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The people making poetry happen

The Poetry School is run by a team of poets and arts administrators from our classrooms in London. Our work is further supported by our Board of Trustees. You can find out more about our administrative and governance teams and what we do, below.

Our teaching is handled by our ever-changing faculty of freelance poets. Information about our poetry tutors can be found on the courses they teach.

For general enquiries please email


Meet our team

Sally staff photoSally Carruthers

@sallycarruthers /

Sally is Executive Director for the Poetry School, responsible for direction in areas such as funding, partnerships, alumni and other areas of strategic growth and delivery. She studied English at the University of Oxford and embarked on a career in magazine and newspaper publishing, moving into philanthropy with charities ranging from educational projects such as the Story Museum, The Poetry Archive and University of Oxford to large scale national charities targeting deprivation with OnSide Youth Zones. Sally writes fiction and is working on her first novel.

Contact Sally to discuss all varieties of funding opportunities and other strategic partnerships.

Julia staff photoJulia Bird

@juliabird /

Julia is Creative Director at the Poetry School. Julia is in charge of devising and putting together our extensive national programme of courses and workshops. Julia also leads on the marketing of our programme and is involved in developing new artistic partnerships for the organisation. She studied at Reading and Sussex Universities and has worked as an arts administrator since graduation. Her poetry collections are published by Salt, and she produces touring live literature shows with her own company, Jaybird Live Literature.

Contact Julia to discuss teaching opportunities and programme collaborations.

Will Barrett

@willbarrett /

Will is the Digital Programme Producer at the Poetry School. Will is responsible for all our online courses as well as developing lots of interesting stuff on CAMPUS and the blog. He also manages our website and other digital projects. Will studied Art History and has worked for various art magazines, Microsoft, Betfair, The Serpentine Gallery, Popbitch, and appeared in the odd musical and cabaret as an accordion/piano accompanist, songwriter and musical director. He writes sporadically, and is learning how to make guitars by hand.

Contact Will if you’re interested in online teaching opportunities, CAMPUS or if you’re having technical issues with the site.

Maryam staff photoMaryam Tavakoli

Maryam is the Finance Officer at the Poetry School. Maryam studied Accountancy at Edinburgh Napier University. She worked as treasurer at North Glasgow Community Food Initiative for 4 years and in various Finance Officer roles before joining the Poetry School in October 2013. Maryam’s main role is to manage and administrate the day-to-day finances of the organisation including payroll, bills, invoicing, deposits, banking and budget management. She also plays a key role in the financial planning for the organisation.

John staff photoJohn Canfield

@johncanfield /

John is our Programme & Facilities Manager. John studied Drama at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and went on to train as an actor, but due to a clerical error has spent the better part of fifteen years working as an Administrator in Commercial Property, Local Council and Education. He has been a student at the Poetry School for many years and his poems have been published in a variety of magazines, journals and anthologies.

Contact John if you want to discuss a course, book a place, hire a space or make a payment.

Ali staff photoAli Lewis

@alilewis /

Ali is our Admin and Marketing Coordinator. His responsibilities include office administration, and the marketing of courses, workshops and events. Ali has a BA in Politics from Cambridge and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. He has taken part in a number of Poetry School courses, and had his work published in various anthologies and magazines.

Contact Ali for any general or course booking enquiries, or if you have any poetry events that you’d like us to share to our students.

James staff photoJames Trevelyan

@jamestrevelyan /

James is the Admin and Project Officer at the Poetry School, covering Will Barrett’s role on a part-time basis. James has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway and a 2016 pamphlet – DISSOLVE to: L.A. – with the Emma Press. He has worked for The Poetry Society, Poetry Book Society and Penned in the Margins.

Contact James for any general or course booking enquiries, and if you’re interested in CAMPUS or if you’re having technical issues with the site.

Andrew Parkes

Andy is our Admin & Programme Officer. He helps with general office admin and programming our regional courses and workshops. Andy has a BA in Media & Modern Literature and an MA in Modern Literary Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. He is Director and Editor of the independent poetry press clinic, has written and produced numerous works for the stage and is currently developing a PhD proposal on the writing of Mark Z. Danielewski, Deleuzian metaphysics and the philosophy of time.

Contact Andy for any general or course booking enquiries, or if you have any poetry events that you’d like us to share to our students.

Ed and Bernard

Ed and Bernard are our caretakers, the people who will welcome you into our premises on Lambeth Walk, help you find your classroom, and make sure there’s plenty of tea and coffee on hand.

Board of Trustees

The decision makers

Ian board photoIan Webster – Co-Chair

Ian Webster is Chief Operating Officer of Axioma Inc. His background in financial services and publishing, with organisations such as UBS and Barclays Global Investors provides the Poetry School with invaluable business experience and governance skills. He has been chair and board member of a number of industry associations. Ian has been an enthusiastic student at the Poetry School on a number of occasions and writes for pleasure.



Julia board photoJulia Meek – Co-Chair

Julia has a background in startups and social entrepreneurship. She co-founded ClearlySo in London, and subsequently worked as Chief of Staff for a non-profit microfinance intermediary in Beijing. She has an MBA at London Business School, graduating in 2014. She has taken two courses at the Poetry School and regularly attends live poetry events in London.

Hugh Rayment-Pickard – Trustee

Hugh Rayment-Pickard is a co-founder and currently Director of Development for the education charity IntoUniversity. Previously he worked as a parish priest in the Church of England. He has also been a lecturer in philosophy at Goldsmiths College, University of London and is the author of several publications including Philosophies of History: from Enlightenment to Postmodernity (Blackwell, 2000 with Robert Burns) and The Myths of Time (DLT, 2004). He has undergraduate degrees in English Literature (The University of Kent) and Theology (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) and completed his PhD thesis at The University of London on the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. This was published as Impossible God (Ashgate, 2003). He was made an MBE in 2009 for his work in the charity sector.

Philip board photoPhilip Pollecoff

Philip Pollecoff has enjoyed a long legal career and heads legal services at the charity agency Home Fundraising Limited. Philip was formerly chair of the Minster Centre, a psychotherapy training organisation where he oversaw its transformation from a founder based charity to a professionally administered organisation. Philip was also chair of Poet in the City in its early days. Philip is a published poet and his work has appeared in editions of Smiths Knoll amongst other publications. Philip brings the skills of an experienced arts and education chair; as well as an understanding of writing and performance, combined with the pragmatism of the legal world.

Daphne board photoDaphne Astor – Trustee

Daphne is an American-born artist, writer and farmer who has worked with arts organisations in the U.K. since 1977. Most recently Daphne has been an artist in residence and trustee at The Centre for Recent Drawing (c4rd) in London and deputy chair of a major development project at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. Daphne has a BA from New York University and an MA in Fine Art from City and Guilds of London Art School. She has studied a number of courses at the Poetry School.

Amy board photoAmy Key – Trustee

Amy is a poet and editor. Her debut poetry collection Luxe was published by Salt in November 2013. Amy co-edits the online journal Poems in Which and edited an anthology of poems on female friendship, Best Friends Forever, published by The Emma Press in 2014. She is Head of Communications in the Department of Health.




Helen Taylor – Trustee

Helen Taylor (BA Hons Cantab) was Literature Officer for Cambridgeshire County Council for 9 years and is now a Literature Consultant and works for Carol Ann Duffy the Poet Laureate as PA and Laureate Project Coordinator. Helen taught in secondary schools for five years before becoming Head of Education at The Poetry Society. She has taught on the University of Cambridge’s MA in Children’s Literature and the PGCE course at the University of Cambridge. She has been a director of two Poetry Festivals and is now on the programming committee of the Cambridge Literary Festival. She has also worked for Cambridge City Council as Community Arts Liaison Officer and founded her own company The Voices Project, which developed and delivered creative projects in the community for local authorities and museums. Helen initiated and project managed the year long Poetry and Museums Project ‘Thresholds’ curated by the Poet Laureate which involved 10 poets in residence in 10 University of Cambridge museums and collections working with young people and writing new poems.


Want to work for us?

There are no current vacancies at the Poetry School.

If you are interested in teaching, please email Julia or Will.