Nightwriter: an interview with Tom Chivers

An Interview with Tom Chivers

Hi Tom – your new online course, Nightwriter, is a nocturnal writing course (our very first). What can we expect? And what happens to your poetry brain after dark? Tom: Writing poetry is about making choices. Selecting what to say and what to leave unspoken. I am interested in erasure, the occult, in things unsaid,…

Read More

Mixed Borders Poetry Residencies: an interview with Sarah Hesketh

An Interview with Sarah Hesketh

‘Mixed Borders: Poets in Residence in London Gardens‘, a Poetry School Summer workshop with London Parks and Gardens Trust, will see poets paired up with allotments, garden squares and hidden spaces to propagate their own green and leafy poetry ideas. We had a chat with Sarah Hesketh, poet and Event Manager for London Open Garden…

Read More

‘The Poet as Curator, the Curator as Poet’

A curator [from the Latin curare – to take care of] selects and organizes the items in a collection or exhibition.   In creating a poem, we can follow a similar process, selecting found text and juxtaposing it with new writing to spark fresh meanings and revelations.     Anne Carson has been described as ‘the…

Read More

Playing with History: an interview with Kelley Swain

An Interview with Kelley Swain

Hi Kelley! Could you tell us about your Summer School workshop, ‘Playing with History: Using the Past in Poetry’ – what can we expect? Kelley: “Playing with History” is going to be a full-day workshop, starting at 10:30 and running until 4:30 in the afternoon, with a lunch break. I’m going to start by talking…

Read More

A budding ‘pomance’: an interview with Jacqueline Saphra

An Interview with Jacqueline Saphra

Jacqueline Saphra, one of The Poetry School’s new tutors, talks to us about her new course, ‘Training the Poem’ and takes us through some of her work and methods.

Read More

The blossom front: celebrating Hanami with Fawzia Kane and Louisa Hooper

On Saturday 18 April, Fawzia Kane and Louisa Hooper will be celebrating the Japanese tradition of Hanami, or ‘flower viewing’, with a blossom-fueled poetry workshop at the Brogdale Collections… Louisa: It hardly seems it, but it’s more than a quarter of a century since I sat beneath the avenue of flowering cherries by the great…

Read More

‘Viciousness in the Kitchen!’ – reading Plath’s Ariel(s)

When I think of most poets, I think of individual poems. Say Auden and I think: ‘As I Walked out one Evening’, for Larkin ‘Aubade’, for Bishop ‘One Art’. I honestly couldn’t name which individual collections any of these poems were in. Say Sylvia Plath though and I, like most people, would immediately think: Ariel. It’s…

Read More

House and Universe: an interview with Rebecca Goss

An Interview with Rebecca Goss

Hi Rebecca, you’re teaching a new course with us this Summer, ‘House and Universe: The Poetry of Home and Domestic Objects’. Tell us a bit about the course – what can we expect? Rebecca: This course will be an opportunity to explore the spaces and objects that define ‘home’, and consider what does ‘home’ mean?…

Read More

‘Sound Poetry and Performance Technique’

One of my favourite things to do in the old days was to take my friends along to the experimental music and poetry night at The Klinker in Dalston, which at the time was in a pub that was then a bit grimy but nowadays is, predictably, very posh and full of people who wear hats and…

Read More

Dear Diary: an interview with Laura Barnicoat

An Interview with Laura Barnicoat

The Great Diary Project is a repository for unwanted diaries of any date and kind. In the pages of the 2,000+ diaries collected for the project so far are the most remarkable details of everyday life, often overlooked in the history books. In preparation for The Poetry School’s Summer Workshop ‘Dear Diary’ at The Bishopsgate…

Read More

The Anti-Poetic: an interview with Julian Stannard

An Interview with Julian Stannard

Hi Julian! Tell us more about your course, ‘The Anti-Poetic‘… Julian: Calling the workshop ‘The Anti-Poetic’ is a bit of a conceit. I want to see if we can write poems we might not normally write. These workshops explore what might be called (paradoxically) the anti-poetic, namely the writing of a poem which somehow escapes…

Read More

Love, Death, Art, Time and Nature: an interview with Sarah Corbett

An Interview with Sarah Corbett

Tell us more about your new course, ‘Love, Death, Time, Art and Nature…‘. What brought you to the subject? Sarah: I was asked to do five sessions that would appeal to students at various stages in their development, so my idea was to take five ‘themes’, and to treat each session as a unit in…

Read More

‘Liberating Poetic Chaos’

Sylvia Plath worked hard at her poetry throughout the 1950s.  She studied, read widely and mastered a range of poetic techniques, writing hundreds of poems.  Her work received awards and prizes, was published in magazines and Plath was regarded as — and regarded herself as — a ‘success’.  However, by 1960, Plath had become dissatisfied…

Read More

This Enchanted Isle: reading W H Auden’s ‘The Sea and The Mirror’

Shakespeare’s The Tempest contains a potent mix of the worldly (politics, power, parenthood) and the other-worldly (myth, magic, monsters). In the mercurial spirit Ariel and the earthy, ‘monstrous’ Caliban, elemental forces are given free rein to express their desires, while Prospero delivers some of the most famous lines in all literature:                                                  These our…

Read More

Poetry and the Brain: an interview with Helen Mort

An Interview with Helen Mort

Hi Helen! Tell us about your upcoming course, ‘Poetry and the Brain’. It seems a far cry from Division Street… Helen: For the past three years, I’ve been studying for a PhD at the University of Sheffield, thinking about whether neuroscience and contemporary poetry might have anything interesting to say to each other. It turns…

Read More

‘The Poetry of Money’

Check down the back of your sofa for coins, what do you find? Coppers, shrapnel, cents, francs and thrupenny bits? Your handful of change could be the basis for a handful of new poems – The Poetry of Money is a forthcoming workshop with Claire Crowther. Claire is the current poet in residence at the…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

Spring 2015 courses (in one line or less)

LONDON – SHORT COURSES Poetry of Place with Roisin Tierney – where do you come from, where are you going to? Writing tasks and workshopping based on a broad definition of ‘place’ Routes into Poetry with Tamar Yoseloff – the best course for beginners, starts in the Spring and continues till the Summer Defining a…

Read More

The Poem Noir

Watched any of these TV shows lately – The Killing, The Bridge, Luther, or Breaking Bad? Or any of the following films – The Dark Knight, Black Swan, or Drive? If you have, then chances are you’ve already come across a version of film noir. Films noir, at their most cliché, are films about ordinary…

Read More

Performance Skills for Poets

How do you stop your knees knocking and your paper wobbling when you perform your poetry? How can you make sure they can hear you in the cheap seats? We’ve got a workshop coming up at the Poetry School with poet and performer Nick Field that will help you settle those questions. Nick writes: ‘I’m really…

Read More