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‘Tension, Tenderness and Truth: Reading Elaine Feinstein

We asked our tutor Adam Feinstein some questions about his course ‘Tension, Tenderness & Truth: Reading Elaine Feinstein’. This course will be a series of lessons exploring the work of renowned poet Elaine Feinstein. Adam is a poet, critic, and Elaine’s son – who better to illuminate her work? What could a student take away from this…

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At Home in Hauntology

– Here in the garden, I notice change flickering and looping in the invisible lapse of time between my footsteps, bird feet, the silent beats of butterfly wings and the movements of flora. In my passing, I de-head the odd flower, I note a small bud in apprehension and the imminent rain. Mid summer vacillating between now and the ‘not yet.’ I hear the garden in its tumescent silence and sound. Time feels ‘out of joint’ here, as Derrida…

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Review: Ultimatum Orangutan by Khairani Barokka

Drawing on her childhood in Indonesia and her experience as a disabled artist, Khairani Barokka’s second collection, Ultimatum Orangutan, brims with vitality, wisdom, and courage. Moving effortlessly between the personal and the universal, between hope and despair, the poet questions the spaces and times we live in, the relationship between an individual and society, and…

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Breaking into Song — War of the Beasts and the Animals by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

What is a dead song? A silent song? A song unsung, unheard, forgotten? In ‘The Body Returns’, the concluding poem of Maria Stepanova’s powerful, playful, ferociously vital collection, War of the Beasts and the Animals, the narrator invites us to ‘Break the frozen earth, touch the dead song.’ The dead press in through the lines…

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What we talk about when we talk about class / class is a slippery thing

Often, the problem of class is a hob ring, you won’t dare to put your hand on it. But it’s there all the same, in the food that we eat, in the air that we breathe, or just around the street corner where we live. Whenever I find myself trapped in a conversation so fraught…

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Childhood: A Source of Praise

I want to take you, very briefly, on a journey I made back in May 2007, to Addis Ababa where I had not been since I was a boy, some 40 years before. I had a photo of my friend Abebe in my pocket, standing with his family in our garden. My first stop was…

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Poetry School Scholarships

In the 2021-22 academic year we have 2 Scholarships available for places in our three-term courses. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the Poetry School and a generous donation from one of our tutors, Wayne Holloway-Smith. One of these scholarships is to be awarded to a writer of colour and the other to a…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

Autumn 2021 – Quick Course Guide

Our Autumn Term is now live and we’ve got a whole host of brilliant tutors and courses lined up, so be sure to book promptly to avoid disappointment. Below is our handy Quick Guide, where you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about our upcoming courses. Face-to-Face 3-TERM COURSESOur flagship weekly workshop groups where you’ll…

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Announcing the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship

We’re delighted to announce the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship for an underrepresented poet. Poetry School is offering a full fees scholarship award (£8,100) to the Poetry School / Newcastle University MA in Writing Poetry for an outstanding applicant who is currently underrepresented in the poetry world. By underrepresented poets, we mean talented creatives who face…

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Review – sikfan glaschu by Sean Wai Keung

Sean Wai Keung’s debut collection sikfan glaschu begins with the disclaimer that its poems ‘should not be taken as reviews – nor should the quality of the poems necessarily be seen to reflect on the quality of any food or place which may bear a similar name’. However, this generous sentiment feels a tad ironic…

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The Fish in the Percolator – on Twin Peaks and Poetry

Twin Peaks may not have introduced me to the concept of mystery, but it did reinforce in me the value of mystery without easy resolution, and the power of the imagination. I’ve been thinking about how that echoes through poetry, and what we can learn from it.  I watched Twin Peaks unfold for the first…

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Summer School 2021

We are delighted to welcome you to our 2021 Summer School! This programme of half-day workshops has been curated in collaboration with the exhibition A Fine Day for Seeing at Southwark Park Galleries. This show takes its title from the New York School poet Frank O’Hara, who bridged the literary and artistic worlds in the…

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Looking at Lichens

Crusty, bearded, lobed – lichens thrive amongst us on pavements, graves and trees and are easily overlooked. Peer closely, run your fingers over a frilled edge or delicate antler – each lichen vibrantly itself in a human-centred world.  Kathleen Jamie has talked of serious noticing – the idea of attention as a form of resistance….

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Review: New Poetries VIII: An Anthology

How to approach reviewing an anthology? Option 1: Dip in at random. Option 2: Read chronologically. Option 3: Begin with a poet known to you. Here’s me letting you into a not-so-big secret: I blended all three approaches when reading Carcanet’s New Poetries VIII. This handsomely designed anthology functions, on the one hand, as radar…

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Review: Beethoven Variations by Ruth Padel

Many collections published over the last few years have fused poetry and biography, invoking historical, mythical, and religious characters. Poetry, in many ways, is the art of conjuring – be it specific images, emotions and speakers, or whole landscapes and decades-long sagas. These subjects, of course, can be either ‘real’ or fictional: often both; sometimes…

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Review – poems for my fbi agent by Charlotte Geater

If ever I needed a distraction, it’s now. I have never needed poems more than I have this past year, as the isolating effects of the Covid-19 outbreak continue to sink in. It’s almost difficult to read Geater’s debut pamphlet poems for my fbi agent (Bad Betty Press) at this time, such is the dark…

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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.

Ars Poetica: Cold Showers & Restless Sheets

Poetry is replete with pithy, aphoristic metaphors about what poems do. William Carlos Williams claimed a poem is ‘a machine made of words’, which Don Paterson modulated into ‘[a] poem is a little machine for remembering itself’ by way of Michael Donaghy’s poem ‘Machines’. I’ve long been interested in the desire to reduce poetry to…

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Soundscapes

In the beginning, poems were songs. Sonnets were little songs. A villanelle was a dance. Does the meaning of poetry still depend, not just on the sense of words, but on their sounds? In his essay The Music of Poetry (1942), T. S. Eliot writes: We can be deeply stirred by hearing the recitation of…

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Places to Submit your Poetry in 2021

You’ve just completed a Poetry School course and have written and edited a few new poems, so what now?  Submitting your poems to a magazine, journal, or press is the first step to sharing your work with an audience and building up a readership, which is crucial if you’re looking to publish your work in…

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Lyric Poetry & Poetic Lyrics

To Dig What We All Say I have a small, gold book which I bought on eBay a few years ago. It’s called Richard Goldstein’s The Poetry of Rock and it was published in 1969. It declares itself to be ‘the most comprehensive collection of great Rock lyrics ever assembled.’ A review on the inside…

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Poetry that Travels

One of my favorite things to remember are trains. Somewhere in India, top bunk, spying on my fellow passengers from above: the Chaiwala with his tiers of silver tea pots, an Assamese gamer who’d gotten on three days before me, an older couple tucking their shoes between their suitcases. Like a quick inhale, I feel…

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Caledonia Dreamin’: Exploring Scotland’s Poetry

On the cut-glass if of the day,this chancer then, already in deep,headfirst among the holly leaves – Fiona Wilson, from “A Magpie, by chance” in A Clearance (2015) The feathered creatures have a talismanic presence across the work of the contemporary Scottish poet Fiona Wilson. Birds are marvels in themselves in her poetry but there…

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Poetry and Syntax: An Emergency Toothpick in an Imaginary Landscape

There is the anecdote of the painter Edgar Degas, observing to Mallarmé that, ‘yours is a hellish craft. I can’t manage to say what I want, and yet I’m full of ideas.’ To which Mallarmé allegedly, allegedly, replied, ‘My dear Degas, one does not make poetry with ideas, but with words.’ Poems are not ideas….

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An Anthology of Poetry Beyond Semantics: Broken and Unbroken Code

What came first, the word or the poem? And which is which? Coming together from locations all over the world, from Europe, North America, and Asia, over a dozen poets plunged head-first after answers into the murky waters of experimental semiotics. Drawing on sources from runes to javascript, samurai calligraphers to occult mediums, the work…

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Review: Magnolia, 木蘭 by Nina Mingya Powles

The poems in Nina Mingya Powles’s debut Magnolia, 木蘭 are stronger for the braiding of repeated threads; longing, colour, pilgrimage, and memory return often to add strength and flexibility to the lines. Even the dual and translated title is a preview of the power behind the binding of two languages on a tongue and in…

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