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The people making poetry happen

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 [email protected].


Meet our team

Isy Mead – Artistic Director

Isy is our Artistic Director. She joins the Poetry School from The Story Museum in Oxford, where she has been Head of Learning and Participation for eight years, leading a vibrant team of oral storytellers and creative writing teachers. She is a Trustee of Jane Austen House and studies Bengali at SOAS. Isy grew up in Cambridge, and holds Master’s in History of Art at the University of York. A secondary English teacher in Ilford through Teach First, she spent two years living in a rural area of Rwanda with Voluntary Service Overseas. Her debut pamphlet based on this experience, Dear Rwanda, was published in 2023 with Live Canon. Her work has appeared in MagmaMslexiaThe Telegraph, Poetry WalesAnacapa ReviewPoetry News and Ink Sweat & Tears. She has won 8 poetry competitions including the Julian Lennon Poetry Prize (2021), has been twice Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize (2016 and 2019) and was a finalist in the Brotherton Prize (2021).

Lusungu Chikamata – Finance & Operations Director

Lusungu is our Finance & Operations Director. He brings over 10 years’ experience in finance and operations in the start-up sector and most recently at First Story, England’s leading creative writing charity for young people. He has a passion for collaboration, developing and implementing strategic business functions and charities that provide meaningful creative education.

Andrew Parkes – Head of Programmes

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Andy is our Head of Programmes. He programmes all of our In-Person, Video, and Online Courses. Andy has a BA in Media & Modern Literature and an MA in Modern Literary Theory, both from Goldsmiths, University of London. He founded the independent poetry press clinic in 2009, has written and produced several works for the theatre, and loves the writing of Mark Z. Danielewski and Deleuzian metaphysics.


Jasmine Ward – Marketing Manager

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Jasmine Ward is our Marketing Manager and Ginkgo Prize Manager; she’s in charge of submissions, partnerships and social media platforms. Jasmine previously managed the Betjeman Poetry Prize, a prize designed to spark creativity in early adolescents. She also has a history in PR and events. When she isn’t working on Ginkgo she is a freelance writer (specializing in satire), as well as a copywriter and artist.

Caleb Parkin – MA Personal Tutor and Poetry School Wellbeing Adviser

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Caleb Parkin, Bristol City Poet 2020 – 22, has published widely in journals including The Rialto, Poetry Review, Magma, Poetry Wales and Butcher’s Dog, and has won or been shortlisted in major competitions. He tutors for The Poetry Society, Poetry School, Cheltenham Festivals and First Story and holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP).

His debut collection exploring queer ecopoetry was developed with Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice support. His debut pamphlet, Wasted Rainbow, is forthcoming with tall-lighthouse in February 2021 and his debut collection, This Fruiting Body, with Nine Arches in October.

Maryam Hessavi – Resident Reviews Editor

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Maryam is our resident Reviews Editor. She commissions and edits poetry reviews for the School. Outside of this work, Maryam is a freelance writer, poet, critic, and Contributing Editor for Ambit. Her work has featured in various publications and was recently selected for Carcanet’s New Poetries VIII anthology. She is also a member of the Ledbury Poetry Critics.


Tessa Foley – MA in Writing Poetry Manager

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Tessa is our MA in Writing Poetry Manager. She is also a poet and has published two poetry collections Chalet Between Thick Ears and What Sort of Bird are You? with Live Canon. She has also been published in several poetry magazines and prize anthologies.





Nazrene Hanif – Programmes & Website Administrator

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Nazrene is our Programmes & Website Administrator. She is also a freelance writer and editor. Currently completing the MA Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, Nazrene received special mention in the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2021 and her creative non-fiction has been published by Ache magazine.

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Board of Trustees

Richard Forsdyke – Chair

Richard Forsdyke is a partner in the real estate group at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, where he has 20 years’ experience in advising on major property developers, landlords and local authorities. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy & Law from Cambridge (Robinson College) and an M.Sc. in Politics from the LSE. His politics Master’s thesis was published as “After The Landslide” by the Centre for Policy Studies, where he served as a research fellow. He is a former trustee of The Pavement Poetry Trust and has undertaken courses at Poetry School. He plays rock drums to a low standard and also cures & smokes his own bacon.


Jon Sharples – Trustee

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Jon Sharples practises as a qualified solicitor specialising in intellectual property and art law, and is on the board of Block 336 in Brixton.



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.

Latiya Nanton – Trustee

Latiya Nanton recently graduated from London Metropolitan University with a First Class Honours in Fine Art. She has experience in theatrical costume design and exhibiting her own artworks. Latiya spent her childhood learning, and teaching, dance and martial arts; she aspires to curate an exhibition series exploring her heritage, culture, and the future of Caribbean identity in Britain.


Denise Saul – Trustee

Denise Saul is a writer and poet. She holds a doctorate in creative writing (poetry) from University of Roehampton. Her White Narcissi (Flipped Eye Publishing) was Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and House of Blue (Rack Press) was PBS Pamphlet Recommendation. She is a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize winner. Denise was one of the ten selected poets for The Complete Works, a nationwide mentoring scheme that aims to increase cultural diversity in publishing. She is the founder of Silent Room: A Journey of Language, a collaborative video poem project, funded by Arts Council England.


Kate Birch – Trustee

Kate Birch is the publisher of Ink Sweat & Tears, an online poetry and prose magazine with a small print publishing section which has seen several of its pamphlets shortlisted for major poetry awardsIn 2019, in conjunction with Poetry School, she supported a pilot project led by the poet Yomi Ṣode for young people from OnSide Future Youth Zone in Barking and Dagenham, some of whom took part in a ‘Voices of London’ poetry event at Mansion House that Kate co-curated on behalf of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of the City of London. Kate is currently working with writer development agency Spread the Word and academics from the University of Glasgow on the Runaways Project which involves creative responses from Black and South Asian writers and artists to runaway slave advertisements from London’s Restoration period.


Jonathan Teyssandier – Trustee

Jonathan Teyssandier holds degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Theoretical Mathematics, and is currently working in the financial sector in a risk management capacity. He takes a keen interest in poetry, both in the English and the French language – the latter his native tongue. He has a weakness for the craftsmanship of the Parnassian school on either side of the Channel, and for the poetic/mathematical works of the Oulipo movement.



Hannah Etim-Gorst – Trustee

Hannah Etim-Gorst studied history at Warwick University and the University of Connecticut, during which time she was a UNESCO youth ambassador. Hannah has also studied art history at The Courtauld. She is a practising solicitor.

In Hannah’s spare time, she loves theatre and dance having trained in both for over 10 years. Hannah will give 10 points to anyone who can spot her ‘starring’ in Harry Potter or Casualty!



Want to work for us?

The Poetry School is hiring for two new high-level roles, an Artistic Director and a Finance & Operations Director, to act as Joint CEOs and share strategic responsibility at this exciting time for the organisation. You can find more information and the full job descriptions here.