Josephine Abbott

Josephine Abbott

Josephine Abbott was a winner of The Poetry Business International Book & Pamphlet Exhibition 2016/17

Josephine Abbott was born and grew up in Manchester, went to Sheffield University to study English Language and Latin, and now lives in Derbyshire. Her collection Trying Not To Levitate was published in 2006 by Blinking Eye.

Her first poem was published in Staple in 1992, after which her poems appeared in magazines such as Acumen, Agenda, The Frogmore Papers, Stand and others, also in anthologies such as Templar Poetry’s Stripe (2009) and Bliss (2011). She won an East Midlands Bursary and was on the region’s New Voices Tour in 1998. She has given readings of her work, led writing workshops, and been commissioned to work with a variety of community groups.

She has won prizes and/or commendations in a range of competitions over the years, most recently a supplementary prize in The Bridport Prize (2009) and Third Prize in The National Poetry Competition (2013).

Winner of the 2016/17 International Book & Pamphlet Competition


'Josephine Abbott's The Infinite Knot, a sequence of mostly sonnet variants, doubling back on itself like a kind of knot, has radiance spilling all over it. With an ear finely tuned to cadence and syntax, Josephine listens 'below the threshold of hearing', reaching out for a deeper understanding of the world she lives in. A world she celebrates lyrically, forensically, and we celebrate her too for a pamphlet, delicate and precise in its parts, but with the reach of a full collection.' - Mimi Khalvati


'… the clarity and precision of Josephine Abbott’s distinctive image-making came through forcefully…' - Jo Shapcott, judging the 2006 Blinking Eye competition 


''Chinese Landscape Painting' was a careful and graceful study, written in the same spirit as the painting it describes.' - Jo Shapcott, Mslexia


''Love on a Night Like This' is a poem in which the personal and universal, the minute and the enormous, are made one and the same thing.” - Julia Copus, National Poetry Competition 2013


'Abbott celebrates the wonder of existence yet there is also a sense of impermanence and imminent loss' - Pam Thompson, London Grip


'In The Infinite Knot Josephine Abbott writes compellingly about loss and incomprehension, nature and science, marriage and companionship... These poems are elegant, keenly observed and affecting." - John Mee, Sabotage Reviews

“I’ve been writing poetry and stories for just about as long as I can remember – probably from about the age of seven. By the time I was 10 years old, my primary Headteacher wanted to send a poem I’d written about the Aberfan disaster to the Manchester Evening News, but I was too embarrassed to let her.

My interest in language, and my poetic influences, mainly go back to the Old English, Old Norse, Middle English and Latin I studied at Sheffield University. My enjoyment of modern and contemporary poetry has developed since then, and I can usually find something to enjoy in almost any poetry I’ve ever read.”

The Rain Ghosts

Rain ghosts are pattering on the glass;
what they want is to be let in.

They have something they’re dying to tell you
and only one syllable they can use to whisper it.

We’ve come – they’ll say – out of the soil;
out of the river and sea and clouds;

we’re ship and wood and all that’s lost at sea
carried and scattered against your window;

we’re particles of brick and slate and garden;
molecules of paint and tree and cloth

washed off in a forgotten downpour;
we’re skin cells and sweat and everyone’s DNA

dissolved and rearranged by rain.
Water remembers everything.


Titles by this author

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