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‘Dream On: Waking Up Your Poems with the Phantasmagoric’

  So with one bound, Jack was free … and he woke up to find it had all been a dream. But when do you wake from the book of the dream, shrug it off with a cold shower, a shot of black coffee? There can be no forgetting; even after the fire the archives…

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‘No laughs please, we’re poets – can comic poetry be good poetry?’

I can vividly remember the first time I read a poem in public. It was at a writing workshop at the University of Warwick, full of earnest young women and men who sat around in the cafeteria between lectures dressed in black, discussing the work of the Modernists and stroking their beautiful chins. We’d been…

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Poetic Attention II: In Praise of Snapshots

When I was in Best American Poetry 2005, there were a number of complaints in the blogosphere about how very New York-centric the issue was. The concern—probably a justified concern—was that the New York poetry scene is too insular and self-congratulatory. Interestingly, the guest editor was Paul Muldoon. An Irishman who teaches at Princeton (New…

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How I Did It: ‘Burnt Rose’

I wrote ‘Burnt Rose’ in Newsham Park in Liverpool, on a nature-spotting walk with my son. Sometimes we take our notebooks to the park, along with a football and some snacks, and write down — or draw pictures of — what we see.  That day we found, under a tree, a rose that had been burned: it was…

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Poetic Attention I

In Tom Stoppard’s play Indian Ink, the heroine Flora Crewe arrives in the Indian city of Jummapur in the 1930s to give a lecture on literary life in London. Flora Crewe is a poet, and when she arrives at the British club, one of the older members extols the virtues of Kipling, and quotes a…

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Bob

In defence of the sestina: part 4 Here is an incorrect story I tell. My story is that Jonah Winter’s ‘Sestina: Bob’ appeared alongside my poem ‘Ophthalmology at Dawn’ in an issue of Ploughshares. ‘Sestina: Bob’ was literally across the page from my poem, I tell people. It was literally sneering at my poem, exposing…

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Live Q&A with Mark Doty: ‘Queer Poetics’

This 5 December 2014, one of the mega-giants of American poetry, Mark Doty, will be live on CAMPUS and in conversation with Digital Poet in Residence, Jason Schneiderman. Mark Doty was the first American poet to win the British T.S. Eliot Prize. One of the most important authors to write about HIV/AIDS in America, Doty’s vision…

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Poetry Matters

You can’t hurt poetry. You can write bad poems, but that will not hurt poetry. You can like bad poems and you can dislike good poems, and you will still not hurt poetry. You can even write bad reviews of good books and good reviews of bad books, but even then, you will not have…

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On Manifestos, Arrogance and Judgment

Manifestos are arrogant. But so is any scribble to paper or canvas because art is an act of arrogance. When God created the world it was an act of arrogance. The creation of a creation myth that ascribed creation to God was an act of arrogance. Arrogance is an ugly trait. Silence, however, can signal…

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Spring 2015 courses (in one line or less)

LONDON – SHORT COURSES Poetry of Place with Roisin Tierney – where do you come from, where are you going to? Writing tasks and workshopping based on a broad definition of ‘place’ Routes into Poetry with Tamar Yoseloff – the best course for beginners, starts in the Spring and continues till the Summer Defining a…

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Unreal Ghazals in English

When Agha Shahid Ali subtitled his anthology of formal ghazals, “Real Ghazals in English” he was trying to point out that the constraints of rhyme and refrain were what made a ghazal real. But what of unreal ghazals? Even Shahid admitted, “I do like many aspects of the so-called ghazals” that his American comrades were…

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Live Q&A with Don Share – ‘Poetry Here & There’

We are overjoyed to announce that Don Share, poet and editor of Poetry magazine, is coming to CAMPUS this December for a Live Q&A. No wacky catchy byline needed – it’s Don Share, everyone. Don Share! Don will be in discussion with Kathryn Maris, our Digital Poet in Residence, and they’ll be variously discussing: the…

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I know what I know, says the almanac

In defence of the sestina: part 3 ‘Sestina’, a widely anthologised poem, is one of two sestinas Elizabeth Bishop published. (The other is ‘A Miracle for Breakfast’.)  I first came across ‘Sestina’ in the third edition of The Norton Anthology of Poetry, the doorstopper required for a creative writing class with WN Herbert in 1987….

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Just Add Ghazal

Introducing the ghazal, part 2 Because the ghazal is modular, it can be especially fun to write and revise. In most poetic forms, revision can feel incredibly frustrating—you change one line, and suddenly, everything else is off balance. I once had a student send me a poem, and I told him that I loved the…

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Hockey, hockey

In defence of the sestina, part 2 Once in a while, for no reason at all, these lines go through my head: Call me Zamboni. Nights my job is hockey. I make the ice and watch the kids take slapshots At each other. They act like Esposito. They are the first three lines of a…

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Lo and Behold! The Poetry School Micro-Commission Fund

Lo and Behold! The Poetry School Micro-Commission Fund The Poetry School invites applications to its fund to support innovative poetry creation and promotion projects. We have five sums of £750 to support poets, artists and producers in the creation of ambitious new work. We want to fund projects that explore new ways of creating or…

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What’s a Ghazal?

Introducing the ghazal, part 1 The ghazal is the oldest poetic form still in use. The word ‘ghazal’ is pronounced “guzzle” in some languages and “gu-ZAHL” in others, though in both with a guttural “g” almost like the “ch” in “Bach.” Supposedly, the name comes from the sound a wounded gazelle makes as it dies….

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Everyone Hates a Sestina

In defence of the sestina, part 1 Almost every poet has heard someone dismiss sestinas. Perhaps you, yourself, have dismissed sestinas. Sam Riviere, in his review of Christopher Reid’s Six Bad Poets in The Poetry Review, wrote: ‘I dread a sestina as much as the next person,’ taking for granted the inevitability of that viewpoint….

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Meet the Digital Poet in Residence: Kathryn Maris

An Interview with Kathryn Maris

Hi Kathryn! Tell us a bit about your residency with Jason, ‘American English’. Kathryn: My blog posts will be micro-explorations of my idiosyncratic likes and dislikes in poetry, what I’ve observed, and what I wish could change. They will be essay-like in shape and are not to be taken too seriously because I regularly change…

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Re: Drafts – ‘Hey, have you had your hair cut?’

It’s early days for the Poetry School’s latest collaboration with The Rialto poetry magazine. Poets Rishi Dastidar and Holly Hopkins are working closely with Rialto editor Michael Mackmin on a programme designed to teach them about the process and philosophy of poetry editing. Each month, on a new series we’re calling Re: Drafts, they’ll share…

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Meet the Digital-Poet-in-Residence: Jason Schneiderman

An Interview with Jason Schneiderman

Hi Jason! Tell us a bit about the residency. Jason: I’ll be working with Kathryn to think through a number of questions about English Language poetry in the UK and America. We’ll be thinking a lot about form and community. When did you first start writing poetry? What brought you to it? Jason:  I started writing…

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‘Arkam’

This street was once a market where a raven bowed down and pecked a boy’s face. As he fainted the others came to feast. They used to steal walnuts and drop them into the road. Cars broke the shells and they ate the insides. Once they came into our house and tore into our parents’…

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Announcing our 5th and 6th Digital Poets in Residence!

We’re very excited to announce ‘American English’, a twisty Trans-Atlantic twin residency with Kathryn Maris (DPIR #6). Kathryn Maris, who grew up in New York and now lives in London, and Jason Schneiderman, who spent his early childhood England and now lives in Brooklyn, will compare notes on trends in UK and US poetry, discussing…

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‘Pegged Down Square’

As you snuggle down your eyes flutter towards the beauty of REM touching your hair I whisper maybe we should move on from this cracked cold land you dream murmur I barely hear as whining winds whip like bullets through sounding walls quiet you say I delve into thought of our glitzy summer wedding so…

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Pub Chat: Hercules Editions

An Interview with Hercules Editions

In the latest in this series of feature-length interviews with independent publishers, set in our imaginary poetry theatre pub somewhere in Lambeth, we spoke to Tamar Yoseloff and Vici MacDonald, the founders of Hercules Editions… Hello there, Hercules Editions! What are you drinking? Tammy: A bottle of Brixton Brewery APA. Vici: Being an imaginary pub, it serves on-tap…

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