Its eclectic international editorial vision makes Poetry London one of the very best, essential poetry magazines in English.Steve Berg, Editor, American Poetry Review
From modest beginnings in 1988, when it was a listings newsletter, Poetry London has developed into one of the UK’s leading poetry magazines.
Do not be misled by our name: Poetry London has the same relation to London as The New Yorker has to New York. In other words, it is a national and international magazine. We publish three times a year and feature poems and reviews from London and far beyond, including work in translation. Poetry London wants to attract the best poems by the best poets currently writing in English.
But an important editorial aim is also to foster emerging writers. On average a third of the poetry pages is given to poets who have yet to publish a first collection. We review pamphlets in the autumn issue and first collections in every issue, and we run an annual poetry competition.
Over the past year (2019-20), a third of contributors to Poetry London are people of colour, of which 19% are Black (representing 6.5% of contributors). However, we recognise that while these figures may reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK at large, they do not reflect the diversity of London, our home city, where more than 40% of the population are people of colour and 13.3% are Black.
Poetry London has now enshrined these London figures as our benchmark, to avoid the trap of complacency. We acknowledge that all three members of our small editorial team are white, and that the audiences of our live events still tend to be majority white. These are long-term, structural challenges that we are committed to addressing with support and oversight from our board of trustees, improving our recruitment procedures in order to ensure diverse candidate pools, alongside increasing dialogue with Black-led organisations.
Poetry London spreads its net wide to include the latest from Europe, America and other parts of the world: work by new poets and established ones … It’s one of the best poetry magazines around.Ciaran Carson
André Naffis-Sahely is the author of the collection The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017) and the pamphlet The Other Side of Nowhere (Rough Trade Books, 2019). He is also the editor of The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, 2020). His work as a literary translator includes titles by Balzac, Zola, Frankétienne, Abdellatif Laâbi and Tahar Ben Jelloun. He has taught at Whittier College, Occidental College and UCLA, where he was the Author in Residence, and he is a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Manchester Writing School. He is from Abu Dhabi, but was born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother.
Dai George is a poet, critic and editor from Cardiff. His first collection, The Claims Office (Seren, 2013), was an Evening Standard book of the year, and his poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies such as Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Guardian Online, The White Review and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. Since 2014 he has edited the online poetry journal Prac Crit with its founding editor Sarah Howe and Vidyan Ravinthiran. He is currently completing a PhD on twentieth-century poetry and syntax at University College London, where he also teaches.
Isabelle Baafi is a writer, poet, editor, and critic from London. Her debut pamphlet, Ripe (ignitionpress), was a winner of the 2021 Somerset Maugham Award, and was the PBS Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2021. She was the winner of the 2019 Vincent Cooper Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, the 2020 Bridport Prize for Poetry, and the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. Her poetry and prose have been published or are forthcoming in The TLS, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She was also a member of the 2019-20 London Library’s Emerging Writer’s Programme, and the 2020 Griot’s Well Programme with Writerz and Scribez. In addition, Isabelle is a Ledbury Poetry Critic, an Obsidian Foundation Fellow, and a Board Member at Magma. She is currently working on her debut poetry collection.
Jess Chandler is a publisher and editor, and runs the independent publishing houses Prototype and House Sparrow Press. She was a co-founder of Test Centre, which ran from 2011–18, publishing innovative works of poetry and fiction. She has worked as an editor at Reaktion Books, and as a researcher and producer on factual television programmes.
Raised on the North Peckham estate in South London, Caleb Femi is a poet and director. His debut collection POOR was published in 2020. He has written and directed short films for the BBC and Channel 4, and poems for Tate Modern, the Royal Society for Literature, St Paul’s Cathedral, the BBC, the Guardian and more. He has been featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the Young People’s Laureate for London.
Ellen McAteer is General Manager of Poetry London, founder of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow, and on the Editorial Board of Gutter magazine. Her poetry pamphlet Honesty Mirror, published by Red Squirrel, won First Prize in the New Writer magazine pamphlet competition judged by Helen Mort. She won the 2017 Waterstones’ Refugee Week Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted for the Baker Prize. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art and on the University of Oxford Creative Writing MSt, a mentee of the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme, under Alexander Hutchison, and a singer with the band Stone Tape.
Hadiru Mahdi joined Poetry London as Administrator in Autumn 2017. He is a writer performer and visual artist. As a member of the Boy’s Don’t performance poetry theatre production with Papertales and the Half Moon theatre he delivers plays and workshops for young audiences. His art collective Vulpes Vulpes has been active since 2009, in that time moving from running a gallery and project space supporting emerging artist, to making work as an artist group. He writes poetry, prose and music, performing also as Brother Portrait. With a background in Economics and International Development he as previously held a number of positions in think tanks and NGOs including the Bretton Woods Project and Jubilee Debt Campaign’s Economic Justice Project.
Board of Trustees
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Astrid Alben is a poet, editor and translator. Her debut collection Ai! Ai! Pianissimo came out with Arc Publications in 2011. Plainspeak was published in 2019 by Prototype. Her poems, essays and reviews are featured in a wide range of publications, including in The Times Literary Supplement and Poetry Review.
Astrid has worked in advertising, at Wieden & Kennedy, as head of production for Saatchi & Saatchi and as a curator for Vedute in Amsterdam and New York. Alben is the co-founder, joint CEO and artistic director of the arts and sciences initiative PARS . She has curated and edited the Findings on… series published by Lars Müller Publishers and curated site-specific events that are a mixture of theatre, art installation and scientific experiment. More recently Alben was acting CEO of the Poetry Translation Centre, where she is a trustee.
She has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, Rijksakademie Fellowship, Hosking Houses Fellowship, Clore Fellowship and Royal Society of Arts Fellowship.
Shahrukh is a chartered accountant working for South Bank Employers Group, South Bank BID and Jubilee Gardens Trust. With ten years’ experience of not-for-profit and charity sectors, he has a broad base of finance skills, knowledge and acumen to support Poetry London.
He has a strong interest in arts and culture and believes it has the power to enhance society. He enjoys writing poetry and plays in his spare time and catching live readings and shows. He also writes a blog which cover his many other passions including film, music and art. He has a keen interest in ensuring poetry continues to grow, be more accessible and empower as many people as possible.
Jack is a barrister practicing from Henderson Chambers in Temple, London. Before joining the Bar he took a master’s degree in Modernist literature, writing his thesis on Ezra Pound’s publication history in post-war Italy, then worked as an editor at an auction house and at a gallery specialising in Modern British art. He has written on art for a number of national publications.
Spirit de la Mare
Lisa Kiew is an accountant, charity sector leader and poet. She has led finance and broader organisational functions for a diverse range of not-for-profit organisations for close to 20 years. She is actively involved and a contributor to sector developments in strategic finance and governance through Charity Finance Group (CFG) and ICSA: The Governance Institute; and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Her debut pamphlet The Unquiet came out with Offord Road Books in 2019. She is one of the 2019/2020 London Library Emerging Writers. She was shortlisted for 2017 Primers mentoring and publication scheme. Her poems have been published in Brittle Star, Butcher’s Dog, Ink Sweat and Tears, Lighthouse, Magma, Obsessed with Pipework, Tears in the Fence, The Scores, The North and Wasifiri, among other magazines and websites.
Tobe is a strategy consultant with experience across technology, business, finance, and accounting. He currently works with private corporations in different sectors, aiming to solve problems and create value. He has also supported charities in a personal capacity, and is especially committed to enabling local foodbanks achieve greater efficiency.
Tobe has a deep passion for the arts and poetry, and his technology-biased background serves as his driver for making the written art form relevant in an age of digital disruptions.
He writes poetry exploring themes of identity, belonging, and reconciling past and present conflicts buried within his Nigerian roots.
Naush Sabah is a poet and editor based in the West Midlands. She was an IT lecturer and community organiser for many years, before completing an MA in Creative Writing, with Distinction, at BCU. She now works as a freelance writer. Her short play, Coins, was staged at The Rep and longlisted for the Pint Sized Plays competition (2019). She is Assistant Editor at Short Fiction Journal and Co-founder and Editor at Pallina Press and Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal.
Aki Schilz is the Director of The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s longest-running editorial consultancy for writers, providing editing services, mentoring and literary events. Since 2015, she has been a shortlist judge for both the Bridport First Novel Award and the Creative Future Literary Awards for marginalised writers. Aki is a member of the #BAMEinPublishing network, and an advocate for improved inclusivity, accessibility and transparency in the literature sector. In 2018, in recognition of her work at TLC her #BookJobTransparency campaign, she was named as one of the FutureBook40, a list of 40 innovators in UK publishing. Aki is also a prize-winning writer of poetry, short stories and experimental non-fiction, with work featured in a range of publications including Synaesthesia Magazine, Year’s Best Weird Fiction IV, Popshot, InkSweatTears, CHEAP POP, and And Other Poems. She is co-founder of the Saboteur Award-shortlisted #LossLit digital literature project with Kit Caless (Influx Press), and an editor at LossLit Magazine.
Phoebe lives in Manchester and currently works as a freelance Development Consultant for the arts and social justice sectors. She has previously worked for The Bush Theatre and The Poetry Society, and is a mentor for the charity Arts Emergency.
Phoebe received the Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award in 2019, and a Northern Writers’ Award for poetry in 2012. Her poetry and criticism have appeared in Under the Radar, The Tangerine, The Moth, Ambit, Magma, The Observer, The TLS, and as part of the Northern Poetry Library’s ‘Poem of the North’ exhibition. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Animal Noises, was published by Green Bottle press in 2020.
Ian is currently a director of an international financial software company with responsibilities across strategy, program management and organizational development. Outside his professional life he was previously the chair of the Board of Trustees at the Poetry School.