Promo shot
Photo by Helen Askew


“Read. Read, read, read, read and then read some more. Reading other people’s poetry is the only way to make your own poetry better, and that’s something you should always be trying to do. Read the magazines and journals you want to send your writing to. The more poetry you read, the better you’ll know the industry, and the better equipped you’ll be to succeed. Kenneth Patchen once said, “people who say they love poetry but don’t buy any are cheap sons-of-bitches”.”

“I Want To Be… A Poet!” — interview with Gala Darling at

“The “study” of poetry can also be harmful to aspiring young poets. As Larkin says, you learn by reading and paying attention, not by criticising and analysing individual pieces until they lose all sense of unity. I’ve heard young poets say things like “I’m no good because don’t put enough hidden meanings in my poems!” – because they’ve been taught to approach poems as riddles to be solved in the classroom.”

Interview with Jim Murdoch at The Truth About Lies (Part One) (Part Two)

“I’ve come to realise that it’s not just me. So many people, of all ages and from all walks of life, equate this poem with their childhoods. I think that’s because ‘Jabberwocky’ has something unique to offer to young readers – it is filled with weird, wonderful, onomatopoeic words which mean absolutely nothing out of context, but which somehow describe everything perfectly. The poem has a dark, creepy quality that’s perfect for curious little minds.”

An interview with the Scottish Poetry Library about Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky

“Blogging gives me the opportunity to contact and converse with like-minded creatives, whose responses to my posts often provoke and inspire further writing. I appreciate it when other bloggers take care over what they publish – structuring posts well, and editing and proofing them before hitting ‘submit’.”

(Somewhat truncated version of) an interview about literary blogging for Young Poets Network

“Tom Waits once said that when you write a song, you should make sure someone could live in it: provide street names, a motel, a place to get something to eat. I think I feel the same about poems.”

Interview with Amy Blakemore for the Poetry Society’s YM: New Work In Poetry

“There is a fine line between ‘original’ and just darned weird, so a good poet also needs to be a skilled tightrope-walker. The best poems are the ones that make me think “damn, I wish I’d thought of that first!” Those are the ones I know I have to publish.”

Interview with E Kristin Anderson at Hate-Mongering Tart

“Writers tend to be quite obsessive people and my interest in typewriters has, I’m not ashamed to say, become quite obsessive. It’s become part of my creative process and I’m stuck with it now. This is how I write.”

‘Analogue artists defying the digital age’ for the Observer, 2011

Gallery and Multimedia

StAnza 2011 Preview
Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg!
Claire Askew
claire at wpm
iPoetry (Claire Askew) (c) Anouk Prins
Young Poets Society (c) Anouk Prins

(Click to enlarge.) First three photos by Chris Scott, fourth photo by Neil Thomas Douglas, final two photos by Anouk Prins.

Photo: Claire Askew by Alastair Cook on blipfoto MUST NOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION

Audio: two poems at Poetcasting

Audio: talking about Jabberywocky and Allen Ginsberg with Ryan Van Winkle for the SPL

Video: Words Per Minute 8, January 2011

Videopoem: “Typewriter”; words by Claire Askew, audio and film by Helen Askew, based on the poem Typewriter, published in The Guardian

Slams & events

Winner, Scottish Poetry Library / VoxBox “Sotto Voce” slam, 2009
Third place, Is This Poetry? slam, 2009
Winner, University of Edinburgh LitSoc “ReFresher” slam 2010
Fourth runner up, Scottish Poetry Slam Championship Finals, 2010
Winner, University of Edinburgh LitSoc “ReFresher” slam 2011
Winner, StAnza / Inky Fingers “Risk-a-Verse” slam, 2011
Winner, Literary Death Match Edinburgh (Ep4), 2012
Competitor, No Rhyme No Reason Exhibition slam, 2012

Organiser, this collection “quiet” slam, 2011
Judge, Edinburgh Fringe Festival BBC Poetry Slam, 2011
Organiser, International Women’s Day / Scottish Women’s Aid all-female slam, 2012
Organiser, One Night Stanzas presents Watsky x 2 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Facilitator, The Writing Home Project in association with Women Supporting Women Edinburgh, 2012

Contact for more information.