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‘Their letters’

 1st May 1610 Her letter is pressed from flour-damp breast to Judas-hand Joanna, hides in spinster folds to pass the Hall, makes its way first to lips then nose, Peter eager for the hard-worked scent of her, his Rose with lush, wide petals and soft sticky buds, last pinched and tipped on Hollyn Hill St…

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Open Workshop: ‘The List Cause’ with Beverley Nadin

When does your shopping list become a poem? Is there hidden poetry in your New Year to-do’s? Find out on our latest Open Workshop with Beverley Nadin. The structure of the list can build a cumulative atmosphere, narrative or scene. Train stations, molars, fallen men… Sequential or random, protracted or efficient, informative or plain indulgent,…

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Where It Begins: an interview with Nii Ayikwei Parkes

An Interview with Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Where does a poem begin? How does a poem not exist and then suddenly, miraculously flare into life? This Summer, poet, novelist and editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes will be unpacking what it means to think like a poet. In his new online course, Where It Begins – a course for new poets, Nii will be…

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On teaching, writing and saying goodbye

Several of my posts for this residency have mentioned my former teachers. Now a teacher myself, I sometimes repeat or repackage their advice. If you have been in any of my classes, my teachers have effectively been your teachers too. A teacher who was particularly special to me was Roger Erickson. A celebrated English teacher,…

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Thank You, Internet

Thank you so much, everyone out there on the CAMPUS! I’ve really enjoyed being the other half of your poet-in-residence. I was thrilled to be partnered with Kathryn, and I’ve heard rumors that you may hear a bit more from us in the new year, but this post officially marks my farewell. It seems a…

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Poetry and Multimedia II

In this installment of interviews with poets and performers who have combined poetry with other media we hear from actor Robert Bathurst, who is staging and starring in a double-bill of Christopher Reid’s A Scattering and The Song of Lunch at the Chichester Festival; Jacqueline Saphra, poet and poetry school tutor whose book If I…

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New Definitions and Neologisms: the Poetry of Dictionaries

Retiring to the canopy of the bedroom, turning on the bedside light, taking the big dictionary to bed, clutching the unabridged bulk, heavy with the weight of all the meanings between these covers, smoothing the thin sheets, thick with accented syllables—all are exercises in the conscious regimen of dreamers, who toss words on their tongues…

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Our poetry gigs of 2014

As an extra stocking filler to go alongside our ‘books of 2014’ blog yesterday, we present our favourite poetry gigs of the year. After all, not all poetry is best experienced on the page…   KEY OD = Ollie Dawson / JBrd = Julia Bird / WB = Will Barrett / JBdn = Jo Brandon   Chris McCabe‘s…

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Re: Drafts – ‘What really happens on a Rialto editing day’

Holly Hopkins and I, your editorial developees, have been asked to shed some light upon what we actually get up to when attending an editorial meeting of The Rialto. Herewith, a joint diary of a recent trip to Norwich, where selection of some poems took place. NB: Unless otherwise stated, it can be assumed that…

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Not the T S Eliots: our poetry books of 2014

Looking back over 2014, it’s not just the weather that’s been unexpectedly fine – it’s been a vintage year for poetry. Once again, we present our annual round-up of our favourite poetry books. Last year, we only managed to notch up 15 recommendations; this year we have hand-foraged a whopping 23 poetic pabulums for you….

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‘Marie Curie’s radium’

Don’t think you can leave me at the lab, locked in, safely far from your flat. Don’t think you can leave me in that rickety shed you stole from anatomists when even they didn’t want it. You shut me in with the white ghosts of skulls that are more space than matter. But I don’t…

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Re: Drafts – ‘The Fall of the Wall of Hill’

The assistant editorship of The Rialto is helping me let poems take over my flat. I recently finished teaching a reading group for The Poetry School so my Wall Of Hill (entirety of Mercian Hymns photocopied and arranged on my bedroom wall so I could scribble notes) has come down. Things might have felt a…

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Pub Chat: Eyewear

An Interview with Eyewear Publishing

In the latest in this series of feature-length interviews with independent publishers, set in our imaginary poetry theatre pub somewhere in Lambeth, we spoke to Todd Swift, the founder of Eyewear Publishing… Hello there, Todd! What are you drinking? Todd: London Pride. How long has Eyewear Publishing been running? Todd: Three years and one month, this December 2014. What were…

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YOU, The Movie – Horror, Western, Romance, Noir and Disaster Poetry

How many films have you watched? Ten? A hundred? I imagine the figure is likely to be in the thousands. All those Sunday afternoon matinees, those trips to the cinema, the Shakespeare remakes shown in class, the teatime classics, the 10pm premieres, and the hours spent on Netflix binges certainly add up. I bet you…

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Where The Heart Is: Notes From A Residency with Age Concern

Being a poet in residence is normally a really fun gig. Be it a virtual or physical residency, you usually find yourself in an interesting and unfamiliar environment. You’re given protected time to write; you get to meet new people; you might get to see inside an institution or organisation that is normally closed to…

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How I Did It: ‘Sow’

Like many of the poems in Black Country, it took a long time for ‘Sow’ to travel from its first notes to its final form.  It began as a scribbled note in my diary in May 2010. I was walking along Highgate Tube platform in a new pair of black boots and, hearing them trip-trapping,…

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Re-writing the Map

Maps, like poems, can mean different things to different people. If I were to draw a map of my neighbourhood I might include completely different things to my neighbours, or the lady in the flat upstairs. I would be sure to include the homes of the friendlier local cats, the house with the boarded-up windows,…

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Queer Poetics for Non-Queers (or On Exclusivity in Identity Politics)

Queer Poetics II In my last post about queer poetics, I said, “In celebrating queer poets, I don’t think that straight poets should feel that I’m not talking to them”—but I’m not sure that I did a sufficient job of explaining what the value of “minority” poetics might be. Indeed, a wise reader called me…

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Open Workshop: ‘Crimes and Misdemeanours’

Think of all the rules you’ve heard in poetry workshops: Show don’t tell. Be more concise. Restrain your use of adverbs and adjectives. On this Open Workshop with Kathryn Maris, you’ll be ripping up the workshop rulebook with a roguish disregard for good taste and ‘respectable’ writing. With the help of a step-by-step assignment devised by…

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‘Object Waiting’

    COMMENT Natasha Flaw (aka Natalie Shaw) features in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog and Prole, amongst others. She can also be found at http://natalieshawpoems.wordpress.com. ‘Object Waiting’ was written in response to Richard Osmond’s Open Workshop ‘Written in Juice of Lemon’, where students were challenged to write a poem designed to be published, broadcast…

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Open Workshop: ‘Mosaics from the Broken Mirror – Writing and Revising the Ghazal’

The ghazal makes unique rhetorical demands on the Western writer. In our latest Open Workshop, Jason Schneiderman will be getting you to think through your ghazals and to explore the multiple ways to revise these modular poems. Do you enjoy finding a hand-crafted wooden puzzle in your Christmas stocking more than a satsuma? Prefer origami…

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Poetry & Multimedia I

A recent trend in UK poetry is what I might call ‘multimedia projects’ or ‘live literature,’ a development that interests me for several reasons. Like many poets, I have a love-hate relationship with poetry readings. As an audience member, I find that some readings can feel electric or even transcendent. But others can be dull,…

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Queer Poetics I

Poetry has always been the province of the consummate insider and the total outsider—a dichotomous split between the institutionalized John Clare types and the silver spoon James Merrill’s. The origin myth of poetry in English is of a literal outsider. Poor Caedmon is so embarrassed to have no songs to sing that he goes out…

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‘Dream On: Waking Up Your Poems with the Phantasmagoric’

  So with one bound, Jack was free … and he woke up to find it had all been a dream. But when do you wake from the book of the dream, shrug it off with a cold shower, a shot of black coffee? There can be no forgetting; even after the fire the archives…

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‘No laughs please, we’re poets – can comic poetry be good poetry?’

I can vividly remember the first time I read a poem in public. It was at a writing workshop at the University of Warwick, full of earnest young women and men who sat around in the cafeteria between lectures dressed in black, discussing the work of the Modernists and stroking their beautiful chins. We’d been…

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