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Poetry and the Uncanny

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Course Information

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Saturday 10 am - 4 pm, one day

Indicative maximum class size: 15

What do we mean when we say that something is uncanny? We might have a feeling of déjà vu and call it uncanny, or we might encounter our doppelgänger and call it uncanny. But the uncanny is not just about what’s creepy or weird, it’s to do with a sense of recognition.

This course considers the concept of the uncanny as the experience of familiarity and strangeness at the same time, and uses it as a springboard for writing original, and perhaps surprising, poetry.

Course Code


Course Date

21st April 2018

Course Fee

Course Description

The course introduces you to an original take on a concept that has long fascinated writers. Not only will the course involve writing in response to the uncanny but it’ll also incorporate discussion of ways in which the process of writing might itself be considered uncanny.

It is ideal for beginners and more experienced writers. It’ll help you start or develop a portfolio of writing, as well as give you insights into your own creative process.

Primarily a practical course, there is a theoretical element as you examine extracts from Freud’s essay on ‘The Uncanny’, as well as a short story by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

On this course you will:

  • explore a strange and fascinating concept and think about ways it might relate to the practice of writing poetry
  • complete poetry writing exercises that will involve whole group work, pair work and individual work
  • receive high-quality feedback on your writing
  • work with the tutor to identify the next steps for your writing.

What will I gain?

You’ll leave the course with a poem that you have written and edited. You’ll also have an understanding of the concept of the uncanny, and the confidence and skills to continue with this process in the future.

"Friendly and well structured, with more academic or complex information available if you wanted it. Great tutor, great group of participants." ER, Summer 2017

"Thank you for a really constructive and well focused day." SW, Summer 2017

Tutor profile: Zayneb Allak is a writer and teacher. She has worked in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, teaching students of all ages and backgrounds, but now calls Nottingham home.

She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from NTU, where she works as a Research Associate in Critical Poetics and Lecturer in English Literature. She also teaches on the BA in Creative Writing at Nottingham University.

Her poetry has appeared in The Rialto and New Walk and she’s currently putting together a full-length collection.  She’s interested in how writing is made and ways in which the creative process can surprise and unsettle us.

Any questions? Contact the short course team:


Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2813