'My mother found herself as a working single parent in 1960s London'

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Jacqueline Saphra launched her new collection of poems, All My Mad Mothers - described as an “unreliable memoir” - on Wednesday night in London. In this blog for Write Out Loud, she talks about her mother – “a loving, chaotic, and confused free spirit” – moving to London from South Africa in the 1960s. She looks at feminism, ageing, and mortality, and at how far attitudes to women have changed ove...

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Platform

'She mortally threatened, wholly unaware that I do this daily'

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The University of Minnesota Press has published a wonderful new collection of bee poems, If Bees Are Few, which may in some small way help the bees and will certainly offer some honey to poetry lovers. Here's just one poem, by Heid Erdrich, who lives in Minnesota. Her most recent book is Cell Traffi...

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American Life in Poetry

Matt Abbott in platform protest, Steve Pottinger issues party broadcast

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A leading performance poet took immediate action after spotting a group of government ministers at his local railway station. Matt Abbott filmed himself proclaiming his pro-Labour poem ’#JC4PM’ as min...

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Election news

'As if the song would come again' by Mikhail Smith is Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘As if the song would come again’ by Mikhail Smith, a poem about loss and regret. In his responses to our questions, he explains the poem a little more: “The...

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Poem of the Week

'Villa Nil' by Ray M is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Villa Nil’ by Ray M. ‘Villa Nil’ marks the end of another football season, and is also – note the title - a villanelle, a 19-line poetic form consisting of ...

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Poem of the Week

Poetry heroes: chance to read favourite poems at Manchester event tonight

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John G Hall and Shirley May will be the headline poets at Homer to Heaney, where established and newer poets recite the work of their heroes, at Fuel café, Withington, Manchester, on Saturday 27 May f...

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News

The Dance of a Thousand Losers: Geneviève L Walsh, Flapjack

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Geneviève L Walsh is a Yorkshire-raised Londoner who began performing her work in 2012. She founded Halifax's Spoken Weird after a year on the open mic circuit, a night that came into creation “thanks...

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Review

Deadline nears for £5,000 Bridport poetry competition

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Lemn Sissay will be looking for poems that “electrify me, seduce me, grip me by the neck, carry me, whisper to me and sing to me” when he judges the £5,000 Bridport poetry prize. The deadline is 31 Ma...

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Competitions

'How strange it seemed to look down on your life from somewhere else'

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During the twelve years we've been doing this weekly column, today's poem will be the first time I've offered you a plane ride. It's just one of a number of fine poems from Patricia Hooper's book, Sep...

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American Life in Poetry

Dominic Berry wins Saboteur award for best spoken word performer

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Dominic Berry has won this year’s Saboteur award for best spoken word performer, it was announced on Saturday night at the awards evening in London. Manchester-based Dominic, who pipped Hollie McNish,...

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News

The enduring appeal of print: long-running poetry magazines set out their stalls at London fair

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Evidence of the staying power of print poetry magazines and some of its most respected and distinguished editors could be found in London on Saturday. Free Verse organisers Chrissy Williams and Joey C...

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News

Bringing Stanley back to life: anthology of poets inspired by Spencer's art

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To Cookham Dean village hall in Berkshire on Friday night, for the Stanley Spencer poetry competition anthology reading. The hall was packed with more than 30 poets waiting their turn to read – around...

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Review

Write Out Loud at Bolton Socialist Club tonight

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Write Out Loud Bolton will be meeting at Bolton Socialist Club on Sunday 21 May at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Entry is £1 plus raffle to this open mic poetry event compered by Jeffarama! and Gordon Zola...

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News

Penelope Shuttle to judge £700 Torbay poetry festival competition

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Penelope Shuttle will be judging the £700 Torbay poetry festival competition. The deadline is 31 August. More details

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Competitions

Boxing clever: young Theatre Royal poets put mental health issues into words

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The visual performance aids are just 10 cardboard boxes, with one poet guiding the audience through the show, putting on a posh accent, as if it was an exhibition. The Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Y...

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News

I must be living twice: Eileen Myles, Serpent's Tail

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Eileen Myles is a compelling reader of her own works, and looks on the cover of this hardback selected and new poems as if she’s channelling Patti Smith. The studied air of cool pervades this whole co...

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Review

Write Out Loud Sale at the Waterside tonight

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Martin Zarrop and Joel Sadler-Puckering are the guest poets at Write Out Loud Sale on Tuesday 16 May at the Waterside arts centre, Sale. Entry is £3/£2 to this open mic event. It starts at 7.30pm - bu...

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News

Packing 'em in at Write Out Loud in Marsden tonight

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“All creatures …” is the theme for Marsden Write Out Loud in the Meeting Room at Marsden Mechanics Hall on Tuesday 16 May. Come and join in at this open-floor event, whether to read your own poems, so...

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News

Write Out Loud Woking celebrates first anniversary at the New Inn tonight

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Write Out Loud Woking will be celebrating its first anniversary at the New Inn, Send, near Woking, on Monday 15 May. Entry is free, and you can sign up from 7.30 onwards for the open mic. It starts at...

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News

'Do you want to talk about it?' by Wolfgar is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ by Wolfgar, a poem about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that appeared on Write Out Loud during Mental Health Awareness...

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Poem of the week

Kathy D'Arcy and Alisha Kaplan win Hippocrates prizes for poetry and medicine

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Kathy D’Arcy, pictured, from Cork, and Alisha Kaplan, from Toronto, are the 2017 winners of the Hippocrates health professional and open prizes for poetry and medicine, it was announced at Harvard Med...

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News

'My dishes in the sink, my brownie breakfast, my braless day'

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Here's a celebration of one day in the week, the kids with the father, a brownie for breakfast, everything right with the world. January O'Neil lives in Massachusetts, and this poem first appeared in ...

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American Life in Poetry

London, Swansea, New York, Australia, Italy: Dylan Day has global reach

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Readings at a favourite pub haunt of Dylan Thomas in London; performances, a walk, jazz, talks and film in his birthplace Swansea; and events in New York, Australia, and Italy will all form part of th...

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News

Mind the gap: Sarah Howe's weekend poetry course on what's left unspoken

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TS Eliot prize winner Sarah Howe will be running a residential weekend course next month aimed at helping poets to think about poetry as “an art of gaps and implication, where what’s left unspoken is ...

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Courses

From books to magazines: new poetry fair in London on Saturday

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Free Verse, organisers of the annual Poetry Book Fair in London, are staging a new event next month – a poetry magazine fair. Print magazines such as Acumen, Agenda, Ambit, Butcher's Dog, The Frogmore...

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News

Casually Discussing The Infinite: Stu Buck, Snow Leopard

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'Casually Discussing The Infinite' is the long-awaited debut collection by Write Out Loud regular Stu Buck.  American publisher Snow Leopard has a healthy list of previously published writers, each se...

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Review

Lessons of New Cross: poet Jay Bernard at the Last Word festival

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In 1981, 13 young black people were killed in a house fire in New Cross, south-east London. The fire is shrouded in mystery and controversy; it was never confirmed whether the fatal blaze was accident...

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News

Write Out Loud Wigan at the Old Courts tonight

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Write Out Loud will be convening at the Old Courts, Wigan on Thursday 11 May for another night of free, open mic poetry. It begins at 8pm in the Bailiff bar. More details and Map

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News

New poetry competition offers a prize every fortnight

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A publisher has launched a poetry competition in which a winner is declared every fortnight. Eyewear’s Fortnight New Poem prize “is meant to celebrate poetry in a fast-paced digital world, where too o...

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Competitions

Kayo Chingonyi and Sinead Morrissey to judge 2017 Foyle Young Poets competition

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Kayo Chingonyi and Sinead Morrissey will be judging the 2017 Foyle Young Poets competition, organised by the Poetry Society for poets aged 11-17.

Kayo Chingonyi said: “I will be looking for poems t...

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Young Write Out Loud

Write Out Loud at Stockport art gallery tonight

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Write Out Loud Stockport will meet on Monday 8 May to share poems at Stockport art gallery. Each month a collage poems is produced from group contributions, and you can read April’s here. Entry is a £...

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News

'You're what roof I have, frail thing, you're my argument against the whole sky'

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I recently had the privilege of editing Connie Wanek's Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems,for the University of Nebraska Press. I had been in Duluth a number of years ago, and the following poem, n...

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American Life in Poetry

'To earth we return' by elPintor is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘to earth we return’ by elPIntor, a short and powerful love poem. ElPIntor’s profile page says: “I've enjoyed my stay here at WoL much more than I would've a...

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Poem of the week

Poetry and much more at festival in Charles Causley's centenary year

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The Charles Causley festival taking place in Launceston from 1-5 June has a special significance this year  - 2017 is the centenary of the birth of the Cornish poet. Causley, who died in 2003, wrote f...

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News

Helen Mort to judge £1,000 Oxford Brookes poetry competition

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Helen Mort will be judging Oxford Brookes University’s £1,000 poetry competition, which also has an English as an Additional Language category. The deadline is 28 August. More details

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Competitions

Composers, singers and poets collaborate at Leeds Lieder festival

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The Leeds Lieder festival celebrates the performance and composition of song and of poetry in many languages – and a well-established event, the Composers and Poets Forum and Showcase, once again prov...

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Review

Catching Light: Helen Boyles, Indigo Dreams

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Helen Boyles is an honorary associate in the Department of English with the Open University and has worked since 2002 as an associate lecturer on undergraduate courses in the arts and language faculti...

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Review

Fore! Golf's laureate aims to inspire more people to take up the game

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The poetry of golf, anyone? National Golf Month, which begins on 1 May, has appointed its first golf laureate to help reverse the decline in the game and inspire people to take up the sport.

London...

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News

Deadline nears for £1,000 Poetry London competition

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Liz Berry will be judging Poetry London’s £1.000 poetry competition. The deadline is 2 May. More details

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Competitions

TV writer and producer Henry Normal returns to his poetry roots with Manchester book launch

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A leading writer, comedian and TV producer with credits such as The Royle Family and Gavin & Stacey is returning to his poetry roots with the launch of a collection of 70 poems selected from his early...

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News

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