Apart Together: 2021 Digital Poetry Project

Welcome to ‘Apart Together’ – The Poetry Business’ digital writer development programme, featuring virtual workshops, Digital Poets-in-Residence, audio & blog content, eBooks and writing exercises.

We are thrilled that our funding application for 2021 has been successful, allowing us to launch our full programme of work for the year ahead. This includes digital writing workshops led by Ann & Peter Sansom and guest-tutors, digital residencies, the recruitment of an Apprentice Editor-in-Residence, an open call for submissions, and poetry readings, as well as our usual schedule of excellent new poetry titles from the bookshop. 

We are proud to have adapted to this past very difficult year, and are looking forward to brighter months ahead for everyone. It’s been a silver lining to have been able to meet so many new people from all over the world, and to have kept in touch with our PB friends. We hope you will join us for all things poetry throughout 2021, from joining a workshop or downloading the latest eBook, to reading & engaging with new posts on the PB blog and coming along to poetry readings.

We are grateful to the Arts Council England and the National Lottery Project Grants for supporting our ‘Apart Together’ digital poetry project. 

We will be making regular announcements about ‘Apart Together’, including sending updates on: upcoming writing workshops, forthcoming Digital Poets-In-Residence, launch events, publications, and more.

Stay safe, and best wishes,
The Poetry Business

Digital Residencies

The Poetry Business has partnered up with The Writing Squad to host a digital residency with a Squad writer each month in 2021. Each poet-in-residence will be producing and posting digital content for The Poetry Business, such as blog posts, audio recordings, writing prompts and more. 

Helen Bowell

Lenny Saunders

Lydia Allison

February Digital Poet-In-Residence for February 

Helen Bowell

Helen Bowell is a poet and producer based in London. She is a co-founder of Dead [Women] Poets Society, and recently co-guest-edited the Autumn 2020 Modern Poetry in Translation focus on behalf of D[W]PS. Helen is a graduate of The Writing Squad and has been a London Library Emerging Writer, a London Writers Awardee, a member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective and a commended Foyle Young Poet. In 2020, she won the Bronze Creative Future Writers’ Award. Her work is forthcoming from Under the Radar and 100 Poems To Save The Earth (Seren, 2021), and has appeared in bath magg, Poetry Birmingham, The Willowherb Review, harana poetry, Ambit, The Fenland Reed, Strix, Manchester Review, Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets (2017) and elsewhere. She works at The Poetry Society.

Recent Posts:

The Doctor, the Murderer and the Wolf: Three Writing Prompts on Characters and the Surreal
On [silence], reading in a pandemic and a cento call-out
February Digital Poet-In-Residence Helen Bowell

Apprentice Editor-in-Residence

Gboyega Odubanjo

We would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to Gboyega Odubanjo who is joining the Poetry Business team as Apprentice Editor-In-Residence. Gboyega will work alongside our in-house editor Suzannah Evans towards editing two books for publication by Smith|Doorstop in January 2022. These will be selected via an open call for submissions.

To enter work, writers should submit a sample of 15 poems and a 200 word poetry book outline/proposal before 31st March 2021 in the first instance. Shortlisted writers will be informed before 30th April 2021, by which time we would need a complete collection of 48+ pages of poetry. Please do not submit a sample if you do not already have a full collection manuscript ready.

Poets submitting may have previously published a pamphlet, but their work should not have appeared as a full collection. Poets of all backgrounds are eligible and we encourage submissions from groups currently under-represented in poetry publishing, for example; d/Deaf or disabled, low-income, BAME and LGBTQI+ poets. We are not accepting submissions of poetry for children or poetry in translation at present.

The submissions window will open on 1st March 2021. Please read the submission guidelines before entering your work for consideration. 

Please see Gboyega’s statement below on what he will be looking for in the successful collections.

“The poetry collection is a medium of possibilities and I am interested in collections that, through unique approaches to language and form, question what is possible. I want to see poetry, rooted in a dedication to craft, that asks questions of the world and of itself in original and surprising ways. Poetry that listens before telling. I am more interested in the specific than the universal. As such, the realities presented should be built with care and recognisable as their own, forming something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Think concept album, as opposed to greatest hits. I want to read collections that guide me through a new place even if the guide isn’t entirely sure where we will end up.”

Gboyega Odubanjo, Apprentice Editor-in-Residence

Gboyega Odubanjo was born and raised in East London. His first pamphlet, While I Yet Live, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2019. His second, Aunty Uncle Poems, will be published by The Poetry Business in 2021. Gboyega is an editor of bath magg.

Digital Writing Workshops

Welcome to The Poetry Business’ 2021 programme of digital writing workshops, a series of 90-minute weekday workshops and longer Saturday sessions to ensure our poetry community stays connected.

All sessions include two additional bursary spaces per workshop reserved for BAME writers, writers from under-represented backgrounds, and writers currently experiencing financial hardship. To apply for a bursary place, please contact us here.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite and all workshops will be delivered via Zoom. Workshops in the latter half of the year will be announced at a later date.

Books, Pamphlet & eBooks

We launch our 2021 publishing programme with four particularly outstanding titles from the 2020 International Book & Pamphlet Competition winners. These collections range far and wide from the ginnels of Yorkshire in Sarah Wimbush’s gritty yet splendid The Last Dinosaur in Doncaster, to Rosalind Easton’s ‘sexy, strutting’ blend of Hollywood glamour and literary cameos in Black Mascara (Waterproof). Jill Penny’s In Your Absence is a searing collection which will speak to anyone stranded in the whiteout of grief, while Wendy Pratt’s transformative articulation of loss the sees the female body turn to horse, hare, and – finally – acceptance in When I Think of My Body as a Horse.

In Spring, Michael’s Schmidt’s charming and electrifying new book, Talking to Stanley on the Telephone rummages through the stories, desires, and waning faculties of old-age, while Meg Cox’s A Square of Sunlight celebrates a full life lived with abandon and joy. Michael McCarthy’s Like A Tree Cut Back weaves a memoir from his boyhood in rural Ireland – overshadowed by an accident that resulted in the death of his brother – to his journey towards priesthood and poetry.

We have three remarkable new pamphlets from Ben Bransfield (Judder Men), Chrissy Banks (Frank) and Shash Trevett (From a Borrowed Land), as well as four accomplished and individual new pamphlets from the 2020 New Poets Prize winners: Have a nice weekend I think you’re interesting by Lucy Holt, Ugly Bird by Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith, Aunty Uncle Poems by Gboyega Odubanjo and Takeaway by Georgie Woodhead.

Autumn will welcome a new book from James Caruth (Speechless at Inch), a new pamphlet by David Tait (By Degrees), as well as a new book of children’s poetry by David Harmer: All Kinds of Poems for All Kinds of Kids is illustrated by Ted Schofield and bursting with giants, dragons, aliens, Dad astronauts and a fierce hobgoblin. 

Finally, we will round off 2021 and our programme of Digital Residencies with a new anthology of Poetry Business new poets, produced in collaboration with The Writing Squad: X2.

Readings & Events Online

Every title published in 2021 will have a launch. These will be online via Zoom/YouTube, though we hope to hold some socially-distanced in-person events when it is safe to do so. 

To see upcoming events, please check our readings page, which will be updated regularly.

Launch of the 2020 International Book & Pamphlet Competition winners, 7th March 2021, 7pm
Launch of the Talking to Stanley on the Telephone by Michael Schmidt, 20th March 2021, 7pm

We will continue to update this page with more information over the coming weeks. Keep checking back in for more about Apart Together and our online writer development resources.