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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Jennifer Lee Tsai reviews ‘Three Poems’ by Hannah Sullivan

Within the context of contemporary poetry and modern poetic form, how does one begin to describe or characterise ‘free verse’? As an academic, Hannah Sullivan’s critical exploration of this question is evident in her stated research interests. She argues that ‘the prosody of modern poetry is, to a large extent, determined by practices of lexical…

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‘Fairy Tales and Stepmonsters’

I wish I’d held your hand more often. it would have been easy. I wish I’d worried less and made a nest of my fingers for it to curl inside, it used to slip into mine anyway. Do you remember the models we made out of cardboard and paper? Rockets and market stalls and castles…

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Talking Back: Poetry, Dialogue and Voice

In her 2017 collection Stranger Baby, Emily Berry stages a dialogue between voices living and dead, a sort of haunted (and haunting) psychodrama, both intimate and fiercely private: “I wish you would put some kind of distortion on my voice,” says the speaker in ‘The End’, “so people don’t know it’s me.” This is poetry…

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‘Emma’s Attitudes’

“She is better than anything in Nature. In her particular way she is finer than anything that is to be found in antique art.” Sir William Hamilton   Arachne Nursemaid, barmaid, perched on the Flintshire front stoop, weaving Bacchante Dancing at the Temple of Health and Hymen; atop Sir Harry’s table, deliciously displayed Circe John…

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Review: ‘A Watchful Astronomy’ by Paul Deaton

The title of Paul Deaton’s powerful first full collection, A Watchful Astronomy, might strike the reader initially as something of a tautology – surely all astronomy is about keeping a vigilant eye trained on the night sky? Deaton’s approach is to look down the other end of the telescope at the minutiae of our earthly…

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The Opposite House: But We Never Go In That Room!

  [T]he borders of our minds are ever shifting, and…many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy.   from ‘On Magic’ by W. B. Yeats.   Childhood is a time when our brains are, as Yeats states, ‘ever shifting’. We are laying the…

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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell reviews ‘Don’t Call Us Dead’ by Danez Smith

Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead (Chatto & Windus) interrogates the present, exhumes histories and dares to imagine a future poised in anger, grace and freedom. It is unapologetic in its scope and tender in its pain. The politics is searing and the language hauntingly beautiful; Smith’s is a craft of lacerating precision. This collection is…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Ledbury Emerging Critics: Mary Jean Chan reviews ‘Shrines of Upper Austria’ by Phoebe Power

As one of the four Poetry Book Society Spring 2018 Recommendations, Phoebe Power’s debut collection Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet Press, 2018) sings with a variety of different notes, ranging from the gruesome details of an Austrian murder case to a moving sequence written in the voice of Power’s Austrian grandmother, Christl, who left for…

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Fully Automated Radical Pessimism

Some of my favorite books to teach are dystopian, like George Orwell’s 1984, M.T Anderson’s Feed, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. All of these books inform my work, but especially Station Eleven. In the book, Mandel asks the question: what would survive in the end of the world? Shakespeare…

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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Jade Cuttle Reviews ‘Asylum’ by Sean Borodale

A landscape of stone has never been so alive as in Sean Borodale’s Asylum (Penguin): freckled with bones that refute their own burial, and feed off ‘the flesh of the shade’ as though trying to grow back their bodies, these poems are brimming with life in unexpected places. The inspiration for this book was mined…

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NaPoWriMo 2018 with the Poetry School

Get writing with The Poetry School for National Poetry Writing Month 2018. Join our free Campus group for NaPoWriMo and receive a writing prompt every morning, share your poems, and swap feedback with fellow poets. Last year, nearly 600 poets took part, and thousands of new poems were brought into the world. All you have to do to is join the group. Invite your friends!  

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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Maryam Hessavi Reviews ‘Spoils’ by James Brookes

Get Google ready – you’ll need it… James Brookes has published his second collection of poetry, Spoils (Offord Road Books): a geographical and linguistic excavation of historical and present-day England. These are poems which find their land most fervently on a linguistic plane, in a passionate engagement with the language through which the material reality of…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Inua Ellams on #Afterhours

This year we’ve once again asked the poets shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award to explain the creative process behind their award-nominated work as part of our ongoing ‘How I Did It‘ series.  In this final instalment, Inua Ellams discusses #Afterhours, a collection comprising response poems, memoir, diary and artwork.   In 2014 I turned 30 and…

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Review: ‘Rope’ by Khairani Barokka

Khairani Barokka’s first book of poetry, Rope, is published at a time in which the lyric poem is being reexamined and reoriented, the form newly charged with political meaning in the hard light of its hitherto unacknowledged ideologies. 2017 was, and 2018 will be, an intense reworking of our poetics in response to previous failures…

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Naming the Hill: A Conversation with the Non-Human

Ahead of her new online course, Die Like a Wolf: Writing the Non-Human, Suzannah Evans discusses the non-human in her poem ‘Naming the Hill’, published for the first time here.   Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Antony Owen on ‘The Nagasaki Elder’

This year we’ve once again asked the poets shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award to explain the creative process behind their award-nominated work as part of our ongoing ‘How I Did It‘ series.  In this third instalment, Antony Owen talks about writing The Nagasaki Elder (V. Press), a journey through the bombed cities of Japan, drawing on accounts of…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Matthew Francis on ‘The Mabinogi’

This year we’ve once again asked the poets shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award to explain the creative process behind their award-nominated work as part of our ongoing ‘How I Did It‘ series.  In this second instalment, Matthew Francis discusses the writing of  The Mabinogi (Faber and Faber), a poetic adaptation of the 14th Century Welsh epic…

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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Sarala Estruch Reviews ‘Malak’ by Jenny Sadre-Orafai

You don’t have to be a believer in palmistry or divination to enjoy Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s second collection, but openness to alternative ways of seeing and knowing is an advantage. The book is titled after the poet’s late grandmother who was a chirologist and diviner, well respected in her community. In ‘Company’ we are told: ‘Families…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Greta Stoddart on ‘Who’s There?’

This year we’ve once again asked the poets shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award to explain the creative process behind their award-nominated work as part of our ongoing ‘How I Did It‘ series.  In this first instalment, Greta Stoddart talks about the genesis of  Who’s There?, a radio piece tackling the topic of dementia through an interweaving of…

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Ledbury Emerging Critics: Nasser Hussain reviews ‘Calling a Wolf a Wolf’ by Kaveh Akbar

John Ebersole’s late 2017 Tourniquet review of Calling a Wolf a Wolf  is harsh. Even when he’s trying to compliment Akbar’s work, it’s backhanded – as in the opening of his review where we read:   Dumbfoundedly imaginative and self-absorbed, [Akbar’s] poetry engulfs the reader with so much turbulent rhetoric you’re surprised he’s capable of writing…

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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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Primers Volume 3 Launches in London on 3rd May

The London Launch of Primers: Volume Three by Romalyn Ante, Sarala Estruch and Aviva Dautch will take place on Thursday 3rd May at the Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell, at 19:30. The poets will be introduced by Nine Arches Press editor Jane Commane and Primers selecting editor Hannah Lowe. The event is free and no…

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‘Why do dominant cultures translate so much?’

Translation is a hot topic. Search for ‘translation’ in Google and you’ll see numerous news stories; many are to do with an innovative array of emerging translation technologies – for example, earbuds that can translate languages in real time. Whereas human translators may find simultaneous translation mentally exhausting, machine translators can last as long as…

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Review: ‘Giant’ by Richard Georges

In September 2017, Richard Georges’ Make Us All Islands was shortlisted for the Forward Prize first collection. Georges was due to fly from his home in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to the prize readings in London. Georges never made it. Georges was unable to attend the Forward Prize readings due to the storms that…

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Why do we read, and write, taboos?

A few years ago I read Tiger Tiger, a controversial memoir by Margaux Fragoso which chronicles her long-term relationship with a 51-year old man, Peter, which began when she was just seven years old. As a culture, we are collectively repelled by paedophiles – the acts they engage in, or even fantasise about, with children…

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