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Free Workshop with Irit Sela

Irit Sela offers a systematic reading method that lets the text itself reveal how it works, how it can come to life, bringing us face to face with the true meaning of each word and how those words fit the ‘score’ of the piece. By looking at the text from different angles and practicing each…

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Review: ‘Seasonal Disturbances’ by Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen McCarthy Woolf’s 2013 debut collection An Aviary of Small Birds is a book that has stayed with me for a long, long time. The poems revolve around stillbirth of her son, and manage to capture the furthest corners of grief, anger and heartbreak with an exact but also almost unsentimental pitch that continues to…

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“I’ve been told not to say ‘puppy’ or ‘rainbow’ and not to shout ‘fire'”: Eric Berlin’s Stand-Up Poetry Studio

Our online programme producer, Will Barrett, talks comedy & poetry with National Poetry Competition winner Eric Berlin ahead of his Autumn online course, Stand-Up Poetry Studio.  Hi Eric – it’s open mic night at the Goofy Moose. What’s your opening joke? Eric: Well, I think most people actually hate jokes. Being told a bunch of jokes…

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Interview with the Primers Vol. 2 Winners: Cynthia Miller, Marvin Thompson and Ben Bransfield

With the deadline for  Primers Volume Three, our mentoring, editing and publication scheme, just around the corner, we thought we’d catch up with last year’s Primers  poets, Marvin Thompson, Ben Bransfield and Cynthia Miller, to find out about their experience on the scheme. You can buy their book, Primers Volume Two  here! To apply for Primers Volume Three,…

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The Poetry School Summer Sale!

Welcome to The Poetry School Summer Sale! Celebrate the bank holiday weekend with 25% off selected courses in London, Bristol, Manchester and online. Just use code SUMMER at the checkout stage online to receive your discount. The offer ends on 8th September, so hurry! Online Signifying nothing? (Or, how to say diddly squat and not learn anything…

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How I Did It: Forward First Collection Special – Maria Apichella on ‘Psalmody’

As is Poetry School tradition, we’ve asked the five poets shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection to write about the process behind their award-nominated work. Over the weeks leading up to the award ceremony on 21st September, look out for ‘How I Did It’ articles from Nick Makoha, Richard Georges, Eric…

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‘In which Piers the Plowman appears to the Dreamer’

In a somur Saturday, wery of swonken ful harde, Y lay in a meadow, swollen river rushing past, fair folk werkynge in feld afar, flokkes belles tolling al the losses of the world. And a black humour gripped me. River, quod Y, from what hidden source springe yow? Fair folk, wherefore toil yow to harvest…

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Reflecting on a Poetry Residency – Fair Field

  I drift between rehearsals staging a peasant’s revolt, watching the actors transform into Money, Holy Church, False, The Pie Seller, and a man running through a dream trying to save the world. I dive head first into Langland’s politically rife, distinctly religious, world. I think about the many problems of today, contemplate the inevitable…

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‘Grenfell’

The average salary in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is £123,000, the highest in the country. The median salary is £32,700. You are burning £50 notes and swigging champagne. No other area in the country has a larger disparity between median and mean incomes, suggesting a large gap between rich and poor. You are…

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‘Henry Harclay’s Ordinary Questions’

It was known that Alexander had fixed gates across the chasm east of the Caspian sea that enclosed those almost people who performed abominations: foetus-eaters, dog-men and the rest. And it was known if even one got through those gates (made by the welding of two mountains) it would be a signal of end times…

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Poetry in Aldeburgh 2017 Line-Up Announced

We’re delighted to announce the line-up for Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival 2017, co-curated by The Poetry School. As Headline Partners for the festival, The Poetry School are offering  an exciting and diverse line-up of workshops, talks and readings alongside Poetry in Aldeburgh’s main programme of events. The festival features headline readings from Cholmondeley Award winners Bernard O’Donoghue and Lavinia…

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How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award Special – Daisy Lafarge on ‘understudies for air’

Welcome to the final instalment of our Eric Gregory Award 2017 ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the winners of this year’s awards to explain the process their award-winning poems. Last up is Daisy Lafarge talking about her pamphlet, understudies for air – published August 2017. The Eric Gregory Awards 2018 will open for…

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How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award Special – Rachael Allen on ‘Many Bird Roast’

Welcome to this ‘How I Did It’ series featuring the winners of the Eric Gregory Award 2017. We’ve asked each excellent young poet to explain the process behind their award-winning writing. Here, Rachael Allen talks about one of the recurring themes in her work. The Eric Gregory Awards 2018 will be open for entries in…

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How I Did It: Eric Gregory Award Special – Mark Pajak on ‘Spitting Distance’

Welcome to the second instalment of our Eric Gregory Award 2017 ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the winners of this year’s awards to explain the process their award-winning poems. Here, Mark Pajak talks about the hard work that went into his pamphlet, Spitting Distance. The Eric Gregory Awards 2018 will open for entries…

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How I Did It – Eric Gregory Award Special: Richard O’Brien on ‘4 Rue Sarrazin’

Welcome to the first instalment of our Eric Gregory Award 2017 ‘How I Did It’ series. We asked the winners of this year’s awards to explain the process behind one of their award-winning poems. First up, Richard O’Brien writes about ‘4 Rue Sarrazin’. The Eric Gregory Awards 2018 will open for entries in September.   …

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‘Pretty Fish’

The bad sister is lured by gelatinous scales – she slops the good sister’s carp into a pail, but the August sun warms the water, turns it stale. . The bad sister gathers the withered bits: a pelvic fin, a vertebral segment, the delicate inner skin, displays them on her vanity: their bones gleam like…

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Pamphlet / Portfolio: An Interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith

We sat down with Geoffrey Dearmer Prize-winner Wayne Holloway-Smith ahead of his new Pamphlet / Portfolio three-term course, designed to help guide your work to publication.   Hi Wayne. You’re running a course for us called Pamphlet / Portfolio. Could you tell us a little bit about that? I’m particularly interested at the moment in the conversation…

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Review: ‘Kingdom of Gravity’ by Nick Makoha

Kingdom of Gravity is a powerful debut and deserves a wide readership. Nick Makoha’s reflections on Idi Amin’s brutal rule in Uganda and the equally atrocious civil war that ousted him, which indirectly answer reoccurring atrocities in Syria and the Middle East, are the work of a hugely talented poet, capable of great formal finesse…

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‘An Erotic Novel Was My Bible’

I consulted it for details on how to handle pain, learned to wear skirts, to shave my skin as surgeons do before pressing their scalpels in. Thus I was a doctor salving wounds, though I used lotions, perfumes that bore the scent of roses. Less and less did I note the world for I heard…

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To Be Continued… A Life in Sequences

I’ve written about place for as long as I’ve written poems. It fascinates me. For several years I struggled every which way I can think of to try and put into poetry the plural layers of reality, history, lived experience, interpretations and personal myth that we experience in the places we know well. Often, trying…

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‘Where Light Lives’

the revolving doors have slowed down long enough for the dark side to be revisited. I learn to find a glimmer in a house where barns are filled with grain pantries with preserves where rooms release their scent of wellknown words while wanderlust grows from all the windows I learn to write.

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‘Alyson dreams’

After it was over, a speckled bird hatched between my breasts; spread its bloodwet wings on the bed; brushed my bare thighs . . . Sweat siezed my pores. Cottonsoft, the dark purred clawdeep in me. I lay with ivies vining around my head, tiger lily tales in my ears, fingers needling air like lace….

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‘Nine Herbs’

The postman left the first bundle by the gate in your fourth month – red crepe, bound in rope. Inside, a sheaf of rue. Witchbane. When the old landlady came, she helped you pin it above the front door, told you of the local custom. Remarked on its salves: hysteria, a cramping womb. The sickness…

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Review: ‘FIELD’ by Harriet Tarlo

The central premise in these 60 pages of spare, open verse is that a single field is important – culturally, historically, environmentally, poetically – and what is exciting about this collection is how Tarlo brings the reader into relationship both with a field and with the concept of field. During a regular train journey, Tarlo…

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‘Sugar Envy’

I could lick the back bench of austerity, if that would be useful, if that would be something someone wanted somewhere, or I could go day tripping in a house of mould and sin and meet Envy there, and hear about his inability to congratulate mortgages, promotions, mortgages, promotions, awards, mortgages, “I am happy for…

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