Professor Jo Shapcott

Personal profile

Poet Jo Shapcott's collection, Her Book: Poems 1988-1998 (2000), consists of a selection of poetry from her three earlier collections: Electroplating the Baby (1988), which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Phrase Book (1992), and My Life Asleep (1998), which won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection). She is co-editor (with Linda Anderson) of a collection of essays about Elizabeth Bishop and co-editor with Matthew Sweeney of an anthology of contemporary poetry, Emergency Kit.  Her latest book of poems Of Mutability, was published in 2010, shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize and was awarded the Costa Prize for Book of the Year.  She was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2011 for Of Mutability.


Jo Shapcott is working on her next book of poems, provisionally titled The Book of Life.  Her interests include poetry and science, poetry and the body and poetry and the environment.


'Jo Shapcott is doing no less than rewriting the English poetic canon – challenging sources, verse structure, and the primacy of the patriarchal voice.', John Kinsella, Poetry Review

'Shapcott is gifted and original, and it is in work such as hers that the future health of poetry needs to be sought.' Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

‘The excellent title poem [‘Of Mutability’], a deceptively casual sonnet, acts as something of a tissue sample for most of the book's concerns, from the mutations of cells to the disruption of the seasons, in a voice as mutable as the phenomena it describes.’ Frances Leviston, The Guardian


As well as teaching on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, Jo teaches for the Faber Academy and she has given lectures, seminars, tutorials and led workshops for a wide variety of groups and in a wide variety of arts and education contexts: for example, Liverpool University (The Allott Lecture), the Arvon Foundation, the Big Issue Writers' Group, the Poetry Society of India and the South Bank Centre.

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