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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘Singing Schools and Beyond’ seeks to address some of the central and attendant questions that arise when the roles of creative writing are debated. For example, whether propitious conditions actually promote ‘worthwhile’ poetry. Would John Clare have been a better poet if he’d spent a week on an Arvon course? It is thus intended neither as another ‘guide’ nor as a further chapter in the chronicling of creative writing over the last fifty years or so in the UK. However, key figures and organizations (including Ted Hughes, Peter Sansom, and the Arvon Foundation) are central points of reference in the argument, and there is new interview material featuring Allison McVety and Anthony Wilson. The article’s focus is on poetry specifically, but it embraces broader notions of creativity (when examining the nature of ‘workshops’, for example). Consideration is given to David Morley’s claim that ‘Writing is an act of community’ as well as to the future of creative writing courses, and threats to the ‘liberal-humanist position’ that have underpinned claims for their validity and importance.

Keywords: creative, creativity, workshop, poetry, verse, craft, imitation, formalist, modernism, liberal-humanist, relativism

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