Critical Reading – The Shining

Hi guys (and non-guys),

I’m still not sure when Barrie will do his class, but if I do Stephen King as planned, do your crit reading paragraph/page on one of the following:

Pick a specific passage from The Shining and explain a) what you can learn from that passage about good prose writing or b) what you can’t learn from that passage.

I’ll assume to be seeing you on Tuesday unless Barrie decides to make up his class next week, in which event I’ll do the following Tuesday (when we had a free class session anyway!)


Andrea Stuart

Andrea Stuart is a prose writer who was born in Caribbean, lived briefly in the US and was educated in the UK. She began her career as a journalist, then branched into publishing and television documentary production. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and French at the Sorbonne. Since 1996, Andrea has published three nonfiction, historical books, including Josephine: The Rose of Martinique (originally published in 2003 by Macmillan as The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine), which won the Enid McLeod Literary Award. She has taught at Kingston University as a Writer in Residence since 2011. She also teaches at Faber Academy, does private mentoring and regularly reviews books for The Independent. She has been the co-editor of Black Film Bulletin and the fiction editor of Critical Quarterly. Her work has appeared in numerous publications in both the UK and the US. Her most recent book, Sugar in the Blood, is a multi-generational story of Andrea’s own family history of slavery and plantation life in Barbados and was published by Portobello Books in June of this year.

Selected Bibliography

Showgirls (Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1996) – a collective biography of showgirls from Marlene Dietrich to Mae West to Madonna

The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine (Pan, 2004) – a sweeping, cradle to grave biography of one of history’s most interesting women

Sugar in the Blood (Potobello Books Ltd, 2012) – a look at Andrea’s own family history of slavery and sugar plantation ownership

Recommended Reading:

Andrea says she could go on forever about fantastic books to read, but here’s her current recommended reading list:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The Idiot
Guiseppa Lampedusa – The Leopard
George Elliot – Silas Marner
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera
Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility
Richard Ellison – Invisible Man
James Baldwin – Go Tell It On The Mountain
Toni Morrison – Beloved
Mario Puzo – The Godfather
Carl Hiaassen – Sick Puppy

Rhythm and Muse 2012

The annual poetry festival presented by Rhythm & Muse and Kingston Writing School begins this week. Go on, you know you want to revel in some poetry. Sign up for workshops, sign up for a slam spot; develop and share some of your poetic tendencies.

Schedule of events 20-29 November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November:

10:30 – 11:30am – A. F. Harrold – Schools event at the Rose Theatre in association with Kingston Libraries and RBK

Thursday, 22 November:

3-5pm – Judith Watts – Workshop at the new-look Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University (Places FREE, but please book in advance via Alison Hill –

Saturday, 24 November:

11am-1pm – Martin Daws – Poetry in Performance – interactive workshop led by performance poet, Martin Daws. Kingston university, Penrhyn Road, Room JG0001 (Places FREE, but please book in advance via Laura Bottomley –

Wednesday, 28 November:

6-8pm – Wendy Cope and Laurence Owen – Lyrical Laughter at Kingston University. Penrhyn Road, Room JG0003 (FREE)

Thursday, 29 November:

8:30pm onwards – LiTTLe MACHiNe and Slam at the Ram, hosted by Nick Poole – Ram Jam Club, Kingston. £6/£5 on the door. Email Alison Hill for more details or to sign up for a slam spot –

Jane Yeh

Jane Yeh

Jane Yeh is a poet who was born in America and educated at Harvard University. She holds master’s degrees from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Manchester Metropolitan University. Her first full-length collection, Marabou, was published in 2003 by Metre Editions. Her next collection, The Ninjas, was launched on the 8th of November 2012 and was published by Carcanet.

Currently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University, she also teaches residential courses for Arvon and writes on books, theatre, fashion and sport for publications including The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, Time Out, and The Village Voice. Her poem, “On Ninjas”, is currently available online at the Boston Review. Her poem “Yesterday,” appears in the new Forward Book of Poetry 2013 (Faber), and her poem “The Birds” can be found in the anthology The Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt).  Both books were published this October.

She has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a residency at Yaddo. She lives in London. Her website is and you can follow her on Twitter @janeyeh3

Jane recently led an Advanced Critical Reading seminar for the MFA in Creative Writing and, as a part of our series of lecturer/writer profiles (search “writer profiles” on the right for the series), has provided a list of recommended reading.

A few of Jane’s favourite (poetry) things:

Anthology of Modern American Poetry’s website, full of interesting material:

Behn, Robin and Chase Twichell, eds., The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach (London: HarperResource, 1992)

Brock-Broido, Lucie, The Master Letters (New York: Knopf, 1997)

Dickinson, Emily, The Complete Poems (London: Faber, 1976)

Donne, John, The Collected Poems of J

ohn Donne (London: Wordsworth Editions, 1994)

Donnelly, Timothy, The Cloud Corporation (London: Picador, 2011)

Hill, Geoffrey, Mercian Hymns (London: Deutsch, 1975)

Minnis, Chelsey, Zirconia (New York: Fence, 2001)

Morley, David, The Invisible Kings (Manchester: Carcanet, 2007)

Plath, Sylvia, Ariel: The Restored Edition (London: Faber, 2007)

Ramazani, Jahan, The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, vols. 1 and 2

(New York: W.W. Norton, 2003)

Verse Daily website:

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Jane Yeh for the reading list, photo and biography. The biography was adapted from the author’s website,

Poems for Pussy Riot

Balaclava in support of Pussy Riot

Lucy Furlong is an MFA student writing poetry. She blogs about everything from running for trees to poetry in motion at Today, she blogs about taking her writing out into the world, how poetry is political and her poetic fight for a cause from England to Russia.

I managed not to realise I was a writer until the day my last radio show had aired on Resonance FM, a thirteen part series I had written and presented called ‘The Shoe Show’. As I walked down Tin Pan Alley that day I knew finally that what I really wanted to do with my life was something I had been doing all along. Life has grown more mysterious and remarkable ever since.


Next Wednesday, 21st November, I will be reading poetry at the Free Word Centre at an event organised by English Pen and S J Fowler in support of Pussy Riot. Two out of the three members of the art punk collective, who were convicted in August on charges of hooliganism, have now been sent to remote penal colonies, far from Moscow and their young children.

My involvement began in September when I saw a tweet from English Pen about their Poems for Pussy Riot project  and wondered if I could contribute something to it. I submitted a poem, Tricky Disco, and, as requested, a photograph of myself wearing a makeshift balaclava, fashioned from a pair of opaque tights and some gold glitter glue. The poem was published on the English Pen web site and later included in Catechism, the fantastic anthology of 110 poems, which Sophie Mayer, Mark Burnhope and Sarah Crewe compiled and edited. This was published on October 1, to coincide with the original appeal hearing.

I read my poem at the protest outside the Russian Embassy in London on that day, in the pouring rain, alongside several poets including Gareth Evans, Amy Evans, Katy Price, Sarah Hesketh, Tim Dooley and SJ Fowler. Some of the poems were also read out in Russian.

George Szirtes begins his introduction to Catechism by saying:

An anthology of poems dedicated to a political purpose is not so much an anthology of poems as a political act in poetic form.”

Being involved in this project has been a chance to put my poetic currency where my mouth is. I am more of a clicktivist than agitator these days so I was excited to be able to do something to show my support for Pussy Riot.  Catechism is an amazing collection of work, available to download or as a print on demand copy from the English Pen web site. All proceeds go to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English Pen’s Writers at Risk programme.

Poems for Pussy Riot takes place at The Free Word Centre in London on Wednesday 21st November at 7pm. £3 entry with all proceeds going to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English Pen’s Writers at Risk programme.

Check out videos of the poets at the embassy protest here:

Tricky Disco

Lucy Furlong

Amy Evans

Tim Dooley

S J Fowler

Sarah Hesketh

Gareth Evans

Katy Price


Week 8 Advanced Critical Reading

The question for Week 8 Advanced Critical Reading from Jonathan Barnes is:

To what extent is Night Train by Martin Amis a detective story?

Jane Yeh Recommends Readings in London

Jane Yeh is an American poet living in London. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University where she will be leading the Advanced Critical Reading module for MFA students tomorrow. Below, she extends two invitations to interested students.

1) The Society Club (a great bookshop/cafe-bar in Soho) invites you to an evening of poetry with readings from Martina Evans, Denise Saul and Róisín Tierney, with introduction by poet and publisher of the Rack Press, Nicholas Murray. Admission free. Tuesday, 6 November 6:30 – 8:30. Bios & address:

2) I will be reading with Michael Schmidt, Dan Burt & Shanta Acharya on Thursday, 8 November, 8-10pm at Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, London N6 5HG (a community arts centre in a handsome house a short walk from Archway tube station). There will be inexpensive refreshments and an interval after the first 2 readers. Tickets cost GBP5/3 concessions. See if you want to book in advance. This reading will serve as the de facto launch of my new collection, The Ninjas, which has just been published. Hope to see you there!


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