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Padel, the Radio and the Line Online


Ruth Padel’s Radio 4 programme “Poetry Workshop” is back for another series. I missed the first one in its entirety, and only noticed this evening when I wandered to the iplayer for “The Verb” that it was back for a second round. So I listened and enjoyed.

I listened even more closely when I heard Ruth Padel say that they’d be focusing on line breaks, because it just so happens that I’ll be tutoring another online course for the Poetry School all about lineation in their Spring term. (Though, to a Scot, calling something that begins in February “Spring term” sounds like wishful thinking of the first order.)

It was an interesting listen, with some good tips and comments. Padel seems a thoughtful and encouraging facilitator. Knowledgeable she is and no mistake, but she comes across as very personable and helpful. Of course, the knowledge enables the helpfulness.

If you’ve been thinking about lineation — why does this line end here? where should I end that line for best effect — this programme, which is still available to listen to for five days, is a good starting place. If you want to look further, I can recommend James Longenbach’s The Art of the Poetic Line, Katy Evans-Bush’s essay on lineation in Stress Fractures and the chapter on line WN Herbert’s Writing Poetry. These all inform the content of my course, on which I hope we’ll have some good-going discussion, some quality writing and great fun to boot. Hope to meet some of you there!

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