John Stammers

(c) The Poetry Society

John Stammers read philosophy at King’s College London and is an Associate of Kings’ College. His first collection, Panoramic Lounge-Bar, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2001 and shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award 2001. His second collection, Stolen Love Behaviour, was a Poetry Book Society Choice. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is a creative writing tutor and freelance writer. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and their two sons. Ever wondered what happens at a book launch party? This is John at his latest …

We interview John …

What Are They Whispering? – when the urge comes to write a poem, what does it say to you?

I don’t get urges. I have an aesthetic that I am keen to explore to its limits. I write poems when I sit down to write them. 

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m not writing poems at the moment. I have been editing a couple anthologies – the next to be published is a Gerard Manley Hopkins selection in the Faber Poet-to-Poet series.

What Are They Whispering? is a poetry show about power. What superpower would you like to possess, and why? 

I would like to be able to go back in time. I’ve never worked out why it’s so difficult given that I’ve mastered going forward in time, rather too quickly, in fact.

Do you spend a lot of time travelling the country, giving readings? How does life on the road affect your writing? 

What I like about visiting all corners of the country doing readings is that there’s always a poet there (a bit like the local sheriff) – a fellow traveller. 

Who would you like to see in the audience for a What Are They Whispering? performance? 

Well, I’d love it if Samuel Taylor Coleridge turned up. 

What are the most powerful words anyone has ever spoken to you? 

‘Be bold!’


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