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This Enchanted Isle: reading W H Auden’s ‘The Sea and The Mirror’

Shakespeare’s The Tempest contains a potent mix of the worldly (politics, power, parenthood) and the other-worldly (myth, magic, monsters). In the mercurial spirit Ariel and the earthy, ‘monstrous’ Caliban, elemental forces are given free rein to express their desires, while Prospero delivers some of the most famous lines in all literature:                                                  These our…

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Residents Association

Have you ever been a resident poet? Did your local stately home / barbershop / ironmongers invite you to soak up their atmosphere, talk to their customers and create new poems from the experience? We’d like to hear from you if so … The Poetry School is working on an exciting new project which will…

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Prosodies in the US & the UK: A TransAtlantic Coda

When Kathryn and I started our residency, the one topic we were sure we would discuss was the difference between the poetry scenes in the US and the UK. Of course, that never happened—it’s like how the song you buy the album for becomes the song you start skipping first (well, before iTunes). So here…

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How I Did It: ‘How to Renovate a Morris Minor’

I was having a conversation this week with a brilliant Welsh poet, who’s currently at work on his second collection. He said something about his creative process which resonated strongly with me: he was working hard, he said, to get to the stage where the poems wrote themselves. That’s always been it for me: the…

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‘Sex Education’

When I am asked what I most want to be when I grow up, I think about sex education: to my fourteen year old body hauling itself to the cafeteria, where Mister Jacobs takes the girls and plays film stills of mutts devouring meat outside a butcher’s. In the next room, the boys are handed…

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‘The Drowners’

They will step into you – first a toe, then the ball of a foot. Some will come clothed, though most will leave something behind – a tell-tale coat, a pair of shoes. They will make it seem easy, as if they are stepping into nightfall – not even you, nor the eye of a…

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Lo and Behold! It’s our new micro-commissions…

Last year, the Poetry School launched ‘Lo and Behold!’ – a fund to support innovative poetry creation and promotion projects. From more than 150 submissions, five projects have just been selected and are about to start work. ‘Lo and Behold!’ was designed to fund projects that explore new ways of creating or promoting poetry –…

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Poetry and the Brain: an interview with Helen Mort

An Interview with Helen Mort

Hi Helen! Tell us about your upcoming course, ‘Poetry and the Brain’. It seems a far cry from Division Street… Helen: For the past three years, I’ve been studying for a PhD at the University of Sheffield, thinking about whether neuroscience and contemporary poetry might have anything interesting to say to each other. It turns…

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‘The Poetry of Money’

Check down the back of your sofa for coins, what do you find? Coppers, shrapnel, cents, francs and thrupenny bits? Your handful of change could be the basis for a handful of new poems – The Poetry of Money is a forthcoming workshop with Claire Crowther. Claire is the current poet in residence at the…

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New Year’s Poetry Resolutions

Dear CAMPUS poets, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a restful holiday break. Sadly, my glacier glasses have been packed away, the reading specs are on, and I am now safely ensconced back in our pleasingly overheated offices. It’s not all grey skies and back-to-work, however – we’ve got lots of terribly exciting things…

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Open Workshop: ‘Beyond English – Poems in Constructed Languages’ with Harry Giles

Nadsat, Riddleyspeak, Klingon, Zaum, Lapine, Newspeak: what happens when we take a hammer and nails to language? What happens when we break a language apart, or try to start a new one? Constructed words and languages can be for play and imagination, like Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, and they can be part of a broader political…

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‘Their letters’

 1st May 1610 Her letter is pressed from flour-damp breast to Judas-hand Joanna, hides in spinster folds to pass the Hall, makes its way first to lips then nose, Peter eager for the hard-worked scent of her, his Rose with lush, wide petals and soft sticky buds, last pinched and tipped on Hollyn Hill St…

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Open Workshop: ‘The List Cause’ with Beverley Nadin

When does your shopping list become a poem? Is there hidden poetry in your New Year to-do’s? Find out on our latest Open Workshop with Beverley Nadin. The structure of the list can build a cumulative atmosphere, narrative or scene. Train stations, molars, fallen men… Sequential or random, protracted or efficient, informative or plain indulgent,…

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Where It Begins: an interview with Nii Ayikwei Parkes

An Interview with Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Where does a poem begin? How does a poem not exist and then suddenly, miraculously flare into life? This Summer, poet, novelist and editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes will be unpacking what it means to think like a poet. In his new online course, Where It Begins – a course for new poets, Nii will be…

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On teaching, writing and saying goodbye

Several of my posts for this residency have mentioned my former teachers. Now a teacher myself, I sometimes repeat or repackage their advice. If you have been in any of my classes, my teachers have effectively been your teachers too. A teacher who was particularly special to me was Roger Erickson. A celebrated English teacher,…

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Thank You, Internet

Thank you so much, everyone out there on the CAMPUS! I’ve really enjoyed being the other half of your poet-in-residence. I was thrilled to be partnered with Kathryn, and I’ve heard rumors that you may hear a bit more from us in the new year, but this post officially marks my farewell. It seems a…

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Poetry and Multimedia II

In this installment of interviews with poets and performers who have combined poetry with other media we hear from actor Robert Bathurst, who is staging and starring in a double-bill of Christopher Reid’s A Scattering and The Song of Lunch at the Chichester Festival; Jacqueline Saphra, poet and poetry school tutor whose book If I…

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New Definitions and Neologisms: the Poetry of Dictionaries

Retiring to the canopy of the bedroom, turning on the bedside light, taking the big dictionary to bed, clutching the unabridged bulk, heavy with the weight of all the meanings between these covers, smoothing the thin sheets, thick with accented syllables—all are exercises in the conscious regimen of dreamers, who toss words on their tongues…

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Our poetry gigs of 2014

As an extra stocking filler to go alongside our ‘books of 2014’ blog yesterday, we present our favourite poetry gigs of the year. After all, not all poetry is best experienced on the page…   KEY OD = Ollie Dawson / JBrd = Julia Bird / WB = Will Barrett / JBdn = Jo Brandon   Chris McCabe‘s…

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Re: Drafts – ‘What really happens on a Rialto editing day’

Holly Hopkins and I, your editorial developees, have been asked to shed some light upon what we actually get up to when attending an editorial meeting of The Rialto. Herewith, a joint diary of a recent trip to Norwich, where selection of some poems took place. NB: Unless otherwise stated, it can be assumed that…

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Not the T S Eliots: our poetry books of 2014

Looking back over 2014, it’s not just the weather that’s been unexpectedly fine – it’s been a vintage year for poetry. Once again, we present our annual round-up of our favourite poetry books. Last year, we only managed to notch up 15 recommendations; this year we have hand-foraged a whopping 23 poetic pabulums for you….

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‘Marie Curie’s radium’

Don’t think you can leave me at the lab, locked in, safely far from your flat. Don’t think you can leave me in that rickety shed you stole from anatomists when even they didn’t want it. You shut me in with the white ghosts of skulls that are more space than matter. But I don’t…

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Re: Drafts – ‘The Fall of the Wall of Hill’

The assistant editorship of The Rialto is helping me let poems take over my flat. I recently finished teaching a reading group for The Poetry School so my Wall Of Hill (entirety of Mercian Hymns photocopied and arranged on my bedroom wall so I could scribble notes) has come down. Things might have felt a…

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Pub Chat: Eyewear

An Interview with Eyewear Publishing

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 Todd Swift, the founder of Eyewear Publishing… Hello there, Todd! What are you drinking? Todd: London Pride. How long has Eyewear Publishing been running? Todd: Three years and one month, this December 2014. What were…

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YOU, The Movie – Horror, Western, Romance, Noir and Disaster Poetry

How many films have you watched? Ten? A hundred? I imagine the figure is likely to be in the thousands. All those Sunday afternoon matinees, those trips to the cinema, the Shakespeare remakes shown in class, the teatime classics, the 10pm premieres, and the hours spent on Netflix binges certainly add up. I bet you…

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