Welcome to Tim Liardet's Website


New and Selected






Photo by Tomasz Milosz Radej


Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, for The World Before Snow (Carcanet) in 2015 and The Blood Choir (Seren) in 2006, Tim Liardet has produced eleven collections of poetry to date. He has also been longlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, received several Poetry Book Society Recommendations, a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, an Arts Council England Writer Award, a Society of Authors Award, a Hawthornden fellowship, four Pushcart nominations, and various other awards. His poems have appeared or are due to appear in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Slate Magazine, North American Review, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Granta, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and many other journals. Arcimboldo's Bulldog: New and Selected Poems appeared from Carcanet in 2018. From 2015-2018, he was a Poetry Book Society Selector; in September 2019, he received an Authors Foundation work-in-progress award from the Society of Authors. Born in London, in 1959, Liardet is currently Professor of Poetry at Bath Spa University.


The wretched details of prison life - "early morning yells / exchanged like ritual blows", the "click of the guard's shoe" that "cannot quite catch up with / its metal tip" - are vividly realised, but it is at the points where Liardet's language begins to tug against the reality he portrays that his poems come alive on the page. His delicate, highly metaphorical descriptions turn fear into "a sort / of aloe sapping the tongue", send criminal charges "drift[ing] ... loop[ing] / like light that cannot turn a corner", transcending the prison's desolation and bestowing the inmates' lives with a sort of grace…Liardet's decision to create the sense of incarceration not through a focus on barriers but through an attenuated vision of liberty is particularly effective. Throughout the collection, his gaze settles on those things that can breach the barriers - a wasp, a bird, the "pale gas of morning" which "rises on either side" of the prison's wall. The central achievement of this rare and powerful volume is to show us that even in the heart of prison there is the scope for freedom.

| Sarah Crown, The Guardian, on The Blood Choir


One starts with clues and sees them evolve into something near liturgy. He seems to say that the world and its morality move along signal fires of individual prodigies, and these may be monstrous as naturally as they are prodigious. The poems are as intimately limned as a Dürer drawing. This a real book of poetry, conceived out an original mind and written with a responsible virtuosity.

| Peter Porter, on The Blood Choir


'Liardet imagines the drowning of the cocklepickers, layering his writing with refrains and echoes to create contemporary dreamsong with a compelling urgency. The details of this human battle with the sea are recorded with devastating effect. These are haunting and haunted poems...'

| Kathryn Simmons and Jacob Sam-La Rose, Poetry Book Society Bulletin, on Priest Skear


The Blood Choir is a work of extraordinary perception and honesty…Judges, lawyers and guards, whose shadows figure only faintly in this world, could learn much from Liardet’s powerful account. And nobody who believes that poetry could occasionally address brutal realities should miss it.

| Alan Brownjohn, The Sunday Times


The finest poetry collections have an internal consistency and a rhythm, a sense of order and unity between poems. Unified in the most tragic way is Tim Liardet's The Storm House, an elegy to a brother who died in mysterious, violent circumstances. It opens: "Trouble is with inventing a language, brother,/ when the only other person in the world who speaks it dies,/ you're left speaking to no one." The remaining poems tackle that paradox, speaking to "no one", yet also touching and engaging the reader. This descent into the darkness is not morbid, but uplifting: "Look to the living... They should/ be kissed and kiss often and live to be a hundred."

| Suzy Feay, The Independent on Sunday


Tim Liardet has already established a reputation as a poet who brings technical finesse to bear on unusual and difficult subjects…his seventh collection, The Storm House, chronicles the trauma of losing a brother to a violent and suspicious death …the work reads very much as a live autobiographical struggle with “the freezing, terrible kiss” of grief and boiling fraternal ambivalence… Such is the dextrous compression of syntax that, except for the stark shape on the page, one is scarcely aware of the mechanics of form until each sonnet’s internal logic draws up hard in a final couplet. Most devastating and measured of all is the final poem, whose meditation on the irrevocable gone-ness of the dead is both beautiful and uncompromising: ‘You know the turnings beyond the world / that have never been mapped, the pathos of the last street lamp /getting smaller and smaller’. This dark, clear note continues to sound long after reading.

| Tiffany Atkinson, The Warwick Review


Tim Liardet’s The World Before Snow is an extended sequence about a mid-life love affair begun in America during a blizzard. These intense long-lined verses freeze the chance encounter in cubist arrangements played out in echo chambers and halls of mirrors, as the lovers adjust to their new situation. The lyric line is stretched to accommodate their instability, as images become more fractured. This technique brilliantly succeeds in describing the aftermath of one meeting, each moment in the process of exploding, like Cornelia Parker’s exploding shed in her installation ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’. Like Parker, Liardet immerses us in an installation of momentous force.

| Pascale Petit, T.S.Eliot Prize Judge’s Report, January 2016


Tim Liardet has become a notable presence on the poetry scene, particularly for Priest Skear – about the Morecambe cockle pickers and The Storm House, an elegy for his brother. He is familiar with extremity and this is what drives [The World Before Snow]: a piledriving series of – not love poems exactly –but poems about a tumultuous love affair. It is Hughesian sequence – something Liardet is evidently aware of – repetition is a key device… There are even parallels in the relationship between a British and an American poet and that famous bite. It’s a meeting of poetical tectonic plates.

| John Greening, T.S Eliot Prize Preview Event, Southbank Centre, 2016










































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