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Scott Thurston

Scott Thurston


My creative practice as a writer attempts to steer a course between an awareness of the material nature of language whilst acknowledging its capacity to communicate directly or indirectly. I tend to work in an improvisational fashion, often writing short poems which respond to experience and memory in spontaneous ways. These poems build up into sequences which become records of processes of thinking and development over time. I am fascinated by how thought and language move, and the capacity of the poem to track and trace this subtle energy.

I did my PhD in Poetics at Edge Hill 1997-2002. I now run the MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment at the University of Salford and co-run The Other Room reading series in Manchester. I edit The Radiator, a little magazine of poetics, and co-edit The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry with Robert Sheppard. I live in Liverpool.

The photograph, taken by Peter Griffiths, shows me reading in Manchester in 2007. You can hear a recording of this performance below.



Stamford Hill, North London, 2006

This recording was made on 25 November 2006, at a house in Stamford Hill, north London. The reading includes performances of the first three texts in the collection Hold published by Shearsman in 2006.

Thirsty Scholar, Manchester, 2007

This recording was made on 14 November 2007, at The Thirsty Scholar pub, Manchester. I began this poem sequence in response to the invitation to contribute to James Davies' Matchbox magazine project, a unique series of 12 issues of individual poets' work published inside real matchboxes. I developed a form comprising four four-line stanzas which were readable in a vertical direction as well as horizontally (see below for some examples). For the Matchbox presentation I used seven of these poems but cut them up into single stanzas which could be read individually, as part of a 28 stanza sequence, or in new patterns. In this performance I read the stanzas of the first seven Matchbox poems horizontally in their original forms and then some newer poems from the sequence, reading the final one in both directions. The completed sequence of 80 poems will be published by Shearsman in Spring 2010.

The photograph above was taken at the moment when a train, which you can hear on the recording, rumbled over the top of the venue at an apt point in the reading!



  • Reverses Heart's Reassembly (Veer Books: London, 2011)
  • Songs of Desire and Longing (Dusie Collective & The Knives Forks and Spoons
    Press: Zurich and Newton-le-Willows, 2011)
  • Of Being Circular (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press: Newton-le-Willows, 2010)
  • Internal Rhyme (Shearsman: Exeter, 2010) c.80pp
  • Momentum (Shearsman: Exeter, 2008) 108pp
  • Hold: Poems 1994-2004 (Shearsman: Exeter, 2006) 113pp
  • Of Utility (Spanner: Hereford, 2005)
  • Turns (with Robert Sheppard) (Ship of Fools/Radiator: Liverpool, 2003)
  • Two Sequences (RWC: Sutton, 1998)
  • Sleight of Foot (Reality Street Editions: London, 1996) (Selection)
  • Fragments (The Lilliput Press: Norwich, 1994)
  • State(s)walk(s) (Writers Forum: London, 1994)
  • Poems Nov 89 - Jun 91 (Writers Forum: London, 1991)


  • Liverpool Poets (Erbacce: Liverpool, 2008)
  • Slova Bez Hranic, ed. by Bob Hysek et al (Detour: Olomouc, 2007). The anthology of the 2007 'Words Without Borders' festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic.
  • The Allotment: New Lyric Poets, ed. by Andy Brown (Stride: Exeter, 2006), pp. 208-15
  • Broken Compass Press Anthology, ed. by Chris Brownsword (Broken Compass Press: Sheffield, 2006), pp. 26-27


Selected online magazine appearances:


  • Talking Poetics: Dialogues in Innovative Poetry (Bristol: Shearsman Books,
    2011). A book of full-length annotated interviews with Karen Mac Cormack,
    Jennifer Moxley, Caroline Bergvall and Andrea Brady.
  • 'Need keeps the book of dying open': Negative Capability in Gil Ott's The Whole Note', in: Coghen, M & Mazur, Z & Piatek, B (eds.), Ambiguity and the Search for Meaning: English and American Studies at the Beginning of the 21st Century, (Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2011), pp. 221-228.
  • 'Innovative Poetry in Britain Today', Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 2010, pp.15-30. On Robert Sheppard, Caroline Bergvall and Andrea Brady.
  • 'Accreted Statement' in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (Salt, 2009), pp. 123-31
  • I edited The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk (2007).
  • My interview with Tony Lopez is published at The Argotist Online website.
  • 'If poetry is private language aspiring to be public, how should one write?' (on Barrett Watten and Ira Lightman) in Poetry and Public Language, ed. by Tony Lopez & Anthony Caleshu (Shearsman: Exeter, 2007) pp. 263-269 (ISBN 978-1905700646)
  • 'Audience and Representation: Method and Technique' in The Paper 9 (September 2007), pp. 39-53
  • 'A Tribute to Bob Cobbing 1920-2002' in Neon Highway 3 (2003)
  • Interviews with Allen Fisher, John Wilkinson, Adrian Clarke, Ira Lightman, Maggie O'Sullivan, and Ulli Freer published in issues 3-9 of Poetry Salzburg Review (2002-2006)


  • 'Lisa Samuels: The Invention of Culture and Carrie Etter: Yet' Stride Magazine (2009)
  • 'Robert Sheppard: Tin Pan Arcadia and Hymns to the God in which My Typewriter Believes' (2006) Stride Magazine

Sample Text

from Internal Rhyme

internal rhyme

a species of adder magic

I can feel your

badge by my side

eternal flask

leave out those signs

of relief at the end of

withdrawal symptoms



pleasure you can’t

measure the hybrids

stand at the gateway

the larger logic that makes

possible dynamic

critical constructions

you will terribly

well un-read




in visibility give me

the whole without

totality the weight of

me dropping down moving

my feet in a new way

full flow force field

ignites a prospect of

balance relation to



ground to other

this searing contact

fiery remote surgery

perfect platinum breaks

an encased circuit

of touch without

never refusing

suppressing difference




death my enemy

let’s stay closer than

ever the face crags

the pay off of ages

the young argue

for themselves consigned

to finitude open

essentially mortal



well for pure water

mathematics of waves

form an invitation to

disappear in different

radical plurality

disjunctive others

take my hand

lovely wolf-skull


Interview with Steven Fowler at 3 a.m. Maintenant

Steven Waling's review of Internal Rhyme at Stride Magazine.

Ira Lightman, 'On Weightedness in Poetry: An Approach to Scott Thurston' at The Argotist Online.

Joseph Brooker, 'The Needle and the Language Done' at Pores.

Melissa Flores-Bórquez's review of Hold at Intercapillary Space.

Luke Kennard's review of Hold at Stride Magazine.

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