Paul Farley

(1965 / Liverpool / UK)

Biography of Paul Farley

Paul Farley poet

Paul Farley, FRSL (born 1965) is a British poet, writer and broadcaster.
Farley was born in Liverpool. He studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art, and has lived in London, Brighton and Cumbria. His first collection of poetry, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1998) won a Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection) in 1998, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. The book also gained him the Somerset Maugham Award, and in 1999 he won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. From 2000-2002 he was the poet-in-residence at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere.
His second collection, The Ice Age (2002), received the Whitbread Poetry Award. In 2004, Paul Farley was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation poets. His third collection, Tramp in Flames, was published in 2006, a poem from which, ‘Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second’, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem. The same year he also published a study of Terence Davies' film, Distant Voices, Still Lives. In 2007 he edited a selection of John Clare for Faber's Poet to Poet series. He has also written a great deal for radio, and often writes more widely on art and literature.[citation needed]
As a broadcaster he has made many arts, features and documentary programmes for radio and television, as well as original radio dramas, and his poems for radio are collected in Field Recordings:BBC Poems 1998-2000. He makes regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review, Front Row and BBC Radio 3's The Verb. His book, Edgelands, a non-fiction journey into England’s overlooked wilderness (co-authored with Michael Symmons Roberts) was published by Jonathan Cape in 2011; it received the Royal Society of Literature’s Jerwood Award, the Foyles Best Book of Ideas Award 2012 and was serialised as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. His most recent collection is The Dark Film, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice in 2012. In 2009 he received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2012.
He currently lives in Lancashire and is Professor of Poetry at Lancaster University. Updates


Funny to think you can still buy it now,
a throwback, like shoe polish or the sardine key.
When you lever the lid it opens with a sigh
and you're face-to-face with history.
By that I mean the unstable pitch black
you're careful not to spill, like mercury

that doesn't give any reflection back,
that gets between the cracks of everything

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