Blog

All of our Blog Posts

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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!…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic Review: ‘Surge’ by Jay Bernard

It is noteworthy that the first word of the opening poem in Surge (Chatto), Jay Bernard’s searing debut, is remember. Here is a collection against forgetfulness; a refutation of any presumption that the past is the past at all. Set between the pillars of two disasters, the New Cross Fire of 1981, which claimed the…

Read More

Written With a Wet Rock

When writing is hard and the poems are turning stony-faced and slow, I tell myself there are so many things harder and slower to hold onto than a poem: first, a breath, and second, a stone. I take one good, deep breath and let it go. Then I take one good, deep lump of time…

Read More

Review: ‘Flèche’ by Mary Jean Chan

How do you learn to love when you’re versed in the ways of war? Equal parts sinister Aesop’s Fable, lived experience, and fairy tale with a twist, Flèche invites readers into a labyrinth of longing. There’s an ongoing war across generations, between mother and daughter, in Mary Jean Chan’s debut collection, Flèche. But the battles…

Read More

The Personable Political

So you’re in a writing workshop, one of those all day affairs where you do some exercises in the morning and have a communal critique in the afternoon. You’ve written 3 bad poems, 1 seed of something, and poem that flew from your pen or fingertips so naturally that you have no idea where it…

Read More

How Poetry Burns

I had just turned 18 when I moved out of my childhood home and into an apartment with my boyfriend. Although I hoped my young relationship would last, there was something in me that said my treasured objects would be safer at home. Built by my grandfather for my grandmother after World War II, it…

Read More

Memory, History, Loss, & Gains

If, like me, you believe that uncovering untold histories – whether personal, familial, or national – is important, and a vital part of the poet’s work, then join me for a day of reading and discussing poets who do just that. A few months ago, I was in a workshop with Bernardine Evaristo and the…

Read More

A Far-Off Land: Finding More Folklore

In the west, epic myths, remnants of religions past, are revered, re-translated and researched, but folktales and fairy tales are often written off as children’s stories. Scrappy, grisly, lowbrow and deceptively simple, many of them do indeed serve as warnings to children: don’t wander alone in the woods, boast or steal. But these stories, passed…

Read More

Review: ‘Reckless Paper Birds’ by John McCullough

To understand the weight of being bodied, All the swollen and tender exchanges That ground me here among the living (‘A Floating Head’) There is a powerful sense of tension between body and soul in John McCullough’s absorbing third collection, Reckless Paper Birds. The human body and brain can be a prison; they are both…

Read More

Review: ‘Handling Stolen Goods’ by Degna Stone

Interrogating the prejudice of race and class, Degna Stone’s spellbinding third pamphlet, Handling Stolen Goods (Peepal Tree Press), reveals a disturbing bond between the body and the world around it, and strives to break this down through bold, determined struggle. Whilst human interactions stand at the heart of Stone’s poems (‘We spend our time having…

Read More

Review: ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ by Richard Osmond

Richard Osmond’s Rock, Paper, Scissors is a collection wherein violence and trauma has disrupted the social fabric to the extent that reality becomes a game of signs. Like the trickster of myths and fables, this collection undermines authority and convention. The three principle signs of this collection are excerpts from Beowulf, Qur’ānic extracts and Osmond’s…

Read More

Review: ‘Girlhood’ by Julia Copus

There is a theory in earth sciences known as the Gaia Hypothesis that propounds that the earth and everything upon it (though, crucially, perhaps not including ‘us’) acts as a synergetic, self-regulating organism. The idea being that the earth acts as its own immune system, but also as its own ‘reset’, so to speak. Dangers…

Read More

Twisted Love

In one of his Lunch Poems, Frank O’Hara describes reading the poetry of a new friend. Is this love? he asks, sounding uncertain. He feels held in the hands of the poem, experiencing poetry as a form of intimacy or attempted intimacy. This course came about because I realised, simply, that the love poem –…

Read More

A Song for Occupations: In Praise of Work

What shall we do with work? Curse it, hate it, make escape plans from it, call in sick to it, write apologetic e-mails to it, still we find, every morning, we have to do it. And more than that, work does things to us: decides what time we’ll rise, how well we sleep, the folk…

Read More

General Impression of Size and Shape: Poetry & Birds

I grew up with birds. And what I really mean there is, I grew up with a birdwatcher father who liked to tell us what every bird was, and how you might distinguish it from any other bird. From an early age I was watching birds on the bird feeder in the garden, delighting in…

Read More