Blog

All of our Blog Posts

‘The Cutter’

Anyone bold enough can find the booth in Ho Ping Lane, twin shutters opened out like wings heart strung with keys and locks of every kind, tinkling promises in the sultry wind. Deep inside the master cutter squats, squints as he selects a blank to suit your purpose. He spins his wheel, its sharp teeth…

Read More

The Long Read: Reflections on a Poetry in Aldeburgh Residency

In Autumn 2016 we advertised for applications for Poet in Residence at the inaugural Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival. Ben Rogers was subsequently put into position and undertook a month full of research, interviews, writing prompts and poems. We asked him to provide his reflections on this mammoth task in the hope it might prove useful to…

Read More

‘Briony Grist: Let’s be clear about the challenges we face with ermits.’

First and foremost, we should be concerned about ermits obtaining cilicious books – underperforming mystics must improve or they will merit cryogenic sealing – no one benefits from hirsute heresies. Look, until such day as they can safely be released into runnels, their otherness and thick fur folios must be cauterised, curried, and caked in…

Read More

Melting identities: does it matter where you are from?

There is no doubt about it: the world is changing, and changing quickly. As people travel from one place to another to work or live, they create increasingly multicultural communities where different ideas, customs and languages interact, combine and clash. In London, for example, the streets are filled with the cadences of different dialects as people…

Read More

‘To the wild boar swimming in Victoria Harbour’

My call to you the outlaw who got your way to play in our water, in front of so many eyes, without paying taxes or having sweated your butt off for a job, The rogue who tusked down rules of traffic, burst through fences, skirted CCTV and mobile snapshots just to cool the bites of…

Read More

Poetry School Announced as Headline Partner for Poetry in Aldeburgh

As guests at last year’s inaugural Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival, the Poetry School hosted residencies, readings and competitions. Ben Rogers, who was our Festival Poet in Residence, describes his highlights here. We are very pleased to announce that we’ll be back for the 2017 Festival  – this time as Headline partners. Make a diary note…

Read More

‘Me, Myself and (Not) I’: An Interview with Saradha Soobrayen

Ahead of her Spring Term course ‘Me, Myself and (Not) I‘, we caught up with poet Saradha Soobrayen. AL: Hi Saradha. Your new course with us is called ‘Me, Myself and (Not) I’. Could you tell us what prompted the ideas for the course? SS: Last year I was working on the Poetry Library’s Open…

Read More

Mixed Borders: Poet in Residence Training – Apply Now!

Lover of flowers and/or vegetables? Want some poet-in-residence training? Read on, we have an opportunity for you! For the last two years, the Poetry School and London Parks and Gardens Trust have teamed up for a poet-in-residence training scheme centred on London’s Gardens. We call the scheme ‘Mixed Borders’. “I felt like the training greatly…

Read More

Pattern is not an algorithm: on poetry and pattern

Pattern in poetry is not just an algorithm at work, i.e., ‘the poem that writes itself’. In fact, it might be said that anything that writes itself, whether it be a moral code, a way of handling people, an approach of giving a percentage of income to charity, is bound for trouble. We live in…

Read More

To Sea in a Sieve: The Joy of Writing Children’s Poetry

Whenever I talk about children’s poetry, I end up using the word ‘joy’. Multiple times. Sometimes I throw in a ‘delight’ or two as well. I’ll do that here, too, because it’s the key point I want to get across: it is a total joy to read, write and perform children’s poetry, and one I…

Read More

Review: ‘The Met Office Advises Caution’ by Rebecca Watts

Reading Rebecca Watts’ first collection, I’m reminded of a phrase by D. M. Black who, talking about the Scottish poet Robert Garioch, advised readers to be careful in approaching his work, because beneath the quiet exterior ‘passions burn’. The same can be said of Watts’ initially disarming and unassuming poems that soon give way to…

Read More

The Poetry School Books of the Year 2016

Although not, by popular consensus, a brilliant year generally, 2016 has been a good year for poetry: sales of poetry books topped £10m for the first time, a poet – Warsan Shire – featured on Beyonce’s latest album, Penguin reopened its poetry list, and, for the second year in a row, the Forward Prizes were…

Read More

Give It To ‘Em Straight: An Interview with Alex MacDonald

Alex MacDonald, Eric Gregory Award-winning poet and co-editor at poetry journal Poems in Which, will be running our Spring 2017 course Give It To ‘Em Straight. We caught up with him for a short chat about the course, and what he’s up to at the moment. Your upcoming course with us is called ‘Give It To ‘Em…

Read More

New North Poets Mentoring Scheme Open for Entries

This year, we are delighted to once again be partnering with New Writing North to offer mentoring and professional development to five new poets through the New North Poets Mentoring Scheme. Working closely with lead tutor Clare Pollard, participants will receive a year-long mentoring programme focussing on both the craft of writing and the professional skills…

Read More

Review: ‘The Fetch’ by Gregory Leadbetter

How do the dead function in poems? In Gregory Leadbetter’s quietly stunning debut The Fetch, the dead appear as echoes in the form of many ‘fetches’ – the apparition or double of a living person, usually an omen for impending death  – that quietly haunt throughout. The collection’s title poem begins suitably with noises in…

Read More

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…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

‘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  –…

Read More

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.    

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

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 –…

Read More

‘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…

Read More