view the Place, Environment, Writing course booklet

MA in Creative Writing:
Place, Environment, Landscape
Course information:
EN5120 Workshop
EN5119 Reading as a Writer (PEW)
GG5500 Cultural Geographies
Welcome to PEW
This course booklet should be read in conjunction with the
Postgraduate Taught handbook and the MA in Creative Writing Student
PEW students take the following courses:
EN5120 PEW Workshop (2013/14, jointly with Life-Writing)
GG5500 Cultural Geographies
EN5119 Reading as a Writer (PEW)
EN5117 Dissertation on Practice
EN5113 Creative Writing Project
See the MA in Creative Writing Student Handbook for information on
EN5117 Dissertation on Practice and EN5113 Creative Writing Project
and assessment deadlines and regulations generally.
Course Tutors
Harriet Hawkins: [email protected]
Professor Andrew Motion: [email protected]
Professor Jo Shapcott: [email protected]
Kate Williams: [email protected]
Autumn Term
Mondays 2.00-5.00
EN5120 Workshop (tutor) Kate Williams
Tuesdays 11.00-1.00
GG550 Cultural Geographies, Harriet Hawkins
Spring Term
Mondays 2.00-5.00
EN5120 Workshop (tutor) Kate Williams
time t.b.c.
EN5119 PEW Reading as a Writer
Andrew Motion/Jo Shapcott
Summer Term
EN5117 Dissertation on Practice and EN5113 Creative Writing Project
supervised by Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott, Harriet Hawkins. Students
will be invited to attend the Summer Programme for the MA if they are
interested (see MA in Creative Writing Handbook for further
EN5120 PEW Workshop: Course Leader: Kate Williams
Teaching: One three-hour workshop per week over Spring and Autumn
terms, together with EN5501 – The practice of Life Writing
Venue: Bedford Square
Aim and Objectives: The course aims to develop students'
understanding of and ability in writing about the environment - in
fiction, non-fiction or poetry. They will develop an advanced
understanding of methods of writing about the environment and be
aware of the diversity of subject-matter within the field. As well as
encouraging individual exploration in writing about the environment the
course will help them to combine academic and creative research in the
field of writing and the environment.
The content of the workshops will be dictated by the presentations of
written work of the members of group, produced in consultation with
the course tutor, and by the critical dialogue that develops from the
presentations. Reading of classic and contemporary writing about the
environment will also feed into workshop discussions. Normally, the
creative written work of three students is discussed in each seminar.
However, seminars will sometimes focus on an individual piece of work
and at other times on a range of work by different members of group.
By the end of the course unit the student will have produced two
portfolios of creative work (one for each term) based on place and
environment: for example, two fully-realised pieces of creative nonfiction, or fiction (5000 words), or two short collections of poetry (12
pages each).
Presentation: Prose fiction and non-fiction will be double-spaced.
Please number the pages and put your name on every page. Poetry
should be single spaced and all poems submitted should be in a single
document. As with the prose, please number the pages and put your
name on every page.
EN5119 Reading as a Writer (PEW)
Course Leaders: Professor Andrew Motion and Professor Jo Shapcott
Teaching: One one-and-a-half hour seminar each week in Term 2.
Venue: Bedford Square
Aims and objectives: The principle aim of Reading as a Writer
(PEW) is to enable students to read as a writer to inform their own
literary composition and to develop an advanced understanding of
complex and varied traditions, themes and new trends in
environmental writing. It should help students to develop a
conceptual understanding of modes of environmental writing
across historical and contemporary cultures and enable students
to use this understanding as a context for their own practice. By
the end of this course, students should have:
- an appreciation of their own work in the tradition of writing about the
- developed individual bibliographies for their own practice.
- an advanced understanding of the traditions, themes and new trends
in environmental writing.
- an understanding of cultural contexts for environmental reading and
writing practice.
- an ability to use critical reading in the student’s own practice in writing
about the environment.
By the end of the course students will have produced a short essay,
3,000-4,000 words, on a topic related to their studies during EN5119.
Teaching: Teaching is in one and a half hour sessions weekly in Central
London during the Spring Term. Students will participate in a variety of
teaching and learning methods including seminar paper/minilecture/discussion. All students are required to complete a formal
presentation once in the term. This will receive verbal feedback from
the course tutor and student peers.
Content: Weeks 1-10
Students will select and read a selection of fiction, non-fiction and
poetry from the perspective of the environmental writer. This will
agreed at the first meeting. For example:
Week 1
Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition
Wordsworth, The Prelude
Dorothy Wordsworth, Alfoxden and Grasmere Journals
Bate, Jonathan.
Week 2
Transcendental Ecology
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Week 3
Elizabeth Bishop, Complete Poems
Week 4
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Week 5
Journals, Notebooks and Field Guides
Week 6
Sue Ellen Campbell, The Ecocriticism Reader (1996).
Week 7
Contemporary Writers and the City, the Suburbs
Paul Farley and Michael Symonds Roberts, Edgelands
Eavan Boland, Object Lessons
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day
Ian Sinclair, London Orbital
Week 8
Contemporary Writers and the Natural World 1
John Burnside and Maurice Riordan, Wild Reckoning, Calouste
Gulbenkian Foundation
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Tim Dee, The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life
Ted Hughes, Crow, and others
Week 9
Contemporary Writers and the Natural World 2
Kathleen Jamie, The Tree House, Picador
Kathleen Jamie, Findings
Alice Oswald, Dart, Faber and Faber
Colin Tudge, The Secret Life of Trees
Week 10
Contemporary Writers and Climate Change
Jared Diamond, Collapse. London, Penguin.
Ian McEwan, Solar
Ed. Paul Munden, Feeling the Pressure: Poetry and Science of Climate
Ed. Neil Astley, Earth Shattering: Ecopoems
Course review
This is a selected bibliography. Students are expected to branch out
from this selection to follow their own interests.
Poetry of the ‘Natural’ World
Alice Oswold, Dart Faber,
Don McKay Strike/Slip McLelland and Stewert
Ted Hughes River
Mary Oliver American Primitive Back Bay
Kathleen Jamie The Tree House Picador
Owen Sheers Skirrid Hill Seren
Philip Gross Water Table Bloodaxe
Urban/Suburban Poetry
Tobias Hill, Nocturne in Chrone and Sunset Yellow, Salt
Karen Solie, Pigeon Anansi
Robert Hampson Seaport Shearsman
Carl Sandburg Chicago Poems University of Illinois
August Kleinzahler Sleeping it Off in Rapid City FSG
Paul Farley Ice Age
Eavan Boland (suburban poems…)
Journeying and Displacement
Elizabeth Bishop Complete Poems Chatto and Windus
Creative Non-Fiction
Rebecca Solnit A Fieldguide to Getting Lost Canongate, 2006
Kathleen Jamie Findings Sort of Books, 2005
Robert Macfarlane The Wild Places Granta 2007
Ian Sinclair London Orbital Penguin 2003
Lucy Lippard The Lure of the Local New Press 1998
Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley Edgelands Jonathan Cape
Richard Mabey The Unofficial Countryside Little Toller 2010
W G Sebald The Rings of Saturn Vintage 2011
Rachel Carson The Silent Spring Penguin 2010
Sarah de Leeuw Unmarked: Landscapes along Highway 16 NeWest 2004
Sarah de Leeuw Columbus Burning
Gary Snyder The Practice of the Wild Counterpoint 2010
John McPhee Coming into the Country FSG 1991
Bruce Chatwin The Songlines Vintage 2008
Barry Lopez Arctic Dreams Vintage 2001
E B White Here is New York Little Bookroom 1999
Jim Perrin West: A Journey Through the Landscapes of Loss Atlantic 2010
Roger Deakin Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey Through Trees Vintage
Peter Ackroyd, Thames, Sacred River (2008)
William Howard Adams, Stuart Wrede (Eds), Denatured Visions,
Landscape and Culture in the 20th Century (1991)
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (1969)
Jonathan Bate, The Song of the Earth (2000)
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1974)
Kenneth Clark, Landscape in Art (1949)
David E. Cooper, Convergence with Nature (2012)
Merlin Coverley, Psychogeography (2011)
Roger Deakin, Wildwood, A Journey through Trees (2007)
Roger Deakin, Notes from Walnut Tree Farm (2008)
Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism (2004)
Peter Hall, Cities in Civilisation (1998)
Robert Pogue Harrison, Gardens, an essay on the human condition
Robert Pogue Harrison, Forests, the shadow of civilisation (2010)
Richard Mabey (Ed), The Oxford Book of Nature Writing (1997)
Richard Mabey, A Brush with Nature (2010)
Robert MacFarlane, The Wild Places (2007)
Lewis Mumford, The City in History (1968)
Geoff Nicholson, The Lost Art of Walking (2011)
Oliver Rackham, The History of the Countryside (1987)
Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (2004)
Iain Sinclair, Lights out for the Territory (1998)
Rebecca Solnit, Migrations (2011)
Edward Thomas, The Heart of England (1906)
Colin Ward, Talking Green (2012)
Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (1973)
Jennifer Westwood, Jacqueline Simpson, The Lore of the Land (2005)
Gilbert White, The Natural History of Selborne (1789/1977)
GG5500 Cultural Geographies
Course Leader: Harriet Hawkins
(Oct-Dec) Tuesdays, 11-1 pm, F3, 11 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London
This element consists of a series of modules on ideas in contemporary Cultural
Geography. The core modules comprise two-hour discussion seminars, most
running weekly through the first term.
In consultation with staff, students produce one course paper (up to 4,000 words)
addressing selected ideas and approaches in contemporary Cultural Geography.
For details on this assessment and on the module aims and learning outcomes
please see the course specification online at
Students might also want to attend the Landscape Surgery sessions, once a fortnight,
Tuesdays, 2-4, F3, 11 Bedford Square. Please go to
For this course you will write one essay (4000 words)
Deadlines tbc.
Topics: The choice of topic is up to you, and in consultation with the course director
you should approach staff members with the appropriate research specialisms to
help shape your titles and devise your work.
Draft Process: As part of this process we offer you the chance to write drafts of your
essays (to be emailed to advisor by 10th December full time students; 6th May parttime students) these will be read within three weeks and commented upon by staff
members. They will be in contact with you to arrange a meeting in order to discuss
your work. Please only submit full essays (with references) to be read, bullet pointed
texts are not appropriate.
NB: The first essay must be re-submitted at the same time as the second essay
(Reading as a Writer PEW) for summative assessment. This is the first day of the
summer term (or September, for part-time students, exact date tbc)). The essay is
worth 12.5% of your total grade for the MA.
Students are required to produce a 4,000 word essay on a topic of their choice
derived from the content of the course.
Schedule and Key Readings:
Each week you will be assigned a series of readings, a number of these will be
starred it is expected that you will come to the seminars able to discuss these
readings. Some staff might assign individuals to particular readings to encourage
deeper levels of engagement. In addition other readings will be provided, it is a
good idea to engage with as many of these as you can.
Seminars are co-operative occasions which depend on the willingness of students to
share and debate issues considered in advance or raised in the course of discussions
by the tutor or fellow-students. They provide students with the opportunity to focus
intensively upon particular aspects of environmental/geographical thought and to
discuss specific texts with close attention and to engage with more general practical
or critical issues.
This course will use Moodle
The course readings and seminar summaries will be put online at least a week ahead
of the relevant seminar
Course Outline:
1st Oct
Introduction to Cultural Geography (Harriet Hawkins)
8th Oct
Place (HH)
15th Oct
Space (Phil Crang)
22nd Oct
Mobilities (PC)
29th Oct
Regions (Harriet Hawkins)
5th Nov
The Urban (OM)
12th Nov
Nature (Veronica della Dora)
19th Nov
Landscape (VdD)
26th Nov
Cultural Geography Futures: Open Space Day Event
3rd Dec
Mapping (Felix Driver)
10th Dec
Exploration (FD)