All of our Blog Posts

Meet the Doctors: Alireza Abiz

An Interview with Alireza Abiz

The seventh of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poets is Alireza Abiz. Alireza manages a translation business in Tehran and is currently working on his PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Newcastle University. Tell us about your PhD. Alireza: My PhD is a practice-based PhD in Creative Writing – Poetry. It consists of two main components:…

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‘The New Violence’

So this comes from a place of love. The world has brought us to a place where to be sincere is to look foolish. Self-image has become so tangled with creation that the end result suffers and serves only to reinforce the unnerving feeling that nothing is really real anymore. Anyone who creates in this way…

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Meet the Doctors: A B Jackson

An Interview with A B Jackson

The sixth of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poets is A B Jackson, who is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. Tell us about your PhD. Andrew: As it stands (and these things tend to shift over time) my thesis focuses on representations of polar exploration in contemporary poetry. By…

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Meet the Doctors: Lisa Matthews

An Interview with Lisa Matthews

The fifth of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poets is Lisa Matthews. Primarily a poet, Lisa also writes prose and does lots of other things associated with literature, writing and creativity. However, at the heart of her practice are the succinct, perception-changing lines, forms, discipline and imagery of poetry. Hello Lisa – what’s your…

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Twit twit twit: Patricia Lockwood

The title of my residency is ‘This Twittering World’, a reference to T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton and, also, Twitter. I discovered a lot of my now favourite poets through Twitter when I joined several years ago. It also was an eye-opener into how the poetic mind works, shoring its ideas into small fragments. In this…

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Meet the Doctors: Janet Rogerson

An Interview with Janet Rogerson

The fourth of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poets is Janet Rogerson. Janet is currently studying on the PhD Creative Writing programme at the University of Manchester. Hi Janet – tell us a bit about your PhD Janet: It’s a Creative Writing PhD, which is two-thirds creative and one-third research. The split is fortunate because I’m…

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Meet the Doctors: John Challis

An Interview with John Challis

The third of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poets is John Challis. John has started a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University on contemporary poetry and Film Noir, and now works as a teaching associate. Hi John – tell us a bit about your PhD John: My PhD is concerned with identifying the…

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Meet the Digital-Poet-in-Residence: Alex MacDonald

An Interview with Alex MacDonald

No-one gets into poetry for the fame and riches. Frankly, most poets are regarded as viewing mainstream culture with suspicion, attracted as they are to the arcane world of collecting unusually-shaped pamphlets, conjugating gerunds and seeking out clandestine spoken word evenings in the backs of run-down Japanese laundrettes. For many poets root, hog or die…

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‘Learning to Count’

  Seven, eight you’re fucking late she says. Hours we waited. Then he says something like Oh, for Chrissake and they both go on until doors slam bangbang! Don’t pry. Don’t spy. Never ask why he was late. One, two buckle my seatbelt. Oh. There’s no seatbelt. (This is years ago.) Watch the road! You’ll…

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Downloading the Undergrowth

“You do worry about buying electronic goods these days, because technology evolves so fast. It’s not quite the same concern when purchasing an anvil” – Harry Hill Poetry, for many people, will be seen as an anvil – something that won’t fluctuate within the constant gallop of technology. Unlike TV, film or modern art, that…

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How to Write Poetry: a List of Various Guides, Primers, Essays and Introductions

Poetry School staff doing some ‘very important’ poetry-based research on Facebook one recent lunchtime noticed an interesting thread populating itself on Allison McVety’s page. Poet and friend of the Poetry School, Allison was asking for recommendations on the technicalities of writing poetry – and dozens of her writerly friends responded with tried-and-tested books and essays…

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This Twittering World

‘This Twittering World; or 8 Things I Don’t Necessarily Disagree with About Poetry On The Internet’   Internet as 3D Poet The Internet provides the readership of a Poet with a rounded representation of his or her life and work. Social media, which typically the Poet is fond of, allows the Poet’s Shakespearean ‘aside’ to…

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Meet the Doctors: Helen Taylor

An Interview with Helen Taylor

The second of our eight Is There A Doctor in the House? poet tutors is Helen Taylor. Helen is studying for her PhD at Royal Holloway University in London, concentrating on the Liverpool-based movement Merseybeat. Helen, what’s your PhD about? Helen: My thesis is the first major critical discussion of Merseybeat poetry, considering it as…

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Meet the Doctors: Tara Bergin

An Interview with Tara Bergin

How many times have you been to a literature event and a person in the audience has asked the person on stage ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ We’ve just discovered the answer. The Poetry School’s forthcoming Is There A Doctor in the House? event is the place writers (you) get their ideas from….

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Live Q&A with Sean O’Brien: ‘The Poetry of History’

We’re ecstatically excited to announce that Sean O’Brien will be coming to CAMPUS this Spring to kick off a new season of Live Q&A’s and answer your questions. Sean is one of the most prolific and important figures in British poetry over the last four decades, as well as being a highly acclaimed critic, journalist,…

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Open Workshop: ‘Hackwriting’

So far in our Open Workshop series we’ve had Oulipio-style creative upcycling with Claire Trévien, pronounless prosody from Dai George, and a reflection on the power of inheritances from Richie McCaffery. February’s Open Workshop comes courtesy of Alex MacDonald, our Digital-Poet-in-waiting, who will be offering ‘a study in uncreative writing’, inspired by his own poem…

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How I Did It: ‘The Shipwrecked House II’

I wrote ‘The Shipwrecked House II’ at my grandmother’s funeral. I know this because this image is my contribution to her funeral book. A few weeks later I met Tom Chivers for the first time to discuss my yet untitled collection. I wanted to go with ‘Hook’ in memory of my grandmother (her maiden name)…

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Shingle Street Residency interview with Nia Davies

An Interview with Nia Davies

This is the second part of our series of interviews with our two, ever-doughty Shingle Street poets-in-residence. You can read the first interview with Amy Key here. This month we spoke to poet, editor and outdoor runner, Nia Davies, on everything from Sinbad the Sailor to the Suffolk coastline and haunted weapons training facilities. Again, a big…

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Reading Dylan Thomas

The first time was a reading Fern Hill aloud, pacing the room the while, hoping (though not meaning to) that some of the pastoral Dylan stardust of having been so ‘honoured among wagons’ that he was ‘prince of the apple towns’ might rub off on a Londoner. The second time was a glimpse, from the…

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Open Workshop: ‘Absent Pronouns’

There’s another free Open Workshop coming your way on CAMPUS. Starting 27th January, Seren poet, Dai George, will lead you through the process of writing pronoun-less poems, removing the ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘you’ altogether. Pronouns shape our thinking and determine the type of poem that we might write. For this Open Workshop, you will look at the…

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On Inklings: an interview with Sarah Westcott

An Interview with Sarah Westcott

Sarah Westcott’s debut pamphlet Inklings feels deceptively flimsy – I love the way that it builds up minute observations to reach its epiphanies. ‘Who can argue with the woman / who saw Christ in a slice of Mother’s / Pride, his beard and aquiline nose / branded into the hot crust?’ Without wishing to blow the Poetry School’s trumpet,…

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Reading the South Americans

My father, early on, lit the touch-paper of South America for me by trying to make short work of my disappointment that Colonel P H Fawcett, who wrote Exploration Fawcett and then disappeared in the Mato Grosso in 1925 while looking for El Dorado, was not a direct relation. I even ended up glad he…

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Podcast: James Brookes reads from ‘Sins of the Leopard’

Last term, Poetry School tutor James Brookes co-headlined our Autumn launch party with this wintery tranche of poems from his debut collection, the Dylan Thomas Prize-nominated, Sins of the Leopard, which we are delighted to present to you now. James will also be teaching an Online Feedback Course for us this Spring, so if you…

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The Sound of the City

An Interview with John McCollough

Seasoned city-stroller, John McCullough, returns to the Poetry School with his new course, The Sound of the City, a cross-town train ride through the exciting sounds, juxtapositions and energy of modern urban life. With their dense, swarming zones of activity, cities have long provided powerful sources of poetic inspiration, giving form and impetus to many…

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Not the T S Eliot Prize: our best poetry books of 2013

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas tree in your front living room has already begun to embrown and turn weepy, when the first of the ‘Best Poetry Books of Year’ lists begin to trickle in. Far be it from us to snub such an important tradition. As hard as we tried to read…

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