Anthony Wilson


Poet and writing tutor

I am a lecturer, poet and writing tutor. I work in teacher and medical education at the University of Exeter.

My anthology Lifesaving Poems was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015. In 2012 I published Riddance (Worple Press), a collection of poems, and Love for Now (Impress Books), a memoir, about my experience of cancer.

My most recent books are Deck Shoes (Impress Books, 2019), a book of prose memoir and criticism, and The Afterlife (Worple Press, 2019).

In June 2023 I will publish The Wind and the Rain, my sixth collection of poems, with Blue Diode Publishing.

My current research project, with Sue Dymoke from Nottingham Trent University and funded by the Foyle Foundation, is Young Poets’ Stories.

I have held residencies at The Poetry Society, The Times Educational Supplement, The Poetry Trust, Apples and Snakes and Tate Britain. My books include The Poetry Book for Primary Schools (1998) and Creativity in Primary Education (2015).

I have judged the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition, The Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and The Impress Prize for New Writers, and tutored at Arvon and the Poetry School.

This blog is archived by the British Library.


The following links take you to pages where you can read and listen to interviews I have given on my experience of cancer, poetry and blogging, how to be a bloggerLifesaving Poems, and writing.

You can find my most recent interview about my writing life, at Wombwell Rainbow, here.

You can find details of forthcoming readings and events here.


I am a poet and writing tutor, and a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter where I lead the unique Primary PGCE English pathway.

I also teach the MA in Language and Literacy in Education at GSE and Written on the Body: Poetry and Cancer, a Special Study Unit, at Exeter Medical School.

I was shortlisted for a University of Exeter Outstanding Regional Impact award in 2011 for my involvement with Exetreme Imagination and in the 2020 Teaching Awards for pastoral care. I have been nominated for a University of Exeter ‘outstanding teacher’ award for seven consecutive years. In January 2017 I was nominated to represent Exeter University’s College of Social Sciences and International Studies at Research Uncovered.

I have supervised PhDs on the following topics in the last seven years:

  • Transformation through learning: An ethnographic case study of practices in a music-infused school.
  • Enquiry into the enablers and barriers to health behaviour change through the use of narrative communication: The case for public health promotion in Nigeria
  • Saudi students’ attitudes and preferences towards using dictionaries for learning English.
  • An investigation of the preparation of teachers for language teaching at primary level: Implications for an initial Language Teacher Education programme in line with the European framework.
  • How does the Cornwall SCITT (school-centred initial teacher training) programme contribute to the development of creativity as part of teacher identity in pre-service teachers?
  • The effect of change on teachers’ emotions and identity in a tertiary college in the Middle East.
  • An Evaluative Study of Teaching Practice in the English Teacher Training Program at Rustaq College of Applied Sciences, Oman.
  • The Teaching of Writing to Early Writers: A Comparative Study of Multimodal Classroom Practices amongst Teachers in Malaysia and England.

Read more at my university webpage

My poetry writing lesson plans can be found online at The Poetry Archive and the Poetry Society.


My research is in the field of poetry in education.

My current project is Young Poets’ Stories, funded by the Foyle Foundation, with my colleague Sue Dymoke.

My work includes Teachers as Writers, a joint investigation with Open University and the Arvon Foundation, and Bath Festivals’ The Write Team, both on the impact of creative writers working in schools.In 2013 I was a co-investigator on the Choice and Control project, funded by the Education Endowment Fund.  In 2012 I was co-convener of the ESRC Seminar Series Poetry Matters.

You can read the Executive Summary of Teachers as Writers here.

You can read the Teachers as Writers blog here.

My recent research on teachers’ conceptualisations of poetry has been published in English Teaching: Practice and CritiqueLanguage and EducationThinking Skills and Creativity, and Research Papers in Education.

Making Poetry Matter, co-edited with Sue Dymoke and Andrew Lambirth and based on the Poetry Matters Seminar Series, is out now.

Making Poetry Happen was Highly Commended in the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award, 2016.

You can find more details of my research here.


I can be contacted by using the contact form below, or via email at

Author Photo: Gwenllian Riall



  1. Thanks for your Like on the Ashbery piece – I was v unsure about putting it up: he has such a fan-base, I don’t want them jumping all over me: if you must show your ignorance, then don’t do it all over etc etc.
    I see you’re working with teaching anf language techniques: I’m in the middle of researching ring structures in literature: and wonder if any crop up in your research fields: chiasmus, parallelism in texts etc.

    best wishes – dare I add: Happy New Year?

    M M


    1. Hello Michael and thanks so much for your kind comment.
      I think you seem much more qualified to talk about JA than I do, your piece has helped me read him in a completely new way. Thank you and hats off and good wishes


  2. Thank you for following my blog and for liking my post on “men die every day…” I’m enjoying your Lifesaving Poems. The PowerPoint on poetry pedagogy is interesting; I’d like to see more on this topic.


    1. Hi there and thanks so much for your kind comments. If you want to read more -the full-length article on teachers’ metaphors of poetry pedagogy- there is a link on the Research page on the site. It is called ‘A joyous lifeline in a target driven job’. I am so pleased you like the lifesaving poems series. Do spread the word.
      As ever with good wishes


  3. (Apologies in advance if this is a duplicate post. I’m still getting the hang of the WordPress thing.)
    Thanks for following my blog and liking my post on “men die every day…” I’m enjoying the Lifesaving Poems. The PowerPoint on poetry pedagogy was interesting; I’d like to read more.


  4. Anthony…it’s a pleasure to meet you even from such a distance, and I thank you for following Skylark Writing Studio…I hope this finds you in very good health. Your site is a treasure and I look forward to following it. You’re working in a field dear to my heart. And doing it beautifully.


    1. Dear Molly
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comments. I like what you are up to at the Skylark Writing Studio and wish you all the best for it.
      With best wishes and hats off


  5. Hi Anthony,
    I enjoyed the piece about spoofing “This is just to say” and Kenneth Koch’s parody which I didn’t know.
    Given your Exeter connection, I thought you might like my Riddle which also references the original.

    I’m a white god
    Attractive, cool.
    I preserve and
    Sustain. My veins
    Are serpentine.
    I take messages,
    Sometimes hum.
    Doctor Williams
    Ate my plums.

    Best wishes


    1. Dear Jeff
      Thanks so much for your excellent riddle, which brought a big smile to my face.
      I love those serpentine veins. I’m glad I pointed you to an article you found useful.
      As ever with with thanks for your interest


  6. Dear Mr Anthony Wilson,
    I stumbled upon your page due to a strange coincidence:fumbling foolishly online in search of more info on two favourite poets of mine,Marin Sorescu and DJ Enright.By the way,I am a Romanian, and a teacher of English, so that could be the explanation for why I’ve been doing this.Though my language skills are far below both yours and of the industrious guests of this site, who have left delightfully witty comments on this page, I still feel like making my embarrassed presence felt in your”house”; this is just to confess how happy I am to see that my humble literary choices are shared by people whose erudition and sensitivity is remarkable.I can’t wait to find the time and the mood to read some more of your poems as well, and I’ll also mail the link of your inspirational poems to one of my fellow teachers of English who happens to be undergoing chemeotherapy before surgery in her fight against cancer.Deep consideration.


    1. Thank you for your kind comment.
      I am so pleased you stopped by and have found poems that you like.
      I once heard Marin Sorescu reading, via a translator, in London.
      He looked to be having the time of his life, as though he couldn’t quite believe it that a crowd had turned out to see him.
      Wishing you, and your friend, all the very best


  7. I thank you.Also let me wish you to stay in good health, have a rewarding job and a happy life.And because we all love poetry,let me share with you and your friends, a small poem by Marin Sorescu, Chairs,published in a bilingual volume in1972,English version by Roy MacGregor Hastie.
    Every evening/I collect from my neighbours/all the available chairs/and read poems to them. Chairs are very sensitive/to poetry/if you know to set them properly. that is why/I get excited/and keep on at them for hours on end/about how beautifully my soul dies/in the daytime. Our meetings/are usually even-tempered/with no superfluous enthusism. Anyway/it means that each of us/has done his duty/and can move on.


    1. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful poem.
      If memory serves it was the first poem of Sorescu’s I came across.
      I love its humour, self deprecation and grief.
      It is a very strong favourite of mine and it was lovely to be reminded of it today.
      Thank you again, and with good wishes


  8. anthony wilson I love your piece on don coles in 1992 I was fortunate to meet don at a poetry retreat in banff called the may studios in which established canadian poets and other writers interacted with younger poets we spent some time together almost every day for 6 weeks and I really grew to love his poetry and him as a person I visited him in toronto a few times the next few years but haven’t seen him for ages his poetry is truly beautiful and unique I don’t know anyone who writes like don thanks again for the lovely words about him so many of our fine writers were expatriats for varying periods of time don coles heather spears mavis gallant


    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment.
      Don Coles I think should be a household name. I hope what I have done is share a little bit of the excitement of reading him.
      As ever with good wishes


    1. I am indeed that Anthony Wilson! Send me an email to the address on this page and I will arrange to send you some CDs of MP3s which we made from the old tapes.
      Hope this is ok, as ever with good wishes and thanks


  9. Dear Anthony,

    Just to say that I have been directed to your blog, by a friend who attends a WordPress MeetUp that I’m a member of and said how much he enjoys your poetry and posts.

    I love the look of your blog and super love the ambience of the pic on your Contact page! It makes me smile to see that we both have a little humour in our intro pages.

    There are a few poems published on my blog, which I would love you to take a peek at sometime.

    Having now followed your blog, I’m looking forward to enjoying your posts too!

    All the best,


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anthony,
    I happened upon your poetry today, and it made me feel some unexpected emotions. Maybe not unexpected as they are always there, but unplanned? Maybe. Your ability to describe grief, despite its differences from my own, is all encompassing of the feelings that go along with it. It has a universality that is very appealing. So thank you, for making me cry today, it was much needed after getting my blog started and typing out the subject matter I’m working with at Wildflower Hearts.
    I look forward to reading more of your work!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment Missy. I am pleased you found this blog and am glad it has given you solace. Thank you for your brave words and sharing on your own blog. I wish you peace. With good wishes, Anthony

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Anthony,

    I have just been reading some of your moving poetry and the poems you suggest in “Lifesaving Poems”. Thank you for sharing these. Such a wonderful list of poets and such exceptional poems. I have a question to ask if you don’t mind. I am doing a reading of some of my poems to a small audience in a session titled “Words that Heal”, on the 19th October on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia as part of a Literature Festival where I am the Artistic Director. The festival is called Somerset Storyfest, if you would like to look it up, the main festival being in March of each year with smaller events throughout the year, this being one of them. I would also like to use some of the poems (yours and the ones in your anthology). I was hoping to talk briefly about the impact of each poem on me personally, and before reading the poem/s, name the Poet and Poem and the source (your book) thus directing them toward purchasing your book if they want to. I would also have a typed list of the poems with the poets and your books for them to collect and follow up.
    I do want to ensure, however, that I am not infringing any copyright laws as as far as you or the other poets are concerned. I have read up on the laws and I have spoken to people with expertise and their advice is ambiguous. I don’t feel that I am infringing as I would be clearly attributing all sources, but I want to make sure.
    I wonder if you could let me know your thoughts on this please? If you would not want me to read or display the book or poems, I would absolutely respect that and not do so.

    Wait to hear from you when you have the time please, Anthony.

    Kind regards

    Michael Brohier

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael
      Thank you so much for your Kind words and comment . I have forwarded them to Bloodaxe to see what they will say in response, and will get back to you.
      With every good wish to you and your festival



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