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The Poet’s Bookshelf

What book can no poet do without? That’s the question we ask every poet who teaches or writes for us. The Poet’s Bookshelf is a fantasy library containing one title – poetry or prose – recommended by each and every poet who comes through our doors. If you’re stuck for inspiration, why not have a…

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Pub Chats: Verve Poetry Press

In the latest interview in our Pub Chats series, we sat down for an imaginary 8am pint with Stuart Bartholomew of Birmingham’s Verve Poetry Press, sister press of the successful Verve Poetry Festival.  Hello there! What are you drinking? I am scarily varied on drinks (a bit like I am with poetry). White Wine, Guinness,…

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Review: ‘Insistence’ by Ailbhe Darcy

The most incisive critical response I’ve encountered to Ailbhe Darcy’s recent work was when I posted a link to the first poem from Insistence on Twitter and Dominic Leonard replied saying ‘wow holy fuck’. That seems about right. It’s not that that poem, ‘Ansel Adams’ Aspens’ (which refers to Ansel Adams’ photos of, yes, aspens,…

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Review: ‘Working Class Voodoo’ by Bobby Parker

While Working Class Voodoo knowingly writes into and through traditions passed down from Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell and other ‘confessional’ writers, Bobby Parker is, emphatically, a poet of his own, disrupting what we expect from the lyric ‘I’. Working Class Voodoo provides the uncomfortable yet absolutely indispensable vantage of being a moth in the carpet…

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Poetry in Aldeburgh Weekend Round-Up

‘Magical’ is not a word I often use to describe an experience, but my first visit to Poetry in Aldeburgh was certainly that. The town’s location on a gorgeous shingly beach, the soft, early November light we were blessed with for most of the weekend, the cosy pubs we’d head to in the evening for…

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Review: ‘Waitress in Fall’ by Kristín Ómarsdóttir, trans. Vala Thorodds

Waitress in Fall is a career-spanning collection of Kristín Ómarsdóttir’s work, comprising 30 years’ worth of poems, selected and translated by Vala Thorodds and published by Carcanet & Partus. These poems by Kristín†, taken from her seven collections and presented chronologically, follow the likes of Selima Hill and Eileen Myles in conveying the quieted desires,…

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Help Poetry School fund places for our talented students

Poetry School is dedicated to enabling everyone to take part in our courses. Some of our wonderful students need the help of our bursary scheme or concessions to participate. In order to ensure that we can support them in this way, we are aiming to raise funds committed to these poets… And you can help…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Poetry in Aldeburgh Round-Up

 Friday Aldeburgh is a lovely seaside town lined with little shops, bakeries and cafés. As one of the poets, I was lucky enough to stay at Elizabeth Court, the artists’ accommodation, which was entirely booked for the festival. How often do you run into poets in the corridor or meet them while making breakfast in…

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Review: ‘I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING’ by Wayne Holloway-Smith

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING (Test Centre) is a startingly imaginative non-linear collection of poems by Wayne Holloway-Smith. Published on unbound, unpaginated sheets in a box instead of a book, the page becomes a playground redrafting the boundaries of expectation. The curious title is taken from a misspelt line written by Holloway-Smith’s daughter, setting the…

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’25 minutes on the elliptical’

My body slowed in voluntary, wilful suspended animation / like thought / I am waiting / on the cross-trainer   Window fly in front / you are dead / which is a kind of waiting   Arms and legs snapping towards each other / like rows of teeth in a great big mouth   Do…

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Come Back Early: Revisiting and Revising

This past year or so I’ve been moving house more than is usual. A combination of short-term jobs, travel, and parental flitting has meant that, since late last summer, I’ve had to recalibrate my thoughts about my possessions, my relationships with material objects and with (literal) baggage. Some former objets d’art, treasured through the years,…

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Pub Chats: Seren

Pub Chats is back! After an extended hiatus, the Poetry School’s long-running series of interviews with indie publishers returns with a fresh round of innovative small presses. First to join us in our imaginary theatre pub somewhere in London’s docklands is  Rosie Johns, Marketing and Communication Officer at  Seren.    Hello there! What are you drinking? Rosie: You…

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Pub Chats: Holland Park Press

Pub Chats is back! After an extended hiatus, the Poetry School’s long-running series of interviews with indie publishers returns with a fresh round of innovative small presses. Joining us today in our imaginary theatre pub somewhere in London’s docklands is  Bernadette Jansen op de Haar of  Holland Park Press.    Hello there! What are you drinking? Bernadette: A…

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A Dweller on the Plains: the Poetry of Walking

I haven’t always loved walking. As a child, I saw it as an unnecessary distraction from reading. It was only when I lived in central London and could walk everywhere that I started to enjoy it as a mode of transport. I walked back home from events in the evening, noticing the vivid flashes of…

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Review: ‘Passport’ by Richie McCaffery

In his second collection,  Passport,  Richie McCaffery explores the realities faced by many international couples who live with the uncertainty of Brexit. The poems are taut with frustrated energy as the speaker, who it is clear from the poems is McCaffery himself, seeks a place to call home. McCaffery is British and his wife is from…

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Review: ‘The Girl Who Forgets How To Walk’ by Kate Davis

A personal quest to re-learn how to walk through cherished, northern landscapes introduces a gifted new voice. Gathering fragments from memory, myth, archaeology and geology, Kate Davis’s debut is a nimble exploration of what it means not only to exist, but to persist. The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk feels to me incredibly timely….

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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.

Review: ‘support, support’ by Helen Charman

‘love other women / collaborate only with them’ writes Helen Charman in ‘Instructions for waking up in the morning’, the first poem of support, support  (Offord Road Books). The pamphlet takes its title from Denise Riley’s ‘Affections Must Not’, and women’s voices – urgent, ebullient, sardonic – are important throughout. The opening poem acts as an…

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Technicians of the Sacred: The Poem as a Magical Event

‘Magic is the very essence of it all. It’s spirit, the life force, that creative, inexplicable power which we all possess and seek to express in the world. How well we manage to do that is a totally individual matter.’ – Lucius Mattheisen   In the contemplation of magical space, what emerges is just how…

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New North Poets Mentoring Programme Open for Applications

The New North Poets mentoring programme is part of the Northern Writers’ Awards organised by New Writing North. The programme, devised and delivered by the Poetry School, and judged by Don Paterson, is open to poets who are yet to publish a full-length collection. Four winning poets will receive a structured package of support on the programme. This…

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What Is a Poem?

Does a poem have to rhyme in order to be a poem? Does it have to have line breaks? Does it have to be about metaphysics or can it be about tin openers – can it be about both? Is a poem still a poem when it is ‘deliberately opaque’? What about if it’s been…

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Review: ‘American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin’ by Terrance Hayes

Tradition and fashion aside, what Terrance Hayes does with 14 lines, over and over, is what seems necessary: the focusing and finessing of a complex voice – by turns melancholy, crass, urbane, incensed – into a mode that keeps his train-of-thought moving while calling at every stop. Rhythm and momentum in poetry are not the…

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The Double-image of Poetry and Photography

Creative mediums are not indefinable. They have essential elements that mean they are not something else at root. But their practise is not best served by recourse to the ‘it is whatever you want it to be’ line of thinking. I mean, that’s fine, of course – people can think what they like – but…

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What is Science Fiction Poetry?

Poetry often confines itself to the ‘real’ world, the world of nature or the city, relationships or the inner life. It is a counterpart to the novels of literary fiction which deal with these themes. But what about the themes covered by so-called genre fiction, speculation about the future, or life beyond the Earth? There…

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Someone Else’s Shoes: Poetic Monologue

Poetry is escape. The bloke at the desk there, not moving at all, not even seeing us as we step into his room now, but staring into space, tapping perhaps his pen against his teeth, or leaning now to squint closely at a sheet of paper, alive with these squiggly, wriggly marks which contain all…

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Danne Jobin Interviews Pascale Petit

Danne Jobin interviews Pascale Petit, winner of the 2018 RSL Ondaatje Prize and co-founder of the Poetry School, about rainforests, mothers and fathers, and trauma. Pascale Petit reads alongside co-founders Mimi Khalvati and Jane Duran at the celebratory event ‘21 Years of the Poetry School‘ at Poetry in Aldeburgh on Sunday 4th November. Danne Jobin: You…

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