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Written With a Wet Rock

When writing is hard and the poems are turning stony-faced and slow, I tell myself there are so many things harder and slower to hold onto than a poem: first, a breath, and second, a stone. I take one good, deep breath and let it go. Then I take one good, deep lump of time…

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Review: ‘Flèche’ by Mary Jean Chan

How do you learn to love when you’re versed in the ways of war? Equal parts sinister Aesop’s Fable, lived experience, and fairy tale with a twist, Flèche invites readers into a labyrinth of longing. There’s an ongoing war across generations, between mother and daughter, in Mary Jean Chan’s debut collection, Flèche. But the battles…

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The Personable Political

So you’re in a writing workshop, one of those all day affairs where you do some exercises in the morning and have a communal critique in the afternoon. You’ve written 3 bad poems, 1 seed of something, and poem that flew from your pen or fingertips so naturally that you have no idea where it…

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How Poetry Burns

I had just turned 18 when I moved out of my childhood home and into an apartment with my boyfriend. Although I hoped my young relationship would last, there was something in me that said my treasured objects would be safer at home. Built by my grandfather for my grandmother after World War II, it…

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Memory, History, Loss, & Gains

If, like me, you believe that uncovering untold histories – whether personal, familial, or national – is important, and a vital part of the poet’s work, then join me for a day of reading and discussing poets who do just that. A few months ago, I was in a workshop with Bernardine Evaristo and the…

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A Far-Off Land: Finding More Folklore

In the west, epic myths, remnants of religions past, are revered, re-translated and researched, but folktales and fairy tales are often written off as children’s stories. Scrappy, grisly, lowbrow and deceptively simple, many of them do indeed serve as warnings to children: don’t wander alone in the woods, boast or steal. But these stories, passed…

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Review: ‘Reckless Paper Birds’ by John McCullough

To understand the weight of being bodied, All the swollen and tender exchanges That ground me here among the living (‘A Floating Head’) There is a powerful sense of tension between body and soul in John McCullough’s absorbing third collection, Reckless Paper Birds. The human body and brain can be a prison; they are both…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Review: ‘Handling Stolen Goods’ by Degna Stone

Interrogating the prejudice of race and class, Degna Stone’s spellbinding third pamphlet, Handling Stolen Goods (Peepal Tree Press), reveals a disturbing bond between the body and the world around it, and strives to break this down through bold, determined struggle. Whilst human interactions stand at the heart of Stone’s poems (‘We spend our time having…

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Review: ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ by Richard Osmond

Richard Osmond’s Rock, Paper, Scissors is a collection wherein violence and trauma has disrupted the social fabric to the extent that reality becomes a game of signs. Like the trickster of myths and fables, this collection undermines authority and convention. The three principle signs of this collection are excerpts from Beowulf, Qur’ānic extracts and Osmond’s…

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Review: ‘Girlhood’ by Julia Copus

There is a theory in earth sciences known as the Gaia Hypothesis that propounds that the earth and everything upon it (though, crucially, perhaps not including ‘us’) acts as a synergetic, self-regulating organism. The idea being that the earth acts as its own immune system, but also as its own ‘reset’, so to speak. Dangers…

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Twisted Love

In one of his Lunch Poems, Frank O’Hara describes reading the poetry of a new friend. Is this love? he asks, sounding uncertain. He feels held in the hands of the poem, experiencing poetry as a form of intimacy or attempted intimacy. This course came about because I realised, simply, that the love poem –…

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A Song for Occupations: In Praise of Work

What shall we do with work? Curse it, hate it, make escape plans from it, call in sick to it, write apologetic e-mails to it, still we find, every morning, we have to do it. And more than that, work does things to us: decides what time we’ll rise, how well we sleep, the folk…

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General Impression of Size and Shape: Poetry & Birds

I grew up with birds. And what I really mean there is, I grew up with a birdwatcher father who liked to tell us what every bird was, and how you might distinguish it from any other bird. From an early age I was watching birds on the bird feeder in the garden, delighting in…

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Review: ‘Significant Other’ by Isabel Galleymore

Isabel Galleymore’s debut collection, Significant Other (Carcanet) is a vividly detailed poetic chronicle of some of the world’s most fascinating species. The first poet-in-residence at Tambopata Research Centre in the Amazon Rainforest, Galleymore forages with wide-eyed fascination in search of new poetic ground. Underpinned by the desire to discover new ways of describing the natural…

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Adrian Street, The Early Years

I was fighting for my life even before I was born, nearly strangled at birth by my umbilical cord. By four I was re-enacting Little Bighorn, hunting Custer through the hills of Gwent, while Dad was hunted through Singapore by the Japanese. I gathered pieces of downed German bombers to build my own plane and…

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Psycho Gastro Studio

When I told a friend of mine I was going to be tutoring a course titled Psycho Gastro Studio, they asked me what that actually meant. In response I started telling the following story from my life: Many years ago I was on a bus from Leeds, where I had been visiting family, down to…

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Get acquainted with Campus

Create an Account with us today to become part of our exclusive Campus for Poets where you’ll be able to start enrolling in courses and mingle with other poets.

Narrow Road, Deep North

The first time I felt Northern was at the Students’ Union bar of the University of Chester. I’d recently moved there from South Shields and was taken aback when the barman couldn’t understand my order. ‘Do you mean Coors?’ ‘Aye, pint of Coors, please.’ There are two syllables in that particular brand of lager: coo-aaz….

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Queereading

Robin Morgan started her Lesbian Poem with a dedication to everyone who had turned to that poem first in the Contents page of her Monster chapbook. I’d done exactly that, of course. I was hungry. Hungry for anything I could get my hands on to read with a hint of a non-heteronormative narrative or some…

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You are here.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, no matter who writes it, no matter how many times you read it, these words are always true. You are here, wherever that is. So, if you are here, where am I? Here, supposedly. But then, I’m also somewhere else, somewhen else, writing this. Are we here? As people,…

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Concessions & Bursaries – new rates from Autumn 2019

Can’t afford the full price of one of our courses? Don’t despair – there are options available. Please note: that you may be required to provide proof of eligibility for our concessionary rates. Discounts do not apply to our one-to-one programme or travelling workshops. Give us a call in the office (020 7582 1679) to…

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Review: ‘Deaf Republic’ by Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic — framed as a two-act play — takes the reader into a country whose characters move constantly from one stage to another: from the public stage of an occupied town in a time of political unrest, via a local puppet theatre, to that of one’s own home. The first poem of…

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Inter-review: Maria Apichella speaks to Keiran Goddard about ‘Votive’

The poems in Keiran Goddard’s new collection Votive (Offord Road Books) ‘look painful things in the face and tell the truth about how much they hurt’. This anguished and beautiful book charts the rise and fall of a turbulent romantic relationship, ultimately exploring how to let go of someone you love. While eschewing an obvious narrative, there…

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Summer School 2019

Our 2019 Summer School is here! This boiling summer we’ve teamed up with hot experimental indie Boiler House Press to present a scorching line-up of half-day workshops. Put a towel down and reserve your place. Monday 15 July Hydro Lyric: Water & the Self in Contemporary Poetry with Samantha Walton What does it mean to…

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Review: ‘The Fall at Home: New and Collected Aphorisms’ by Don Paterson

Aphorisms are not poems. But the way in which they may or may not resemble poems might tell us something about poetry. The hope is they will tell us other things too. As a poet and critic many of Don Paterson’s aphorisms in The Fall at Home tell us about poems and poets. For instance:…

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Review: ‘Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore’ by Rachel Plummer

Scottish literature of the 20th century particularly is well-known for its humanism and pluralism. You just need to think of the likes of folklorist and poet Hamish Henderson, himself a bisexual man, arguing that poetry and song could help heal divided communities and societies. His most famous song ‘The Freedom Come All Ye’ is an…

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