'In Their Own Words' is a celebration of the variousness of contemporary poets living and writing in the UK today. 50-60 poets talk about their own poetic voices and their work.
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Helen Ivory is a poet and artist. She has a degree from Norwich Art School and won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999. She has three collections with Bloodaxe Books, the most recent 'The Breakfast Machine' was published in 2010. She has taught for the Arvon Foundation, The Poetry School and at UEA where she is Course Director for Creative Writing for Continuing Education. She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is an editor for The Poetry Archive. George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. He was educated in England, training as a painter, and has always written in English. In recent years he has worked as a translator of Hungarian literature, producing editions of such writers as Otto Orban, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Agnes Nemes Nagy. He co-edited Bloodaxe's Hungarian anthology The Colonnade of Teeth. His Bloodaxe poetry books are The Budapest File (2000); An English Apocalypse (2001); Reel (2004), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; New & Collected Poems (2008) and The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009. Bloodaxe has also published John Sears' critical study Reading George Szirtes (2008). Szirtes lives in Norfolk and teaches at the University of East Anglia. Andy Brown is Director of the Centre for Creative Writing at Exeter University. His recent books include Hunting the Kinnayas (Stride, 2004), From a Cliff (Arc, 2002) and of Science (Worple, 2001, with David Morley). Andy Brown studied Ecology, a discipline that informs both his poetry and his criticism, which appears in The Salt Companion to the Works of Lee Harwood (Salt, 2006). He was previously a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation's creative writing courses, and has been a recording musician. Vahni Capildeo was born in 1973, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She came to England in 1991. This is her first book. Philip Gross is a writer of many parts - from prize-winning poetry to teenage novels of high suspense and unsettling depths. Son of a wartime refugee from Estonia and a Cornish schoolmaster's daughter, his work explores borderlines - between childhood and adult life, between fantasy and reality. He has two grown-up children and a grandson, and lives in Penarth with his wife Zelie. He has led writing workshops in schools for twenty years, and is Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. Luke Kennard is the author of four volumes of poetry and two pamphlets. He lectures in creative writing at the University of Birmingham. John McCullough was born in Watford in 1978. His poetry has appeared in publications including Poetry London, The Rialto, The Guardian, Magma and London Magazine. He teaches literature and creative writing at the Open University and the University of Sussex and has a Ph.d from Sussex on rhetoric and friendship in English Renaissance writing. He lives in Brighton. John Mole (b. 1941) taught for many years in this country and the USA before becoming a freelance writer and occasional jazz musician. As a poet for children he continues to give readings and run workshops in schools and libraries, and his work is represented in many anthologies. Reviewing his work in the Times Educational Supplement, Gillian Clarke wrote: 'He's one of the best, and already has many fans.' Matthew Sweeney was born in Donegal, Ireland in 1952. He moved to London in 1973 and studied at the Polytechnic of North London and the University of Freiburg. His poetry collections include Blue Shoes (1989), Cacti (1992), The Bridal Suite (1997), A Smell of Fish (2000), Selected Poems (2002), Sanctuary (2004) and Black Moon (2007). He won a Cholmondeley Award in 1987 and an Arts Council Writers' Award in 1999.Review:
Helen Ivory is a visually precise poet, with the gift of creating stunning images with an economy of means.--James Sutherland-Smith
[of George Szirtes] I can't think of anyone but Louis MacNeice whose work has struck me as having such a combination of sheer verbal energy, contemporary pertinence and acuity, formal legerdemain, imaginative elan and fertile, courageous strangeness.--Marilyn Hacker
There are none of the adept terza rima or sonnets we might expect from Szirtes here. Instead "a series of narrative cries and thrusts" create a feeling of chaos. Yet his use of language to interrogate language remains as uncomfortably elegant as a Leni Riefenstahl film.--Nancy Campbell "Poetry Review "
Helen Ivory creates a troubled yet beguiling world rich in irony and disquiet. She possesses a strongly-grounded narrative voice which, combined with her dextrous transformative takes both on reality and on what lies beyond reality's surface, puts one in mind of the darker side of Stevie Smith who said that poetry "is a strong explosion in the sky."--Penelope Shuttle
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