The importance of place

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

by Helen Mort for Magma Poetry

Where do you write your poems? We’re fascinated by the places where poetry happens, the idea that inspiration might not just be a moment-in-time but in a moment-in-place. The Guardian’s regular feature on is popular for just that reason: there’s something very compelling about being able to see inside an artist’s study (or shed, in the case of Louis de Bernieres), almost as if we imagine there might be traces of what provoked the work snagged in the hairs of the carpet or shadowing the walls. As if a room can be responsible for a poem. No wonder writers become almost superstitious about the environments they write in, from Andrew Motion’s insistence on a bare desk to Michael Longley’s presiding talisman or “genius loci – a raven created out of scrap metal by the magnificent Scottish sculptor Helen Dennerly.”

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