Poetry Articles

Poet as Archaeologist Studio Blog

This autumn, I’m thinking about what poets can learn from archaeologists and their discoveries. Poet as Archaeologist Studio will be a chance to generate new work, read and discuss poems and get feedback on your drafts. It will also be an opportunity to consider how a different discipline might inform our writing. I spent my…

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Taking the Piss Flower: on the pitfalls of writing poems inspired by art, and bringing something new to the party

Ekphrasis is one of those poemy words poets assume everyone knows, like villanelle, and pantoum; but my Mac doesn’t recognise it, flags it up, and takes me to Wiki – ‘an ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired or stimulated by a work of art’. I remember feeling so happy when I first discovered the word,…

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The Zen of Ecopoetics: the contribution of Zen to modernist American poetry

In Breathing: Chaos and Poetry, the Italian philosopher Franco Berardi suggests that poetry is the excess of semiotic exchange that goes beyond the limits of language and, by extension, transcends the limits of reality as we know it. In this sense, poetry offers us a way of rethinking our relationship with non-human beings and environments,…

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Review – Of Sea by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, and Thinking With Trees by Jason Allen-Paisant 

What is the language of the invertebrate? What form might the invertebrate provide the poet? Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s Of Sea traces the light shed by bodies alternatively-structured: A ‘Prickly Cockle’ ‘start[s] light’, the coat of an aphid ‘dusts light’ in ‘Lupin Aphid’, a ‘Murky-legged Legionnaire Fly’ provides a ‘blurt of sun’. A note at the start…

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Announcing the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship 2022

We’re delighted to announce the Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship 2022 for an underrepresented poet. For a second year, Poetry School is offering a full fees scholarship award (£10,000) to the Poetry School / Newcastle University MA in Writing Poetry for an outstanding applicant who is currently underrepresented in the poetry world. By underrepresented poets, we…

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Sources of Poetic Language

Imagination, Wonder, and the Everyday The mourning doves are beginning to coo again and yesterday I saw the families of cardinals in the yew, all busy setting up. The past few days were very windy, and we found a fallen nest, the size of a basketball, along the street. It feels as if I am…

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Transreading Ethiopia with Chris Beckett

Selam hullu…..Hello everyone! I’ve already blogged about my boyhood in Addis Ababa as an intro for my autumn 2021 course on Childhood: A Source of Praise. So I don’t want to repeat too much of what I said then, but it feels like I’m travelling the same path again! It’s a really great feeling, because…

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Review – Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo is an astonishingly prolific and inventive poet, and Like a Tree, Walking, showcases the full range of their imagination. The collection begins with a poem ‘In Praise of Birds’, which captures the spirit of the work as a whole: In praise of high-contrast birds, purple bougainvillea thicketing the golden oriole. In praise of…

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Writing After David Lynch – Students’ Poem

The Writing After David Lynch ten-week course took us all on a thrilling and mysterious journey across David Lynch’s films. As part of the penultimate session, on Mulholland Drive, I invited the students to respond to Naomi Watts’ staggering audition scene with a single four-line stanza, that I would then order and curate into a group poem.  I took inspiration…

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Review – Brilliant Corners by Nuzhat Bukhari, A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi

How do we reconcile conflicting inheritances? Many poets of colour find themselves caught between two roads: the English lyric, whose focus on internal feeling can imply a disavowal of history, and the real histories from which today’s poets arise; histories bent by the home of the English lyric. The lyric and its most apparently ahistorical…

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Poetry Books of the Year 2021

We are delighted to share our favourite poetry books of the year! It has been another challenging year for obvious reasons, but, in spite of it all, poetry has not only persevered but thrived! 2021 has seen the publication of so many incredible titles, both from established names and emerging poets. So, without further ado,…

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Summer School 2021

We are delighted to welcome you to our 2021 Summer School! This programme of half-day workshops has been curated in collaboration with the exhibition A Fine Day for Seeing at Southwark Park Galleries. This show takes its title from the New York School poet Frank O’Hara, who bridged the literary and artistic worlds in the…

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Places to Submit your Poetry in 2021

You’ve just completed a Poetry School course and have written and edited a few new poems, so what now?  Submitting your poems to a magazine, journal, or press is the first step to sharing your work with an audience and building up a readership, which is crucial if you’re looking to publish your work in…

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Dark Canadee

We are pleased to share with you all the First Voyages of Dark Canadee. Dark Canadee, is a twisted poetry fantasy, set in an alternative Canada Water, and tailor-made by T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated Glyn Maxwell for the times in which we find ourselves. The project takes the form of a serial literary fiction where, each…

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The Online Museum Poet: A Job Description

The new Studio+ format is both intense and intensely wonderful: a Zoom sandwich, if you will. Or where Zoom is the bread, and Campus is the jam. It was lovely to virtually ‘meet’ the course members, before we set them tasks on our Campus group, and certainly added to the group’s dynamic. In response to…

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Review: ‘Saffron Jack’ by Rishi Dastidar

Rishi Dastidar’s second collection is a chimera. At once a long narrative poem, a one-man play with modest stage directions, and a DIY manual for How to Set Up and Rule a Nation, the book is also written in the format of a legislative document, with numbered clauses sub-dividing into indented elaborations: 24.2. It was…

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Writing ‘Heart-to-Heart’ About Political Discontent

Between the Covid-19 pandemic, the renewed concerns over racism and inequality, and the deepening of the climate crisis, our collective nerves are stretched to the limit and we are struggling to stay above water. There is no doubt that the global community is doing serious and urgent soul-searching. How can we be of help? As…

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Soundtext Anthology

Soundtext was a course run in the Spring Term of 2020 for the Poetry School. The course sought to push the boundaries of possibility in terms of sound and text. Our hypothesis: what can an artist create when they approach text from the ends of sound, and sound from the ends of text? We have…

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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…

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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…

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‘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….

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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…

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MA in Writing Poetry Scholarship 2020 Now Open For Entries

We’re delighted to announce that, for the second year running, Newcastle University is offering a scholarship award worth £7,800 (full fees) for an outstanding applicant to the Poetry School / Newcastle MA in Writing Poetry for 2020/21 entry. The Scholarship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have already accepted an offer of a place for…

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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…

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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…

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