The Dead Women Poets Society is a conversation between female poets, living and dead, through the medium of readings, interviews and essays. Our principal line-up is composed of Jasmine Simms, Sarah Fletcher, Katie Byford and Helen Bowell, all talking about and interested in different women poets of the past. We give talks and readings, and this on this website you will soon find interviews and posts on those poets who are interesting, important and often neglected.
Jasmine Simms is the mastermind behind the Dead [Women] Poets Society. She graduated from an English and Education degree at Durham, and has received a Vice Chancellor’s Scholar for the Arts. A graduate of The Writing Squad, she has twice been a winner in the Northern Writers Awards, and was a commended Foyle Young Poet in 2012. In 2013 she won 2nd Prize in the Trinity College, Cambridge, Gould Prize for essays in English Literature. Her poems have recently appeared in Magma, the Bloodaxe anthology Hallelujah for 50 ft Women, and the Tower Poetry anthology Something To Be Said. She is currently Writer in Residence for the Deeply Morbid project in Newcastle.
Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet and graduate of Durham University. Her pamphlet Kissing Angles was published by Dead Ink Books in 2015 and her second pamphlet Typhoid August was published by Poetry Business in 2018. In 2012, she was a Foyle Young Poets winner and also a winner of the Tower Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in The Rialto, Morning Star, and The London Magazine. You can read a particularly insightful review of Sarah’s debut pamphlet, ‘Kissing Angles’, as part of an interview with Sarah herself, here.
Katie Byford is a Classicist who dabbles in other art forms. Growing up in London, she was there a member of the Barbican Young Poets and Burn After Reading collectives for young poets. She was prior to this commended in the Foyle Young Poets competition and the Young Poets on the Underground initiative. Her work most recently been published by Magma and in Bloodaxe anthology, ‘Hallelujah For 50ft Women’. She is now a member of The Writing Squad. Favourite quote from a poet: Anne Sexton said that “Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for, but never seen.” For women this is a daily reality. The words and work of women channel this pain, and in doing so achieve a small triumph against the tyranny of such a life.
Helen Bowell graduated from an English Literature BA at Durham in 2016, where she was the editor of the university English Society’s literary magazine, From the Lighthouse, and president of its Creative Writing Society. In 2011 and 2012, she was a commended Foyle Young Poet, and is also a graduate of the Writing Squad. She has been published in a couple of Forward anthologies, The Manchester Review, The Missing Slate, Strix, and various other corners of the internet.