Five Ports of Call for Poets Writing About Place from Rachel Long


This season, Rachel Long will be running an online course for poets, exploring writing about place in their work:

Ahead of this, Rachel shares her top five recommended reads of poets who she believes does this exceptionally well. We’re loving this great list and look forward to hearing more of Rachel’s recommendations when the course begins on 27 February…

1. Hannah Sullivan – You, Very Young in New York (from Three Poems, Faber)
2019 T.S. Eliot prize-winner, Hannah Sullivan writes about New York — likely one of the most written about and referenced cities of all time — as if it were as intimate as a small, lonely apartment. She writes about the city like it’s in her bloodstream rather than as a visitor or onlooker.

2. Kei Miller – The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion and In Nearby Bushes (both Carcanet)
Where to begin with Kei Miller? He is a master of writing into and about the heart of a place; of the complexities and intimacies of history and politics of a people and their landscape. Miller’s most recent collection, ‘In Nearby Bushes’, is a deep and tender map and meditation on the physical, physiological and spiritual repercussions of a place on its people, or of a people on a place. Miller interrogates the very concept of perception, of where here is, where there is, or isn’t.

3. Richard Scott – Oh My Soho (Soho, Faber)
At the heart of Scott’s hot pink and utterly brilliant debut collection is an ode, an anthem to Soho, London. A rousing, dark and joyous song to a site of innocence and experience.

4. Jay Bernard, Surge (Chatto & Windus)
‘Surge’ is a collection of accountability and tenderness, an archive of memory and loss so large it becomes a place. A flooring memorial to and of the body, the victims of the New Cross fire, and to London.

5. Max Porter, Lanny (Faber)
Set in a very English village, Porter’s poetic novel is a sweeping and enchanting tale about the spirit of a place, of fable and magic, of what it inherited and discarded, what is gossiped about over gates and what is buried on the outskirts of the village or our psyches.

Rachel Long is a poet and founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, which is housed at Southbank Centre, in London. Rachel’s poetry and prose have been published widely, most recently in Filigree, Mal and the White Review. She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme, 2015-present. You can read more about Rachel’s online course ‘Coming From Where I’m From’ and book a place here:

Published 22 January 2020