Second-year creative writing students at Salford University will no longer have to write sonnets for their assessment. The university has removed sonnets from the course claiming that they are “products of white Western culture.”
According to The Telegraph:
Writing the traditional form employed by poets from Petrarch to Auden formed part of an assessment for the University of Salford’s creative writing course, but “pre-established literary forms” were reviewed as part of a shakeup to “decolonise the curriculum”.
Sonnets have been sidelined as part of this “decolonising” work, according to internal documents which branded the verse form a product of “white western culture”.
Students of poetry no longer have to write traditional forms as part of their assessment, according to a slideshow illustrating best practice in decolonising courses at Salford, which was shared with staff.
The slideshow showcasing “inspiration from colleagues” states that courses leaders have “simplified the assessment offering choice to write thematically rather than to fit into pre-established literary forms previously used in the module which tend to the products of white western culture”
Examples of such traditional forms given in the slideshow include sonnets and “sestinas” – a complex verse form used by figures like the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sindey.
The changes to the second year creative writing module – titled Writing Poetry in the Twenty-first Century – were cited as examples of best practice as Salford continues a programme of “decolonising the curriculum”.
University documents state that this decolonising – a term used to describe refocusing curricula away from historically dominant Western material and viewpoints – is taking place as part of work to make Salford “more diverse and inclusive place” for students.
Oh fuck off.