Poetry News 2006


Winter issue

What's the ideal day-job? This is the question fielded by Foward prize winner Helen Farish as she contemplates the way in which her writing slots into her working week, and by Jane Yeh as she describes the route she took to getting her first collection published by Carcanet. Prize money helps, and in this issue we interview Valeria Melchioretto, the winner of the inaugural New Writing Ventures Award, and report on this year's Whitbread prize. Elsewhere in the issue, Matthew Francis takes an in-depth look at writing in syllabics, Peter Howard surveys the diverse poetry schools and scholars in Cambridge, and Mervyn Morris describes the poetry scene in Jamaica.

Letter from the Director
Jules Mann on recent education work and highlights for 2006.

Gifts from the Imagination
Award-winner Valeria Mechioretto talks to Angel Dahouk about the New Ventures Poetry prize and her early poetic experiences.

Poetry in Cambridge
Peter Howard tours the Cambridge poetry scene from town to gown and gives details of useful organisations, poetry nights and publications.

Poems by Members
on the theme of 'Foreign Cities', introduced by Tobias Hill.

The Day Job
Helen Farish contemplates writing, employment, and what to do when inspiration strikes.

The Route to a First Collection
Jane Yeh reveals how her Forward prize-shortlisted collection, Marabou, came to be published by Carcanet.

Close-up: Syllabics
Matthew Francis on how this subtle form gives rise to complex new possibilities.

Publisher Portfolio
Poetry News talks to John Lucas, founder of Shoestring Press.

Poetry in Jamaica
Mervyn Morris on writers, publishers and readings.

Spring issue

Spring brings a fresh crop of competition results headed by the Poetry Society's own National Poetry Competition. In this issue we feature an in-depth interview with first prize-winner Melanie Drane and profiles of the second and third prize-winners, Dominic McLoughlin and Kevin Saving. We also profile Tim Turnbull, winner of a landmark prize for performance poetry and one of those rare writers who can cross from page to stage. Many award-winning poems are written in free verse and in our regular close-up column Moniza Alvi sheds light on the invisible discipline needed to write in this form. Other regular columns look at poetry in Portsmouth, African Writers at the Poetry Café and an insight into the editorial policy of long-standing poetry magazine, Smith's Knoll.

Letter from the Director
Jules Mann on how poetry is thriving with tours, events, publications and bequests.

National Poetry Competition
First prize winner Melanie Drane talks to Lisa Roberts.

Poetry in Portsmouth
Denise Bennett's essential guide to getting in on the scene.

Poems by Members
on the theme of 'neighbours', introduced by Mimi Khalvati.

Between Traditions
Roddy Lumsden talks to Tim Turnbull, winner of the first Arts Foundation award for performance poetry.

The Route to a First Collection
James Sheard on how not to go about getting a first collection published...

Close-up: How Free is Free Verse ?
Moniza Alvi considers the capacious umbrella of open form.

On the Racks: Smith's Knoll
The Poetry News magazine monitor quizzes editor Michael Laskey.

African Writers
Nii Parkes on how a one-off event grew into a regular evening of poetry by writers from the African diaspora.

Summer issue

The Summer issue of Poetry News is all about inspiration - losing it, finding it, sustaining it. We have an in-depth profile of Fleur Adcock in which she talks about how a new subject has rekindled her enthusiasm for poetry, Janet Sutherland on how her route to a first collection involved a ten-year detour, and Gill McEvoy on how Louis MacNeice's 'Snow' inspired her recovery from serious illness. Elsewhere in the issue Richard Stanton introduces a key Wordsworth manuscript, Joelle Taylor talks about words and weapons with young spoken word artist, Cashman, and we explore the editorial policy of Wasafiri magazine. We also announce that Matt Barnard has won the 2006 Hamish Canham Poetry Prize, now in its third year, for the best poem to be published in Poetry News. Here too you can find new poems on the theme of Elephants, a topic which clearly inspired many of our readers.

Close-up: The Sestina
Patience Agbabi on the music of repetition in this intricate form.
(References to Patience Agbabi's feature on the sestina are as follows:
'Sestina' in Complete Poems Elizabeth Bishop (Chatto and Windus, 1991).  'Sestina: Altaforte' by Ezra Pound in The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland (Norton, 2000). 'Hearing of harvests rotting in the valleys' in Selected Poems, WH Auden (Faber & Faber, 1979). 'The Signifyin' Monkey' in Errata, Michael Donaghy (Picador, 1993). 'The Worshipful Company of Pomegranate Slicers' in The Worshipful Company of Pomegranate Slicers, Karen McCarthy (Spread the Word, 2006).
'The Misfits' in Moy Sand and Gravel, Paul Muldoon (Faber & Faber, 2002). 'Sestina' by Algernon Charles Swinburne in The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland (Norton, 2000). )

Letter from the Director
Jules Mann on poetry in the North East, funding and festivals.
Read a response to Jules's letter here.

The Hamish Canham Poetry Prize 2006
Carole Satyamurti reports on this year's contenders and announces the winner.

Poetry in County Durham
Jackie Litherland on a region with a long history of poetic activity, now facing funding problems.

Poems by Members
on the theme of 'Elephants', introduced by Adrian Mitchell.

And on the Fourth Friday there is music
Hylda Simms on poetry's origins in song and an event combining both at the Poetry Café

Inspiration Renewed
Joanne Limburg profiles Fleur Adcock who recently received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

The Route to a First Collection
Janet Sutherland on how she returned to poetry after a ten year break.

The Wordsworths in Germany
Richard Stanton of the Wordsworth Trust continues our manuscript series with a look at Manuscript JJ and the first seeds of The Prelude.

A Priceless Gift
Gill McEvoy on how Louis MacNeice's 'Snow' helped her through a shock diagnosis and its consequences.

On the Racks: Wasafiri
Poetry News profiles the 'cultural traveller' magazine.

 Autumn issue

National Poetry Day takes place on 5 October and this issue celebrates the day with articles around its theme of identity. Jules Mann introduces some of the many activities planned by organisations and individuals across the country; Kwame Dawes talks about his own sense of identity after a peripatetic childhood; Vicki Feaver looks at monologue and identity and we have a full page of poems by members on the identity theme. There is also a q&a with 57 Productions and Magma magazine, a sneak preview of the Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations and a feature by poet Myra Schneider on the day she read 'The Windhover' by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

National Poetry Day: Who Are We?
Jules Mann on the inspiration behind the day

Profile: Kwame Dawes
George Ttoouli hears about international identities, reggae and a new production

Letter from the Director
Jules Mann on the autumnal poetry season

Poems by Members
on the theme of identity, introduced by Eleanor Cooke