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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

Sally Carruthers

[email protected]

Sally is Executive Director of 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.


Sarala Estruch

[email protected]

Sarala is our MA and Editorial Manager. She manages the day-to-day running of our Writing Poetry MA programme (which we run in partnership with Newcastle University), as well as marketing and events for the programme. Sarala is also the School’s Editorial Manager; she commissions and edits poetry reviews, alongside other content for the website. When she isn’t working for the School, Sarala works as a freelance writer, poet, and critic. She is a former winner of the Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers scheme, and a member of the Ledbury Poetry Critics.


Andrew Parkes

[email protected]

Andy is our Head of Programmes. He programmes all of our Face-to-Face 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 is Director and Editor of the independent poetry press clinic, has written and produced several works for the theatre and is currently developing a PhD proposal on the writing of Mark Z. Danielewski, Deleuzian metaphysics and the philosophy of time.


Jasmine Ward

[email protected]

Jasmine Ward is the 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.

Jon Sharples

[email protected]

Jon is our Chief Operating Officer. He practises as qualified solicitor specialising in intellectual property and art law, and is on the board of Block 336 in Brixton.



Grace Cook

[email protected]

Grace is our Finance Officer. She provides financial accounting and administrative support for the organisation, including the processing of tutor fees and invoicing, financial reporting, and management accounts. Grace began her arts career in children’s book publishing, managing contracts and author royalties; before moving on to running accounts departments for adult publishers, literary agents, and talent agencies.

For a finance person, who is also passionate about poetry, the best thing about joining the Poetry School, is working with smart, creative colleagues whose different areas of expertise continually bring a fresh perspective to each project.


Muriel de Palma

[email protected]

Muriel is our Administration, Digital and Programming Assistant. She assists the team with running the day-to-day of the classes. Muriel has previously worked in publishing and theatre production. She is a freelance writer and translator, and recently cofounded


Caleb Parkin – MA Personal Tutor and Poetry School Wellbeing Adviser

[email protected]

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 Assistant Reviews Editor

[email protected]

Maryam is our resident Assistant Reviews Editor. She commissions and edits poetry reviews alongside our Editorial Manager, Sarala Estruch. Outside of her work for the School, 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. As a committee member for the Poets & Players series, she helps to run free poetry and music events at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. She is also a member of the Ledbury Poetry Critics.


Ed Wall & Holly Farler – Caretakers

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

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.

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.

Mona Arshi – Trustee

Mona Arshi worked as a human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry. She completed her Masters in poetry in 2011 at the University of East Anglia with a distinction. Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. She has also been a prizewinner in the Magma, Troubadour and Manchester creative writing competitions. Mona was the 2016-2017 Arvon/Jerwood poetry mentor and teaches and mentors regularly at schools and colleges. She has curated poetry events at the House of Commons with EVAW (End Violence Against Women) on International Woman’s Day and co-edited a special issue of POEM magazine on the theme of Brexit in June 2017. Mona has performed her work at over 40 Festivals both here and abroad. She has read at the Royal Society of Literature, Poetry School, the Southbank Centre and in 2017 she was on the judging panel for the Forward Prize and co-hosted the awards at the Royal Festival Hall. Mona makes regular appearances on the radio including Front Row and was commissioned to write a programme on The Odyssey for ‘Book of the week’ for Radio 4, which was broadcast in March 2017. Her poems and interviews have been published in many magazines but also in The Times, The Guardian, in the US and The Times of India as well as on the London Underground. Mona has recently been working with ‘Dancing Words’ and collaborated with composer Tom Szirtes and dancer Ella Mesma to develop a film poem – ‘Ballad of the Small Boned Daughter’ which was screened at the BFI in January 2018. Mona’s second collection is due to be published in early 2019 by Liverpool University Press.

Robin Boyd – Trustee

Robin Boyd is director of the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival that was revived in 2016, as well as a director of the Aldeburgh Library Foundation. Before retirement he worked in the finance sector as an investment analyst in New York, London and Zurich and then in technology, designing systems to support and automate company financial analysis. In 1990 with his wife Caroline, he also set up ARC Software Consultancy, a company that continues to specialise in, amongst other things, digital rights and repertoire data systems for the Music, Publishing, and Visual Media worlds. Robin was educated in New York, England and at Oxford (History and Economics). He is married with two grown up children.

Sean McDonagh – Trustee

Sean McDonagh is Head of Academic Engagement at Rowman & Littlefield International, an independent publisher of interdisciplinary books on Politics, Philosophy and Cultural Studies. With experience across a range of departments at various publishers including Bloomsbury Publishing and Quarto Press, he has developed broad publishing insights, specialising in marketing, communications and community engagement. Originally from Birmingham, he now lives in London, where he enjoys writing and reading poetry, the vast array of events and the opportunity to learn through courses taken at the Poetry School. He has also lived in Italy, where he specialised in Irish and American Literature at the University of Turin, during his time studying English at the University of Leicester. He has since continued to learn Italian, completing the C1 Advanced course at the Italian Cultural Institute and is pursuing his interest in language and culture by participating in poetry translation workshops and the Warwick Translates Summer School.

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.


Andrew Hewish – Trustee

A profile for Andrew Hewish is forthcoming…





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