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.

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers (b. 1974, Fiji) was chosen as one of the Next Generation Poets and as one of the Independent's top 30 young British writers on the strength of his first book of poetry, The Blue Book. His second, Skirrid Hill, described by...

A Village of Voices - Lynette Roberts

Owen Sheers - 2 June 2009

Lynette Robert's is a poet who in my mind occupies similar territory as David Jones. Both poets are, i think, traditional modernists, or modern traditionalists
depending on your perspective and where you want to place the emphasis. By this what I mean is that they are incredibly aware of the traditions, accents and forms
out of which they are writing, and yet they also aspire to write truly modern poetry, poetry which knows where poetry has been but which also wants to make

The Known Unknown - Arnold's Dover Beach

Owen Sheers - 23 May 2009

I'd always thought of 'Dover Beach' as an incredible poem for the way in which it simultaneously captures both an immediate moment - Arnold and his new wife standing at a window on the night of their honeymoon - and a wider sweep of philosophical history and religious thought. The poem does this partly by the way it moves. From the sight and sound of the sea before the speaker, the 'eye' of the poem then moves back across time before zooming out to an image of the whole world, before washing back in again to Arnold addressing his wife.

The place in a poet, the poet in a place

Owen Sheers - 18 May 2009

Travelling thorugh Orkney you can use George's writing, both his poetry and his prose, as a map to the island's places and its history. While we were filming there we were also lucky enough to have the memories of people who'd known George as a kind of 'mirror' map to his own landscape and history. Stromness, where George lived, became his still point from which he could explore and examine the world in perhaps greater depth than more widely travelled poets.

Look, Stranger!

Owen Sheers - 11 May 2009

It isn't surprising that some of our best poets of place are poets who know their particular landscape intimately, deep in the bone. Frost in Vermont, Edward Thomas in the English and Welsh countryside, Heaney in rural Ireland. It's through such intimate knowledge that a unique vision and access into what Hopkins might call the 'inscape' of a place is often achieved.

On Influence

Owen Sheers - 4 May 2009

As Simon Armitage said when I interviewed him for this film, the relationship between William and Dorothy Wordsworth was perhaps one of the most important literary relationships in history. Brother and sister lived together, walked together, talked together and sometimes, it seems, thought together. It's clear, I think, from looking at Dorothy's journals that many of William's poems, ideas and philosophies were developed through conversations with his sister. Just read Dorothy's description of a certain bunch of daffodils to see what I mean.

A Poet's Guide to Britain

Owen Sheers - 28 April 2009

For a small island Britain has a remarkable variety of landscape. From village to city, from beach to mountain, from mundane to dramatic, in Britain you can travel between vastly contrasting landscapes in a matter of hours, often much less. The long and tumultuous history of Britain means these places tend to have fiercely unique personalities and perceptions of themselves, so as well as looking different they also feel very different.

Glossary term

Dramatic Monologue

A poem that shares many features with a speech from a play: one person speaks, and in that speech there are clues to his/her character, the character of the implied person or people that s/he is speaking to, the situation in which it is spoken and the story that has led to this situation.

A tour of the Archive with Louise Joy

Since I spend much of my time rooting around in the eighteenth century, this is where I headed first. Hearing poems...

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