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Review: ‘Santiago’ by Cheryl Follon

Prose poems have been in season for a while now, but Cheryl Follon’s Santiago (Bloodaxe) has the potential to sweep away any prose poem fatigue you might be suffering from. The results are engaging and, frequently, very funny. Prose poetry is not without its pitfalls. For the writer, the risk of falling into the gap between…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Caroline Smith on The Immigration Handbook

In the fourth instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Caroline Smith explains the creative process behind ‘The Scarlet Lizard’ from her shortlisted work The Immigration Handbook. Caroline Smith’s The Immigration Handbook is the fruit of her career as an Immigration Caseworker for one of the most diverse inner-city areas in London. Immigrants’ dramatic emotions,…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Jay Bernard on ‘The Red and Yellow Nothing’

In the next instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Jay Bernard explains the many inspirations behind their shortlisted pamphlet, The Red and Yellow Nothing, published by Ink, Sweat & Tears Press.  The Red and Yellow Nothing is written as a prequel to the Arthurian tale of Sir Morien – a young knight described as…

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Review: ‘Incarnation’ by Clare Pollard

In this, her fifth collection, Clare Pollard engages with how we navigate our ethical way through the modern world, with its treacherous wonders. The poems in Incarnation (Bloodaxe) explore contemporary crises and question whether it is possible to transmit understanding and compassion effectively to others, particularly the young. Incarnations – of self-hood, motherhood, and ‘other’…

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‘The Zoo of the New: Writing Childhood and Family’

Would you be a child again? For all its wonder, innocence, joy and freedom, childhood can also be full of insecurity, confusion and darkness. After all, it is a land of extremes where every feeling, no matter how transitory, is worn on the face. Children cannot help expressing their authentic selves, regardless of the situation….

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Actor and spectator: poetry, film, and the paradox of viewing

The history of film could almost be divided into two obsessions: one with narrative and storytelling, the other with experimentation. My upcoming online course, Frame, Shot, Scene, Sequence: Powering Poetry Through Film, will explore how both modes can offer a vast array of opportunities to poets. Since the emergence of film in the late 19th…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Will Eaves on ‘The Inevitable Gift Shop’

In the second instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Will Eaves explains the creative process behind ‘The Lord Is Listenin’ To Ya, Hallelujah’ from his shortlisted work The Inevitable Gift Shop. A memoir by other means, The Inevitable Gift Shop lassoes consciousness, memory, desire, literature, illness, flora and fauna, problems with tortoises…

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Poems

Curated Poems, chosen by The Poetry School Staff.

How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Harry Man on ‘Finders Keepers’

In this first instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Harry Man explains the creative process behind his shortlisted work, Finders Keepers, created in collaboration with illustrator Sophie Gainsley.  Finders Keepers is a collaboration between poet Harry Man and artist and illustrator Sophie Gainsley that examines Britain’s vanishing wildlife. Poems from the project…

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20% Off PBS Membership For Poetry School Students

We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with the Poetry Book Society, offering all students who book a Summer 2017  course with The Poetry School 20%  off all categories of PBS membership: charter, associate and full. Set up by T S Eliot and friends in 1953 ‘to propagate the art of poetry’, the Poetry Book…

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‘This is not the island I was expecting’

I learned to swim, but never mastered breathing underwater. Pebbles, the twirly insides of worn-down shells, bubbles of lugworms I could squidge and pat. Anything the sea brought me, that I didn’t have to dive for, I was grateful. Now the sea brings other things to my attention: a tide of children; puddles of stickiness…

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Review – ‘Landlocked: New and Selected Poems from Zimbabwe’ by John Eppel

Many of the poems in Landlocked  (smith|doorstop) act like an individual’s ‘truth and reconciliation’ commission applied to Zimbabwean people, politics and a natural landscape playing the reluctant stage to violence and bloodshed. The poet’s job in Landlocked is the bring up the bodies to the surface. Landlocked is my first encounter with the poems of the…

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‘Number 90’

The skip’s hungry mouth swallowed my childhood. I fed it my record player, mattress, black and white TV, teddy bear that had soaked up girlish tears. As we left, all the years ran up the stairs, gathered in the empty rooms to wring their hands. Silence evicted music and voices, reclaimed the unfaded spaces where…

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Announcing the Mixed Borders 2017 Poets

StAnza’s been and gone, the Ted Hughes Award announcements are on their way — but there’s a gap in the Spring poetry calendar that The Poetry School is still to fill. It’s time for this year’s Mixed Borders. Mixed Borders is a regular collaboration between the Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust. We…

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Review: ‘Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament’ by Geraldine Clarkson

Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament (smith|doorstop) is a vigorous yes, confidently-voiced – at times puzzling, at times transporting – appealingly original. To read it is to enter a world made strange and lush with linguistic variety, audacity and delight. The cover image – of underwater seaweed which I begin to suspect is looking at me…

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‘I sing the praises of a fart’: On Keeping Our Wits

More than ever, we need to keep our wits about us. If our shared reality seems increasingly topsy turvy, our need for wit – as a way of seriously and playfully experimenting with language and digesting diverse experiences – must be at its greatest. It’s a subject we’ll be exploring closely on my upcoming online course, Keeping…

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‘Funeral Cortege As Umbilical Cord’

  You have been a receptacle for the dead for as long as anyone can remember but when a vein of cars issues from the church- yard on the mainland across the strand at low tide I consider you more womb than tomb, your graveyard a belly-button tethered to the funeral cortege, your coastline foetal,…

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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.

Review: ‘Serious Justice’ by Jen Calleja

Jen Calleja’s Serious Justice (Test Centre) is a haunting book, documenting the anxiety and isolation of everyday life through elegant, disarmingly intimate poems. Many of the poems in Serious Justice masquerade as casual observation about a wide variety of ordinary characters living their ordinary lives. At close up, these experiences are often revealed to be…

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‘A Quiet Passion’ Instagram Poetry Competition

The Poetry School and Soda Pictures are delighted to announce a new poetry competition to mark the release of A Quiet Passion – a new biopic of Emily Dickinson (in cinemas 7 April). The story of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson is brought to vivid life in this sensitive biopic by director Terence Davies,…

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‘Thought, in poetry, is felt’

Alright, sometimes a poem can be too conceptual, too austerely cerebral, too loftily academic, too preeningly intellectual, too all-round thinky. Sure. But only as much as other poems can be too runnily sentimental, too intellectually lazy and biddable. Surely some kind of middle ground is in order, then? I believe that this middle ground should…

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The Summer 2017 Programme — in two lines or less!

One-Term Short Courses: Stand-alone courses comprising five two-hour sessions over ten weeks in one of our London classrooms.  The Pamphleteers with Saradha Soobrayen: Write, select, arrange and edit poems for your pamphlet with Saradha Soobrayen. #Afterhours with Inua Ellams: Discuss, dissect and explore various ways into writing counter or companion pieces to poems from the canon….

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Review: ‘The Toll’ by Luke Wright

Luke Wright is at his forceful best in this state-of-the-nation adventure that is far darker than its jaunty rhythms and bell-like rhymes might suggest. The first poem of The Toll (Penned in the Margins), which serves as a kind of epigraph, carries the refrain ‘Oh England, heal my hackneyed heart’, and is one of the…

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Re: Review: ‘You Have A Visitor’ by William Wootten

William Wootten’s You Have a Visitor (Worple) shows an impressive mastery of a range of forms working in the tradition of Auden and Gunn. Sequenced around the seasons, You Have a Visitor begins with ‘Reveille’ in which ‘Day comes up cold,’ and works through ‘Easter Tide’, ‘Of Late June’ and the harvests of autumn, to a charming…

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Review: ‘The Watermark’ by Alice Anderson

I think of myself as pretty much unshockable, but there are, for me, some gasp-worthy moments in this unflinching collection from Alice Anderson. Set in the American South, The Watermark is an apparently confessional book and almost every element of Anderson’s world is refracted through a lens of sex and violence. This is the story…

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CAMPUS Pamphlet: ‘all that’s ever happened’

Make room on your digital bookshelves for the latest in our series of flicky PDF pamphlets, a series in which we celebrate the talents of the students taking place in our courses and projects. The New North Poets are a group of talented new writers who have come to the Poetry School via New Writing…

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Poetry and Visual Art: Gallery Day Schedule – 18th February

This is the finalised schedule for the gallery day of Tamar Yoseloff’s Poetry and Visual Art two-day course. You can find more details of the course here. 10:30am:              Gagosian, 6-24 Britannia Street (off Grays Inn Road) London WC1X 9JD King’s Cross / St Pancras Tube / Rail – Euston Road exit (10 mins) Richard…

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