I'm in the middle of doing three writing classes at once. And organising a book launch for my second collection of poetry. Madness, I know!
Two of my classes are online through Writing NSW. Online Poetry with Pip Smith is a 6 week course about writing poetry. Sense of Place with Felicity Castanga is a one week course of four lessons about writing place into your work and bring locations to life.
The third of my classes was on Saturday through Writers Victoria and was called Psychogeography and the Suburbs with Nick Gadd. I wasn't sure what to expect from this workshop but signed up for it beause the title intrigued me. I dd honours in Psychology at the Australian National Universitty and was curious to learn about psychogeography.
During lockdown I did a lot of online classes and it has been wonderful to be able to work with teachers who live interstate and who I never would have been able to access otherwise. But. But there's something wonderful about being in a classroom with other people. Seeing their faces, hearing them laugh, cough and breathe.
The group on Saturday was filled with writers of novels, non fiction, memoir, short story and poetry as well as a PhD student. I reckon I learnt as much from my fellow students as I did from the teacher. I was madly scribbling down notes as everyone made their introductions because they were all working on such fascinating projects. We talked about deep time, ghost signs, memory palaces and the Maribyrong explosives factory and that was even before the class had properly started!
Nick took us through the origins and history of psychogeography, gave us articles and excerpts to read as well as worksheets to complete. He brought in a whole stack of books on the subject and passed them round for us to flick through. He also showed us photographs of various things in the urban landscape which had caught his eye (ghost signs, no parking signs and paste-ups to name a few). He was a passionate and knowledgeable teacher and the class was well structured with excellent content.
We also did a walk around the city streets before completing a writing exercise which I'll cover in another blog post. For this post I thought I'd compile a list of the books, podcasts etc mentioned during the class for anyone interested in learning more about psychogeography and related subjects.
Axis of Exploration and Failure in Search for a Situationist's 'Great Passage' by Debord
Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
Aschematic Atlas: 50 Templates for Pataphysical Inspections by Hartmut Abendschein
Blue Lake by David Sornig
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
Mirror Sydney by Vanessa Berry
Scarp by Nick Papadimitrou
The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald
The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane
Walking in Berlin by Franz Hessel
You Are Here by Kathryn Harman
On Writing - Amy Kaufman
This American Life - Episode 110 (Mapping)