Thursday, 12 March 2020

Interview with Poet Kim Moore

Kim Moore was born in 1981, and lives and works in Cumbria.

Her first full-length collection, The Art of Falling, was published by Seren in April 2015.  She won a new Writing North Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2012.  The Art of Falling won the Geoffrey Faber Prize.  Previous winners include Seamus Heaney and J.M. Coetzee.

Her first pamphlet, If We Could Speak Like Wolves, was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy.  If We Could Speak Like Wolves was chosen as an Independent Book of the Year in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award and Lakeland Book of the Year Award.

Kim blogs here.

You can read Kim's own account of her starting out and progressing as a poet here.

Kim was interviewed on 9 March 2020 by third year BA English Literature and BA Creative Writing students, Department of English, University of Chester.


Q: Where do you find inspiration for your writing?  How often do your write?

A: Usually from real life - things that annoy me, or make me laugh, strange things I notice, things people say, things I overhear on public transport.  Sometimes (most of the time) in writing them into a poem they get changed/exaggerated/elaborated. 

At the moment I'm not writing a lot of poems - mainly because my PhD is due in next week, so I've been finishing writing the critical part of the thesis which is about 38 thousand words.

Before I focused on the critical writing for the PhD though, I would probably write at least every other day.

Q: Do you start writing your poems by hand or on a computer?

A: I always write by hand in a notebook first of all and it takes me quite a while to type poems up.  I find that process very difficult - and I'm quite superstitious about getting the 'right' time to move the poems from the notebook to the computer.

In my notebook, they are actually just set out as prose, and when I type them up, that's when I put the line breaks in and find out if they are going to work as poems or not.

Q: Many of your poems are highly personal.  Are you always happy to share them with readers?

A: Yes, otherwise I wouldn't share them!  They are personal, but I also think of them as like shields between myself and the audience - there is nothing in the poem that I don't want to share or give away - in fact the poem keeps me safe in a way - because everything I want to say is in there and I don't have to say anything else.

What I have found hard is questions from the audience about the poems, particularly the sequence in the middle of the book, particularly because people want to ask about the personal experience behind the poems.  Reading the poems out is easy compared to this!

Q: Do you have a poem which you think is the best you've ever written?

A: Ha!  I think probably 'In That Year'.  It was one of those poems that came as a gift - I wrote it sitting on the floor one December in front of the fire, and I was half asleep, and woke up with my head in the dog basket and the poem was finished.  I did hardly any editing - just put the line breaks in later.  It is an important poem to me.

Q: How do you pick which poems to submit to a magazine?

A: If I've bothered to type the poem up, and work on it, I will send it out somewhere to see what happens.  Sending the poem out and it getting rejected or accepted is part of the creative process for me.  If I think the poem is good, I will have one go at a competition - just to see if I can win some money!  And then I send it out to a magazine, usually a group of poems actually - 5 or 6.

Q: Are there any particular poetry magazines you would recommend?

A: I really like The North, Poetry Review.  I think Modern Poetry in Translation is a fantastic magazine and well worth subscribing to.  I like The Dark Horse as well.  There are too many!  The Rialto as well.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? What do you do when that happens?

A: I have periods of time where I don't write, but I don't think of it as writer's block.  I am currently not writing poems (although I'm writing prose for my PhD).  But I think of it as a gathering time - so usually I would be reading other people's poetry non-stop and just waiting until I feel like writing again.  I try not to worry about it - although it's easier said than done! I had a baby nine months ago, and I couldn't write poetry at all afterwards so started writing short stories... but I mainly read - I didn't become a poet because of anything I'd written - I wanted to become a good poet because of poems I'd read so that is what I always go back to.

Kim Moore is a case-study poet for the Literature and Creative Writing module EN6013 Writing Poetry for Publication, Department of English, University of Chester.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Open-mic night November 2019

Students and tutors enjoy a glass of wine and a wonderful evening of poetry and stories at our latest open-mic night...

(Photo by Ian Seed)

(Photo by Katie-may Sayers)

Students and tutors from the Department of English and beyond read out their poems, flash fiction, short stories, personal essays and scripts at the latest open-mic night held on November 18th, with plenty of wine to keep warm on a cold dark autumn evening.

The event was brilliantly hosted by our three Pandora's Box student editors for 2019-20, Megan Coates, Katie-may Sayers and Georgia Wetherall, who handed out a series of prizes for some fun competitions at the end of the evening.

Prizes for Best Writing in response to a prompt to write on the theme of childhood were awarded to:

Arnas Tamasauskas   First Prize
Alexandra Haymes    Second Prize
Rosalind Saxon          Third Prize

Prize for Best Poem overall was awarded to Alexandra Haymes (in photo below).

(Photo by Katie-may Sayers)

Open-mic nights are held on a regular basis and offer students and tutors the chance to get together, share creative writing, and relax.

Blog post: Dr Ian Seed, Programme Leader for Creative Writing.

To find out more about studying Creative Writing at the University of Chester go to:

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Lecturers from the English Department launch their latest books at the Chester Literature Festival

As part of Uni at the Fest, Dr William Stephenson and Dr Ian Seed launched their new collections of poetry at the Garrett Theatre, Storyhouse, Chester.

Ian Seed read from New York Hotel (Shearsman 2018), his latest book of prose poems, which was recently selected as a 2018 TLS Book of the Year.  Mark Ford, writing in the TLS, comments: 'I greatly enjoyed the latest collection of Ian Seed's beautifully-crafted prose poems, New York Hotel.  Seed's micro-narratives and oblique parables are at once droll and haunting, as unpredictable as quicksand, and as elegant as the work of those masters of the prose poem, Max Jacob and pierre Reverdy.'

Ian is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chester.  His poetry appears in a number of anthologies, including The Forward Book of Poetry 2017 (Faber & Faber) and The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt), and has been featured by the BBC on their Radio 3 Programme, The Verb, hosted by Ian McMillan.

William Stephenson read from his first full poetry collection Travellers and Avatars (Live Canon, 2018), which was shortlisted for the Live Canon First Collection Prize.  He is currently working on the manuscript of a second collection,  The Butterfly Factory.  Reviewers have described his work as 'quirky, refreshingly different and wide-ranging in its cultural references.  Data made interesting in a way I would never have expected or anticipated in poetic form' (Sarah James) and as setting up a world where 'words slip away from their original meanings, become jargon, trademarks, or symbols on a broken keyboard' (Tim Love).  'What his poetry 'does very well is convey the time lag, the stutter that any technology has (especially in its less mature phase) in trying to render reality' (Rishi Dastidar).  He has taught English Literature at the University of Chester since 2001.

The reading was followed by an informal book signing event.

Photo: Sarah Lee
Blog post: Dr Ian Seed, Programme Leader for Creative Writing

To find out more about Creative Writing at the University of Chester, go to:

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Students and tutors enjoy a glass of wine (or two) at our latest open-mic night

Students and tutors from the Department of English and beyond read out their poems, flash fiction, short stories, personal essays and scripts at the latest open-mic night held on November 19th, with plenty of wine to keep warm on a cold dark autumn evening.

The event was brilliantly hosted by our two Pandora's box student editors for 2018-19, Jasmine Welch and Reece Merrifield (on right below), who handed out a series of prizes for some fun competitions at the end of the evening.

Open-mic nights are held on a regular basis and offer students and tutors the chance to get together, share creative writing, and relax.

Photos: Ian Seed
Blog post: Dr Ian Seed, Programme Leader for Creative Writing.

To find out more about Creative Writing at the University of Chester, go to:

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Former Chester English Student Publishes Book

Tim Lawrence, who studied English Literature at Chester from 2005 To 2008, has written a critical study of modernist author Samuel Beckett. Tim’s book, entitled Samuel Beckett's Critical Aesthetics, has just been published by Palgrave. Tim is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of York.

This book considers how Samuel Beckett’s critical essays, dialogues and reflections drew together longstanding philosophical discourses about the nature of representation, and fostered crucial, yet overlooked, connections between these discourses and his fiction and poetry. It also pays attention to Beckett’s writing for little-magazines in France from the 1930s to the 1950s, before going on to consider how the style of Beckett’s late prose recalls and develops figures and themes in his critical writing. By providing a long-overdue assessment of Beckett’s work as a critic, this study shows how Beckett developed a new aesthetic in knowing dialogue with ideas including phenomenology, Kandinsky’s theories of abstraction, and avant-garde movements such as Surrealism. This book will be illuminating for students and researchers interested not just in Beckett, but in literary modernism, the avant-garde, European visual culture and philosophy.

Reviews for Samuel Beckett's Critical Aesthetics
“With this book, Tim Lawrence delivers a long overdue examination of Beckett’s critical writings. Samuel Beckett’s Critical Aesthetics not only offers a sensitive, perceptive reading of these texts, but also reveals the way in which they establish an aesthetic and philosophical dialogue with Beckett’s creative enterprise. Drawing on a wide range of archival and critical sources, Lawrence’s study will surely establish itself as the indispensable guide to Beckett’s critical thought.” (Dr Mark Nixon, Co-Director, Beckett International Foundation)

“Tim Lawrence has written the first sustained analysis of Samuel Beckett’s critical writings, which are masterfully read within the context of their intellectual history. His readings are subtle, nuanced and illuminating. This book will offer an indispensable point of reference for future critical studies of Beckett’s work.” (Dr Ulrika Maude, Reader in Modernism and Twentieth-Century Literature, University of Bristol, UK)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Launch of Pandora's Box


With the summer sun streaming in through the window, Pandora's Box was launched on the evening of May 8.  Over a glass  or two of wine, students and tutors read out their poems, flash fiction, short stories, and scripts.  The packed event was brilliantly hosted by our two Pandora's Box student editors, Sarah Kissack and Joshua Cialis, who handed out a series of prizes at the end of the evening.

It was a great way to wind down and round off the academic year.

Pandora's Box features some of the best creative writing from the University of Chester's Department of English.

Post and Photography: Dr Ian Seed


Friday, 20 April 2018

Prize-Winning Poet Kim Moore Runs Seminar with University of Chester Creative Writing Students

On April 19th, students on the course Writing Poetry for Publication were treated to a seminar with poet and workshop leader Kim Moore.
Kim read from her collection, The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015), then went on to give the background to some of the poems, reveal some of her drafting processes, discuss techniques she uses to craft her writing, and tell the story of her own route to publication before taking a number of questions from students.

Kim also gave a number of top tips on writing and publishing poetry.
These included:

1. Be prepared to redraft and refine many times.  The middle section of The Art of Falling took years to complete.

2. Raw emotional material can be a good starting point, but it is not enough in itself to convey emotional truth, however honest it may be, or to make a poem. This is where drafting and work com into play.

3. However, sometimes you may get lucky, and a poem will just come to you, for example when you are half-asleep. Take advantage of moments like these.

4. Learn to enjoy the process of writing. Don't become obsessed with product. Be patient.

5. read lots of poetry, including poetry you don't like.

6. If you get writer's block, read some poems to get inspired, take a line from one of them and just start writing. If nothing else, just sit down with paper and pen and start free-writing.

7. Put in the time. Find the time. Learn to fit your writing into small slots of time. Be selfish, if you have to.

8. Use reading and performing your poetry in front of an audience to spot areas you still need to work on.

9. join a writers' group. Be supportive of other poets. That support will be returned.

10. Research your subject matter. Find out what other poets have done.

11. Get in touch with poets you admire. Poets like to know their work is being read and appreciated.

12. Get your work out there. Keep a spreadsheet of where it as been sent and what the result is. Do not be discouraged by rejections, however many you get. Start with some of the smaller magazines, where the competition is less fierce, and build from there.

Kim Moore was recently awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for her debut collection of poetry, The Art of Falling. Previous winners include Seamus Heaney and JM Coetzee. For more information, see this article in The Guardian
The visit was organised by Dr Ian Seed, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chester. 

Photography: Jan Gibson.