Poet in Residence

From time to time a poet is in residence at the Poetry Archive, talking about poetry with anyone who wants to join in the conversation. You are welcome to explore our archive of past residencies and read some of the lively and varied discussions you'll find there.

Paul Farley

Paul Farley (b.1965) began winning awards with Poetry Review's Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, took the Forward Prize for Best First Collection with The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You, and won the Whitbread Poetry Prize for his...

Go, Little Book

Paul Farley - 1 December 2006

Thursday 30th November: Catch an early train to Liverpool, and find myself mentioned in the TLS while reading it on the way [don't worry, this is the only literary bit], a nice surprise. As always, I enjoy the Olive Mount cutting, eighth wonder of the world, the trainlines cut through the strata of sandstone Liverpool is built upon: so mysterious, a great entrance to a city. Arrive and take a taxi (Liverpool used to have more taxis per-capita-head than anywhere else in England: does it still?) up to the Everyman Theatre to meet a friend.

Who are you reading?

Paul Farley - 27 November 2006

I've been thinking about this since starting this residency. I don't remember a great deal of poetry from school, or before. There were the usual chants and rhymes, and - slightly bizzare this - sea shanties, which we'd sometimes sing during morning assembly. And Browning's 'Home Thoughts from Abroad' sticks in my mind, though I can't place how I came to be reading it. I remember Robert Louis Stevenson though. Does anybody still read his poems? 'Faster than fairies, faster than witches'. Another Victorian book - not poetry - was 'The Water Babies' by Charles Kingsley.

Reading Poetry

Paul Farley - 10 November 2006

Is there a discrepancy? I've just picked this up as background noise, and it seems to be part of the weather now: more people are writing poetry than reading it. Though it's so easy to write something that doesn't go all the way to the right margin of a page: you could surmise that most people, at some point, have written a poem.

Hello everybody from me, Paul (Farley, the poet)

Paul Farley - 28 September 2006

I'm re-reading Wilfred Owen at the moment because I'm presenting a programme about him for the BBC in November. It's led me to wonder about where we imagine poems get written. With Owen - in fact, with all the War Poets - I'd imagined, when I was younger, that he wrote in a shell hole or from a trench between raids... But it wasn't really like that. He drafted and worked on many of his most famous poems in a tiny attic room in Ripon, up in Yorkshire! I visited it recently: very strange to be stood under the skylight where 'The Send-Off' and 'Futility' were written.

Glossary term

Pentameter

A line of verse consisting of five metrical units, called feet.