Blog

Smears & Caresses: The Poetry of Abstract Art

How can abstract art help poets? It makes us look and it makes us think, and it makes us think about our thoughts. It helps to steer us away from pre-existing categories. We cannot glance at it and then say ‘Nice goat’, or ‘Evocative seascape’, or ‘What a lovely cottage!’. Instead, we interact with the…

Read More

Autumn 2020 – Quick Course Guide

The leaves are green and the sun is still shining, but we’re already looking forward to the Autumn Term here at the Poetry School! Our Autumn Term is now live and we’ve got a whole host of brilliant tutors and courses lined up, so be sure to book promptly to avoid disappointment. Below is our…

Read More

Voices of the Sea

People – and especially poets – have always been fascinated by the sea. We see it as a powerful metaphor for strong emotion or for the unconscious. We are drawn by its power, its changing moods, its promise of adventure. There are many ways in which we look at the sea. And those are the…

Read More

‘Come to Where I’m From’

‘Come to where I’m from.’ So writes Glyn Maxwell in his masterpiece of place, ‘Birthplace’, from his 2013 collection Pluto. The great energy of the poem, its enormous historic sweep, is a great advertisement for what place can do for a poem – or for what this poet can do for any subject at all….

Read More

Review: ‘Letters Home’ by Jennifer Wong

‘Home’ is a contentious word. Both personal and political, ‘home’ implies belonging, and not belonging.  In Robert Frost’s ‘Death of the Hired Man’, ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, / They have to take you in’. But is that place where we live, where we were born, where our family…

Read More

Review: ‘The Air Year’ by Caroline Bird

When was the last time you were asked to do the impossible?  Caroline Bird’s essay ‘The Discipline of Getting Lost: On the Impossibility of Poems’ (in the Nine Arches anthology The Craft) speaks of freeing yourself to write poetry by accepting how impossible it is to put your soul down on paper. Resonant of Ben…

Read More

Coronavirus: How Will It Affect My Studies?

As you know, here at Poetry School we treat the well-being and health of our community extremely seriously. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that the safest and best way forward for all of us over the next few weeks is to close the physical School. This does not mean…

Read More

Review: ‘RENDANG’ by Will Harris

To understand Will Harris’s RENDANG, I keep coming back to the poem ‘The White Jumper’, which appears at the end of the collection’s first section. It’s a poem of fragments, puzzle-pieces which expand to bear meaning on the rest of the poems in subtle, complex ways. The poem opens with a figure ‘running and jumping from…

Read More

This Goes There, That Comes After: List Poems

I Remember by Joe Brainard is the first poem I think about when I think about list poems. It’s a book-length poem consisting of a series of statements, all of which begin with the refrain ‘I remember’. Here’s an example: I remember planning to tear page 48 out of every book I read from the…

Read More

Course Quick Guide: Summer 2020

Our Summer Term is live! Welcome to our handy Quick Guide, where you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about our upcoming courses… Face-to-Face  Workshops: One and two day intensive classes May the Verse be with You: Poetry Inspired by Star Wars with Chrissy Williams Odes to the moon are something of a poetic cliché these days….

Read More

Roddy Lumsden 1966–2020

As we’re sure that most of you reading this are already aware, Roddy Lumsden very sadly passed away on January 10th 2020, after a long period of illness. In his passing, the poetry world has lost a true titan. Roddy was an acclaimed and innovative poet, an inspirational educator, a generous mentor, and a fastidious…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

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

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

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

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

The Big Issues

I began thinking about writing this blog on the day of the mass murder of Muslims in New Zealand. Just how do you begin to respond as a poet to something like this? And in the UK, and around the world, there have been similar atrocities. We’re in this mess of seemingly endless Brexit, with…

Read More