Its eclectic international editorial vision makes Poetry London one of the very best, essential poetry magazines in English.Steve Berg, Editor, American Poetry ReviewFrom 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
Editors & Staff
Martha Sprackland is editor at Offord Road Books and a founding editor of multilingual arts zine La Errante. She was previously assistant poetry editor at Faber, and before that was co-founder of Cake poetry magazine. Her own poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books, Poetry London, Poetry Review and many other places, and she writes a regular poetry and fiction review column for Five Dials. A pamphlet, Glass As Broken Glass, was published by Rack Press in 2017, and a non-fiction book on sharks is forthcoming. She is a poet-in-residence for Caught by the River.
For information about Martha’s editorship at Poetry London, please see Poetry Editor News.
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.
Ali Lewis received an Eric Gregory Award in 2018 and his debut pamphlet Hotel (2020) is out now with Verve. His poems have been published in magazines and anthologies including The London Magazine, Wild Court, Ambit, Poetry Review, and Prototype II. He has a degree in Politics from Cambridge, where he received the John Dunn and Precious Pearl Prizes, and an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College, where he was shortlisted for the Ivan Juritz and Pat Kavanagh Awards. He is currently studying for a PhD at Durham University. He was born in Nottingham in 1990 to a mixed Ashkenazi Jewish / White British family.
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.
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. She previously worked at Poetry London as the first Digital Editor, and is delighted to be returning to the organisation at this exciting time.
Martin Parker was born in North Nottinghamshire and studied photography at Napier University, Edinburgh. He moved to London in 1997 and completed his MA (Fine Art) at Central Saint Martins, London. His work has been exhibited in Sheffield, Edinburgh, London and Poznan, Poland, including solo shows, and he has curated a number of international and UK exhibitions. He has worked as a graphic designer since 1997 and specializes in education and the arts. His clients include: Tate Modern, Terra Incognita, Refugee Council, The Poetry Society, The Poetry School, Enitharmon Press, Hearing Eye, Lambeth Archive, Norwood, Middlesex University, Social Spider, and the Zoological Society of London. He is co-editor of Brittle Star magazine for new writers and plays in a band called Friends (since 1990). He joined Poetry London in 2000. For more information go to www.silbercow.co.uk.
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
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.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Sophia Blackwell was born in Newcastle and read English at Oxford, where she started performing poetry in 2003. Since then, she has performed at Glastonbury, Edinburgh and many more of the major festivals. Her first poetry collection, Into Temptation, was published in 2009 and her novel, After My Own Heart, in 2012.
Sophia has worked in marketing within the publishing industry for over ten years and has experience in managing and promoting trade, academic and professional titles and a background in digital content marketing and publicity.
Claudia Daventry worked for many years in advertising as a creative/copywriter at Leo Burnett, London; Saatchi Europe and TBWA in Amsterdam. After leaving to go freelance she moved to St Andrews where she also studied, taught and spent a decade in various roles with StAnza, Scotland’s poetry festival. She has won several awards and commendations for her poetry. Poems and essays have appeared in many reviews and anthologies, her chapbook The Oligarch Loses his Patience is published with Templar and her libretti have been performed at the Glasgow Commonwealth games and live on BBC Radio 3.
Spirit de la Mare
Maura Dooley was a Centre Director of the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank, founding Director of the Literature and Talks programme at the South Bank Centre and is currently Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London where she directs the MA in Creative Writing. In addition, she has directed Literature festivals in Birmingham, Swansea and Rotterdam. She re-established and directed Poetry International in the UK after a 30-year hiatus, worked for Jim Henson Film in script development and, in theatre, for Performing Arts Labs. She has been a member of many committees and boards, chaired the Poetry Book Society and for ten years was a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund. Maura Dooley’s most recent collection of poetry is The Silvering (Bloodaxe). She was Poet-in-Residence at the Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton. Her poems from the residency are published as: A Quire of Paper. In 2018 she published versions (with Elhum Shakerifa) of work by the exiled Iranian poet Azita Ghahreman, Negative of a Group Photograph (Bloodaxe) which received a PEN Translation Award. She has twice been short-listed for the TS Eliot Award and twice for the Forward Single Poem Award. Her work has received an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
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.
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.
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.