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‘Pretty Fish’

The bad sister is lured by gelatinous scales – she slops the good sister’s carp into a pail, but the August sun warms the water, turns it stale. . The bad sister gathers the withered bits: a pelvic fin, a vertebral segment, the delicate inner skin, displays them on her vanity: their bones gleam like…

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Pamphlet / Portfolio: An Interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith

We sat down with Geoffrey Dearmer Prize-winner Wayne Holloway-Smith ahead of his new Pamphlet / Portfolio three-term course, designed to help guide your work to publication.   Hi Wayne. You’re running a course for us called Pamphlet / Portfolio. Could you tell us a little bit about that? I’m particularly interested at the moment in the conversation…

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Review: ‘Kingdom of Gravity’ by Nick Makoha

Kingdom of Gravity is a powerful debut and deserves a wide readership. Nick Makoha’s reflections on Idi Amin’s brutal rule in Uganda and the equally atrocious civil war that ousted him, which indirectly answer reoccurring atrocities in Syria and the Middle East, are the work of a hugely talented poet, capable of great formal finesse…

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‘An Erotic Novel Was My Bible’

I consulted it for details on how to handle pain, learned to wear skirts, to shave my skin as surgeons do before pressing their scalpels in. Thus I was a doctor salving wounds, though I used lotions, perfumes that bore the scent of roses. Less and less did I note the world for I heard…

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To Be Continued… A Life in Sequences

I’ve written about place for as long as I’ve written poems. It fascinates me. For several years I struggled every which way I can think of to try and put into poetry the plural layers of reality, history, lived experience, interpretations and personal myth that we experience in the places we know well. Often, trying…

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‘Where Light Lives’

the revolving doors have slowed down long enough for the dark side to be revisited. I learn to find a glimmer in a house where barns are filled with grain pantries with preserves where rooms release their scent of wellknown words while wanderlust grows from all the windows I learn to write.

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‘Alyson dreams’

After it was over, a speckled bird hatched between my breasts; spread its bloodwet wings on the bed; brushed my bare thighs . . . Sweat siezed my pores. Cottonsoft, the dark purred clawdeep in me. I lay with ivies vining around my head, tiger lily tales in my ears, fingers needling air like lace….

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‘Nine Herbs’

The postman left the first bundle by the gate in your fourth month – red crepe, bound in rope. Inside, a sheaf of rue. Witchbane. When the old landlady came, she helped you pin it above the front door, told you of the local custom. Remarked on its salves: hysteria, a cramping womb. The sickness…

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Review: ‘FIELD’ by Harriet Tarlo

The central premise in these 60 pages of spare, open verse is that a single field is important – culturally, historically, environmentally, poetically – and what is exciting about this collection is how Tarlo brings the reader into relationship both with a field and with the concept of field. During a regular train journey, Tarlo…

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‘Sugar Envy’

I could lick the back bench of austerity, if that would be useful, if that would be something someone wanted somewhere, or I could go day tripping in a house of mould and sin and meet Envy there, and hear about his inability to congratulate mortgages, promotions, mortgages, promotions, awards, mortgages, “I am happy for…

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Review: ‘All this is implied’ by Will Harris

Will Harris distrusts fixed perspectives. At the same time, his experiments on the boundaries of poetry and prose are underpinned by the sort of phrasing that converts lines into permanent memories. In this debut HappenStance pamphlet, he addresses the ambiguity of identity and inheritance. For Harris, who has an English father and a Chinese Indonesian…

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‘The Tryst’

  She sits in the park pulling petals off a daisy will he      maybe you cunt she thinks you cunt  

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Stand-up Poetry Studio: Uncovering a Way Between Speech and Song

The first time I remember wanting to be a poet — I mean, trying to figure out what I could do next in order to immediately start becoming one — was when I saw Philip Levine read at Boston University in 1994. Between one poem about the power dying in the steel mill where he…

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20% off PBS Memberships for Poetry School Students!

We are delighted to announce that we have renewed our partnership with the Poetry Book Society, allowing all Autumn 2017 students 20% off all levels of Poetry Book Society membership (charter, associate and full). Set up by T S Eliot and friends in 1953 ‘to propagate the art of poetry’, the Poetry Book Society is a unique poetry society, providing…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Rachel Long interviews Jane Yeh

For the final link of our Summer School mini-interview chain, Rachel Long’s questions are answered by Jane Yeh, tutor of Writing a Flat-Pack Poem.  Rachel: How do you want people to read your poems? Jane: It’s amazing to know that people read one’s poems at all, so first I’m just excited at the prospect! I hope that…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Rishi Dastidar interviews Rachel Long

In this third instalment of our Summer School Mini-Interview Chain, Rishi Dastidar ‘interviews’ Rachel Long, tutor of our upcoming course, The Berlin Lens. Rishi did not know who he was interviewing, and Rachel didn’t know who she was being interviewed by! Rishi: What’s the book you re-read or re-visit the most? Rachel: Ten: The New Wave The Complete…

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LETZ MEDDLE ENGLISH: Speaking with Accents & Meddling in English

Each time I walk to the station in my district of Greater Copenhagen, I see LETZ SUSHI in bold white font on the black rectangle screwed to the brick wall. And each time I smile, though I must have seen this sign hundreds of times (I moved to Denmark in 2009). I’m never tired of…

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Review: ‘All Fours’ by Nia Davies

Nia Davies first full collection is ‘salty-lipped,’ kinky and enigmatic. A fusion between the avant-garde and the more accessible lyric, it is a mix of contradictions: open and oblique, filthy and tender, skittish and measured, British and international, serious and, this is what surprised me most, silly. All Fours glitters with knowing and surreal humour…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Richard Scott interviews Rishi Dastidar

In this second instalment of our Summer School mini-series, Richard Scott’s questions are answered by Rishi Dastidar, tutor of our upcoming course ‘The Minimum Viable Poem‘. Richard: Tell me about a piece of visual art which you love and that might inspire or has inspired a poem . . .  Rishi: Mondrian’s ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’, for…

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Review: ‘Clowning’ by Roxy Dunn

In many of Roxy Dunn’s Clowning poems, we encounter an acutely self-conscious speaker who is struggling to occupy an uncertain space between the safety and familiarity of childhood, and the expectations associated with adulthood that are out of reach. In ‘5AM’ – an aptly liminal time between night and day – the speaker unexpectedly wakes:…

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Review: ‘A Swansea Love Song’ by Stephen Knight

In A Swansea Love Song, Stephen Knight continues his project of seeking to capture on the page, through phonetic spelling, the realities of a spoken Swansea voice, which he began twenty years ago in The Sandfields Baudelaire. The central difference between that pamphlet and this is the step away from dramatic monologue towards a more…

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The Long View, Arnside

The tide was in then out again. So fast it was bewildering: fishing boats flew like leaves, flimsy, unsubstantial, in the streaming gale. The piers grew tall, dripping black weed, the sandbanks breathed and expanded their honeycomb flanks, then, whalelike, plunged again. The vapour they exuded could easily have been children paddling, crouching, digging, growing…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Jane Yeh interviews Richard Scott

Ahead of our Summer School at the end of July, we asked the participating tutors to take part in an interview chain. Each tutor asks three questions, and in turn is asked three questions by another tutor. None of the tutors had any idea who they were interviewing, or who was interviewing them. In this…

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Review: ‘Scare Stories’ by David Clarke

Causality and chaos. These could be our governing gods at present. They are certainly the governing gods in David Clarke’s Scare Stories – a 25 poem sequence in the third person plural set in ‘possible near futures or versions of the present’. The poems cover horribly recognisable ground: consumerism, refugee crises, despot generals, video-game violence,…

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Primers Volume 3: A Mentoring and Publication scheme – Now Open for Entries

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press are delighted to announce the arrival of Primers 3, the third year of our scheme which creates a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion. The scheme will select three poets whose work will feature together in…

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