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In Their Own Words,

Helen Ivory & George Szirtes

In Their Own Words, Helen Ivory & George Szirtes


Publication Date: 15-Oct-12 | ISBN: 9781907773211 | Trim Size: 216 x 135 mm | Extent: 272pp | Format: Paperback

UK & International Distribution: Grantham Book Services | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop




In Their Own Words is a celebration of the variousness of contemporary poets living and writing in the UK today. 56 poets talk about their own poetic voices and their work. Essential reading for anybody who cares about poetry.

A backstage peek behind the poetry of some of the best contemporary UK writers. Edited by T.S. Eliot prize winner George Szirtes and Helen Ivory — two of the UK’s most respected poets and teachers.

In Their Own Words is an examination of the voices writing in the UK today – the book addresses multiculturalism, page and stage, and LBG issues, as well as traditional ‘page’ poetry.

This book is not retrospective, it is a representation of the poetry world as a living, breathing developing thing.

Readers will get an insight into the many ways the poetic voice can develop – it’s a behind the scenes look at the poetics of the poetry.

There is nothing currently available quite like it.


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Helen Ivory and George Szirtes; Introduction; Tom Warner; Poetics; Andrew Greig; World at Play; W.N. Herbert; Polystylistic; Mark Granier; A Murmuration; Philip Gross; The White Bit Round The Edges; Vicki Feaver; ‘HeaD Wars’: Finding a Voice for a Poem; Mimi Khalvati; Ah!; David Morley; Imagining a Language into Life; Ira Lightman; Untitled; Agnes Lehoczky; Poetry: Conducting Cacophony; Andy Brown; Selvage; Ian Duhig; Office of the Wall; Anna Reckin; Milk and Thistles; Jen Hadfield; Like; Sarah Law; A Quality of Attention; Kona Macphee; poetics; Maitreyabandhu; A Tune Beyond Us; Julia Copus; Music Lessons; Polly Clark; Afterlives; Deryn Rees-Jones; from Still Life; Tim Turnbull; Work; Samantha Wynne Rhydderch; Spadework; Helen Mort; Walking the Line; Nigel McLoughlin; Making Poems; Jay Bernard; Mess Voice Mess; Katrina Porteous; Music and Silence; Ross Sutherland; Live Audiences; Luke Wright; Lines; Tim Wells; Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting; Antony Dunn; To Tell You the Truth; Luke Kennard; Between Ice Cream And Plinths; Matthew Sweeney; Poetics; Pascale Petit; The Glasshouse; Moniza Alvi; ‘Subtle Knife’; Gregory Woods; Nothing Metaphysical; Sam Riviere; The Self-Demonstrating Article Article; Michael Symmons Roberts; On Poetry and Conflict; Karen McCarthy Woolf; Love, Death and Balancing Acts; Martin Figura; Everybody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen; Jacob Sam-La Rose; Short Notes On Image-Making and Poetry; Mir Mahfuz Ali; I Learned My Art in Slums; Vahni Capildeo; North Coast (Trinidad) Genesis of a Poem; Roger Robinson; Tobago Fruits; Clare Shaw; Words; Clare Pollard; Note on Poetry and Thought; Meirion Jordan; Drake’s Drum; Tiffany Atkinson; Irrelevant; Patience Agbabi; None of it written; John McCullough; The Historical Poem: Notes from a Frozen Island1; John Mole; Poetry, Jazz and the Sound of Surprise; Peter Scupham; Will the real Peter Scupham please stand up?; Alison Brackenbury; Wild Honey; Carol Rumens; From Shopping-Mall to Pound-Shop, or Whatevers, Grandma!; Carrie Etter; Inhabiting the Poem; Penelope Shuttle; Writing Poems; Esther Morgan; Resolutions


“Helen Ivory is a visually precise poet, with the gift of creating stunning images with an economy of means.” —James Sutherland-Smith


“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


“[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



George SzirtesGeorge 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 Ottó Orbán, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Ágnes 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.


Helen IvoryHelen 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.

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