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Fair Field Poet In Residence Call Out

Fair Field Poet In Residence a collaboration between the Poetry School and Penned in the Margins Written almost 650 years ago by William Langland, Piers Plowman enters the mind of a wanderer, Will, as he falls asleep in the Malvern Hills, dreams of a ‘fair field full of folk’ and embarks on a quest to…

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‘To the Fates’

after Kathleen Jamie and Friedrich Hölderlin in your weaving grant me sight just once of it skimming the slow-flowing river lightning-blue mantle nape to tail in your weaving grant me sight just once of it poised above the slow-flowing river copper feathers belly to breast in your weaving grant me sight just once vertebrae leaning…

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Tales of the Globe: Interview with Karen Whiteson

Your upcoming course for us is called Tales of the Globe, could you tell us a little bit about it? It is a 5 week course which will be stretched to bursting point in an attempt to contain its material. The main intention is to map some of the connections and differences between that body…

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#Afterhours: An Interview with Inua Ellams

An Interview with Inua Ellams

‘I think, arguably, all poems are response poems and attempts by the poet to find or claim personal space in any given topic.’

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Ransacking the Museum: Interview with John McCullough

Hi John, your new course with us is called Ransacking the Museum. Could you tell us a bit about it? I can indeed! The course is in two parts. The first day involves everyone thinking together about museums and looking at a number of poems inspired by artefacts. This is followed by a rather exciting…

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Review: ‘Long Pass’ by Joey Connolly

W.H. Auden said he would always ask two questions of new writing: firstly, “how does it work?” and secondly – “what kind of a guy [or woman or non-cis person] inhabits this poem?” These are questions which cut to the heart of what Joey Connolly does (and does so well) in his first collection, being…

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Review: ‘Complicity’ by Tom Sastry

This promising pamphlet showcases a fresh and original voice exploring the self as proud outsider challenged by family, relationships and the world but refusing to compromise. The poet’s biography tells us ‘he thinks that not belonging is more interesting than belonging’ and this is certainly borne out in the poems. It’s a daring feat indeed…

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Review: ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’ by Roy McFarlane

There’s a quality about Roy McFarlane’s Beginning With Your Last Breath (Nine Arches Press) that makes me want to step away from academic language when describing it, and instead focus on the thoughts and feelings that come to mind. That is not to say that there is little here to talk about – McFarlane’s command…

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NaPoWriMo 2017

April is National Poetry Writing Month and in celebration we have devised a project to get you writing every day. We will be supplying a fresh writing prompt, and an example poem to get you in the right frame of mind, every morning over the whole of April. All you have to do is join the…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Salena Godden on ‘LIVEwire’

In the fifth instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Salena Godden explains the creative process behind ‘Can’t Be Bovvered’‘ from her shortlisted work LIVEwire. ‘LIVEwire‘ marks Salena Godden’s first album in nearly a decade, and is a compilation of live and studio recordings, archives and brand new work. It features live material from…

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Review: ‘Santiago’ by Cheryl Follon

Prose poems have been in season for a while now, but Cheryl Follon’s Santiago (Bloodaxe) has the potential to sweep away fatigue. The collection, Follon’s third, is entirely made up of brief prose pieces; the results are engaging and, frequently, very funny. Prose poetry is not without its pitfalls. For the writer, the risk of falling…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Caroline Smith on The Immigration Handbook

In the fourth instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Caroline Smith explains the creative process behind ‘The Scarlet Lizard’ from her shortlisted work The Immigration Handbook. Caroline Smith’s The Immigration Handbook is the fruit of her career as an Immigration Caseworker for one of the most diverse inner-city areas in London. Immigrants’ dramatic emotions,…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Jay Bernard on ‘The Red and Yellow Nothing’

In the next instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Jay Bernard explains the many inspirations behind their shortlisted pamphlet, The Red and Yellow Nothing, published by Ink, Sweat & Tears Press.  The Red and Yellow Nothing is written as a prequel to the Arthurian tale of Sir Morien – a young knight described as…

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Review: ‘Incarnation’ by Clare Pollard

In this, her fifth collection, Clare Pollard engages with how we navigate our ethical way through the modern world, with its treacherous wonders. The poems in Incarnation (Bloodaxe) explore contemporary crises and question whether it is possible to transmit understanding and compassion effectively to others, particularly the young. Incarnations – of self-hood, motherhood, and ‘other’…

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‘The Zoo of the New: Writing Childhood and Family’

Would you be a child again? For all its wonder, innocence, joy and freedom, childhood can also be full of insecurity, confusion and darkness. After all, it is a land of extremes where every feeling, no matter how transitory, is worn on the face. Children cannot help expressing their authentic selves, regardless of the situation….

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Actor and spectator: poetry, film, and the paradox of viewing

The history of film could almost be divided into two obsessions: one with narrative and storytelling, the other with experimentation. My upcoming online course, Frame, Shot, Scene, Sequence: Powering Poetry Through Film, will explore how both modes can offer a vast array of opportunities to poets. Since the emergence of film in the late 19th…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Will Eaves on ‘The Inevitable Gift Shop’

In the second instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Will Eaves explains the creative process behind ‘The Lord Is Listenin’ To Ya, Hallelujah’ from his shortlisted work The Inevitable Gift Shop. A memoir by other means, The Inevitable Gift Shop lassoes consciousness, memory, desire, literature, illness, flora and fauna, problems with tortoises…

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How I Did It – Ted Hughes Award: Harry Man on ‘Finders Keepers’

In this first instalment of our Ted Hughes Award ‘How I Did It’ series, Harry Man explains the creative process behind his shortlisted work, Finders Keepers, created in collaboration with illustrator Sophie Gainsley.  Finders Keepers is a collaboration between poet Harry Man and artist and illustrator Sophie Gainsley that examines Britain’s vanishing wildlife. Poems from the project…

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20% Off PBS Membership For Poetry School Students

We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with the Poetry Book Society, offering all students who book a Summer 2017  course with The Poetry School 20%  off all categories of PBS membership: charter, associate and full. Set up by T S Eliot and friends in 1953 ‘to propagate the art of poetry’, the Poetry Book…

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‘This is not the island I was expecting’

I learned to swim, but never mastered breathing underwater. Pebbles, the twirly insides of worn-down shells, bubbles of lugworms I could squidge and pat. Anything the sea brought me, that I didn’t have to dive for, I was grateful. Now the sea brings other things to my attention: a tide of children; puddles of stickiness…

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Review – ‘Landlocked: New and Selected Poems from Zimbabwe’ by John Eppel

Many of the poems in Landlocked  (smith|doorstop) act like an individual’s ‘truth and reconciliation’ commission applied to Zimbabwean people, politics and a natural landscape playing the reluctant stage to violence and bloodshed. The poet’s job in Landlocked is the bring up the bodies to the surface. Landlocked is my first encounter with the poems of the…

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‘Number 90’

The skip’s hungry mouth swallowed my childhood. I fed it my record player, mattress, black and white TV, teddy bear that had soaked up girlish tears. As we left, all the years ran up the stairs, gathered in the empty rooms to wring their hands. Silence evicted music and voices, reclaimed the unfaded spaces where…

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Announcing the Mixed Borders 2017 Poets

StAnza’s been and gone, the Ted Hughes Award announcements are on their way — but there’s a gap in the Spring poetry calendar that The Poetry School is still to fill. It’s time for this year’s Mixed Borders. Mixed Borders is a regular collaboration between the Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust. We…

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Review: ‘Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament’ by Geraldine Clarkson

Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament (smith|doorstop) is a vigorous yes, confidently-voiced – at times puzzling, at times transporting – appealingly original. To read it is to enter a world made strange and lush with linguistic variety, audacity and delight. The cover image – of underwater seaweed which I begin to suspect is looking at me…

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‘I sing the praises of a fart’: On Keeping Our Wits

More than ever, we need to keep our wits about us. If our shared reality seems increasingly topsy turvy, our need for wit – as a way of seriously and playfully experimenting with language and digesting diverse experiences – must be at its greatest. It’s a subject we’ll be exploring closely on my upcoming online course, Keeping…

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