By what invisible architecture is the poem developed? asks Barbara Guest in her seminal, short poetic statement, called Invisible Architecture? By what invisible architecture is the house turned into poetry? I hear myself answering as I read beyond & between the surface of her question, there is an invisible architecture often supporting the surface of the poem, she commences, & I in response, drift in the enigmatic gaps of her wording to dwell on what it is to write ofto write in or outside the spaces of home, the geography of its world.

– My house is the red earth; it could be the centre of the world. I’ve heard New York, Paris, or Tokyo called the center of the world, but I say it is magnificently humble. You could drive by and miss it/ writes Joy Harjo in her poem, My House Is the Red Earth – 

– My center right now is the bedroom in which I sit writing, my dog lies sleeping on my bed, & my son beside him watching something on the laptop.  We are wombed & walled, briefly together in the nimbus of a Sunday afternoon, as the rain warms up what should be a cold, winter afternoon. Here, I inhabit all types of houses & constructed spaces, through the invisible architecture of memory, reading & the page. 

-This master course will guide you to uncover, build, reshape, dismantle your inhabited & uninhabited spaces through writing which embodies the abstract, concrete, cultural, philosophical & spiritual dimension of home & notions of what it means to dwell.

-Building and thinking are, writes Heideggar, each in its own way inescapable for dwelling – building and thinking belong to dwelling, he reiterates. This is the aim of the course: to dwell in the dialogues of Kristjana Gunnars, Yi-Fu Tuan, Pierre Joris, Bell Hooks, Mary Oliver, Lisa Roberston (to name but a few) to inform your own practise & writing of poetry; to dwell in the poetry of Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, Sophie Cabot Black, Jenifer S.Cheng, Jenifer Wong, Kei Miller, Robert Kroetsch, (a small sample) – To dwell in these dialogues & their possibilities.

If words are little houses, as Bachelard proposes in The Poetics of Space, then our aim on the course is to become architects, drawing the house into poetry, with language & new observations from and in distance – 

Here is a poem from my collection What Things Are. It attempts to draw, if not the house, then tracings of it.


My daughter’s art is on the kitchen walls, hieroglyphs –

this morning she surrounds herself yet again by crayons,

has strayed into her drawing – almost irrevocable 

as she casts away the delicate existence of one place,

nets the likeness of how she sees the world and shows me 

a house with a yellow roof, flowers, almost as big as the house, 

rain falling neatly out of the sky in two lines, grass so perfect, 

that it’s impossible to imagine any house standing 

on such tranquility –


(What Things Are, Eyewear: 2014) 

Through a series of writing exercises & reading materials, you will develop the confidence to engage in critical theory & produce a longer poetry sequence, or embark on a new project, embodying the homestead & its visible & invisible structures. 

The course runs from 11th Jan 2021 until 12th April 2021

Click here to book:

Photograph: Annie Spratt