All of our Blog Posts

‘My ghost you needn’t look for’ – Searching for Robinson Jeffers

The Venice of my birth, a far cry from Casanova’s Serene Republic, at whose spectre tourists chase to the tune of hundreds of euros a day, had already been pimped out to cruise-ships by the time I had learned to walk in the late 1980s. A stone’s throw from its noxious canals, life on the mainland…

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Study of cow herd

How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award – Jenna Clake on ‘The Cow Whisperer’

  Welcome to the first instalment of our Eric Gregory Award 2018 ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the winners of this year’s awards to explain the process behind one of their award-winning poems. First up, Jenna Clake writes about ‘The Cow Whisperer’. The Eric Gregory Awards 2019 will close for entries on the…

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The Decisive Moment

‘The real prayers are not the words, but the attention that comes first’ says Mary Oliver in her poem of the same title. Oliver’s detailed exploration of a hawk’s tumultuous flight essentially pays homage to a moment of perception. She leaves out no detail and describes the specificity of the moment with deep respect. Tied…

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Review: ‘Isn’t Forever’ by Amy Key

Isn’t Forever (Bloodaxe Books) is a moving and sincere song of mourning; a song which gathers impetus not through showiness but via a slow accrual of raw, untheatrical and many-layered sadnesses. In ‘Lousy with unfuckedness, I dream’, Key writes:                                  …

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Get Stuffed: Why We Need to Pay Attention to Things

Lately, Stuff has been on my mind – reading, writing, life. We’ve just moved into our first home and have installed U. A. Fanthorpe’s ‘Atlas’ in a frame on the wall. It’s a great example of how the largest themes can emerge from ‘storing the WD40 and knowing when to use it’ [sic]. I now…

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‘It feels like a time of poetry again’ – the Revolutionary Moment(s) of 1968

Obsessed, bewildered

 . By the shipwreck
 Of the singular

 . We have chosen the meaning 
Of being numerous. . (George Oppen)   In Giedre Zickyte’s 2012 film How We Played The Revolution a Lithuanian politician looks back to the time when his country peacefully withdrew from the Soviet Union. ‘It was a time of poetry,’…

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Review: ‘Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods’ by Tishani Doshi

Evocations of dogs, rain, love letters, mouldy houses, dead girls, adolescent longing, and an understanding of the body’s mortality inform poet-dancer Tishani Doshi’s Girls Are Coming out of the Woods (Bloodaxe Books), an eerie world of both ruin and tenderness. Conferred the Eric Gregory Award for Poetry and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection…

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Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Please – No More Poetry: Writing in Response to Trauma

The idea for my upcoming online course – Please – No More Poetry – began with a question that has occupied my thoughts for many years now: what is the relationship between poetry and trauma? In a conversation with my doctoral supervisor – a wise scholar and wonderful poet – I described my fascination with…

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We Cannot Stop the Rumbling Trains

I live in Nanjing, just down the road from the Chaotian palace and, in the other direction, the Hanzhongmen section of the city’s ancient wall. This section of the wall is mostly in bits now, but it’s a lovely spot, opening up into an area for gathering with friends. As the sun sets on the…

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Review: ‘Assurances’ by J.O. Morgan

Paying particular attention to the undercurrent of waiting, Assurances (Cape Poetry) navigates an assembly of perspectives and voices affected by the Cold War. Through what he’s gleaned from his father’s role in maintaining the R. A. F. Airborne Nuclear Deterrent at that time, J. O. Morgan’s work seeks to illuminate the shared space and connections…

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Interview with the Primers Three Winners: Sarala Estruch, Romalyn Ante and Aviva Dautch

With the deadline for Primers Volume Four, our mentoring, editing and publication scheme, just around the corner, we thought we’d catch up with last year’s Primers poets, Sarala Estruch, Romalyn Ante and Aviva Dautch to find out about their experience on the programme. You can buy their book, Primers Volume Three here!   First things first, how did it…

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Against English: an interview with Harry Giles

Will Barrett:  Hi Harry. Tell us about your upcoming course with the Poetry School, ‘Against English: Dialects, Distortions and New Vocabularies’. Harry Giles:  Hi! ‘Against English’ grew out of a one-off session I did with the Poetry School a few years ago, exploring the overlaps between writing in regional dialects, in experimental constraints, and in sound…

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Review: ‘Emerald’ by Ruth Padel

The irrepressible spirit of green guides Ruth Padel’s new collection Emerald – in terms of inner and outer growth, mysterious stone tablets and the lucent mineral itself, ‘a seam / of dazzle green’. Emerald is a tender and sustained honouring of the author’s mother Hilda, and the particularities of her dying, in 2017. ‘This is…

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Digital Poetry Beyond the Prehistoric

I think digital poetry is a genre that can offer poets exciting possibilities to create new work that explores and expands language. And that’s what I’m aiming to do with my new course at the Poetry School. Without disappearing down an internet wormhole ‘researching’ the topic of what is digital poetry, what are digital poetics…

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The God in the Forest: Finding the Spiritual in Nature

In the Iliad, there is a passage where Zeus calls all the gods to an assembly on Mount Olympus. But it is not only the Olympians who come – along with them are all the streams, and the nymphs of the woods, the rivers and the meadows. The Homeric world is one in which nature…

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Course Quick Guide – Autumn 2018

Face-to-Face Courses London Three Term Courses: The first term of our flagship year-long courses (3 x 10 week terms)   The Poet’s Toolkit (Autumn 2018) with Shazea Quraishi Explore poetry’s inner workings, hone your craft, and take a close look at various forms and techniques to help your poems achieve lift-off.   Pamphlet / Portfolio…

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Review: ‘Venus as a Bear’ by Vahni Capildeo

My favourite Capildeo moment (that I’ve come across in print) is in a TLS ‘20 questions’ interview from December of last year when in response to ‘Jacques Derrida or Judith Butler?’, the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University came back with ‘Ursula LeGuin. And David Bowie.’ What appeals to me most in…

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Review: ‘Electric Arches’ by Eve Ewing

In a recent reading, Eve Ewing quoted the Black Liberation Army leader Assata Shakur: “Black Revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions.” Ewing agreed with Shakur, but then went on to ask: what if they did drop from the moon? This is the premise of the opening poem of…

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Review: ‘Soho’ by Richard Scott

By turns explicit and playful, elegiac and defiant, Richard Scott’s Soho draws on the fiercer traditions of queer poetry without ultimately depending on those who have gone before. The result is a debut not bound by allegiance to some generalised category but liberated by joy and clear execution. Soho is not necessarily inseparable from London’s…

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Archiving Your Self Yourself: an interview with James Davies

James Davies is interviewed by James Davies – his uncannily named next-door neighbour – about his upcoming course for Poetry School, Archiving Your Self Yourself: Quantified Self Studio James Davies:  Hi there James. How are things this morning? James Davies:  Really really great James. Right now I’m dandy. I’m usually dandy. I see the birds….

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Review: ‘The Built Environment’ by Emily Hasler

Epigraphs often function as concise statements of intent, subtly staking out the territory and interests of a collection. Emily Hasler’s The Built Environment (Liverpool University Press) begins with a quote from Nan Shepard’s The Living Mountain acknowledging the wonderful tension between what we know and what we cannot know of the natural world, which for Shepard…

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We’re Hiring an Office Administrator – Join the Team!

Office Administrator We’re looking for an administrator with responsibility for the development of systems supporting course programme delivery. This a fixed-term, full-time post providing administrative support to the Poetry School’s core course programme, with additional responsibility for assessing and developing the systems supporting the delivery of the School’s programme, including its web-based databases. In the…

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Review: ‘Who Is Mary Sue?’ by Sophie Collins

I admit, I experienced intense feelings of estrangement and disruptedness during my first reading of Who Is Mary Sue? (Faber).  A kind of physical, alienating panic took hold and I struggled with a sense of being constantly dislodged from my usual reading habits and processes. The allusive, allegorical mode is realised through a very quiet approach…

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Summer School 2018

Get your towels ready, it’s about to go down! Our Summer School is back, and this year is better than ever. So dust off that bathing suit and dive into a week of half-day workshops running 23 – 27 July. This time around we’ve collaborated with Rachel Long, poet and founder of Octavia – Poetry…

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Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry Open for Entries!

The Poetry School are delighted to announce the Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry. The Ginkgo Prize, formerly known as the Resurgence Prize, is a major international award for poems embracing ecological themes. The judges are poet and Poetry School co-founder Mimi Khalvati and another judge soon to be announced. The first prize is £5,000, second prize…

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