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Open Workshop: ‘Absent Pronouns’

There’s another free Open Workshop coming your way on CAMPUS. Starting 27th January, Seren poet, Dai George, will lead you through the process of writing pronoun-less poems, removing the ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘you’ altogether. Pronouns shape our thinking and determine the type of poem that we might write. For this Open Workshop, you will look at the…

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On Inklings: an interview with Sarah Westcott

An Interview with Sarah Westcott

Sarah Westcott’s debut pamphlet Inklings feels deceptively flimsy – I love the way that it builds up minute observations to reach its epiphanies. ‘Who can argue with the woman / who saw Christ in a slice of Mother’s / Pride, his beard and aquiline nose / branded into the hot crust?’ Without wishing to blow the Poetry School’s trumpet,…

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Reading the South Americans

My father, early on, lit the touch-paper of South America for me by trying to make short work of my disappointment that Colonel P H Fawcett, who wrote Exploration Fawcett and then disappeared in the Mato Grosso in 1925 while looking for El Dorado, was not a direct relation. I even ended up glad he…

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Podcast: James Brookes reads from ‘Sins of the Leopard’

Last term, Poetry School tutor James Brookes co-headlined our Autumn launch party with this wintery tranche of poems from his debut collection, the Dylan Thomas Prize-nominated, Sins of the Leopard, which we are delighted to present to you now. James will also be teaching an Online Feedback Course for us this Spring, so if you…

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The Sound of the City

An Interview with John McCollough

Seasoned city-stroller, John McCullough, returns to the Poetry School with his new course, The Sound of the City, a cross-town train ride through the exciting sounds, juxtapositions and energy of modern urban life. With their dense, swarming zones of activity, cities have long provided powerful sources of poetic inspiration, giving form and impetus to many…

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Not the T S Eliot Prize: our best poetry books of 2013

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas tree in your front living room has already begun to embrown and turn weepy, when the first of the ‘Best Poetry Books of Year’ lists begin to trickle in. Far be it from us to snub such an important tradition. As hard as we tried to read…

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‘King Kong’

On my 8th birthday, just after the 1976 release of King Kong Aunt Sarah gave me a creature – a rubber toy the size of a two litre bottle of Coca-Cola, as fake as the story, all the stories she used to tell me about justice and democracy punishment and freedom the sins of men…

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Killer Serials: Sequences, Groups and Multi-part Poems

An Interview with Simon Barraclough

A man of many projects, Simon Barraclough is well placed to guide our students towards successful sequences in his new spring term course, Killer Serials: Sequences, Groups and Multi-part Poems. All three of his collections hinge on the strength of their sequences; my personal favourite is the series of heart poems in Neptune Blue (Salt,…

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The end of a residency

So it is now the end of my digital residency with the Poetry School and I am having trouble concluding. It was an exciting time for me to be involved, seeing CAMPUS grow in numbers, reading the fascinating blogposts by Julia Bird, Amy Key, Nia Davis, participating in the Live Q&A’s, pushing students of the…

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Xmas Test Post

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How I Did It: ‘As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent / you asked for the latest party’

This is the last poem that made it into my new book, just as the publishers and printers were calling time. It’s a definite Summer of 2013 snapshot. When I wrote it, all these things were in the air: the David Bowie Is exhibition at the V&A; BOWIEOKE (David Bowie karaoke) at The Betsy Trotwood,…

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How I Did It: ‘Violet-among-the-Harpsichord’

I was commissioned by Claire Trévien to write a new poem for her Penning Perfumes Christmas Special. In the Penning Perfumes projects you are sent a mystery perfume to write a poem about. Once you’ve completed the poem, the scent is revealed to you. The idea is that you are able to work with the…

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‘Levelling Song’

I am the new crow laureate of the empire state, perched on a cushion at the right hand of the governor, by his appointment, a bard-bird of sorts; diamonds sparkling in my claws, I wear a ruby crown, and sing a song so strong it rivals Niagara’s electrifying roar, saving millions for Albany; I sing…

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Maintenant! An interview with S J Fowler

An Interview with S J Fowler

Has any other poet thrown himself into curating and collaboratively creating contemporary poetry with the same enthusiasm as S J Fowler? Publishing five collections in three years is an achievement in itself, but there’s also something admirable about the way he draws other artists and poets into his creative orbit, whether that be by collaborating…

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‘People on the beach’

Before and also during this residency I was uncertain about the whole idea of ‘poetry of place’. I’m not sure, for instance, that a poem can ‘capture’ a locale, or relive a culture. Even if land changes fairly slowly, culture and language are changing all the time – they exist because of real human beings…

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Poetic tourism

When I first pitched the idea for this blog post I felt very strongly about the subject of poetic tourism (i.e against it), or at least I thought I did. Concretising my thoughts has made it unfortunately clear to me that this is not as clear cut a topic as I’d hoped, and it is…

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‘Feelings’

On the Shingle Street residency we talked a great deal about how to get into the mode of writing a poem – how to get into the right feeling. Amy said that one way she writes poetry is to place objects or images around her which give her particular feelings and she tries to bring…

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Special thanks to James Revill for making sure the whole Trip went ahead!

Mardy bum nah then bloomin’ ‘eck. What’s that when it’s at ooam. Eeh ah’ll gi’ thi summat to rooer abaht ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Eeh ee by gum what’s that when it’s at ooam gi’ o’er face like a slapped arse. Eeh appens as maybe. That’s champion ah’ll box thi ears ah’ll box…

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Shingle Street Residency interview with Amy Key

An Interview with Amy Key

Last month, out intrepid poets-in-residence, Amy Key and Nia Davies, were in Shingle Street on the Suffolk coast for a week of writing, homesteading and blogging. Thank you to Poetry School trustee Daphne Astor and her friend Tim Miller (owner of the Shingle Street cottage) for offering this residency opportunity. Amy and Nia were kind enough…

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The Poetry School / Pighog Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2013-14

Following the success of last year’s competition, we are delighted to present the second Poetry School / Pighog Poetry Pamphlet Competition. First Prize: Publication by Pighog Press and 40 copies of the pamphlet 4 Runners up: a free place on a Poetry School activity Judges: Simon Barraclough and Catherine Smith Closing date for initial entries:…

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Penned in the Margins Quadruple Launch

Before I had a wider understanding of poetry publishing houses in the UK, Penned in the Margins was my portal into the small press poetry world. Now that my tunnel vision has widened somewhat, I’m still consistently surprised and intrigued by their catalogue, so it was a pleasure to be introduced to their latest books in…

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Best Friends Forever: call for submissions

Best Friends Forever (BFF) is a new anthology of poems on female friendship edited by Amy Key, to be published by The Emma Press. This new anthology aims to reflect the scale of intensity within female friendships – the intimate and the casual, the life sustaining and the life changing, as well as the tensions…

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Poems on the Hebrew Bible

An Interview with

Eve Grubin’s new one-day workshop – Poems on the Hebrew Bible – draws attention to one of the most influential books of all time, by way of Milton, Keats, Robert Frost, Sharon Olds, and countless other poets it has inspired. With the use of translations, Eve will be peering under the mantle of this classic holy…

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The 100 poems challenge

What is it about being a poet that makes challenges so attractive? Many questioned my sanity when, inspired by Tim Clare, I decided to take part in a challenge to write 100 poems in a day. Tim Clare is a dab hand at this, having participated in the challenge for the last five years. In the…

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Open Workshop with Richie McCaffery: ‘Treasuring the priceless pearl’

We’re delighted to have Richie McCaffery, one of our Aldeburgh highlights, teaching the next of our Open Workshops series: ‘Treasuring the priceless pearl’ or ‘not your dear last master’? : Using inheritances and heirlooms to form poems For this assignment, you will explore the ‘inner eloquence’ of the items we inherit, using heirlooms and objects…

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