Featured in The Poetry Shed

A ShedAbegail Morley has kindly featured me today on her excellent website The Poetry Shed.

I was lucky enough to catch her attention at the Troubadour Poetry Prize Reading last year, and not long after that she invited me to read at the Royal Academy as part of the Ekphrasis project. It has been a pleasure to get to know Abegail — one of those people diligently and unassumingly going about the business of doing good things in the world of poetry.

She mentions the history of our acquaintance, along with a lovely nod to Transatlantic Poetry on Air, and reprints two of my poems on her site.

Do check it out, and the many other interesting poets she has featured over the years. You’ll no doubt want to find your way back to the Shed again soon.

Transatlantic Poetry’s First Year

I started Transatlantic Poetry on Air because nothing quite like it existed at the time. It has been a great opportunity to connect poets around the world to new audiences. Here is a short video summarising all that we’ve accomplished together (poets, partners, and audience) over the past year.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRXpDD7GW2Q]<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRXpDD7GW2Q"><img src="http://www.robertpeake.com/files/2014/05/globe-300x178.jpg" alt="globe" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-5996" /></a><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRXpDD7GW2Q">Click here to watch the video</a>

Transatlantic Poetry Mission Accomplished

Churchill giving the victory signI just finished part two of the Silk Road British Poetry readings. We featured eleven poets in total across the two live online readings. With this, I have accomplished what I set out to do.

Now that my personal mission has been fulfilled, it is time for Transatlantic Poetry on Air to enter a new phase, helping other poetry organisations to fulfill their own missions, playing Virgil to their adventures in this realm of new technology. All of this is to say that I am now both done and just getting started.
Continue reading…

Transatlantic Poetry on Air: The Manifesto

Transatlantic Poetry Logo

This document describes the purpose, guiding principles, and overall vision for Transatlantic Poetry on Air to continue to bring poetry to new audiences through the use of cutting-edge technology.


The purpose of the reading series is as follows: 

  • To connect poets from both sides of the Atlantic, fostering cross-pollination of aesthetics and ideas
  • To expose audiences on one side of the Atlantic to poets from the other side, whom they might not be able to experience otherwise, to see and hear them read and interact with them by asking questions
  • To bring new audiences to poetry, using this highly accessible format
  • To lower the barrier to international exposure for participating poets, requiring only a broadband connection, a computer with webcam, and the time for them to participate
  • To explore the appropriate use of new technology to foster a greater appreciation of poetry globally
  • To provide an easy-to-use online platform for groups and organisations that champion poetry internationally to support, host, and participate in readings 

Guiding Principles

Transatlantic Poetry on Air is:

  •  A labour of love
  • A platform that openly encourages participation from individuals and organisations with a strong commitment to the support of poetry globally
  • An experiment

Transatlantic Poetry on Air is not:

  • Just about poets reading to webcams, but represents both a specific community and a growing overall movement for poets to connect, irrespective of geography
  • The exclusive domain of its founders, but seeks to expand and reach new audiences by asking for help and relying on the support of the larger community
  • Focused on any one aesthetic or school within poetry, but aims to represent a wide range of styles and approaches

The Platform

At the heart of Transatlantic Poetry on Air is the Google+ Hangouts on Air technology. This enables poets and their host to connect from different geographic locations in live multi-video readings and conversations, which are subsequently streamed live via YouTube. A mechanism for those tuning in to ask questions also allows the poets and the host to interact with the audience in live Q&A. These readings are archived on YouTube indefinitely for subsequent replay.

Transatlantic Poetry on Air is also a platform comprised of the many different parts that make these events successful. This includes support for training new hosts in best practices, support and technical help for the poets, and well-documented tips, standards, and best practices, developed iteratively through practical experience, to make the readings successful.

The platform also includes a growing Google+ community of people interested in attending the readings, as well as a Facebook page and a web portal. The hashtag #tapoetry is in use on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to identify conversations about the Transatlantic Poetry readings.

Participation from Partners

In service to its aim to support poetry, Transatlantic Poetry on Air partners with select organisations that have a strong commitment to the same goals and a proven track record of making a positive difference. This includes poetry societies and groups, as well as literary journals. Such an organization should also have a strong connection to a network of poets on both sides of the Atlantic, and a commitment to produce high-quality online readings and events.

Transatlantic Poetry on Air’s open aim with partners is to “be the flower” pollinated by many sources. For example, Partner A might host an event one month, advertise the event to its base, and bring X new members to the community. Then Partner B hosting an event the next month gains the benefit of exposure to X new poetry-lovers that they might not have otherwise reached.

By providing an open platform for many groups to participate in partnership, everyone benefits—partners gain access to new audiences, poets gain exposure in ways that might not have otherwise been possible through traditional readings, and the Transatlantic Poetry community grows strong through multiple influences.

The Movement

What Transatlantic Poetry on Air ultimately represents is something greater than the sum of its parts. It is a manifestation of the growing trend of communication technology breaking down geographic barriers for poets and poetry-lovers to connect. Furthermore, the approach is economical, environmentally friendly, and accessible for those with restricted mobility.

In addition to the technological paradigm shift, enabling us to engage poets and their audiences in new ways, there is great interest overall for poets and poetry-lovers to connect globally. Poets on one side of the Atlantic recognise that they have much to gain from exposure to their counterparts across the sea. Transatlantic Poetry on Air therefore lies at the intersection between what poets and poetry-lovers increasingly want, and what is increasingly possible.

Transatlantic Poetry on Air aims to produce enjoyable, high-quality experiences throughout the lifecycle of each event for everyone involved. It aims also to be guided by its stated purpose and principles to evolve and expand over time, making it a fulcrum for the upliftment of global poetry in the twenty-first century.

Click here for a PDF version of this document.

Click here for the latest news and updates from the Transatlantic Poetry community.

Hanging Out with Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes on Air

I just finished “hanging out” with Jane Hirshfield, George Szirtes, and about a hundred new poetry-loving friends.

As part of the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series, George and Jane were able to join me from their homes, read some of their newer work, and answer questions from viewers — all online, using their laptops and a web browser.

I love how this format gives space for the poetry, sparks interesting conversation, and makes such an intimate experience global. Best of all, the entire broadcast is already available to watch (and watch again) at your leisure.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jfJ_lGfs4M]<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jfJ_lGfs4M">Click here to watch the video</a>

Click here for the latest news and updates from the Transatlantic Poetry community

Mentors, Mentors, Everywhere

“A nation’s art is the expression of its soul.”

-Marvin Bell

Though we must walk our own path, mentors can crucially point the way. The UCLA Extension Writers Program has a nice writeup on the path I have taken since enrolling in my first serious creative writing class with Angeleno poet Suzanne Lummis in 2004. She was a critical part of my formative development, and I remain truly grateful.

Another mentor who has had a strong influence on my relationship to poetry since that time is Marvin Bell. I love what he has to say about the writing life, and I love to hear him read. He also comes across well on camera.

I am therefore delighted to be hosting him, as a representative of the soul of my home nation, alongside the equally wise and soulful English poet Esther Morgan as part of the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series.

The best part? You don’t have to leave your living room to join me.

Details of that reading in September are here:

Click for details: Marvin Bell and Esther Morgan // Transatlantic Poetry on Air


Our very next reading in August also promises to be outstanding, featuring Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes:

Click for details: Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes // Transatlantic Poetry on Air

Click here for the latest news and updates from the Transatlantic Poetry community