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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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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

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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A Crimson Bush Amidst Silence: Transreading Ukrainian Poetry

Going stir crazy during the pandemic? Why not take a poetic tour to Ukraine and be inspired by some of Europe’s greatest and least known writers? Some of the greatest English poetry has been inspired by other poetic traditions. T.S. Eliot powerfully imported French symbolism into English and the English sonneteers were influenced by Petrarch….

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Review: Magnetic Field by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage first referenced Marsden, West Yorkshire, in his inaugural collection Zoom! (1989). Over 30 years later, with Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems, we’re taken there once again. The poems are like cardinal directions, pointing back to the landscape and inviting readers to gather in a geographical amphitheatre. As with many poets, the childhood home…

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Dark Canadee

We are pleased to share with you all the First Voyages of Dark Canadee. Dark Canadee, is a twisted poetry fantasy, set in an alternative Canada Water, and tailor-made by T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated Glyn Maxwell for the times in which we find ourselves. The project takes the form of a serial literary fiction where, each…

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Summer 2021 – Quick Course Guide

It may be cold outside, but we have our eyes set on warm and sunny Summer! Our Summer 2021 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 Course Guide, where you’ll find…

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Round-up of Pamphlets by Simon, Menos, and On

The Poetry Business Competition has a great record of giving us exciting new work. These three winners – ranging from the accessible, witty, and moving poems of Emma Simon, through the powerful tale of a son’s kidney transplant in Hilary Menos’s Human Tissue to the intriguing new voice represented in Nick On’s Zhou – offer…

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Review: Round-up of Pamphlets by Papachristodoulou, Baker, and Birnie

An interesting poetic constellation in this triad of new pamphlets; each has similarities to the others, but there are marked differences too. Elaine Baker’s Winter with Eva (V. Press) and Astra Papachristodoulou’s Stargazing (Guillemot Press) in particular are poles apart in formal and narrative strategies, and many readers may have a distinct preference for one…

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Dialogues in Dwelling

‘By what invisible architecture is the poem developed?’, asks Barbara Guest in her seminal, short poetic statement, called Invisible Architecture. ‘By what invisible architecture is the house turned into poetry?’, I hear myself answering as I read beyond and between the surface of her question. ‘There is an invisible architecture often supporting the surface of…

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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.

Between Translation and Creation: Getting inspired by Chinese Art and Films

Have you ever felt inspired by a film, a story, an artwork or a song from another culture, even if it feels very foreign to you? In my mind, art has the power to cross boundaries. People can appreciate a work of art through their own creative and subjective interpretations. The process of subjective interpretation…

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Poetry Beyond Semantics: Broken and Unbroken Code

What came first, the words or the poem? Put a new spin on your practice with the course Poetry Beyond Semantics: Broken and Unbroken Code – five weeks taking you from the very origins of language to the boldest poets of the present. Along the way, we will make a pit stop by some of…

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Aesthetica Creative Writing Award – apply for free entry!

One of our long-term students, Tamsin Hopkins, has won the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award with a poem ‘if you’re being followed’, written on a Poetry School course. Huge congratulations for this incredible success! Tamsin has generously offered to use part of her prize to provide 10 free entries to Poetry School students, for the Aesthetica…

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“There are still secrets to exhume”: Contemporary Gothic Poetry

In 2020, we are truly enamoured by the gothic. Many contemporary gothic-influenced mainstream titles, notably in the Young Adult category, have been transformed into successful films or TV shows with huge fan bases in recent years. There have also been many recent novel-to-screen adaptations of gothic classics – such as Frankenstein (1818), Strange Case of…

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Surviving the Future: Harnessing your Apocalypse Anxiety

Welcome to the Poetry Apocalypse! I first ran this course some time ago, in 2015, and as a starting point to re-working this course for 2021, I revisited the blog piece I wrote then. It started with the question ‘can you remember your first apocalypse?’, and talked about the Millennium Bug – how the fear…

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Teleporting into Poetry and the Law of Beautiful and Unintended Consequences

A rush of adrenaline and hope, combined with a feeling of fear and – OK – dread, have become very familiar to me as a part of my Zoom teaching life. What a strange idea: that one minute you’re sitting in your study alone, and the next you’re teleported into a virtual room with a…

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Poetry Books of the Year 2020

We are delighted to share with you our favourite poetry books of the year! Although it’s been a difficult year, where we couldn’t attend readings or poetry events in person, it has – nevertheless – been filled with exciting poetry, featuring long-awaited debut collections, innovative experiments, and fantastic books from long-established poets. There have been…

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Review: Solar Cruise by Claire Crowther

A poetry of the climate crisis has been growing most noticeably over the last ten years, and it is a poetry of frustration. While individual poems and sequences have done this well elsewhere, Claire Crowther’s new collection, Solar Cruise, is a brilliant complete journal of the anger felt by those of us staring the heat-death…

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Review: Pamphlets Round-Up of Dunn, Evans, and Lewis

Two presses produce introductions for three emerging poets, proving that the pamphlet form is as versatile as ever. The title poem of Roxy Dunn’s Big Sexy Lunch sets the scene for what is to follow: indulgence without guilt. ‘I advise’, Dunn writes, ‘a big sexy lunch / The six course Italian kind / Beginning with…

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