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Review: ‘The Nine of Diamonds, Surroial Mordantless’ by MacGillivray

What do you do with three hundred years of Scottish history, a tarot deck and a battalion of European surrealist artists? If you’re MacGillivray, a multi-disciplinary artist exploring the Highland psyche, you make The Nine of Diamonds, Surroial Mordantless, her second collection, and first under the Bloodaxe imprint. Surroil Mordantless explores the legacy of ‘The…

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‘Arcadia’

I’d like to say it’s for the coffee, sure. Greek stuff, the thick kind that collects in the cup, leaves a bitter-toffee residue. And theirs is pretty good, pretty strong. But it’s the staff, in their thirties, dark. I’ve studied the faces. Boy, are they slow. Unbelievably slow! Takes four of them to make mine…

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‘shadows of aphantasia’

my mind is blind unable to hold an image, a face, a place, I might devise an outline use words, describe a radiant smile have some recall but images cannot last they disappear into the breath of words – last night you were lit in a double shadow as if soul and spirit exist  –…

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Haiku Rebellion Studio: Students’ Work

We are very proud to present below a small selection of work from students on our recent Haiku Rebellion Studio.    

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How I Did It – Michael Marks Edition – Richard Scott on ‘cover-boys’

If I am honest, I don’t really know how I did it, wrote cover-boys that is; but there’s something powerful about acknowledging the underlying mystery of poetry right from the get-go, what Whitman calls the ‘unseen hand’; that despite how much you learn and craft there is a subconscious ticking away beneath all the work…

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Meet Our New One-to-One Tutors!

Did you know that, in addition to our programme of courses and workshops, the Poetry School also offers one-to-one tutorials, manuscript assessments, and mentoring arrangements? We love pairing up students with the right poet for their needs, so we’re delighted to introduce you to some of the newest poets on our tutorial books, all of…

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Blake in Lambeth Print Gallery

How do you fill a page? Poets scratch out one line at a time, darkening the paper slowly from top to bottom – but a visual artist will make one swoosh of a brush, and that’s their canvas completely full of colour and intent. Poets and artists swapped their page-making practices this Autumn in the…

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‘The Waiting Room’

I used to sit and paint blue prints in the museum of hearts, the unborn lookalikes tethered benignly in the adjacent pleated room, dissimilar as bulbs. Disposed dispossessed. I listened to the ghosts in the radio cabs night after night thoughts blurting from between days that happened years ago People always presume my sister and…

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How I Did It – Michael Marks Edition: Polly Clark ‘Tiger, Tiger’

‘Tiger, Tiger’ from my pamphlet A Handbook for the Afterlife is my longest and perhaps most ambitious poem, abandoning the strict notions I held of what a poem is or can be. For a long time it was in my head rather than on the page as a draft because the idea of it –…

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‘Mistress’

Nobody comes from Nairobi. She’s a creation a fiction thrown together for a railway line. Watch how in December the city empties after Jamhuri Day the lovers deserting her to return to the patient village wife who moves like a chameleon over the years demanding little apart from a constant acknowledgement that the city will…

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Primers II Poets Announced!

The manuscripts are dog-eared and the Judges dog-tired, but we are now delighted to be able to make the final announcement in our second Primers publishing and mentoring scheme. The three writers who we are going to take forward to publication in April are … Ben Bransfield Cynthia Miller Marvin Thompson Jane Commane, the judge and…

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How I Did It – Michael Marks Edition: Lizzi Thistlethwayte ‘lovesong’

I am aware of an emotional landscape rooted within a geographical one that may bear no outward resemblance to a particular place; merely that there are echoes, reference points. I recognize something. I know I need to pin it down. By ‘pinning it down’ I mean trying to understand by exploring different ways of ‘seeing’;…

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Affordability: Concessions, discounts, payment plans, bursaries and free resources.

Can’t afford the full price of one of our courses? Don’t despair – there are options available. Concessions: If you’re under 25, a full-time student, or receive Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income-related ESA or if your sole source of income is the state retirement pension, you’re eligible for…

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Islands, poetry and getting away from it all

I remember giving a set of poems at ‘Reading the Leaves’, a night in Tchai Ovna in Glasgow where I liked to try out new work alongside other poets, novelists and writers.  The poems in my set were mostly new, and seemed to arise independently of one another, but a striking commonality revealed itself as…

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‘Ghost Soldier’

He might have slept a hundred years, to wake bareheaded, roll-up warm against his palm, as if the curse that sent them back to war had been a dream – and here another spit and polish day of buckled brass, of shining chestnut boots, the station concourse bright with rain, of stainless benches, orderly trees,…

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How I Did It: Michael Marks Edition: Fiona Moore ‘Sleep Sonnet’

SLEEP SONNET I last touched the world of sleep at     midday when sun shone through and through a train and the woman     opposite was painting her nails an ocean of deep red     stations trailed unreal names jolted words away from language     upholstered in grey/blue now through night without corridors     or sleep or stars my mind…

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‘Bucharest’

and if I had to build myself a past here this must be the ministry where years later they processed my papers here is the museum I walked around hung-over that one day I spent in this city over there the apartment Andrei told me about that night walking through Leblon where his mother hid…

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‘Song Without Words
’

music everywhere, rolling in secretive oceans, slicking trees, curling like smoke over hills and hummocks, sounds from centuries of mandolins and flutes, harps, bayans, dulcimers, citterns hovering, a universe of stray notes fluttering around their stranded bodies. If only they could hear it stuck in a silent siding, facing each other wondering who will be…

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Derivatives, Reflection, Homage: An Interview with Róisín Tierney

The Michael Marks Award-winning poet Róisín Tierney will be running our Spring 2017 course ‘Derivatives, Reflection, Homage‘. We caught up with her for a chat about the course, and what she’s up to at the moment. Hi Róisín. Your new course with us is called ‘Derivatives, Reflection, Homage’. Could you tell us a little bit about your…

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How I Did It – Michael Marks Edition – ‘Anne Whittle (alias Chattox)’

“Wigged w/ cirrus”, “I shall be in a woman’s likeness…” and “LISTEN”: these are among the first notes I put toward the Malkin sequence, scribbling with sudden enthusiasm on a train from Lancaster to Cambridge back in June 2014 (the muses, as has been well-documented, often take the train). The Pendle Witches had fascinated me…

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40% off Poetry London subscriptions for Poetry School Students!

As a special offer for this term, students who book a course or one-day workshop at the Poetry School can get a year’s subscription to Poetry London for just £15 – 40% off the standard price of £25! Poetry London is an arts charity and leading international poetry magazine where acclaimed contemporary poets share pages…

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Review: ‘The Way to Work’ by Tom French

Tom French’s fourth collection, The Way to Work, continues to explore the territory he has been making his own since his astonishing 2001 debut, Touching the Bones. The usual French hallmarks – seriousness, sincerity, family, the past, rural Ireland – are very much present and correct. The Way to Work is a generous, wide-ranging collection,…

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‘Wasn’t It All Twinkly When We Sang Happy Birthday?’

Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President’ dress sells for record $4.8m – BBC News I hated the storage years, each of my hand-stitched crystals dulled by moths and cobwebs. I craved Madison Square again, the night they sewed you in to my rib-chafing tightness, my flesh-coloured brashness. Under the lights, you shrugged your fur from…

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‘Lotus Feet’

He’s expecting daintiness a man might cup in his hands. She tells how Great-Aunt Li arrived one winter. Her mother wept but she was a brave child, dreamed of dancing at the Emperor’s court. Great-Aunt soaked her feet in herbs and animal blood, scrunched the little toes, pressed them sideways against the sole then wound…

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Primers II Shortlist – Samuel Prince

Just in time for the judges’ final decision, we reach the final of our showcases of the Primers II shortlist. This is a great chance to read once again poems from Ben Bransfield, Cynthia Miller, Emma Jeremy, Marjorie Lofti Gill, Marvin Thompson, Matthew Dixon, Michelle Penn, Miranda Peake & Paul Adrian to see just how hard Jane and Jacob’s choice is. The final poet we are celebrating…

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