'This moment before the splash of lights'

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Most of the school-age athletes I know or have known would have been embarrassed to show any vulnerability, and this fine poem by Al Ortolani, from his chapbook Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street, published by Rattle, really catches what I felt like, trying to do my best at what I was never any good at, even on my best day.

 

GAME PRAYER

by Al Ortolani 

Maybe it’s the way boy...

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American Life in Poetry

From Surrey to Sale, via Wales and Belfast: online open-mic accesses all areas

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Hands up who’s missing live, “real” poetry open-mics? How many have taken part in their online equivalents? I dipped my toe in the water last night, joining the fun at Sale Write Out Loud’s second online open-mic, with guest poet Louise Fazackerley, and compered with warmth and bonhomie by Sale orga...

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Review

Joy France in Manchester, 2013

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Mention the word 'Joy' to any northern poet and they might well respond  “Balls!”, but not for the reasons you'd suppose.  ‘Balls’ just happens to be the title and subject matter for one of Joy France...

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We'll meet again

Wigan Write Out Loud goes online tonight

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Wigan Write Out Loud’s regular compere Ian Whiteley will be hosting an online open-mic poetry night on Thursday 30 April on Zoom. The online meeting is open from 7.45pm, and the start time will be 8.1...

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Events

Pascale Petit wins Keats-Shelley poetry prize with 'Indian Paradise Flycatcher'

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Pascale Petit has won the £1,000 Keats-Shelley poetry prize with her poem ‘Indian Paradise Flycatcher’, in response to the competition theme of Songbird, marking the composition 200 years ago of Percy...

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News

Merseyside poets invited to contribute to World in Lockdown 'patchwork' poem

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Poets on Merseyside are being invited to contribute to a lengthy ‘patchwork’ poem that documents the lockdown mood in the region.

The World in Lockdown People's Poem is being curated by poet Barry ...

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News

JB Barrington in Manchester, 2014

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I Swear I was There, this third evening of poetry/comedy/music created and hosted by Salford’s own JB Barrington (aka WordsEscapeMe) at the Nag’s Head in Manchester, was packed to the gunnels. And rig...

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We'll meet again

Liz Berry to judge £1,000 Ledbury poetry festival competition

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Liz Berry will be judging the £1,000 Ledbury poetry festival competition. The deadline is 16 July. More details

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Competitions

Rachel Mann to judge £500 Manchester Cathedral poetry competition

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Priest, poet and broadcaster Rachel Mann will be judging the £500 Manchester Cathedral poetry prize. The deadline is 30 June. More details

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Competitions

Jo Shapcott to judge £1,000 Wells poetry competition

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Jo Shapcott will be judging the Wells Festival of Literature £1,000 open poetry competition. The deadline is 30 June. More details

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Competitions

Beware of 'Zoom-bombers': online organisers urged to step up security

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An online poetry organiser is urging others to beware of the growing problem of ‘Zoom-bomber’ trolls disrupting events. The Stay-at-Home! online Literary Festival is warning that organisers should ema...

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News

Carol Ann Duffy launches poetry project in response to pandemic

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The former poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has launched an international poetry project with other poets including Imtiaz Dharker, Roger McGough and Andrew McMillan,in response to the coronavirus pand...

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News

'Alone, all alone': celebs offer daily online readings of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner

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Celebrities including Lemn Sissay, Iggy Pop, Hilary Mantel, Jeremy Irons, Tilda Swinton and Marianne Faithfull will be reading daily from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' fo...

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News

These are the Hands: ed. by Deborah Alma and Dr Katie Amiel, Fair Acre Press

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This anthology should be read at some time by all those who stand outside their homes on Thursday evenings clapping in support of NHS workers. Which is a lot of us. It wasn’t planned that way, but thi...

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Review

Louise Fazackerley is online guest poet at Sale Write Out Loud tonight

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Louise Fazackerley - shortlisted in the Saboteur awards for best spoken word performer - will be the online guest poet at Sale Write Out Loud on Tuesday 21 April. Email organiser Sarah Pritchard at sa...

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Events

'Let's stand by the window and look out at the light on the field'

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I had to drop out of a philosophy class in college because I'd begun to think about what I was thinking about and I was getting dizzy and sick. Here's a poem by Danusha Laméris about getting relief fr...

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American Life in Poetry

Luke Wright in London, 2016

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I first saw Luke Wright’s What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, which focuses on the broken dreams of the Tony Blair years, almost a year ago, at its debut performance on a Saturday lunchtime in Shropshir...

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We'll meet again

Comedian and football fan Frank Skinner to launch poetry podcast

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Comedian and poetry fan Frank Skinner is to launch a poetry podcast, and will be talking about poems “the way I talk about football. I’m passionate about both and believe there is a real space for som...

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News

Poetry School adapts face-to-face courses for Zoom

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The Poetry School will be offering some of its summer term face-to-face courses via Zoom. It already offers regular online courses, and now three of its face-to-face ones have been “adjusted for Zoom”...

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News

Poets give thanks to transport workers in moving poem-video

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Poetry is proving it has the power to comfort and to console in these times. The nation is turning to it as never before – on TV and radio, and in newspapers, too. Countless poems have been posted by ...

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News

Bolton Write Out Loud goes online tonight

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Bolton Write Out Loud will be the third Write Out Loud night to go online, on Wednesday 15 April at 7.30pm. Co-organiser Jeff Dawson is seeking a dozen readers to take part via the video conferencing ...

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News

A Second Whisper: Lynne Hjelmgaard, Seren

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Poetry can surprise us in many different ways. Reading parts of this collection took me back just short of 50 years. When I was a student, I lived in a part of north London that was close to Golders G...

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Review

Andrew McMillan to judge £1,000 Winchester prize

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Andrew McMillan will be judging the £1,000 Winchester poetry prize. The deadline is 31 July. More details

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Competitions

Barnsley appoints Ian McMillan as Poet in Lockdown

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The Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan, has a new post in his home town. Barnsley Museums has appointed the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s The Verb as its Poet in Lockdown, with the job of inspiring others to...

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News

No Far Shore: Anne-Marie Fyfe, Seren

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The secondary heading of this literary-travel memoir - a combination of prose and poetry - is ‘Charting Unknown Waters’. And although Anne-Marie Fyfe had no thought of viruses when putting together th...

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Review

Apples and Snakes to livestream spoken word shows

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The spoken word performance organisation Apples and Snakes is launching a new initiative – Apples and Snakes @ Home – in this time of lockdown, with a series of hour-long livestreamed poetry and conve...

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News

'A pool of intermingled wings and bodies'

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How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. Here’s a poem by Jared Carter from his new book, The Land Itself, from Monongahela Press. This is a fine example of how a talented poet ca...

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American Life in Poetry

John Hegley in Manchester, 2012

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The magnificently shabby surroundings of Gullivers in Oldham Street, Manchester, provided the backdrop for what turned out to be a hugely entertaining  bill on Wednesday night. The last time I scaled ...

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We'll meet again

'Every butterfly knows that the end is different from the beginning'

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I'm writing this column on a summer day when a hungry crowd of Monarch butterfly caterpillars are eating the upper leaves of the milkweed just outside my door in Nebraska, and my wife and I are joyful...

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American Life in Poetry

Popular poetry group launches anthology after being flooded with pandemic poems

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Less than a month ago, poet Janine Booth set up a Facebook group for fellow poets wanting to write about the issues and experiences that people were facing during the coronavirus crisis – and was amaz...

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News

Poet and teacher Kate Clanchy on Orwell prize longlist

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A book by poet and teacher Kate Clanchy has been included on the longlist of 12 for the Orwell prize for political writing. Clanchy’s book Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Picador) is about...

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News

New NHS poetry anthology raises £2,500 for Covid-19 Emergency Fund

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Profits from a poetry anthology about the NHS, These are the Hands, have raised £2,500 for the NHS Charities Together Covid 19 Emergency fund since the anthology's launch less than three weeks ago. Th...

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News

Four contemporary poets respond to Wordsworth in BBC Radio 4 programme

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BBC Radio 4 marked the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birthday with poems from four contemporary poets – Helen Mort, Kim Moore, Jacob Polley and Zaffar Kunial – in a programme called The Ne...

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News

Luke Wright live in his living room ... but not in front of the children!

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Every night since the lockdown leading performance poet Luke Wright has been appearing on Twitter in his living room at 8pm – and last night was his 13th show. And what a treat for those confined to t...

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Review

Royal Mail launches Romantic Poets stamps to mark Wordsworth anniversary

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A set of stamps commemorating the Romantic Poets to mark the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth go on sale from today, Tuesday 7 April. As well as the quote from a Wordsworth poem, pictur...

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News

BBC radio programme You and Yours urges poetry-writing listeners to get in touch

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The BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours says it wants to hear from anyone who has taken to writing poetry as a result of the pandemic. In an item last week the programme looked at why some people, inc...

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News

Pigeon Songs: Eoghan Walls, Seren

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Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, Eoghan Walls has lived and taught in Germany, Rwanda and England, where he now lectures in creative writing at Lancaster University. He won an Eric Gregory award in 20...

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Review

Michael Rosen's poem 'These are the Hands' read on Today programme as author remains 'poorly' in hospital

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A poem by Michael Rosen, ‘These are the Hands’, that is the title poem of a timely new poetry anthology about the NHS, was read on BBC Radio 4’s morning Today programme on Thursday at around 8.30 am b...

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News

Stockport Write Out Loud holds first online meeting

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Stockport Write Out Loud, which usually meets at Stockport art gallery, has held its first meeting online. The group, which normally meets once a month, is switching to bi-monthly meetings via the vid...

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News

ITV ends London news programme with a poem

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ITV’s London News has been ending its half-hourly bulletin just before 6.30pm this week with a poem by a London poet. Here’s a video of one of the poets, Ollie Feather from south London, reading Hour ...

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News

Roger McGough and Brian Patten, in Liverpool, 2017

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So, there I was, back in the city were I once spent three gloriously happy, if challenging years working and living; a city with a certain notoriety; a creative, canny, cocksure yet caring community; ...

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We'll meet again

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