Writing the Oulipo: a taster
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW588
Duration: 2 sessions
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
This course will look at examples of constraints created by some of the Oulipo’s main proponents, including the Hundred Thousand Billion Sonnets, the Metro Poem, and others. Course participants will have the opportunity to try out several techniques, and invent one or two of their own. In addition, there will be suggestions for further reading.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- What is the Oulipo?
- How does the Oulipo differ from other approaches to creative writing?
- What are the main techniques employed by Oulipians? We will look at a range of constraints and examples of some of them in use. These will include the lipogram, tautogram, N+7, preverbs and style exercises.
- You will also have the opportunity to try out some techniques and attempt to create your own.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand what the Oulipo is and its purpose.
- Use several Oulipo techniques as part of your creative writing “toolkit”.
- Know which books to read to further your familiarity with Oulipo writings and techniques.
- Strengthen your discussion and feedback skills.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course. No previous knowledge or skills are required. Energy and enthusiasm are more important than writing experience.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mix of small group work, group discussion, tutor instruction, analysis tasks and writing tasks. You may be asked to complete a short pre-course questionnaire to help the tutor determine the most suitable level and type of material.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need a notebook and pen and, if possible, a printed dictionary.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a broad range of writing courses that will help you take your writing further. To learn more of the options, please explore the different categories on the website.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
An ex-secondary school teacher, Head of Department and senior manager, Terry Freedman has been blogging and freelance writing since the 1990s. He has authored a number of books, both published and self-published, and is a member of the Society of Authors, where he was a member of the Educational Writers Group committee for several years. He has written articles for many publications, including The Guardian, TES and Teach Secondary, and blog posts for companies in the education sphere. He holds a BA, MA and Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the British Computer Society.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.