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How I Did It – Forward First Collection: Abigail Parry on ‘The nine lives you might have lived, were it not for the nine thin spells through your heart’

Welcome to the fourth instalment of our Forward Prizes First Collection ‘How I Did It’ series. Once again, we’ve asked the poets shortlisted for this year’s Felix Dennis Prize to explain the process behind one of their award-shortlisted poems. Here, Abigail Parry discusses the history of a key poem from her collection Jinx. The Forward Prizes ceremony will…

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How I Did It: Forward First Collection – Kaveh Akbar on ‘HERITAGE’ from Calling a Wolf a Wolf

  Welcome to the third instalment of our Forward Prizes First Collection ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the poets shortlisted for this year’s Felix Dennis Prize to explain the process behind one of their award-shortlisted poems. Here, Kaveh Akbar talks about the devastating real-life event behind the poem ‘HERITAGE’. The Forward Prizes ceremony will take…

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#28for28: Sharing Space

Poetry School is sharing space. We are sharing our blog and broadcasting writers’ stories of those who experience indefinite immigration detention in the UK and those who work with them. We are also sharing our physical space: three of the tales – by Patience Agbabi, Neel Mukherjee, and Bernardine Evaristo – were filmed here at…

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How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award – Zohar Atkins on ‘System Baby’

Welcome to the third 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. In this piece, Zohar Atkins writes about ‘System Baby’, Heideggerian ontology, and writing poems in resistance to ‘unsayability’. The Eric Gregory…

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Review: ‘As Slow As Possible’ by Kit Fan

Kit Fan’s multifarious second collection takes its title from an art installation / piece of music for a church organ by John Cage which began its performance in September 2001 and is scheduled to end, believe it or not, in 2640. It takes on average over a year for a note in Cage’s composition to…

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Poetry in Aldeburgh Announce 2018 Line-Up

Curated by Paul Stephenson and Poetry School Full line up and tickets now available at www.poetryinaldeburgh.org    Over 100 of today’s most exciting poets from across the UK will come to the Suffolk coast to celebrate all things poetry with a weekend of 45 workshops, events and performances. We take as themes climate change, queer…

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How I Did It: Forward First Collection – Shivanee Ramlochan on ‘All the Dead, All the Living’ from Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting

  Welcome to the second instalment of our Forward Prizes First Collection ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the poets shortlisted for this year’s Felix Dennis Prize to explain the process behind one of their award-shortlisted poems. Shivanee Ramlochan talks about the wondrous experience of attending Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, which sparked her…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Ancient Tongues and Hybrid Texts

  Ahead of his upcoming course in Bristol, Rowan Evans writes about the intricate link between ancient languages and experimental poetry.   Language started shaking ok the day started shaking ok words are a matter of shaking – Caroline Bergvall, Drift (Nightboat Books, 2014).   This Autumn I begin practice-based PhD research at Royal Holloway,…

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How I Did It: Forward First Collection – Phoebe Power on ‘Rina’ from Shrines of Upper Austria

Welcome to the first instalment of our Forward Prizes First Collection ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the poets shortlisted for this year’s Felix Dennis Prize to explain the process behind one of their award-shortlisted poems. Phoebe Power gives details below on her writing process, and on how she created ‘Rina’. The Forward Prizes…

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Poetry School Bank Holiday Sale!

 Make the most of your bank holiday weekend with the Poetry School sale. Take 25% off selected Poetry School courses with voucher code BANKSALE!   Face-to-Face Courses   Fuck Lyric: Politics and Poetic Form with Joey Connolly (London, 10 week)): Join the fight and write new, original poems in support of poetry’s resistance against conservative conformity. Was £90. Now £67.50!…

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How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award – Annie Katchinska on ‘Snow Festival’

Welcome to the second 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. Here, Annie Katchinska writes about ‘Snow Festival’ and “learning how to write again”. The Eric Gregory Awards will close for entries on…

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Fuck Lyric

Ahead of his upcoming online course, Joey Connolly writes on the politics of ‘the lyric’.  In an unnamed poem in her 2017 book Fourth Person Singular, Nuar Alsadir writes:   ‘On the local platform at 86th Street waiting for a 6 Train, I noticed, written on a column in thick Sharpie, “Fuck Lyric:”     I…

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‘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,’ he…

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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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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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