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‘Another Church Tour’

Coming into a church I can’t help thinking of Philip Larkin taking off his cycle clips in awkward reverence. I’m not here out of habit or curiosity I’ve filed in with a flock out of politeness and sit in the stalls feeling shifty. I want to escape this scripted space: stained glass stories of suffering,…

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Review: ‘Home Front’ by Isabel Palmer, Bryony Doran, Jehanne Dubrow & Elyse Fenton

Home Front (Bloodaxe) is a quadrilogy of book-length sequences by four female writers – English mothers and American military wives – whose sons or lovers are enlisted. Each book is a mix of gravitas and (sometimes black) humour often found in true stories, showing the psychological interplay of managing the day to day whilst picturing loved…

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‘The Art of Memory: Poetry of the Past and Present’

Memory is who we are. It is the story that we tell ourselves about where we come from and how we got to be here now. At the same time, our sense of the past is constantly shifting. We re-interpret it in the re-telling and adapt our past to our present purposes. My new online…

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‘Mill House’

After his mother moved out her clothes sat in the hall beneath the mirror they played lost and found in hollow rooms. He sat in the long kitchen with his so-called sister who scratched at her scabs as they gulped cold milk waiting for school. Awake with his new brother under the sleeping bag with…

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‘A Quiet Passion’ Instagram Poetry Competition Winners!

  We are absolutely delighted to announce the results of our recent Instagram poetry competition with Soda Pictures to mark the release of A Quiet Passion – a new biopic of Emily Dickinson (in cinemas from today!). Thank you to everyone who entered – we were overwhelmed by the high quality and great variety of the…

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‘Boy’

Most mornings, I glimpse the boy walking to school. His shoes trodden down at the back. He trails behind, at the back, apart from the scuffle of boys. I worry they laugh at his shoes. He looks downtrodden, not just the shoes. I wonder if his mother is back. The eggshell pale boy. The boy…

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‘Occupancy’

After Staircase by Do Ho Suh I balk at stepping up and stepping down. There’s no perspective I can stand. Handrails that don’t hold and dizzy red-lit vertigo. Ladies with skin like aspic, squat behind balusters – in ruby lingerie. Blood, graffiti, dirty treads and risers. The janitor has lost his mop, his bucket and…

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Fair Field Poet In Residence Call Out

Fair Field Poet In Residence a collaboration between the Poetry School and Penned in the Margins Written almost 650 years ago by William Langland, Piers Plowman enters the mind of a wanderer, Will, as he falls asleep in the Malvern Hills, dreams of a ‘fair field full of folk’ and embarks on a quest to…

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‘To the Fates’

after Kathleen Jamie and Friedrich Hölderlin in your weaving grant me sight just once of it skimming the slow-flowing river lightning-blue mantle nape to tail in your weaving grant me sight just once of it poised above the slow-flowing river copper feathers belly to breast in your weaving grant me sight just once vertebrae leaning…

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Tales of the Globe: Interview with Karen Whiteson

Your upcoming course for us is called Tales of the Globe, could you tell us a little bit about it? It is a 5 week course which will be stretched to bursting point in an attempt to contain its material. The main intention is to map some of the connections and differences between that body…

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#Afterhours: An Interview with Inua Ellams

An Interview with Inua Ellams

‘I think, arguably, all poems are response poems and attempts by the poet to find or claim personal space in any given topic.’

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Ransacking the Museum: Interview with John McCullough

Hi John, your new course with us is called Ransacking the Museum. Could you tell us a bit about it? I can indeed! The course is in two parts. The first day involves everyone thinking together about museums and looking at a number of poems inspired by artefacts. This is followed by a rather exciting…

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Review: ‘Long Pass’ by Joey Connolly

W.H. Auden said he would always ask two questions of new writing: firstly, “how does it work?” and secondly – “what kind of a guy [or woman or non-cis person] inhabits this poem?” These are questions which cut to the heart of what Joey Connolly does (and does so well) in his first collection, being…

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Review: ‘Complicity’ by Tom Sastry

This promising pamphlet showcases a fresh and original voice exploring the self as proud outsider challenged by family, relationships and the world but refusing to compromise. The poet’s biography tells us ‘he thinks that not belonging is more interesting than belonging’ and this is certainly borne out in the poems. It’s a daring feat indeed…

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Review: ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’ by Roy McFarlane

There’s a quality about Roy McFarlane’s Beginning With Your Last Breath (Nine Arches Press) that makes me want to step away from academic language when describing it, and instead focus on the thoughts and feelings that come to mind. That is not to say that there is little here to talk about – McFarlane’s command…

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NaPoWriMo 2017

April is National Poetry Writing Month and in celebration we have devised a project to get you writing every day. We will be supplying a fresh writing prompt, and an example poem to get you in the right frame of mind, every morning over the whole of April. All you have to do is join the…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Salena Godden on ‘LIVEwire’

In the fifth instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Salena Godden explains the creative process behind ‘Can’t Be Bovvered’‘ from her shortlisted work LIVEwire. ‘LIVEwire‘ marks Salena Godden’s first album in nearly a decade, and is a compilation of live and studio recordings, archives and brand new work. It features live material from…

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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 fatigue. The collection, Follon’s third, is entirely made up of brief prose pieces; the results are engaging and, frequently, very funny. Prose poetry is not without its pitfalls. For the writer, the risk of falling…

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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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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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