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20% Off PBS Membership For Poetry School Students

We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with the Poetry Book Society, offering all students who book a Summer 2017  course with The Poetry School 20%  off all categories of PBS membership: charter, associate and full. Set up by T S Eliot and friends in 1953 ‘to propagate the art of poetry’, the Poetry Book…

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‘This is not the island I was expecting’

I learned to swim, but never mastered breathing underwater. Pebbles, the twirly insides of worn-down shells, bubbles of lugworms I could squidge and pat. Anything the sea brought me, that I didn’t have to dive for, I was grateful. Now the sea brings other things to my attention: a tide of children; puddles of stickiness…

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Review – ‘Landlocked: New and Selected Poems from Zimbabwe’ by John Eppel

Many of the poems in Landlocked  (smith|doorstop) act like an individual’s ‘truth and reconciliation’ commission applied to Zimbabwean people, politics and a natural landscape playing the reluctant stage to violence and bloodshed. The poet’s job in Landlocked is the bring up the bodies to the surface. Landlocked is my first encounter with the poems of the…

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‘Number 90’

The skip’s hungry mouth swallowed my childhood. I fed it my record player, mattress, black and white TV, teddy bear that had soaked up girlish tears. As we left, all the years ran up the stairs, gathered in the empty rooms to wring their hands. Silence evicted music and voices, reclaimed the unfaded spaces where…

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Announcing the Mixed Borders 2017 Poets

StAnza’s been and gone, the Ted Hughes Award announcements are on their way — but there’s a gap in the Spring poetry calendar that The Poetry School is still to fill. It’s time for this year’s Mixed Borders. Mixed Borders is a regular collaboration between the Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust. We…

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Review: ‘Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament’ by Geraldine Clarkson

Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament (smith|doorstop) is a vigorous yes, confidently-voiced – at times puzzling, at times transporting – appealingly original. To read it is to enter a world made strange and lush with linguistic variety, audacity and delight. The cover image – of underwater seaweed which I begin to suspect is looking at me…

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‘I sing the praises of a fart’: On Keeping Our Wits

More than ever, we need to keep our wits about us. If our shared reality seems increasingly topsy turvy, our need for wit – as a way of seriously and playfully experimenting with language and digesting diverse experiences – must be at its greatest. It’s a subject we’ll be exploring closely on my upcoming online course, Keeping…

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‘Funeral Cortege As Umbilical Cord’

  You have been a receptacle for the dead for as long as anyone can remember but when a vein of cars issues from the church- yard on the mainland across the strand at low tide I consider you more womb than tomb, your graveyard a belly-button tethered to the funeral cortege, your coastline foetal,…

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Review: ‘Serious Justice’ by Jen Calleja

Jen Calleja’s Serious Justice (Test Centre) is a haunting book, documenting the anxiety and isolation of everyday life through elegant, disarmingly intimate poems. Many of the poems in Serious Justice masquerade as casual observation about a wide variety of ordinary characters living their ordinary lives. At close up, these experiences are often revealed to be…

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‘A Quiet Passion’ Instagram Poetry Competition

The Poetry School and Soda Pictures are delighted to announce a new poetry competition to mark the release of A Quiet Passion – a new biopic of Emily Dickinson (in cinemas 7 April). The story of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson is brought to vivid life in this sensitive biopic by director Terence Davies,…

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‘Thought, in poetry, is felt’

Alright, sometimes a poem can be too conceptual, too austerely cerebral, too loftily academic, too preeningly intellectual, too all-round thinky. Sure. But only as much as other poems can be too runnily sentimental, too intellectually lazy and biddable. Surely some kind of middle ground is in order, then? I believe that this middle ground should…

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The Summer 2017 Programme — in two lines or less!

One-Term Short Courses: Stand-alone courses comprising five two-hour sessions over ten weeks in one of our London classrooms.  The Pamphleteers with Saradha Soobrayen: Write, select, arrange and edit poems for your pamphlet with Saradha Soobrayen. #Afterhours with Inua Ellams: Discuss, dissect and explore various ways into writing counter or companion pieces to poems from the canon….

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Review: ‘The Toll’ by Luke Wright

Luke Wright is at his forceful best in this state-of-the-nation adventure that is far darker than its jaunty rhythms and bell-like rhymes might suggest. The first poem of The Toll (Penned in the Margins), which serves as a kind of epigraph, carries the refrain ‘Oh England, heal my hackneyed heart’, and is one of the…

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Re: Review: ‘You Have A Visitor’ by William Wootten

William Wootten’s You Have a Visitor (Worple) shows an impressive mastery of a range of forms working in the tradition of Auden and Gunn. Sequenced around the seasons, You Have a Visitor begins with ‘Reveille’ in which ‘Day comes up cold,’ and works through ‘Easter Tide’, ‘Of Late June’ and the harvests of autumn, to a charming…

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Review: ‘The Watermark’ by Alice Anderson

I think of myself as pretty much unshockable, but there are, for me, some gasp-worthy moments in this unflinching collection from Alice Anderson. Set in the American South, The Watermark is an apparently confessional book and almost every element of Anderson’s world is refracted through a lens of sex and violence. This is the story…

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CAMPUS Pamphlet: ‘all that’s ever happened’

Make room on your digital bookshelves for the latest in our series of flicky PDF pamphlets, a series in which we celebrate the talents of the students taking place in our courses and projects. The New North Poets are a group of talented new writers who have come to the Poetry School via New Writing…

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Poetry and Visual Art: Gallery Day Schedule – 18th February

This is the finalised schedule for the gallery day of Tamar Yoseloff’s Poetry and Visual Art two-day course. You can find more details of the course here. 10:30am:              Gagosian, 6-24 Britannia Street (off Grays Inn Road) London WC1X 9JD King’s Cross / St Pancras Tube / Rail – Euston Road exit (10 mins) Richard…

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Review: ‘Psalmody’ by Maria Apichella

Maria Apichella’s first collection, Psalmody (Eyewear), ends on a note of quiet, confident affirmation:   I can’t play the sax I can’t bang the drum I can’t work the flute I can’t pick the harp but I can respond.   Apichella’s tough, lyrical psalm-poems celebrate the virtue of responsiveness, suggesting the possibility of a deeper,…

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Poetry School 1215.today Paid Digital Residency – Open for Applications!

1215.today, in collaboration with The Poetry School, want to identify a poet for a six-week digital residency with the 1215.today site to begin at the end of April, through May 2017. The chosen poet will receive £1,000. 1215.today commemorates 800 years of the Magna Carta in an online platform that gives young people a space…

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Review: ‘Speak from Here to There’ by Kwame Dawes & John Kinsella

‘We co-exist.’ Speak from Here to There (Peepal Tree Press) begins with this claim, followed by a description:   The York gum bark is stripping itself off, shiny skin underneath exposed to the sun. Late summer – summers that won’t end – and it seems to be a statement, much more than restating a habit, a well-researched…

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Review: ‘The Number Poems’ by Matthew Welton

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight. John Berger, Ways of Seeing   The Book of Numbers is like an artist’s sketch…

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‘Trixie Might: No More Baristas’

There are millions of baristas in rumbo countries who would love to hobble in fluidness. Sure, the best baristas love countries – BUT where there is typhotoxin / the right way to help is not. Rumbo + typhotoxin = hobble – help. Not millions… MILLIONS! The nippy and squealing effect of high steam is close…

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Review: ‘Moon For Sale’ by Richard Price

Moon for Sale does not pander to, or patronise, its reader and often reading the poems you become aware you are in the presence of a mind working much more quickly and sharply than your own. If, like me, vast swathes of your reading diet consists of fairly orthodox lyrical poetry, then it might serve…

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Battle of the Somme Poetry Residency Performance

A few months ago we invited applications for a collaboration opportunity with Simon Barraclough to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. The ten poets selected have been busy writing poems and will perform them at a special event in London on Saturday 4 February. This is our contribution to the UK-wide cultural commemorations of the…

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‘Witness’

I am trying to hear the cow’s story, but it is thin and acrid as the stream of piss and fear from the back of a cattle truck pitching between hedges on the abattoir road. I am trying to hear the cow’s story, but all I have seen with my own eyes is the cluster…

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