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Review: ‘Fossil’ by Maya Chowdhry

In Fossil (Peepal Tree Press) Maya Chowdhry brings beauty to eco-politics, taking us on a journey across the globe and beyond, experimenting with scale, time and voice to inquire into and imagine the condition of the non-human world. I found that the emotional power of this collection of thirty free verse poems accumulated as I…

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Primers Vol 2 London Launch – 20 June

We’re incredibly excited to be holding a London launch for our Primers Vol. 2 poets to celebrate their work and the publication of the book by Nine Arches Press. We’d love for you to join us at Waterstones Piccadilly on Tuesday 20 June from 7pm, where the three poets Ben Bransfield, Cynthia Miller and Marvin Thompson will be reading from their work….

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Review: ‘Alarum’ by Wayne Holloway-Smith

Whilst reviewing Wayne Holloway-Smith’s debut Alarum (Bloodaxe Books), I found myself reading sections aloud to friends in the pub, partly because Alarum is enviably good, but also because I couldn’t quite get my head around it. Hilarious and witty, it’s also terrifically sad, but wears its tragedy so lightly at first it’s hard to notice. ‘Doo-wop’,…

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‘Portrait of my unborn children’

Number one enjoys lemongrass soup as she sails the Yangtze alone. Number two saves lives on the streets of this city with his soft, warm mouth. Number three never saw the bike turning right on the day we found bees. Number four was left behind and always wondered who she belonged to. Number five found…

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‘To My Mother Who Never Touched a Drop’

When I meet her in Hourican’s Bar I will bring the picture resurrected from the derelict farmhouse, last summer. My great Uncle Phil will offer me a glass. I’ll reluctantly sip the bitter-black and lick the froth from my lip. For once my mother will sit in silence – but not out of spite. When…

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Poetry & Visual Art Gallery Day Schedule Announced

Interested in poetry and art? Then join our upcoming course with Tamar Yoseloff, featuring a gallery day on Saturday 13th May, followed by a writing workshop on June 10th. Students here will be treated to an exclusive tour of ‘The High Low Show’ in the Laure Genillard gallery, led by the show’s curator, Paul Carey-Kent….

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‘The Pocket Mirror’

Born from the belly of a Christmas cracker Stomach ripped apart and I fireworked into her world my birth announced by a muted crash and a sombre joke. I remained a closed up tinted truth lodged sub-sofa for five dark and lights. She found me, her warm hand scooped me up and pocketed me into…

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‘Making a Seagull Kite’

We add Tyvek wings — of course he must fly. We intend him to be tear-resistant, water-proof. We check his spine and cross spar, the bridle with its anchor points. Secure enough, light and strong for support in winds that could swivel or shatter him. We paste on a beak and feathers with spray and…

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‘To Get Away From Mother’s Flat’

[pass] her front door two flights of stairs the 50-year-old smell of dust and cooking communal notice board of orders and restrictions the flat where the voluble neighbour lived and died [nudge] the heavy inner doors [push] the heavy outer door [leap] that single step [skip] down the path across the garden [pass] the bench…

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‘War Baby’

Beautiful? Yes. Curled unborn on a statesman’s tongue. My lips are stoppered by my thumb. But his round wet mouth births missiles, cradles such fire. His speech has launched me. I wail, my frail cartilage rammed into shells. I’m his navy ship in dark waters. I’m his warhead, his ice-white arc in the night. Touch…

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‘We KNOW what art is! It’s PAINTINGS of HORSES!’ – an interview with Adam Crothers

The Ugliness Studio with Adam Crothers is a three-week intensive online course beginning on June 5th 2017. Here Adam talks to Rebecca Watts about the literary uses and abuses of bad language, bad form and bad taste. … Before we talk about the course you’re running for the Poetry School in June, I must congratulate…

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‘Afterwards’

The January light was more notable, the day I went back for his belongings to the room where he died; magnolia buds presented themselves differently, they uplifted as though nothing could compel death to reach inside their grey skin. His climbing boots, paired neatly as we had never been, and his torn denims left on…

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Poem in Your Pocket Day

Every April people celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others. This year The Poetry School have joined the festivities and produced some special postcards to showcase a selection of wonderful poems written by our students. You can find physical copies of these postcards in…

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CAMPUS Pamphlet – Paradise Lost: ‘An Express Elevator to Hell’

350 years ago to the day, John Milton signed his publishing contract for 1,500 copies of Paradise Lost. If you’ve not got the room on your bookshelves or the pennies in the jar to pick up this $750,000 first edition, we’re delighted to alleviate that problem by delivering a free, digital pamphlet of poems in response to…

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Mixed Borders – Plan Your Visit

The snowdrops have blown, the blossom has had it – but the poets are still growing. With two months to go before Open Garden Squares Weekend, our resident poets are nurturing the seedlings of their poems and projects, ready to display them round London’s green spaces the weekend of 17/18 June. The poets have plans…

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Primers Volume Two: On Sale Now!

On Sunday, The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press launched the wonderful Primers Volume Two at the Birmingham Literature Festival. The collection, featuring work from Cynthia Miller, Marvin Thompson and Ben Bransfield, and edited by Jacob Sam-La Rose and Jane Commane, is on sale now and available to purchase from Nine Arches Press. GET YOUR…

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‘For Tomorrow’

Spring blossom on the Blackthorn, flakes of snow Once crystal frost now refusing to freeze, Melting, falling like tears for tomorrow. Cities wheeze and choke. Their electric glow Threatens the stars, disturbs nature’s reprise – Spring blossom on the Blackthorn, flakes of snow. Pictures from polar satellites clearly show Bird filled canopies of rain forest…

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‘To a Mole’

Mouldiwarp, tunnel-grubber you with the shovel-paws pink as my skin, the purblind eyes, never once have I seen your snout poke through a lawn, caught a flick of your tail though I’ve grieved for you, rural guerrilla, gibbeted on barbed wire. King-toppler, gentleman in velvet, snuffling root-vaulted mazes driven to company by the sting of…

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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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