Biography of Julia Copus
Julia Copus was born in London, and is a British poet and children's writer.
Copus' books of poetry include The Shuttered Eye (Bloodaxe, 1995), which won her an Eric Gregory Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, In Defence of Adultery (Bloodaxe, 2003) and The World's Two Smallest Humans (Faber, 2012), shortlisted for both the Costa Book Awards (poetry category) and the T.S. Eliot Prize. All three collections are Poetry Book Society Recommendations. She is known for establishing a new form in English poetry, which she has called the specular form, in which the second half of the poem mirrors the first, using precisely the same lines but in reverse order and differently punctuated.
Eenie Meenie Macka Racka (an original 45-minute play for radio) was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September, 2003, having been commissioned after Copus won the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Award for Best New Radio Playwright in 2002. In the same year she won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition with 'Breaking the Rule'.
In 2001, she received writing awards from the Arts Council of England and the Authors’ Foundation, and in 2003, she collaborated with sculptor Stephen Broadbent to produce a poem inscribed on a bronze bench and sculpture in Fleming Square, Blackburn.
Copus was awarded a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at the University of Exeter in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The following year she was made an RLF Advisory Fellow and awarded an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Exeter. In 2010, she won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for 'An Easy Passage'.
A pocket-sized writing guide for undergraduates called Brilliant Writing Tips for Students was published by Palgrave Macmillan in July 2009.
A sequence of poems for radio, Ghost Lines, based on a couple's experience of IVF treatment and produced by John Taylor of Fiction Factory, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in December 2011 and shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
Copus has also written two picture books: Hog in the Fog (Faber 2014) and The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo (Faber 2015).
Her grandfather is the painter Cecil Bailey, a central member of the Borough Bottega group who studied under David Bomberg.
Julia Copus Poems
bits of energy in cyclic motion:
our skin and cells and vital organs
are a lattice-work of small vibrations,
at the schoolgates, in the street, first thing on waking,
she'd think of her former calling, the way it had defined her.
In the dim, sugar-paper blur of the light,
If you've ears to hear, then listen well.
In the frosty lanes of alley cats;
As if grief lay in wait for us all along,
a barricade or boulder in the road.
What was it pulled us to it - led as we were
the way that certain music does -
whether a symphony or ballad -
aleontologists treasure the rare geological circumstances that permit an occasional preservation of soft parts. - Stephen Jay Gould
Perhaps there is some transcendental place,
some cove or niche
somewhere in which
the pouches, lobes and gills,
suckers, lips and tentacles
of countless ancient animals
endure. For bones are not much more