All of our Blog Posts

‘Camouflaged Beasts’

What you thought were autumn leaves herded against curb, spattered with bird shite, is an oil-slicked kitten that won’t be licked clean but continues to wander from the litter, tumble into a ditch and climb free, curious as sticking a fork in a socket, but camouflaged from predators like an owl feathered in sunflower yellow…

Read More

‘Andromeda Unchained’

A day after the accident on my twentieth birthday I’m told I’ll never see him again. Stretched on a narrow bed, with my leg fractured in four places and braced neck, I clutch the hospital bill. That night I dream there are snakes in our garden. Six gunmetal-silver, eight-foot boa constrictors slink towards the glass…

Read More

Chemical Poetry: an interview with Simon Barraclough

An Interview with Simon Barraclough

‘Chemical Poetry: The Periodic Table & Poetry‘ will use the famous periodic table of elements as a springboard and playground for new writing. Fizz, explode, react and toxicate: we spoke to Simon Barraclough about what happens when poetry and chemistry meet. Hi Simon! What’s ‘Philandrium’? SB: Philandrium is a brand new element discovered and analysed…

Read More

Open Workshop: ‘Make New & Mend’

What makes a poetic image stay with you?  It’s hard to remember an entire poem by heart, but often, a particular image will stick in the mind for days, months, even years after reading.  In our latest Open Workshop, Claire Askew will challenge you to create imagery that is unforgettable. You’ll take a common poetic theme…

Read More

Re: Drafts – ‘Lessons from Press Gang and other submissions’

Rishi Dastidar and I are working closely with The Rialto editor Michael Mackmin on a programme designed to teach us about the process and philosophy of poetry editing. Following the publication of The Rialto’s 81st issue, I met up online with Rishi to discuss how receiving poetry submissions has changed our perspective on the best…

Read More

Nightwriter: an interview with Tom Chivers

An Interview with Tom Chivers

Hi Tom – your new online course, Nightwriter, is a nocturnal writing course (our very first). What can we expect? And what happens to your poetry brain after dark? Tom: Writing poetry is about making choices. Selecting what to say and what to leave unspoken. I am interested in erasure, the occult, in things unsaid,…

Read More

Lo and Behold! – the first report

At the beginning of the year, we put out a call to poets and artists to surprise us with innovative poetry promoting ideas. Five of them did … and we were able to fund each of them with £750 to get their projects off the ground. Here’s how they’re getting on…   Alistair Cartwright /…

Read More

Mixed Borders Poetry Residencies: an interview with Sarah Hesketh

An Interview with Sarah Hesketh

‘Mixed Borders: Poets in Residence in London Gardens‘, a Poetry School Summer workshop with London Parks and Gardens Trust, will see poets paired up with allotments, garden squares and hidden spaces to propagate their own green and leafy poetry ideas. We had a chat with Sarah Hesketh, poet and Event Manager for London Open Garden…

Read More


I’ve been asked to write a manifesto. This doesn’t suit the person I now am, but I did write one 20 years ago (it was published in an anthology of manifestos, Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, Manifestos and Unmanifestos, edited by Rupert Loydell) and I have never really explained or qualified it. So perhaps I…

Read More

‘The Poet as Curator, the Curator as Poet’

A curator [from the Latin curare – to take care of] selects and organizes the items in a collection or exhibition.   In creating a poem, we can follow a similar process, selecting found text and juxtaposing it with new writing to spark fresh meanings and revelations.     Anne Carson has been described as ‘the…

Read More

Notes on Modernists II

It’s obvious that analysis of other artists walks hand in hand with being an artist oneself. When you have a go at a form, then it becomes much easier to read a master’s work in that form. In an analogous way, the therapist Carl Rogers said that whenever he had an epiphany (of compassion) for…

Read More

21st Century Canto: Pound, Resounding

So, we have looked at the timbre of words. Sometimes one also explores a different metre (one based on length of syllable rather than stress, for example) in order to get at a good line in a good timbre. This is what we tend to do when we remember poets’ work: we remember a line….

Read More

Notes on Modernists

My initial pitch for this residency, and one that I’ve fancied for a while, is to set a number of exercises based on Modernist poets. These are some suggestions in brief.   BASIL BUNTING Avoid synonyms. Try to use the plain word. If the same object appears several times in your poem, call it the…

Read More

Pub Chat: an interview with Enitharmon Press

An Interview with Enitharmon Press

In the latest of our series of feature-length interviews with independent publishers, set in our imaginary poetry theatre pub somewhere in Lambeth, we spoke to Stephen Stuart-Smith of Enitharmon Press…. Hello there, Stephen. What are you drinking? Stephen: Leffe. How long has Enitharmon Press been running? Stephen: Since 1967. What were some of the practical things you did to get…

Read More

21st Century Canto: Sounding Out Pound

I began my first week by discussing Ezra Pound and translation. I very much hope that this will lead some new readers to have a go at translating, to get past worrying whether or not they can hold a long conversation in another language before at least trying to get something from a poem in…

Read More

Playing with History: an interview with Kelley Swain

An Interview with Kelley Swain

Hi Kelley! Could you tell us about your Summer School workshop, ‘Playing with History: Using the Past in Poetry’ – what can we expect? Kelley: “Playing with History” is going to be a full-day workshop, starting at 10:30 and running until 4:30 in the afternoon, with a lunch break. I’m going to start by talking…

Read More

A budding ‘pomance’: an interview with Jacqueline Saphra

An Interview with Jacqueline Saphra

Jacqueline Saphra, one of The Poetry School’s new tutors, talks to us about her new course, ‘Training the Poem’ and takes us through some of her work and methods.

Read More

Pub Chat: Sidekick Books

An Interview with Sidekick Books

In the latest of our series of feature-length interviews with independent publishers, set in our imaginary poetry theatre pub somewhere in Lambeth, we spoke to Kirsten Irving, one half of the team behind Sidekick Books… Hi there, Kirsten! What are you drinking? Kirsten: Lime and soda, please! How long has Sidekick Books been running? Kirsten: Since 2009. September, to be…

Read More

21st Century Canto: Infestation-Translation

What Pound did for me is infest my poetry world. All across it, in small pockets. One reason that Pound is hard to emulate is that he has re-thought a lot of different things, and he brings all these to bear simultaneously: like all Shaun the Sheep’s friends piling into one human overcoat and walking…

Read More

21st Century Canto: Translation, Pound-style

A very good place to start with Ezra Pound is the Selected Poems and Translations edited by Richard Sieburth, originally published by New Directions, the New York publishing house founded by James Laughlin when Ezra told him “You’re never going to be any good as a poet. Why don’t you take up something useful?”. The volume is…

Read More

The blossom front: celebrating Hanami with Fawzia Kane and Louisa Hooper

On Saturday 18 April, Fawzia Kane and Louisa Hooper will be celebrating the Japanese tradition of Hanami, or ‘flower viewing’, with a blossom-fueled poetry workshop at the Brogdale Collections… Louisa: It hardly seems it, but it’s more than a quarter of a century since I sat beneath the avenue of flowering cherries by the great…

Read More

‘Viciousness in the Kitchen!’ – reading Plath’s Ariel(s)

When I think of most poets, I think of individual poems. Say Auden and I think: ‘As I Walked out one Evening’, for Larkin ‘Aubade’, for Bishop ‘One Art’. I honestly couldn’t name which individual collections any of these poems were in. Say Sylvia Plath though and I, like most people, would immediately think: Ariel. It’s…

Read More

Prose Poets: ‘Of Fabulists’

One of the little squabbles I tend to have with the dictionary, is over the word Fable and its family.  Although conceding that the fable has at its heart a moral, peppered through Dr Johnson’s definitions is a great suspicion of the telling.  A fable is a lye and the writing of a fable is…

Read More

Announcing our MA in Writing Poetry with Newcastle University

We are delighted to announce a ground-breaking collaboration between Newcastle University and the Poetry School: a new Masters degree in Writing Poetry, leading to the award of an MA from Newcastle University*. Starting September 2015, the two year part time course will be based in two centres. You can study at the Poetry School in…

Read More

House and Universe: an interview with Rebecca Goss

An Interview with Rebecca Goss

Hi Rebecca, you’re teaching a new course with us this Summer, ‘House and Universe: The Poetry of Home and Domestic Objects’. Tell us a bit about the course – what can we expect? Rebecca: This course will be an opportunity to explore the spaces and objects that define ‘home’, and consider what does ‘home’ mean?…

Read More