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Review: ‘WITCH’ by Rebecca Tamás

WITCH is rude, raucous, shocking, intellectually bracing, sophisticated, messy, anti-dogmatic, and sexy. It’s a thrilling, visceral and totally unexpected collection, which redefines the possibilities for poetic language in the twenty-first century. If that sounds like hype to you, get ready to be sucker-punched. The figure of the witch is an eternally potent archetype for many…

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The Air in a Room is Cut & Looped

Working with sound has freed up creative possibilities for my writing and made for joyful collaborations that push me to experiment with how I curate and present material. The soundtext ‘Eating Trends’ embedded here is a manipulation of my own raw personal data. ‘Eating Trends’ by Antosh Wojcik The piece begins with my washing machine…

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Where Words Meet Music

Put a spring in your step with our latest Easter Extra programme: Where Words Meet Music – a brand new 6-week course where you will think about what poems and songs can learn from each other and get creative to inspire new ways of approaching your writing. The course will be steered by singer and…

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The Poem That Travelled the World

Sometimes a poem has the freedom to travel from mouth to mouth, page to page, screen to screen, and arrive at places the poet has neither been to or even imagined. This is the case with Warsan Shire’s poem ‘Home’, one of the poems we will explore in the upcoming course ‘The bravest people on…

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Poetry & Advertising Studio

Even if it seems an improbable one, the association between poetry and advertising is not a new one. As it often happens when you have a new idea, someone else has had it before. In my case, it’s S. I. Hayakawa, who published an article titled “Poetry and Advertising” as early as January 1946. So, 74…

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Writing the Self: Performance & Sacrifice with Nisha Ramayya

In Indo-European Poetry and Myth, philologist M. L. West traces links between poets and priests in the Indo-European language family, from Old Irish, Welsh, and German, to Greek, Avestan, and Sanskrit. He begins with a simple thesis statement: ‘all peoples at all times have had poetry and song.’ Understanding poetry and poetic language as language…

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Poetry Books of the Year 2019

Well, it’s been a remarkable year for poetry and the Poetry School. So remarkable, in fact, that we haven’t had time to do full justice to our annual best-of-the-year list. Worry not: we’ve managed to scrabble together enough time not spent in poetic reverie or arguing over kerning to recommend fifty-two of the year’s finest…

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Claiming the Margin as Centre

‘To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body’ says bell hooks in the preface to Feminist Theory: from Margin to Centre. hooks’ statement elucidates the duality that comes with a position at the margin. You are looking both out and in at the same time. Looking…

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‘Go to the Zoo’: on Writing About Animals

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this recording of Greta Stoddart reading her poem ‘Errand’. I love the poem, and I love her introduction to it. Describing a time when Rilke was suffering from a sort of writer’s block, she talks about Rodin’s advice to him: ‘Go to the zoo. And stand in…

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Poetry as Oral Storytelling

It’s always interested me what the essence is, of what gets performed when a poem gets performed. It doesn’t seem good enough to say it’s play: I wouldn’t watch just anyone playing. I might share a specialist interest with the person who’s playing. But how would watching them playing give me satisfaction? Wouldn’t I want…

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In the Same House: Poetry of Caregiving

“In illness words seem to possess a mystic quality. We grasp what is beyond their surface meaning, gather instinctively this, that, and the other – a sound, a colour, here a stress, there a pause – which the poet, knowing words to be meagre in comparison with ideas, has strewn about his page to evoke,…

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Review: ‘Arias’ by Sharon Olds

Arias is a collection that sings both because of death and in spite of it. In this song of herself, Sharon Olds locates the pain that gives rise to song, offering readers the depth of perspective and celebration of life that the end of life can bring. The paperback version of Arias has a satisfying…

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Review: ‘The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century’, edited by Rishi Dastidar

24 essays on how poetry happens in the twenty-first century provide rich nourishment for curious readers and aspirational writers alike. Rishi Dastidar wants you to revel in the possibilities thrown-up by poem-making. Recognising that, ‘to write poetry today, you need to be thinking about more than just your technical, prosodic abilities’, The Craft comes with…

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We are hiring!

We are currently looking for an enthusiastic arts or business graduate who wants to join our friendly team in Canada Water as our new Digital Programming and Marketing Assistant, and an exceptional Finance and Operations Officer to work closely with the executive director to ensure the growth and development of the School at this exciting…

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Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, and The Poetry School launch The Laurel Prize

We are delighted to be able to announce the launch of The Laurel Prize and honoured to be collaborating with Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage on one of his headline projects. The Laurel Prize will be an award for the best collection of environmental, ecopoetry, or nature poetry. The Prize will further the discourse around climate…

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Hell and Back: Writing Addiction and Recovery

I am anxious to not use the term confessional poetry when talking about my upcoming course, because it seems to me a loaded term which some poets delight in and others shy away from. I don’t want this course to be an exercise in naval-gazing or self-indulgence – there already seems to be enough of…

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The Poetics of Space after Bachelard

“A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space.” My house is sometimes a chair I sit on in a different country, a tent, a beach, the woods I return to in photographs. My grandmother’s hand as it stirred her black tea. My children’s skin on my lips…

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Measure a Circle, Beginning Anywhere: Poetry Through a Fortean Lens

The Fortean Times has been my holiday treat for quite some time now. What could be better than spending a journey engaged in the peculiar, peripheral and puzzling? Let’s get some of the stereotypes out of the way: tinfoil hats; incessant alien abductions; a willingness to believe any madcap conspiracy on offer; an obsession with The X-Files. (That…

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Spring 2020 Term Courses Are Now LIVE

We are delighted to announce that our Spring 2020 courses are now UP and BOOKABLE! Below is a quick guide of all of the courses that have opened for booking today. Note: We expect many of our courses to sell out very fast, so make sure to secure your place on your favourite course or courses today!…

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Review: ‘Whip-Hot & Grippy’ by Heather Phillipson

Heather Phillipson’s Whip-Hot & Grippy is a nightmarish, lurid inventory of news cycles, junk food, sex, bodies, and failed communication ‘come to thrash the living daylights out of you’. If 2016 was the year that Heather Phillipson ‘lost [her] sense of humour’ (by her own account), 2019 is the year she has channelled nihilism and…

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Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic Review: ‘Whereas’ by Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier’s debut poetry collection, Whereas (Picador) roots through the vocabularies it employs, carefully tracing its linguistic inheritances. Long Soldier is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, and is keenly aware of the power – and lack thereof – that language can command. Whereas is split into two parts. Part I, ‘These Being…

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Xriss Xross: A Report

Poetry can spring up in the most unlikely places – even Zone 3. For Xriss Xross, a free one-day writing festival, the Poetry School took over RAW Labs, an airy studio space at a fringe of the DLR that many Londoners (this one included) will never have visited before. It was the perfect setting for…

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Applications open for paid internship at the Poetry School

About the role At the Poetry School, we believe that a career in the literary world should be an option for anyone, regardless of background, and not just the privileged few. What is more, we believe in true diversity of voices and that this can only be achieved by an industry whose workforce more accurately…

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Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic Review: ‘The Caiplie Caves’ by Karen Solie

Time and place are the central nodes of Karen Solie’s The Caiplie Caves (2019), a three-part poetic narrative traversing human life, both historical and modern, through the spatial lens of the geographic region around the titular Caiplie Caves. Solie begins with an invocation of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing: ‘The past is not for living…

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Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic Review: ‘The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here’ by Vidyan Ravinthiran

Vidyan Ravinthiran’s second collection – a private sonnet series to his wife, the writer Jenny Holden – is at once a succession of private missives to a private love, and arranged, as a sequence, to portray the sum total of the day to day in a marriage between two writers, a brown person and a…

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