Blog

All of our Blog Posts

Snapshot on: Becky Varley-Winter’s Live Wires: Starting to Write

Our Beginner’s course ‘Live Wires: Starting to Write’ with Becky Varley-Winter recently completed another term and Becky has put together a zine to showcase the students’ best work, which you can see extracts of below. The next iteration of this course will take place in our Summer 2022 Term (running 12 May – 14 July)….

Read More

Taking the Piss Flower: on the pitfalls of writing poems inspired by art, and bringing something new to the party

Ekphrasis is one of those poemy words poets assume everyone knows, like villanelle, and pantoum; but my Mac doesn’t recognise it, flags it up, and takes me to Wiki – ‘an ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired or stimulated by a work of art’. I remember feeling so happy when I first discovered the word,…

Read More

Glyn Maxwell in Conversation with Linda Gregerson

Glyn Maxwell & Linda Gregerson in conversation – Expect musings on theatre and poetry, new readings, laughter, anecdotes, & insight. Wednesday 13 April at 7 pm BST. Sign up here. This is the second of our ‘In Conversation’ series with Glyn Maxwell which launched with UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage on 8 February. Glyn continues…

Read More

The Zen of Ecopoetics: the contribution of Zen to modernist American poetry

In Breathing: Chaos and Poetry, the Italian philosopher Franco Berardi suggests that poetry is the excess of semiotic exchange that goes beyond the limits of language and, by extension, transcends the limits of reality as we know it. In this sense, poetry offers us a way of rethinking our relationship with non-human beings and environments,…

Read More

Review – Of Sea by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, and Thinking With Trees by Jason Allen-Paisant 

What is the language of the invertebrate? What form might the invertebrate provide the poet? Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s Of Sea traces the light shed by bodies alternatively-structured: A ‘Prickly Cockle’ ‘start[s] light’, the coat of an aphid ‘dusts light’ in ‘Lupin Aphid’, a ‘Murky-legged Legionnaire Fly’ provides a ‘blurt of sun’. A note at the start…

Read More

Announcing the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship 2022

We’re delighted to announce the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship 2022 for an underrepresented poet. For a second year, Poetry School is offering a full fees scholarship award (£10,000) 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…

Read More

Sources of Poetic Language

Imagination, Wonder, and the Everyday The mourning doves are beginning to coo again and yesterday I saw the families of cardinals in the yew, all busy setting up. The past few days were very windy, and we found a fallen nest, the size of a basketball, along the street. It feels as if I am…

Read More

A Slice of Butterworth-Toast: Writing Poems for Children

I think I could spot a Charles Causley children’s poem a mile away, in the dark. All of them bear a unique fingerprint of magic, music, and respect for the reader’s wish to be entertained – but it’s also true that no two Causley poems are alike. Flip through his Collected Poems for Children and…

Read More

Transreading Ethiopia with Chris Beckett

Selam hullu…..Hello everyone! I’ve already blogged about my boyhood in Addis Ababa as an intro for my autumn 2021 course on Childhood: A Source of Praise. So I don’t want to repeat too much of what I said then, but it feels like I’m travelling the same path again! It’s a really great feeling, because…

Read More

Review – Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo is an astonishingly prolific and inventive poet, and Like a Tree, Walking, showcases the full range of their imagination. The collection begins with a poem ‘In Praise of Birds’, which captures the spirit of the work as a whole: In praise of high-contrast birds, purple bougainvillea thicketing the golden oriole. In praise of…

Read More

Summer 2022 – Quick Course Guide

Our Summer 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. Online INTERACTIVE COURSES:Our classic ten-week online courses with Live…

Read More

Review – The Voice of Sheila Chandra by Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali’s body of work revitalises how we, as readers, perceive history, narrative, and the lyric. His innovations are captivating, encompassing multiple genres, and swiftly entwining poetry and prose, dramatisation and autobiography. I was especially struck by this a few years ago, when first reading Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (2012), an earlier collection that challenges any particular notion or expectation of genre; a collection…

Read More

We’re Moving to Somerset House Exchange!

We are thrilled to be able to announce that we are moving London-based Poetry School activities from 1 February to our new home in the Somerset House Exchange. We will shortly be sending out detailed directions and course instructions to all enrolled students; we can’t wait to welcome you to this community of arts practitioners in…

Read More

Writing After David Lynch – Students’ Poem

The Writing After David Lynch ten-week course took us all on a thrilling and mysterious journey across David Lynch’s films. As part of the penultimate session, on Mulholland Drive, I invited the students to respond to Naomi Watts’ staggering audition scene with a single four-line stanza, that I would then order and curate into a group poem.  I took inspiration…

Read More

Review – Brilliant Corners by Nuzhat Bukhari, A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi

How do we reconcile conflicting inheritances? Many poets of colour find themselves caught between two roads: the English lyric, whose focus on internal feeling can imply a disavowal of history, and the real histories from which today’s poets arise; histories bent by the home of the English lyric. The lyric and its most apparently ahistorical…

Read More

Poetry Books of the Year 2021

We are delighted to share our favourite poetry books of the year! It has been another challenging year for obvious reasons, but, in spite of it all, poetry has not only persevered but thrived! 2021 has seen the publication of so many incredible titles, both from established names and emerging poets. So, without further ado,…

Read More

Spring 2022 – Quick Course Guide

Our Spring 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. Online INTERACTIVE COURSES:Our classic ten-week online courses with Live…

Read More

How I Did It: Forward Prizes – Holly Pester on Comic Timing

Welcome to our Forward Prizes 2021 ‘How I Did It’ series. This year we asked the poets shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection to explain the writing process behind one of the poems in their collections. In this piece, Holly Pester talks about ‘Comic Timing’ from her collection of the same…

Read More

How I Did It: Forward Prizes – Alice Hiller on Bird of Winter

Content warning: Please note that this piece includes discussion of sexual abuse which some readers may find upsetting. Welcome to our Forward Prizes 2021 ‘How I Did It’ series. This year we asked the poets shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection to explain the writing process behind one of the poems…

Read More

How I Did It: Forward Prizes – Ralf Webb on Rotten Days in Late Summer

Welcome to our Forward Prizes 2021 ‘How I Did It’ series. This year we asked the poets shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection to explain the writing process behind one of the poems in their collections. In this piece, Ralf Webb talks about ‘Love Story: Discourse Goblins’ from his collection Rotten Days…

Read More

Review – Virga by Togara Muzanenhamo

Togara Muzanenhamo’s third collection of poetry, Virga, derives its name from a phenomenon in which precipitation falls from a cloud but evaporates before it reaches the ground. Accordingly, the poems in the collection have a replete and ephemeral quality, depicting fragile terrains of abundant beauty, and the crowning feats of destinies that fluctuate like The…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More