Blog

CAMPUS Debate: Poetry Books – Do Looks Matter?

Can you judge a book by its cover? There’s only one way to find out – CAMPUS debate time!   For the ayes we have Annie Freud, and the noes with have Patrick Davidson Roberts. Let the literary death match begin… YES Annie Freud When I say that looks matter when it comes to poetry…

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Modern Day Masters

    No discussion of craft and design would be complete without mention of “the Master-craftsman” – William Morris. Inspiring the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th/early 20th century, his genius spread to all fields, including household fabrics, wallpapers and furniture, stained glass and tapestry, poetry, translation and novels, political activism and reform……

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Primers Shortlist Announced!

This July, we set up a virtual in-tray and invited submissions to a new publishing and mentoring programme in association with Nine Arches Press. Our Primers scheme will find three new poets whose work we’d like to foster, publish and promote. 2,316 poems later, Judges Jane Commane and Kathryn Maris are delighted to announce the…

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The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Oscar Wilde & Lord Alfred Douglas

You came to me to learn the Pleasure of Life and the Pleasure of Art. Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something much more wonderful, the meaning of Sorrow, and its beauty. – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis   In 1891 Oscar Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas in the architectural jewel-town of Rouen. Douglas was…

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A Personal Preface

  As a child I wrote many a “happy song”, often compiling them in books of my own construction with accompanying drawings. Thankfully these weren’t such “that all may read”, but remained private, incompletely formed little objects that I enjoyed making and owning. Since then I’ve been learning about the bookmaking process and how techniques…

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Rebellious Love: Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky

When Allen Ginsberg first laid admiring eyes on Peter Orlovsky in 1954 in a flat in San Francisco, he was naked in a painting with tousled yellow hair and a beguiling gaze.  He asked the artist who it was posing, and Orlovsky was called from the other room, transmogrified into reality, fully clothed.  It was…

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Love and Suicide: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

The most notorious, politicized and doomed literary couple in history.  Sylvia Plath was charmed into hunting out Ted Hughes after reading his poem ‘Hawk in The Rain’, and in 1956 she met his powerful and imposing presence at a party in Cambridge, ‘kiss me, and you will see how important I am’ she wrote in…

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True Love: Anais Nin & Henry Miller

  “Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you…

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Jealous Love: Natalie Barney & Renée Vivien

These wild women were Symbolist poets in literary Paris at the turn of the 20th century, culturally advantaged and intellectually determined.  They were Women of The Left Bank who set up boutiques: publishing houses and artistic salons across the city forging a Sapphic Utopia with their grandiose gestures of a luxury-bohemian, women-centred lifestyle, a place…

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Quiet Love: Virginia Woolf & Vita Sackville West

From this week I’m going to be briefly sketching some of my favourite writer romances of the last couple of centuries, starting with today’s coupling: Virginia Woolf & Vita Sackville West. These two female authors living in the heart of Edwardian England became lovers in 1925 when they met over dinner. Sackville-West wrote after the meeting…

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Sounds and Sweet Airs

Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises… I’m writing this in the back room of our house, overlooking a meeting of gardens. We’re underneath a flight path, and this morning the planes are roaring in, low, carrying the summer visitors and returners to London. In between, a robin’s ticking of alarm reaches me,…

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A line about orange: thoughts on poets and painters

I have always been interested in the relationship between art and poetry. For many years now, I have been using art as a way of stimulating my poetic practice, sometimes by channeling the dead – such as Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly – but also by collaborating with living artists – such as Linda Karshan,…

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Writers Who Love Writers

A friend of mine once pointed out that as poets we are indefinitely not like everyone else. Perhaps others don’t stick their heads into things as we do, they don’t get caught up in their emotions – and suddenly in the middle of a busy bar feeling something close to what Stendhal felt in Florence…

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Mondo: The Global Avant Garde

I’ve run three courses for the Poetry School so far, all of which have been about avant-garde poetry. Covering specific movements in European, British and World avant-garde writing, I’ve been able to communicate things I’m passionate about to successively erudite and enthusiastic course participants. Here’s what’s coming up for the Autumn Term… Mondo: The Global…

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Poetry and Comics

Poetry and Comics don’t need each other to communicate, and yet Poetry Comics have been around for a while. The New York School Poets, Joe Brainard in particular, created comics which used poetic text, and the idea seems to have grown from there. In the eighties an American writer and educator called Dave Morice published…

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Devouring and Creation: the Poetry of Food and that which Feeds our Poetry

In both his letters and his poetry, John Keats implored artists to “live unpoetically” by focusing on an “acuteness of vision”. This means listening, watching, touching and tasting what is going on around us every day. We do not isolate special occasions in order to squeeze out a poem, we are moved by something that…

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Re: Drafts – ’10 Amazing Things You Will Learn Editing The Rialto!!!’

Last month saw issue 83 of The Rialto sail into the world, and with it we came to the end of our period as assistant editors. Hopefully we’ve learnt a few bits and pieces about what happens behind the scenes of a poetry magazine. Plus we have been initiated into the mystery of what other…

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How I Did It: ‘protest of the physical’

The long poem which makes up the centre of physical took about two years to write and then another three to sculpt into the version that exists in this collection. Around 2010 three things happened; I graduated from undergraduate study, I found out I’d got a grant to go on a free Arvon course and,…

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Primers: an Interview with Jane Commane of Nine Arches Press

An Interview with Jane Commane

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press joined forces recently to launch Primers, a new joint mentoring and publication scheme for emerging poets. Submissions have been whizzing through the systems these last few weeks and making us very excited, so we went to have a chat with Nine Arches’ Editor Jane Commane about what she’s…

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How I Did It: ‘Crocodile’

As a child I loved the London Natural History Museum. One free afternoon in the summer of 2010, I went back nostalgically with my husband only to regret the heat and school holiday hordes. I found myself lingering in front of a case that contained rounded stones in a range of sizes, quills lacking feathers,…

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How I Did It: ‘The Ballad of the Small-Boned Daughter’

Shafilea Ahmed died in September 2003 aged 17. She was a British Pakistani girl from Warrington, Cheshire. She was a beautiful and spirited girl who was murdered in a so called ‘honour killing’ by her parents. Like so many others I watched the long gruesome trial in 2012 when her parents were finally convicted of…

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Autumn 2015: New Courses and Workshops

Here’s a quick look at what’s on offer for our Autumn Term (beginning 14 September 2015). To find out about a particular course or tutor, follow the title links or call us to enquire on 0207 582 1679. If you’d like to print out a copy of our brochure to look through at home, you can…

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MA in Writing Poetry – now open for applications

We are delighted to announce that our MA in Writing Poetry in collaboration with Newcastle University is now open for applications. The two year course starts in September 2015, and you can study in one of two centres: the Poetry School’s Lambeth Walk classrooms in London, or at Newcastle University itself. Both groups of students…

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An announcement from our Director

After six years as Director of the Poetry School, I will be stepping down from the role this summer. The Poetry School’s Board of Trustees will lead the search for a new Director with details of the recruitment process to be announced shortly. Although my time as Director will officially end in mid-August I will…

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CAMPUS Debate: Poetry and Music in Performance

Poetry and music: a natural pairing? On instinct, yes! of course! why who hasn’t extolled a thumping good poem for its ‘musicality’, or raved about the ‘pure poetry’ of a great song? If you go back far enough to when nearly all verse was accompanied by flute and lyre, it’s hard to say whether poetry…

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