by James Longenbach, and “A Chair in Snow” by Jane Kenyon to see how these poets have wrestled with the hidden aspects of what seems, at first glance, ordinary.

Friday: Memory
The imperfection of memory lends itself perfectly to poem-making, balancing what details are known, felt, sensed, remembered with what is obscured by time, whether it’s the recollection of a home or a mother’s perfume. We’ll look at “Casablanca Lily” by Henri Cole, “Cape Cod” by Spencer Reece, and “Earliest Memory” by Sharon Olds as models for writing from memory, delving into the known and the unknown.

Saturday: Love
How can the complexities of love be captured and represented in a poem? Some aspects of love are visible in mundane daily details, such as the tenderness of a loved one’s torn coat, which can invite larger questions of awe, selfhood, and mortality. We’ll examine “Wedding” by Alice Oswald, “Where Will Love Go?” by Sharon Olds, and “My Father’s Love Letters” by Yusef Komunyakaa to see how differently love can look poem to poem.

Class Organisation
Each class will open with a discussion of the published poems, examining how each poem approaches its subject, with special attention to the unique balance of concrete detail and places of abstraction or openness, inviting in the reader’s imagination. The participants will then do in-class writing generated from a prompt based on that day’s theme. A prompt example: “Think about a flower or animal that fascinates you and how it might experience the world. Describe it uses your senses, and also include some questions you wish it could answer. Let this lead you wherever you want to go.” They’ll then have the opportunity to share this work with the class, with others responding to what they find most memorable or fascinating about a piece. The last part of class will be a workshops of previously written work, distributed to everyone. The way that I approach workshop is to begin with what we really admire, those vivid, stand-out moments. In terms of the constructive criticism that follows, I ask that participants focus on places where they’re not sure what is happening, identifying places that could use clarification. My students really respond well to this style of workshop because the atmosphere is supportive, warm, respectful, and inquisitive.

Paula Bohince is the 2020 John Montague International Poetry Fellow and will be reading on at the festival on March 25th. She is the author of three poetry collections, all from Sarabande: Swallows and Waves (January 2016), The Children (2012), and Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods (2008). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, POETRY, The TLS, The Irish Times, Australian Book Review, and elsewhere.


Four Mornings, Four Masters
Limited to 8 participants, €200
Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am—12.30pm

Each participant will have the opportunity to have four of their poems (up to forty lines each) discussed by a different master on each of the four days. The higher cost of this workshop is down to it being a very small class where each participant’s work will receive much individual attention. The participant will submit their poems, one to each of the masters, who will read them in advance of workshops. Up to twenty minutes will be devoted to each participant's poem every day.

Wednesday: John McAuliffe
John McAuliffe has published four collections with The Gallery Press, A Better Life (2002), shortlisted for a Forward Prize, Next Door (2007), Of All Places (2011), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and The Way In (2015). He founded and is the poetry editor of The Manchester Review.

Thursday: Rachael Allen
Rachael Allen’s first collection of poems, Kingdomland, is published by Faber & Faber. She is the co-author of Nights of Poor Sleep with Marie Jacotey, and Almost One. Say Again! with Joc-JonJosch. She writes for ArtReview, TANK magazine and Music & Literature, hosts the Faber Poetry Podcast and is the poetry editor for Granta magazine and Granta books.

Friday: A.E. Stallings
A.E Stallings, born in 1968, is an American poet who has lived in Athens, Greece since 1999. She has published four collections of poetry, Archaic Smile (which won the 1999 Richard Wilbur Award), Hapax (recipient of the Poets’ Prize), Olives, (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Like, published in 2018.

Saturday: Alan Shapiro
Alan Shapiro has published over ten books of poetry, most recently Against Translation (2019). Reel to Reel (2014) was a finalist for the Pulizer Prize, Night of the Republic (2012) was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Griffin Prize, and Old War (2008) won the Ambassador Book Award.


Manuscript Makeover with James Harpur
Limited to 8 appointments, €100
One-hour session each, two per afternoon (3 - 5pm), Wednesday to Saturday

SOLD OUT (taking names for waiting list)

Is a poetry collection gathering dust in your top drawer? Are you unsure about your latest batch of poems – line endings, poem titles, clichés, clunky rhythms? Or perhaps you’re seeking new directions, or advice about the poetry publishing world?
James will scrutinise your work, write comments on your manuscript, and present sympathetic, insightful and honest feedback to you face to face in a highly focused one-hour session. This is a rare opportunity to receive critical comments in person from an experienced practitioner of the poetic craft.
The cost per session/makeover is €100 for a maximum of 20 poems on a maximum of 20 pages (one-and-half line spacing, 12pt type), which includes time spent on them before the sessions. Advance booking is essential – only eight one-hour sessions are available, two per afternoon, 3-5 pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Manuscripts must be sent to James at least two weeks in advance of the festival.

James Harpur has had five poetry collections published by Anvil Press and is a past winner of the UK National Poetry Competition. Angels and Harvesters (2012), was a PBS Recommendation and shortlisted for the 2013 Irish Times Poetry Now Award. His latest book, The White Silhouette (2018), is published by Carcanet.


Payment will be accepted by cheque/postal order (made payable to the Munster Literature Centre), by credit card via PayPal (link provided on registration), or cash (payable in person at The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork). To book your place please email info(at)munsterlit(dot)ie or phone +353(0)21 431 2955.

Additional Information
If you have limited mobility, please let us know in advance so we can arrange to make the experience as pleasant as possible for you. Every effort will be made to make sure that the programme proceeds as advertised but the Munster Literature Centre accepts no responsibility for changes made due to circumstances beyond our control—refunds will be given only if a workshop is cancelled. As workshops sell out, notification of such will be posted on this page.