Kim Moore

And the vacuum cleaner flew
down the stairs like a song
— from 'In Praise of Arguing'


Kim Moore works in Cumbria as a peripatetic Brass Teacher and lives with her husband and two Border Terriers.

She won the 2010 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and was awarded an Eric Gregory in 2011. 

Kim's pamphlet, If We Could Speak Like Wolves, was a winner in the 2011 Book & Pamphlet Competition, chosen by Carol Ann Duffy; selected as one of the Independent's Books of the Year in 2012; was the runner up in the 2012 Lakeland Book of the Year and reached the Michael Marks Poetry Award shortlist in 2013.

Kim is one of 5 UK Poets selected by Ledbury Poetry Festival to take part in the Versopolis Project which promotes and translates emerging poets in partnership with 10 other European Festivals.

In 2014 she was Digital Poet-in-Residence at The Poetry School and Poet-in-Residence at the 2014 Ilkley Literature Festival.  She was awarded a Northern Promise Award in 2014.  Her first full length collection 'The Art of Falling' will be published by Seren in Spring 2015.  She blogs at 





'These are terrifically assured poems- sensual, perceptive, entertaining- which bridge the gap between feeling and utterance with a genuine lyric gift.' — Carol Ann Duffy

'A number of poems in If We Could Speak Like Wolves by Kim Moore ... seem to address explicitly the strengths of this excellent and versatile poet. “The Master Engraver” is about a man whose night-long dedication to his craft – “his solitary light shining for as long as the dark / holds the city to account” – hints at the poet’s own passionate craftsmanship, while in “The Ferryman” the souls of the dead make their own way across “as if the rules did not exist”. This is a poem that both acknowledges tradition and insists on remaking it. Although in many ways Moore’s poems are like the old path she describes in “Walney Channel” – “the spine of some forgotten animal / turning in its sleep before you come” – it is with the imprint of a lover’s foot – “go barefoot / Don’t stop” – that they come alive.' — The TLS

'Kim Moore’s pamphlet is full of icy-fresh and witty poems which display with total assurance how ordinary settings hide the mysterious, bizarre and sometimes frightening, and how swiftly the rules we live by can unravel.' The Michael Marks Poetry Award judges 

'Kim Moore’s poetry is tough and beautiful. It is also an absolutely distinctive presence: hers is a voice that knows its own mind. Moore’s work is drily hilarious but also mysterious, disciplined but also risk-taking. Exact and exacting, she is modernizing the lyric tradition.' — Fiona Sampson

'The poems in Kim Moore’s If We Could Speak Like Wolves are beautifully modulated, decked out in confident, well-judged rhymes, with a keen rhythmic intelligence.' — C.J. Allen, Litter

'What stands out for me is the musicality of all these poems: the lines are rhythmic, and the words dance, and echo off each other.' E.E. Nobbs

'The title poem, 'If We Could Speak Like Wolves', has the muscular power of the creatures it describes [...] It builds and builds to the payoff at the end; this is not just a stunning portrait of wild animals, but a picture of a relationship "more simple than marriage." The poem works as a kind of slanted nature poem, but the final lines make the reader see it all in a new light.' Clarissa Akroyd

'Moore’s lyrical verse usually has a narrative or incident coiled at its heart like a spring. It is poetry with a synaesthesia of eye and ear, carefully observed and you can hear the lines too as you read them on the page.' — Ambit

'Sometimes, a new voice in poetry grabs you and its words and images refuse to let go. So it was when I heard Kim Moore read at a recent Shindig. Her first pamphlet collection If We Could Speak Like Wolves certainly lived-up to those expectations generated by her performance.' Deborah Tyler-Bennett, Under the Radar (11)

Review by David Morley in Poetry Review 102:3 Autumn 2012
“Kim Moore is the most compelling poet under review because she is least afraid of the dark sounds speaking through her.  She welcomes and invokes duende: the unworldly and worldly occupy the same verbal space.  Her poetry is always out of the ordinary yet unshowy despite (or because of) her expert and subtle handling of line and form.  The result: a balanced arrangement of wild gift and mindful shaping (even a poem about Watership Down possesses duende).  Moore is also the poet most likely to communicate to people who do not read poetry – yet her work is in no way simple or charming.  Much promise yielded, much beckoning for the future.


If I could wait for the slightest change
in you, then each day hurt you in a dozen
different ways, bite heart-shaped chunks
of flesh from your thighs to test if you flinch
or if you could be trusted to endure, 

if I could rub my scent along your shins to make
you mine, if a mistake could be followed
by instant retribution and end with you
rolling over to expose the stubble and grace
of your throat, if it could be forgotten 

the moment the wind changed, if my eyes
could sharpen to yellow, if we journeyed
each night for miles, taking it in turns
to lead, if we could know by smell
what we are born to, if before we met 

we sent our lonely howls across the estuary
where in the fading light wader birds stiffen
and take to the air, then we could agree
a role for each of us, more complicated
than alpha, more simple than marriage.



Kim on her work

I've always loved reading and writing, but to be honest I didn't know that published poets could actually be alive until I was about eighteen!  I read mainly fiction when I was younger, but when I went to music college I used to go and buy poetry books from the local Borders in Leeds.  Pretty much all they had was Carol Ann Duffy, Charles Bukowski and Billy Collins, and that was enough to keep me going for the whole three years I was there.  I wrote ranty poems about my ex boyfriends but didn't show anybody.  I didn't even know there were such things as writers groups.  When I moved to Cumbria I went along to Fourth Monday Poets, absolutely terrified.  That must have been about five years ago, and that was the first time I showed anybody anything that I'd written, but the group were so encouraging that I kept going back.  I'm sure the darkness in my poetry can be attributed to the fact that I was reading my dad's Stephen King novels at a very early age — I remember being at primary school and reading It and having nightmares.


I always find it hard to pick favourites — but I suppose if I think about the poets that I get most excited about when a new collection comes out — they would include Don Paterson, Kei Miller, Carol Ann Duffy of course.  I've recently discovered Jane Hirshfield after hearing her read at the Women's Poetry Festival in Grasmere and she is now a firm favourite.  Edward Hirsch is another recent discovery that I've made.  I'm really excited about Helen Mort's new collection which isn't out yet — but I'm looking forward to reading it. 


I write anywhere!  I work full time as a peripatetic brass teacher, so I can't afford to be precious about where I write.  If I get to a school early, I sit in the car with the heaters on full blast and write there... I like writing on the train.  I do have a small room at home which has my computer in — and I type up poems and work on them in there, again with a portable heater on full blast.  I suppose work does get in the way of writing sometimes, in that I have limited time to write in — but then again, I don't really write very much in the school holidays.  I think I need the constraints of time — almost like having something to fight against to write.  In the holidays I read!


The pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves suddenly came together in the last year.  I had entered pamphlet competitions before, but never got anywhere.  The entries that I made before though never really felt settled — I knew I didn't have the right title for the pamphlet, I had no idea why I'd put the poems in the order that I had, so I'm relieved I didn't win before! Last year, I didn't enter because I realised I wasn't ready.  The pamphlet wasn't ready.  This year — I found my title, and it all started to come together.  I started to talk, at least to myself, as if the pamphlet was an object that already existed.  I had quite a few Cumbrian poems that sat well together, I had some 'persona' poems, all tied together by poems about relationships, and power.


I'm kind of working on my first collection, in that it is in the back of my mind, but at the minute I'm enjoying looking forward to the pamphlet coming out! (And I just found out (i.e tonight) that I'm one of three winners of the Fermoy Internation Poetry Anthology Competition, which means I get flown over to Ireland for the Fermoy poetry festival and get to read, and hang out with lots of Irish poets for four days.  I'm really looking forward to it — I've always wanted to go to Ireland!)

Titles by this author

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