Blog

Woah, look at all this extra stuff!

There are lots of new additions and nifty enhancements to discover on this new version of poetryschool.com. Here’s a rundown of what’s new and why:   1) AUTOMATIC ENROLMENT Book onto any course or workshop – online or face to face – and immediately access your course group on CAMPUS Automatic enrolment means you can…

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Digital Poet in Residence Opportunity

We’re pretty hot on the digital poetry residency at the Poetry School – CAMPUS has played host to nearly a dozen poets now, each of them bringing their own distinct take to what a writer with all the resources of the internet at the end of a mouse can do for an audience. We are…

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Gastromancy – speaking from the gut

A lot can happen in five weeks. Just over the last seven days, I swallowed a gold filling, bought a sofa and organised party games for ten shrieking eight year-olds as Hebden’s flood sirens sounded. The centre of town has been underwater this weekend; thankfully, it emerged from the waves unscathed. I know lots of…

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5 moments when poetry and pop music collided for the general benefit of us all!

So, as those of you joining my online listening group next term will discover, I reckon pop songs and other assorted detritus from rock ‘n’ roll culture are a great jumping off point for writing poems. Whether it’s the thump of a tom-tom, feedback whistling round your brain, even the sheen of an ill-advised leather…

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Not the T S Eliots 2015: our best poetry books of the year

So here it is, our reasonably eagerly-awaited end of year list, a miscellany of the most thumbed, borrowed and coffee-splotted poetry books and pamphlets lying around the Poetry School offices. In many ways, it’s been a remarkable year: Radio 4 whole day takeover of Andrew Marr’s epic radio documentary on British poetry; Daljit Nagra’s appointment…

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This is my story not yours.

I love reading out poems – and this poem loves to be read out loud. But I hate showing unfinished poems. It feels like being partially dressed – and not in a good way. This poem is still under edit. But I wanted to post it as an introduction to this week’s topic: This is…

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What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work. You know what work is – if you’re old enough to read this you know what work is, although you may not do it. Philip Levine, ‘What Work Is’   The more I think about what work is, the…

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Paradise Lost: ‘An Express Elevator to Hell!’

Oh Milton, Milton, Milton: local boy born on Bread Street just off Cheapside; the ‘Lady of Christ’s’ College Cambridge; defender of regicide; pro-divorce pamphleteer; free-speech zealot; house guest of Galileo; blind visionary; dreamer of Paradise Lost, now buried alongside the Barbican’s fountains – how oft I think of thee. Forgive my windy oratory/Milton draws this…

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“All I can do now is keep walking”: an interview with Choman Hardi

All this week we’ve debating on CAMPUS the issue of how to give voice to the silenced in poetry. The contributions so far have been fascinating, so please keep them coming! For the second act, I interviewed Choman Hardi, a hero of mine and whose poem ‘The Angry Survivor’ provided the centerpiece of this debate. The…

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Follow the Brush: Making Zuihitsu Poetry

Zuihitsu? What is it? I’d never heard of this strange word before either until I first encountered the work of American poet, Kimiko Hahn, and in particular her mesmerizing collection The Narrow Road to the Interior (2006) in which she employs this ancient Japanese technique in the writing of some startlingly modern poetry. If you…

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‘Hearing Voices: reading and responding to world poetry in translation’

Sometimes, as writers, if we tire of the view from the small patch of earth we inhabit, we look to cast our nets wider. The poem in translation is a wondrous thing – self-contained, tardis-like. On a chill, grey November day, what could be better than to be transported to a place where…    ……

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The Poem as Party Guest: an interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith

Hi Wayne, we’re very excited you’ve joined the Poetry School team. Can you tell us more about your course, what’s it all about? Wayne: Cheers. Yes, the course idea came to me after I attended a friend’s party and was collared by an individual who monopolised my attention for an extraordinarily long time. As the individual’s…

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CAMPUS Debate: Other Peoples’ Voices

“This is my story, not yours”. In last week’s posting I gave myself a virtual sore throat arguing for the political imperative in poetry. This conviction is rooted in my own experiences: silenced as a child, silenced again in the psychiatric system, I have a deep-rooted belief that as poets we have an obligation to…

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The Complete Works Poetry – call for submissions

An update from our friends at The Complete Works … The Complete Works Poetry (TCW 3) Deadline: February 14th, 2016 Are you a Black or Asian poet at the stage where you are committed to producing a full-length collection? Would you benefit from a tailored programme of support and career development? Funded by Arts Council England…

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How I Translated It: ‘When I left you, afterwards’ by Brecht

Some notes on my translation of Brecht’s ‘Als ich nachher von dir ging …’ and some hints on translation more generally. First the text itself, with a very literal interlinear translation:   Als ich nachher von dir ging When I afterwards from you went An dem großen Heute On the great today Sah ich, wie…

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I do not believe in silence.

I’m guessing the fact that you’re here online means that you don’t just enjoy reading poetry – you also like to read about it. Me too. In fact, sometimes I enjoy it even more than poetry itself. The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser is a case in point. I first read this book on…

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How I Translated It: The Poetry of Sarah Kirsch (1935-2013) by Anne Stokes

I first came across the poetry of the German poet Sarah Kirsch when studying East German literature. But I returned to her work more recently in an attempt to understand more about how free verse functioned by entering Kirsch’s poems through the close reading and mimicry required when translating. My main interest in Kirsch’s poems…

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A Bibliophile’s Farewell

  Time is like a fashionable host That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand, And with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly, Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles, And farewell goes out sighing. – Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida   It is with both sighs and smiles that I thank you all…

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The Bookseller’s Flair

My last post explored the significance of libraries and the unique personal collections we treasure at home. But how do you go about building one? Walter Benjamin writes of the “thrill of acquisition” in ‘Unpacking My Library’, his jovial essay on book collecting. Acquiring books is by no means “a matter of money or expert…

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The Library: Paradise Lost?

  There are countless articles listing examples of the ‘most beautiful libraries in the world’. All are utterly spectacular, and show what pride communities have in these repositories of shared wisdom. Even the personal libraries we harbour at home gather value and significance as we add to them over the years: in Erasmus’ words, “Your…

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The Art Of Illustration

  Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures…

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Aura and Artists’ Books

  Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Portable Reader Systems – for some, electronic books are an ingenious invention. Slender and lightweight with vast storage and interactive controllable viewing screens, they are the latest stage of evolution for the book in today’s digital age. And so why do I shudder at the thought of empty bookshelves and identical…

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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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