As promised, I'll post my reading list below.
'The Paper-knife' was written in Week 1 after the following reading assignment:
Week 1: Emmanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason and Jean Paul Sartre: On Existentialism and Humanism.
Go for a walk for at least an hour. Walk on a long road pavement, preferrably on an afternoon when there are not many people about. I would like you to walk without any destination in mind and simply pass through the space not giving much attention to it and be inside your head and think about the way Kant's mind works, how the ideas flow and how beautifully his language runs with him like a dog and sings the beauty, the art of wonderful, intricate, subtle and sublime thoughts in a rational succession of waves. And when you are coming back I would now like you to look and notice the space through which you would be walking back home.
Write a poem: not about Kant, not about Satre or their philosophies but about your walks and how they have deliberately drowned themselves in your lake and become sky-like-blue splashes of colours and everything that you saw and looked at and touched and reacted to felt so differently.
In Week 2, I wrote 'Authenticity' and 'Authenticity is a Bird' after the following reading assignment:
Week 2: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and Regine Schlegel née Olsen
Write a poem about Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and Regine Schlegel née Olsen. But I would like you first to get into Kierkegaard’s mind and then do the same with Olsen. This is not a historic poem you are writing but an areal poem the way you recraft their life and how they came alive in your viewscape and how you got into their lives.
Try reading and reading about: Federico Garcia Lorca, Rabindranath Tagore, Lord Byron, Alexander Pope, Derek Walcott and Fernando Pessoa, (And Ernest Hemmingway’s For whom the Bell Tolls).
Poets’ Letter Archive: Kona Macphee, Briony Dennis and Malgorzata Kitowski
In Week 3, I wrote 'Ravine' after the following reading assignment:
Week 3: Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo
Write a poem about these two and again, I would not want you to write history. I would like you to bring them alive the way they came alive in your sensedia and understanding.
Try reading and reading about: Rane Maria Rilke, Robert Frost, Vladimir Mayakovosky, Elizabeth Browning, Seamus Heaney, Chinua Achebe, Sharon Olds, Mimi Khalvati, (That Does not Die: Maitreyi Devi and The Bengal Night: Mircea Eleade).
Poets’ Letter Archive: Cheryl Follon, Claire Askew and Philip Ruthen
In my final week, I wrote 'Ono' after the following reading assignment:
Week 4: John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon
This one, particular attention must be paid to avoid the massive cliché that exists in the public domain. I would like you to ignore all that paraphernalia and dive into where they came from. And I would not want you to write history but areality as to how you found them to be talking to you.
Try Reading and reading about: Pablo Neruda, Thomas Dylan, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography: A Long Walk to Freedom, Coleridge and Boris Pasternak (A Game of Hide and Seek: Elizabeth Taylor and Dr Zhivago: Boris Pasternak)
Poets’ Letter Archive: Leanne O’Sullivan, Alan Buckley and Sharon Harriott
It's been a great month! It was really nice to be constantly reading and reading about all these great poets and writers and thinkers and people. Inspirational. I'm looking forward to attending the London Poetry Festival in August where I might just meet a few of them!