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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 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.

Will Barrett

@willbarrett /

Will is the Programme, Digital & Brand Manager at the Poetry School. Will is responsible for all our online courses, as well as wider programming, projects and events, and leads on all in-house art/design matters. Will studied Art History and has worked for Quercus, Microsoft, Betfair, Serpentine Galleries, Bush Hall, Rose Theatre Kingston, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Popbitch, and appeared in musicals and cabarets as an accordion/piano accompanist. He is a student of the Lagan Lutherie School and works in his spare time at The Boatyard Guitar Workshop in West London. In 2018, he is helping produce events and courses for the Song Collectors Collective.

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

John Canfield

@johncanfield /

John is our MA, Events & 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 our MA in Writing Poetry or hire a space.

Ali Lewis

@alilewis /

Ali is our Marketing, Special Projects & Editorial Manager. Ali has a degree in Politics from Cambridge, and an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College. He tries to take part in at least one Poetry School course every term, and has his work published in various anthologies and magazines. His personal website is

Get in touch with Ali to discuss marketing and advertising, our professional development projects (Primers, The Resurgence Prize, New North Poets), or partnerships. If you want to talk about writing for our blog, you can contact either Ali or Will.

Andrew Parkes

@AndrewParkes /

Andy is our Core Programme Manager. He programmes all of our Face-to-Face courses and workshops around the UK and in London. 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 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.

Maryam 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.

Esme Waterfield

Esme is our Senior Projects Coordinator.  She is a philosophy graduate and is currently enrolled as student on a practice-based research Masters at University of Westminster.  She has many years’ experience working in charity administration, mainly in small organisations.

Esme’s role is to provide overall coordination for the School’s activities and systems and administrative support for our programme of courses.

Emilio and Bernard

Emilio and Bernard are our current 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

Ian Webster – 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.


Daphne Astor – Trustee

Daphne Astor 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 at a number of courses at the Poetry School.


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.

Richard Forsdyke – Trustee

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 The Poetry School. He plays rock drums to a low standard and is, so far, a failed novelist. He is married with four children and lives 100 metres from The Poetry School in Kennington.

Raymond Antrobus – Trustee

Raymond Antrobus is a British-Jamaican poet, performer, editor and educator, born and bred in East London, Hackney. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word education from Goldsmiths University. In 2017 he was awarded 1 of 3 inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships. His poems have been published in magazines and literary journals such as POETRY magazine (US), Poetry Review, The Rialto, Magma Poetry, Oxford Diaspora’s Programme, British Council Literature, Shooter Literary Journal, The Missing Slate, Morning Star, Media Diversified, The Deaf Poet’s Society and forthcoming in Wasafiri, University Of Arkansas Press and the Bloodaxe Ten Anthology. His first pamphlet – Shapes & Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus (2012) – is published by Burning Eye Books. His critically acclaimed second pamphlet, To Sweeten Bitter (2017) is published by Outspoken Press. His debut poetry collection will be published by Penned In The Margins (2018). He has read and performed his poetry at festivals (Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival etc) to universities (Oxford, Goldsmiths, Warrick etc). He has won numerous slams (Farrago International Slam Champion 2010, The Canterbury Slam 2013 and was runner up at the open mic Calabash Slam in 2016). He has also read internationally (South Africa, Kenya, North America, Jamaica, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland etc). Raymond is co-curator of popular London poetry events Chill Pill (Soho Theatre and The Albany) and Keats House Poets. Raymond’s poetry has appeared on BBC2, BBC Radio 4, The Big Issue, The Jamaica Gleaner, The Guardian and at TedxEastEnd.



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