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‘My Dad has decided’

we’re going to the moon. He walks around the bedroom in his socks while we try to guess what we’re supposed to do next. We’re supposed to know his thoughts, to know about the moon, even though he hasn’t told us. He expects us to read his mind. When I question him he turns on…

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‘Long Love’

He laced up his sneakers and left for a jog as raccoons stumbled from trash cans back to the woods at dawn. Soon the house was awake. His wife fixing lunches, boys slurping oatmeal. He raced the three boys to the bus and walked back home whistling and wondering if today was a day for…

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Open Workshop: ‘Half-remembered Things’

A brand new Open Workshop for Summer with Rialto poet, Jen Campbell. In this workshop, Jen will get you to dig through your childhood memories, picking out something half-remembered and twisting it into something new. You might change something small, or transform it into a whole new tale. You’ll then put this story into a…

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‘You’ve got potential, baby’

Sometimes it’s a battery or a newly discovered stem cell. A vaccine in early trials. The half-second of still before the referee’s whistle. Tiny hands. Or it’s an explosion, a chemical trigger that pushes molecules from here to there. A release of pure energy in a too-small space. Other times it’s the short dash after…

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Final logbook: ‘I am happy to report however that my husband is still speaking to me’

I’m writing my last post for the residency at 12.30pm on a school night – most of the things I’ve written as part of the residency have happened late at night – after I’ve finished teaching and been for a run, or after I’ve finished conducting my junior band or after I’ve got back from…

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#poetwisdom

1. When writing a cover letter to a magazine, don’t compare yourself to Shakespeare. 2. At a poetry workshop, don’t say ‘It’s too late to change this poem, I’ve already sent it to the Queen’. 3. Don’t introduce yourself at a poetry residential course by saying ‘my name is Elspeth/Ivy/Agnes but you can call me…

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‘Concentrating, When One Ought Not’

I should have brought a clipboard. Note: four creases in the pillows. Note: the sides of wardrobes and desk-lamps bent back in a night not quite black enough: tough buffer-zones in a nesting-box. There are twelve bars fizzing on the surface of a clock that imply the time. Note: a touch, seeking a reach, a…

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‘Hospital Visitors’

A sharp gust of river air makes me look up, sensing some commotion at the distant end of the corridor. Wild and heedless, pressing towards me full of fathomless intent, striped by the light from high-vaulted windows, knocking soft cartilage against the walls, three mud-flecked swans smelling of tundra dip and lift their fearsome, faintly…

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Just One Poem

When I first started writing all I wanted to do was to have one poem published. Just one, I told myself, and then I would be happy. I didn’t think beyond this because I didn’t really believe it would happen. It was the poet Jennifer Copley who told me about poetry magazines and persauded me…

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‘Thirteen’

There are ginger toms on the fire escape and curtains tied in knots – nine flights up your cigarette ash is burning white and a guy in the corner one they forgot – a puppeteer of memory doesn’t have a clue – this could be New York, a sketch pad in the Hotel Chelsea and…

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‘Blue Peninsula’

For Joseph Cornell Personally I like the hotel’s Spartan décor, the parakeet in the lobby, the way ships salvage has been reused to give the place a nautical air; the fishing net over the windows, for example, which prevents guests from falling out. Every room has a view of the Blue Peninsula. It’s the parrot…

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Helen Taylor – Merseybeat

Helen Taylor recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014. Read our ‘Meet the Doctors’ interview with Helen here.

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John Challis – The Poem Noir

John Challis recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014. Read our ‘Meet the Doctors’ interview with John here.

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Logbook: ‘Dear Mr Gove today I taught the children not to sit like bags of small potatoes in their chairs’

End of year concert for one of my schools today. There were about 60 children playing trumpets, cornets and baritones, and then about twenty fifes and flutes and about ten violins.  This concert is always great fun and there is usually some barely averted disaster – this is the concert where someone was once sick…

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Kathy D’arcy – Irish Women’s Poetry

Kathy D’arcy recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014.

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Alireza Abiz – Publishing Poetry in Iran: a Kafkaesque Experience

Alireza Abiz recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014. Read our ‘Meet the Doctors’ interview with Alireza here.

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A B Jackson – The Poetry of Polar Exploration

A B Jackson recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014. Read our ‘Meet the Doctors’ interview with A B here.

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Tara Bergin – Proof: a poem-film made in response to The Bloodaxe Poetry Archive

Tara Bergin recorded live at The Poetry School’s Is There A Doctor In The House? PhD festival in March 2014. Read our ‘Meet the Doctors’ interview with Tara here.

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Logbook: ‘I am writing this in my tent with my head torch on’

Despite being officially my day off music teaching, today is the only day I can fit in an hour lesson with an adult who comes for an hour lesson on the tuba.  I really enjoy teaching  this lesson because this pupil always practices – so I can actually see if the things I’ve set for…

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Open Workshop: ‘Putting A Poet In Your Pocket’

Hot on the heels of her ‘Show Us Your Poems’ surgery, current Digital Poet in Residence Kim Moore leads the next in our Open Workshops series… Reading other people’s poetry is vital to keep our own poems alive and breathing.  In this workshop, you are going to be carrying around a poet in your pocket,…

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‘Tunnelling-out’

Instead let me tell you how to present yourself at all times. With me? Yes. Embrace your inner standing still. The shadows? They’ll stare, they’ll stare. Sweetheart, clay- eyes, you with the sootfall heart. Eat. More. Rocket. Its tinselly fronds will nourish. Redemption Is lying with her feet up in the next road, the moles,…

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‘She Leaves’

a hollow space, without plump cushions snug as velvety moles, or her clay lamp that dappled the ceiling with shadows, where red and green wires now blast through a gash in the plasterwork like the WHAAM! of a pop art rocket. I slam tall shutters back on themselves and a wane light embraces the dark…

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‘A History of Rockets’

Let me tell you this: history is a nonsense. They blanked me out of their books, their stories, their minuscule minds but here is the truth: Take a pinch of stolen black powder, a man in a moon, a love of the light and the blackest of nights – this is the real history of…

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A Room of One’s Own

A couple of years ago I decided to have ‘A Room of One’s Own’ tattooed on my lower right forearm. It is extremely hard to explain to people what the words mean – I found this out when I tried to tell the tattooist why I was having this particular tattoo.   How to explain that…

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‘A Sonnet for Clay Eaters’

Clay crushed under calloused feet and cajoled by hopeful hands is hurled into moulds and sun baked near cottonwood trees. And so, parched bricks are made, one on top another, to build a home. You squat inside, let terra red shadows swaddle your born-bright who stares at you as if seeing God. She pitches arias…

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