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LETZ MEDDLE ENGLISH: Speaking with Accents & Meddling in English

Each time I walk to the station in my district of Greater Copenhagen, I see LETZ SUSHI in bold white font on the black rectangle screwed to the brick wall. And each time I smile, though I must have seen this sign hundreds of times (I moved to Denmark in 2009). I’m never tired of…

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Review: ‘All Fours’ by Nia Davies

Nia Davies first full collection is ‘salty-lipped,’ kinky and enigmatic. A fusion between the avant-garde and the more accessible lyric, it is a mix of contradictions: open and oblique, filthy and tender, skittish and measured, British and international, serious and, this is what surprised me most, silly. All Fours glitters with knowing and surreal humour…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Richard Scott interviews Rishi Dastidar

In this second instalment of our Summer School mini-series, Richard Scott’s questions are answered by Rishi Dastidar, tutor of our upcoming course ‘The Minimum Viable Poem‘. Richard: Tell me about a piece of visual art which you love and that might inspire or has inspired a poem . . .  Rishi: Mondrian’s ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’, for…

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Review: ‘Clowning’ by Roxy Dunn

In many of Roxy Dunn’s Clowning poems, we encounter an acutely self-conscious speaker who is struggling to occupy an uncertain space between the safety and familiarity of childhood, and the expectations associated with adulthood that are out of reach. In ‘5AM’ – an aptly liminal time between night and day – the speaker unexpectedly wakes:…

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Review: ‘A Swansea Love Song’ by Stephen Knight

In A Swansea Love Song, Stephen Knight continues his project of seeking to capture on the page, through phonetic spelling, the realities of a spoken Swansea voice, which he began twenty years ago in The Sandfields Baudelaire. The central difference between that pamphlet and this is the step away from dramatic monologue towards a more…

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The Long View, Arnside

The tide was in then out again. So fast it was bewildering: fishing boats flew like leaves, flimsy, unsubstantial, in the streaming gale. The piers grew tall, dripping black weed, the sandbanks breathed and expanded their honeycomb flanks, then, whalelike, plunged again. The vapour they exuded could easily have been children paddling, crouching, digging, growing…

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Summer School Mini-Interview Chain: Jane Yeh interviews Richard Scott

Ahead of our Summer School at the end of July, we asked the participating tutors to take part in an interview chain. Each tutor asks three questions, and in turn is asked three questions by another tutor. None of the tutors had any idea who they were interviewing, or who was interviewing them. In this…

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Review: ‘Scare Stories’ by David Clarke

Causality and chaos. These could be our governing gods at present. They are certainly the governing gods in David Clarke’s Scare Stories – a 25 poem sequence in the third person plural set in ‘possible near futures or versions of the present’. The poems cover horribly recognisable ground: consumerism, refugee crises, despot generals, video-game violence,…

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Primers Volume 3: A Mentoring and Publication scheme – Now Open for Entries

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press are delighted to announce the arrival of Primers 3, the third year of our scheme which creates a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion. The scheme will select three poets whose work will feature together in…

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Review: ‘All the Prayers in the House’ by Miriam Nash

All the Prayers in the House opens with a short and incantatory poem called ‘Vesper’ that shrouds the collection in mystery before it has even really begun. In its broadest sense, it means ‘evening’, but it could also apply to the candlelit evening prayers of the Presbyterian Church. This in itself conjures up the predominant faith…

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‘Drawing Poetry’: An Experimental Residency – Call for Applications!

‘Drawing Poetry’: An Experimental Residency with The Poetry School and the Centre for Recent Drawing. The Poetry School and the Centre for Recent Drawing are seeking applicants for a new experimental research and practice residency. The residency aims to explore the intersection and cross-pollination of poetry and drawing, and provide an opportunity for creative research,…

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Autumn 2017: Course Quick Guide

Autumn Term 2017 is now open for booking! The opening of this new academic year marks the beginning of our 20th anniversary year: a year in which we’ll be celebrating two decades of making poetry happen with exciting events, our festival partnership with Poetry in Aldeburgh, and, of course, brilliant courses, workshops, tutorials and opportunities to…

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Your National Writing Day ‘One-Breath Poems’

For National Writing Day last week, we asked people to write ‘One-Breath Poems‘ – fastpaced, free-flowing poems to be read on one lungful of air – and the response has been fantastic! Following on from the sterling efforts of the children at Chew Valley Primary School, the students of Rugby High School, and their teacher Olga…

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‘The Same Again’

The pub is lazy wallpaper, psychedelic carpet, the same as yesterday. I sink to the bar, forget what to order while the Friday night dehydrated potted plants wait with sucked teeth, and I want nothing more than to eat all the crisps or marinate in a warm pint of ale and lick my failed ambition…

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National Writing Day: Poetry School Creative Director Julia Bird On Making a Living as a Poet

Last week, I was on leave from The Poetry School. I work here for three days a week, but the other 40% of my working life is filled with freelance projects. Of those freelance projects, most are run through my own company, Jaybird Live Literature, which specialises in putting poets on stage in – to…

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National Writing Day: Publisher Emma Wright on Setting Up a Small Press

When I started the Emma Press in 2012, I knew very little about small presses or poetry publishing. I came from a background of tech blogging and major trade publishing, which I’d stumbled into after completing a Classics degree, and my Prince’s Trust business mentor was in the electronics industry. Additionally, my initial idea was…

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National Writing Day: Anthony Anaxagorou on Working as a Poet

As any poet will confess, forging a career in poetry is an extremely long and precarious process. One that involves not only having to constantly work on the craft of writing, but also to be commercially intelligent enough to accept that today poetry tends to need more than just poetry to sell. My journey is…

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How I Did It – Primers Volume Two: Marvin Thompson on ‘What are your thoughts on comedians using the N word?’

What are your thoughts on comedians using the N word? from ‘An Interview with Comedy Genius Olivier Welsh’ There’s a documentary with only nine views that explains how the N-word spawned from a need to dehumanise people of a dark hue so cotton profits would feel less like greed or sin. The word’s history is…

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New Definitions and Neologisms: Interview with Kate Potts

Ahead of her summer one-day workshop on The Poetry of Dictionaries, we caught up with Kate Potts to find out what students can expect. JT: Hi Kate. Thanks for answering a few questions for us! So New Definitions and Neologisms: The Poetry of Dictionaries – it’s quite a workshop title! Can you tell us a little more…

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Review: ‘Useful Verses’ by Richard Osmond

I’m delighted to be able to begin this book review with the following sentence: Absolutely central to the emotional, conceptual and aesthetic positions of Richard Osmond’s Useful Verses (Picador) is the figure of the mushroom. That might seem hard to believe, but it’s testament to Osmond’s strength as a writer that he’s capable, in the…

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Review: ‘Louder than Hearts’ by Zeina Hashem Beck

In this emotionally charged, overtly political collection, the Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck writes her way through pain and passion, through history and politics, through bombings and journeys and injustice, through personal and political tales of family, parenthood, love, destruction, and loss. Hashem Beck writes with great dignity, verve and directness, never shying from difficult…

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The Long View, Arnside

The tide was in then out again. So fast it was bewildering: fishing boats flew like leaves, flimsy, unsubstantial, in the streaming gale. The piers grew tall, dripping black weed, the sandbanks breathed and expanded their honeycomb flanks, then, whalelike, plunged again. The vapour they exuded could easily have been children paddling, crouching, digging, growing…

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‘The Last Sight of Her’

Mouthing sleep in a window of adverts Truth finds herself advertised, with the same calligraphy as exploitative news. I am broken, Truth says, Can’t hold my head up can’t shake the dread settling in the eyes of Truth – cementing-empty-nothing. Truth can’t get out of bed, Truth had a heavy night, Truth makes boiled eggs…

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Review: ‘Dragonish’ by Emma Simon

Emma Simon’s debut pamphlet Dragonish (The Emma Press) introduces a poet who is adept at finding the extraordinary in the everyday and the everyday in the extraordinary. Dragonish really whets the appetite for the full debut collection that will no doubt be warmly greeted in a few years. These accessible, entertaining, often moving poems sometimes…

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‘The One-Breath Poem’: National Writing Day Activity for Parents, Teachers and Children

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, young person or adult writer, celebrate National Writing Day with our ‘One-Breath Poem’ resource. It’s perfect for a classroom activity or spare 15 minutes with a pen and paper, and it’s a fantastic way into the wide wonderful world of poetry. Download it here: One-Breath-Poem-The-Poetry-School Stuck for inspiration? Why not have…

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