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Our projects past and present

As well as our teaching, Poetry School regularly collaborates with a large variety of organisations and individuals on public projects. This strand of our work we call ‘The Poet in the World’.

Recent examples of these ‘Poet in the World’ projects include a beach-based residency for two poets (Shingle Street), a series of micro-commissions by poetry promoters (Lo and Behold!) and a residency collaboration with London Parks and Gardens Trust (Mixed Borders). A full list of our recent projects and commissions are below.

Information about new opportunities and details of how to participate in our ‘Poet in the World’ series can be found via our newsletter and blog, where we make most of our announcements, as well as sharing ‘behind the scenes’ information and planning advice in order to inspire students to their own new work.

We are always looking for new ideas and people to work with, so if you have a project in mind that promises to good things in the poetry world – such as bringing poetry to new audiences, or developing the talents of writers at early stages of their careers – then please get in touch with Ali Lewis via our Staff page.

On with the shows…

Lo and Behold!

Low-cost, high impact micro-projects

A micro-commissioning project. We put up five pots of £750 and asked poets, artists and promoters to tell us how they’d spend the money on innovative ways to get poetry in front of audiences. We funded a scratch spoken word show, a poetry walking tour, a stately home residency, a political poetry email chain letter and a poetry and dance piece.


Guiding poems into print

A mentoring and publication collaboration with Nine Arches Press, one that we hope will run and run. Poets submitted a selection of their work to Nine Arches judges and poet editor Kathryn Maris. Three selected poets will receive mentoring and tailored advice from Kathryn and Nine Arches editor Jane Commane, and see their work published in a three poet volume, also called Primers.

Is There A Doctor in the House?

A Poetry PhD festival

We invited eight current poetry PhD candidates to give half hour mini lectures and half hour micro workshops on their areas of study, to share their ideas with our student body. We explored the Poem Noir, the construction of a database of poetic imagery, contemporary Iranian poetry, poetry and sound and many other subjects in the sumptuous surroundings of the 1901 Arts Club in Waterloo.

New North Poets

Emerging writers from the North

An ongoing collaboration with New Writing North. Each year, a group of emerging poets is selected by NWN through their Northern Writers Awards scheme, and the Poetry School puts together a programme of teaching and mentoring for them. Taking place part online and part face to face, the sessions are led by Clare Pollard.

Rialto Editors Development Scheme

A poetry editor traineeship. Working with the Rialto poetry magazine, we offered two pairs of poets the experience of editing a poetry magazine, teaching them everything from poem choice to production, from launch party organisation to subscription marketing.

Mixed Borders

Annual garden residencies across London

A poetry residency training programme, in association with London Parks and Gardens Trust. We organised a how-to-be-a-poet-in-residence training session for sixteen writers, then planted them each in a garden taking part in LPGT’s London Open Garden Squares Weekend. A CAMPUS pamphlet resulted from their work, as well as a guest spot reading at a peace festival in Waterloo.

CAMPUS Digital Poet in Residence

An artist-led position on CAMPUS. Since 2013 we have invited resident poets – and called for proposals – who are encouraged to contribute their own ideas as to what exactly the role should encompass. A fee of £500 is given, for around 5 weeks, to interact with our online community of over 2000 poets from around the world, share useful information and resources, pursue personal and creative interests in a public-facing environment, share new work and experiment with ways of creating new work.

NaPoWriMo 2015 with Mslexia

Writing a pamphlet of poems in a month

Open writing prompts. To celebrate National Poetry Writing Month and to help the global participants, we called upon thirty Poetry School tutors to offer up writing prompts. These were published daily on CAMPUS and also on the Mslexia Magazine website, inviting the resulting poetry to be shared online too.

Scott Polar Poets

Behind-the-scenes access to an historic collection

Collaborating with the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, we ran a series of poetry workshops – led by Kaddy Benyon, Lucy Hamilton and Lucy Sheerman – for students to explore the museum’s exhibits, research and artefacts in search of inspiration for new work. The poems created through this project were collected and presented in the first of our Campus Pamphlets series.

CAMPUS Pamphlets

Free digital pamphlets and chapbooks

A digital anthology series. For the last year we’ve been bringing together the work created in our projects, courses and commissions into pamphlet-length editions of poetry, available online, increasing the reach of the poets and inspiring creativity across users of CAMPUS.

T S Eliot Prize Previews

Our yearly lookover poetry's biggest shortlist

In conjunction with the Poetry Book Society, we’ve run preview events to the T S Eliot Prize annually since 2012. Taking place in the Southbank Centre on the day of the Prize Readings, we commission a poet to provide an overview of the ten shortlisted books, inviting comment and debate from the audience.

The Line Break

Part podcast, part audio poetry lesson

Our first podcast. Ryan Van Winkle is your guide in The Line Break, an interview series delving into the writing practices of celebrated poets and offering up prompts to get listeners’ own poetry onto the page. So far Ryan has interviewed Philip Gross, Kwame Dawes, Mary Ruefle and Hilary Menos, and all editions are available to download online and offered by the Scottish Poetry Library podcast channel.

The Bloomsday Project

An immersive year reading, writing and performing after James Joyce

Poet Chris McCabe ran a three-term course on Joyce’s Ulysses allowing ten weeks for reading, ten weeks for writing and ten weeks which built towards a performance by students at the Blue Elephant Theatre in London on 16 June 2014, the 110th anniversary of Bloomsday. All the poems from the performance were later published as a free digital book, part of our CAMPUS Pamphlets series.


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