Contemporary Poetry Workshops with Mary Jean Chan (Judith E Wilson Poetry Fellow) – Michaelmas 2023





Mary Jean Chan 

Michaelmas 2023

Thursdays, 2-5pm

Judith E Wilson Drama Studio

Faculty of English, West Road CB3 9DP

In this seven-week workshop series, Faber poet and 2023-24 Judith E Wilson Poetry Fellow Mary Jean Chan will be offering a Contemporary Poetry Workshop which will introduce you to some of the most exciting voices in contemporary Anglophone poetry, including Chen Chen, Kei Miller, Valzhyna Mort, Layli Long Soldier, Emily Berry, Natalie Diaz and others.


Through readings, discussions and in-class writing exercises, you will get the chance to produce new poems, as well as receive peer and tutor feedback on work-in-progress.

Students will be required to do some light reading before each workshop, and to participate in paired-/groupwork in a seminar-style format. There will be writing tasks assigned each week (to be workshopped in the following week), so this course would work best if students committed to attending the workshops on a regular basis.


Learning outcomes

Upon completing the workshops, participants will:

1)     have developed their understanding of a range of poetic forms  (e.g. the lyric, the prose poem, the sestina and more)

2)     be given peer critique and tutor feedback to produce new poetry, and to hone their work-in-progress

3)     have gained a deeper knowledge of how to collate and publish their work, either as pamphlets, or as full collections


Course content

Week 2 / 12 October: Poetry and its Possibilities

Week 3 / 19 October: The Lyric

Week 4 / 26 October: Persona Poetry

Week 5 / 2 November: Prose Poetry

Week 6 / 9 November: Elegiac Writing

Week 7 / 16 November: The Sestina, the Sonnet and the Specular Poem

Week 8 / 23 November: Towards a Poetry Pamphlet / Collection



To sign up, and for more information: please contact Mary Jean Chan at

Number of places available: 30 (this course is now full and has closed for registration). Thanks!



Mary Jean Chan is the author of the poetry collection Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019). Flèche won the Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. Chan’s second book, Bright Fear, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and is shortlisted for the 2023 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Chan edited the anthology 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan and is a judge for the 2023 Booker Prize.



Although the Faculty of English building has step-free access, please be aware that the Judith E Wilson Drama Studio is located in the basement of the building.  It is accessible via the Faculty lift or via a stairwell.

Please do not attend this event if you are experiencing any cold-like symptoms.