Sign In using your Campus Account


1. When writing a cover letter to a magazine, don’t compare yourself to Shakespeare.

2. At a poetry workshop, don’t say ‘It’s too late to change this poem, I’ve already sent it to the Queen’.

3. Don’t introduce yourself at a poetry residential course by saying ‘my name is Elspeth/Ivy/Agnes but you can call me ‘Winter Storm’.

4. All responses to bad reviews should be limited to phone calls with your mum.

5. If you are performing your poetry and you ask the MC if there is time for ‘one more’ the answer is probably no but they are too polite to say.

6. When at a poetry reading, don’t turn around to complete strangers and talk about the guest poet being rubbish, who then turn out to be guest poet’s mum/best friend/neighbour.

7. Even if you have had a glass of wine, it is probably not a good idea to announce yourself on stage with lunges or star jumps.

8. Don’t greet famous poet that you’ve never met or even spoken to as if they were your best friend just because you’ve slept with their book under your pillow every night.


  • Rachel Davies

    Ha. Nostalgia of a drive to Ulverston…
    Can’t believe this is your last-but-one!

  • P A Livsey

    Ha ha ha poet wisdom
    1. Should one compare oneself to a summers day?
    2.Gosh I know someone who did that
    3. Oh no my middle name is andromeda (blame my Romany GP)
    4. I’ll need to go to a seance Once I’ve got that mike… Me more, me more, me more…
    Great advice thanks KIm

  • Pam Thompson

    Don’t shuffle papers forever mumbling ‘Shall I read this, this one…’
    Don’t give a ten minute introduction .
    As a compere for an open-mic night it is very tempting sometimes to want a trap-door to open and swallow people who think three minutes means 30,

  • Claire Trevien

    These are great, I love 2 especially….
    A few more:
    -Don’t turn up with a large group to a poetry reading, sit on the front row, go over time, and then leave with your group straight afterwards, leaving the front row empty for the next readers.
    -In a cover letter avoid ‘Dear Sir’ if the editor is a woman/NB.
    -If you are going to use the editor’s name (usually a good thing), try to spell it right.

  • Kim Moore

    Hi Claire – thanks for these! First one is especially irritating 🙂

Add your Reply

Image Credits:

Image: Circus poster (circa 1895)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons