Fiona Sampson

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Fiona Sampson
Fiona sampson picture credit jemima kuhfeld.JPG
Fiona Sampson
Occupation Poet
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Academy of Music; University of Oxford, University of Nijmegen

Fiona Sampson is a British poet.


Born in London, Sampson grew up in the West Country, on the west coast of Wales and in Gloucestershire.[1] She was educated at the Royal Academy of Music, and following a brief career as a concert violinist, studied at Oxford University, where she won the Newdigate Prize.[2] She gained a PhD in the philosophy of language from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and currently lives in Coleshill, Oxfordshire.


Sampson has published twenty books, including works of poetry, volumes on the philosophy of language and on the writing process. Her poetry has been published and broadcast in more than thirty languages and her many translations include the work of Jaan Kaplinski. She contributes to The Guardian, The Irish Times The Independent, the Times Literary Supplement and the "Sunday Times". She advises internationally on creative writing in healthcare. She was the founder-director of Poetryfest – the Aberystwyth International Poetry Festival and the founding editor of Orient Express, a journal of contemporary writing from Europe.[3] Sampson's work is held online, in text and audio, at The Poetry Archive.[4]

Sampson was the editor of Poetry Review (2005–2012), the oldest and most widely read poetry journal in the UK. She was the first woman editor of the journal since Muriel Spark (1947–49).[5] In January 2013 she founded Poem, a quarterly international review. Poem is published by the University of Roehampton, where Sampson is Professor of Poetry.

Her fifth full poetry collection was Rough Music (Carcanet, 2010). It followed A Century of Poetry Review (Carcanet, 2009), a PBS Special Commendation and Poetry Writing: The expert guide (Robert Hale, 2009). Her volume of Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures on the formal links between music and poetry, Music Lessons, was published in 2011, and Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Faber and Faber Poet to Poet series, appeared in the same year (it was the PBS on-line Book Club Choice), reissued in 2012. Beyond the Lyric: a map of contemporary British poetry (Chatto, 2012) is the first study of the poetry mainstream to identify the range of contemporary British poetics without being partisan, and to recognise the contribution of women across that range; not surprisingly, it was treated as controversial. Coleshill (Chatto, 2013), a PBS Recommendation, is a portrait of place and feeling.

Sampson was a judge for the International Foreign Fiction Prize, the Irish Times IMPAC Awards, the 2011 Forward Poetry Prizes and the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Awards and honours[edit]

The poem "Trumpeldor Beach" was shortlisted for the 2006 Forward single poem prize and her volume Common Prayer was shortlisted for the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize. Rough Music was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize 2010 for best collection. She has won the Cholmondeley Award (2009), the 2003 Zlaten Prsten for international writing (Macedonian Foundation for Culture and Sciences), a Hawthornden Fellowship, the Newdigate Prize; and awards from the Arts Councils of England and Wales and the Society of Authors. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature,[6] a Fellow of the English Association and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was elected to the Council of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Self on the Page: Theory and Practice of Creative Writing in Personal Development (with Celia Hunt) Jessica Kingsley (1998)
  • The Healing Word (1998)
  • Creative Writing In Health And Social Care (editor) Jessica Kingsley, (2004)
  • A Fine Line: New Poetry from East and Central Europe (with Jean Boase-Beier and Alexandra Buchler, Arc, 2004)
  • Evening Brings Everything Back (translations of Jaan Kaplinski, Bloodaxe, 2004)
  • Folding the Real (Seren, 2001, published in Romanian by Editura Paralela 45, 2004)
  • Patuvachki Knevnik (Knixevna Akademija, Skopje, 2004), awarded the 2004 Zlaten Prsten (Macedonia)
  • Writing: Self and Reflexivity co-authored with Celia Hunt (2005)
  • The Distance Between Us (Seren, 2006) (Bulgarian edition, Balkani, Sofia: 2009; Albanian edition Poeteka, Tirana: 2006; Macedonian edition Magor, Skopje: 2005; Romanian edition Editura Parallela 45, Bucharest: 2005)
  • On Listening (Salt, 2007)
  • Day co-authored with Amir Or (2007)
  • Common Prayer (Carcanet, 2007), short-listed for the 2007 T. S. Eliot Prize
  • A Century of Poetry Review (Carcanet, 2009)
  • Poetry Writing: the Expert Guide (Robert Hale, 2009)
  • Zweimal sieben Gedichte (Wieser Verlag, Klagenfurt, 2009)
  • Poljupci I Molitva (Bronko Miljokovic, Nis, 2010)
  • Rough Music (Carcanet, 2010), short-listed for 2010 Forward Prize and the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize
  • Music Lessons: The Newcastle Lectures (Bloodaxe, 2011)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley (Faber, 2011)
  • Beyond the Lyric: A map of contemporary British poetry (Chatto, 2012)
  • Night Fugue: Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2013)
  • Coleshill (Chatto, 2013)


  1. ^ "Fiona Sampson". The Poetry Archive. 
  2. ^ British Council Biog
  3. ^ Aldeburgh Poetry Festival biog
  4. ^ "Fiona Sampson's workshop". The Guardian. London. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  5. ^ The Poetry Society (New editor for Poetry Review)
  6. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 

External links[edit]