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‘Garam Aandey’ by Aisha Hassan – Primers Shortlist 2017

Those ancient cobbles hum with heat long after sundown the shrill cry of the boy with the thermos full of hard boiled eggs for sale the donkey pulling the cart of bananas – refusing to move as the doodh wallah on his bike delivers the milk door to door And here is rain that is…

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Review: ‘The Hill’ by Angela France

Angela France’s The Hill is a book-length sequence of poems celebrating Leckhampton Hill near Cheltenham. In its commitment to explore every aspect of the area, from its history to its landscape to the people who meet there, the collection is an all-encompassing celebration of place, as well as a showcase for the versatility and range…

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‘Old Town’ by Imogen Forster – Primers Shortlist 2017

The churches wear black hoods and on the inebriated street bars shine, all glass and varnish. Voices talk beer and whisky. A boy kicks a bottle down the stank, pigeons sip daintily in the grooves between worn granite setts. The hunchbacked street is an arête, a dry fishbone. Closes fall away from its spine, swallowing…

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‘The May-Tree’ by Yvonne Reddick – Primers Shortlist 2017

Your embrace was the Shelter Stone when the ferns began ____________________to unscroll their questions. You planted a may-tree, and said the whitethorn could not match the bloom in my cheeks. By summer, you swore you’d carry me from Edale to Kielder, to show me the dens of lynx. My vows were the Ring of Steall….

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‘The House’ by Aviva Dautch – Primers Shortlist 2017

  Aviva Dautch is on the ten-person shortlist for Primers Volume III. ‘The House’ is from her shortlisted manuscript When The World Was Rotting. We’ll be showcasing the work of all the shortlisted writers over the next two weeks, so check back to read more poems. Aviva Dautch teaches at the British Library and Bethlem Museum of the Mind (the…

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‘Second-hand’ by L Kiew – Primers Shortlist 2017

___(Penang, 1932) _________(i) Lao ma believes the dead cling to their possessions. My dress is red shantung; its last occupant is heart-broken and tugging on my hem as I step onto the polished floor. My partner is her ex- husband. He holds me out at arms’ length, cold and stiff. I waltz around, around. When…

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Review: ‘Terms and Conditions’ by Tania Hershman

In Stephen Pinker’s book, The Blank State, he took aim at the notion of nurture being all powerful; that we are born in compliance with the environment we inhabit. Pinker argued that the new cognitive sciences showed we are determined by what we inherit. In Tania Hershman’s debut collection: Terms and Conditions (Nine Arches), the…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Queer Poetics: Beyond the White, Straight, (Cis-)Male Literary Canon

In recent years, I’ve been increasingly keen on the word ‘queer’ as a descriptive tool for self-identifying as LGBTQ+, but also as a way of negotiating and understanding the society we find ourselves in. Despite its former derogatory connotations, ‘queer’ has since been reclaimed by many as a powerful lens through which to better depict…

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‘Limpet’ by Anna Bindoff – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

You told me after all these years, in one Of those sweet, unexpected, piercing lines That we’ve become like limpet and a stone Whose borders can be nowhere else aligned. I wondered if you knew the home’s a scar, Abraded by rotation at the brim And strange exchanges keep them there, shell stars In constellation,…

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‘So’ by Roy Woolley – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

On the dirt road that night, a broken thing with the new patterns leached from its wings – but no clearer signs, hence no way of knowing the destination this rough road might become if I followed the scents these greyish flowers had already lost guiding me. Scanning the thorn-fields and with hours before reset,…

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‘The flaw in the pattern’ by Rachael Mead – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

13 thoughts on wilderness 1. It is a word for something imaginary. 2. The deep blue bowl of sky, the microbial cities in the folds of my skin. 3. Web, palimpsest, machine – nothing can capture it. All we can say is what it is not. 4. Warping the laws of physics, time drifts with…

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‘What the trees do’ by Laura Scott – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

They play with us they want to be us they once were us a long time ago one of them caught the heel of a girl in the crook of its branch, snagged it like a bird caught in a bush flicked her up into its leaves. She cried and the birds scattered so no-one…

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‘Walking with Rilke’ by Linda France – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

When, after a day of rain, evening light plucks us out of the four-square house to rinse our screen-bleached faces and it takes a while to adjust then notice grass heads leaning into each other like our shadows far off to the south intent on their own attenuated adventure woven between sheep, recently shorn and…

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‘River, post-spate’ by Joanna Guthrie – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

………..‘…one broad presence that proceeds by craft and gratitude’ – John Burnside The river reassembles after being in spate. It is small water moving in shining self-interrupting wrinkled glyphs and dimples, a body of thought in movement. It flows severally in adjacent clear layers and overlays takes circular spinning journeys within itself. Having got itself…

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‘Dawn of a New Age’ by Sue Norton – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

Of ten green bottles, two are glass and make music, ringing the bell of the bottle bank. Eight are plastic: two are scrunched, recycled by the council; one floats in the canal, one rolls in a ditch tossed from a car; one embarks on a sea voyage. Three truck to landfill. It’s a new beginning,…

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‘Fractures’ by David Clarke – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

i This house just moved ………..and all the bodies in it. Our finger-pointed grip on earth dislodged another fraction. Floodlit rigs ………..assault the ground and sky, scarred trucks idle at stop-lights. Now we are tutored to open – ………..this spell of force that conjures each fissure apart, its pitching release. Whatever holds us here, together,…

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‘Windward’ by Paul Stephenson – Resurgence Prize, Highly Commended

The sea all water, yet receives rain still And in abundance addeth to his store… ……………………………………..Sonnet 135 Could be thirteen, asleep on a beach, the sand palms still, the sea uncertain. No announcement: just the heavens in a sudden rush, but even this much water is never enough. I run for shelter, quick sink my…

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‘Dhanakosa, Scotland’ by Cath Drake – Resurgence Prize, Second Place

The mist came through the glen, past the waterfall ………..roaring vertical, sweeping through trees, the sturdy quivering stems of wildflowers and vines, ………..and uncurled itself across the loch. A heron appeared from the grass, craned its neck, ………..lifted its legs and steered its insect-like body to pierce the mist, disappearing into it ………..with flashes of…

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‘Bomb’ by Emily Diamond – Resurgence Prize, Third Place.

Our ancestors didn’t leave us words for this. Rain, downpour, deluge Do not describe cars and central heating Become invisible, argued-over carbon – Heated air that holds the weight of oceans And, drop by millions of drop, Returns it to us, Filling fields with the fish-coloured back and forth of sudden lakes, Reversing gravity to…

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Seán Hewitt Wins Resurgence Prize with the Poetry School!

  At a special reading yesterday at Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival, we announced the winners of the 2017 Resurgence Prize with the Poetry School. Our winner took home a cheque for £5,000 and will be attending an artists’ residency at Great Glemham. Second and third prize won £2,000 and £1,000 respectively. Congratulations all! Winners Winner: Ilex  by…

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‘Ilex’ by Seán Hewitt – Resurgence Prize Winner

Distracting myself, waiting for news, I walked until I saw this white cluster of holly growing at the base of a tree, the stems yellowed, the angled clutch of leaves like a bleached coral, a pale antler, almost medieval, like a relic unearthing in the gloom of the wood. Later, still the baby would not…

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Primers Volume 3 Shortlist and Longlist Announced!

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press are delighted to announce the shortlist and longlist for Primers Volume 3, a mentoring and publication scheme. After reading thousands of poems, judges Hannah Lowe and Jane Commane have selected ten manuscripts for the shortlist and nineteen manuscripts for the longlist. We’ll be publishing poems by all of…

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Spring 2018 Course Quick Guide

Spring Term 2018 is now open for booking! We are delighted to open the booking period for the second term of our 20th anniversary year at the Poetry School. Feast your eyes on our forthcoming line-up of brilliant courses and workshops, and start planning your new year of poetry writing! Remember that new students get 15%…

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Half-Ghazal (for Reneé)

“The word [Ghazal] is of Arabic origin and means ‘talking to women’ (women in purdah, with all that that implies)” – Mimi Khalvati in her Notes to The Meanest Flower   I flinch inside as you corroborate my name, which is your name now. You spell it out over the phone to a call centre…

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Review: ‘Swims’ by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s compelling ‘long poem taking many forms’ begins by defining the action ‘To Swim’:   To give up. To disappear. To appear in Vanity Fair before breakfast. To afterwards destroy economy of Greece.   A footnote tells us that the final sentence refers to Christine Lagard, Director of the IMF, describing her morning swim…

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