Greta Stoddart's Fool: reviews, interviews & poem features

Greta Stoddart's Fool: reviews, interviews & poem features


‘Among current major UK poets, Stoddart’s poetic voice is perhaps as hard to categorise as anyone’s, except in its excellence. Even more than its wondrous three precursors, Fool will demand re-readings to absorb its full richness.’ – Matthew Paul, The Friday Poem


Greta Stoddart's fourth collection Fool was published by Bloodaxe in September 2022. It was launched with an online reading and discussion event with Bloodaxe on 21 September 2022 (see video below, where there is also a new film of Greta reading poems from the collection).

Greta Stoddart's third collection, Alive Alive O (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize. Her half-hour radio drama Who's There?, first broadcast on Radio 4's The Echo Chamber in 2017, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and was a BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week.

Her poem ’Flowers for my ego and a dark stage’ from Fool was Highly Commended by the Forward Prize judges in 2022 and is included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2023.

In June 2023, Greta Stoddart won a Cholmondeley Award, a prize which recognises a poet's body of work.

'Greta Stoddart’s poems combine exceptional poise and presence with impressive reach. Capturing the flow of life they are distinguished by their depth of thought, alertness and sense of the paradoxical. Appearing to travel lightly, her poetry penetrates the mysteries of being and the complexities of the emotions. An outstanding maker of poems, Stoddart is also an electrifying performer. In 2017 she brought together her two paths of theatre and poetry in a radio drama Who’s there?, a profound and deeply humane work inspired by visits to a care home for those with advanced dementia. A recent collection Fool (2022) further demonstrates Greta Stoddart's ability to stretch what poetry can achieve. It confirms her as one of our most accomplished and ambitious poets.' - Moniza Alvi, Judge for the 2023 Cholmondeley Awards



Planet Poetry: Looking | Relooking - with Greta Stoddart, Season 3, Episode 11, 25 May 2023

An in-depth and wide-ranging interview with Greta Stoddart featured on the Planet Poetry podcast on 25 May.  Greta was in conversation with co-host Robin Houghton and read six poems from her fourth collection Fool, which they discussed in detail.  The poems read were: ‘A glass of water’, ‘How I come to clean the windows’, ‘Concorde’, ‘Consider the mornings’, the title poem ‘Fool’ and then finally ‘My life came up to me and said’.

Greta spoke about her experience as an actor, and how that influenced her work in this collection.  She also spoke about the two years she spent writing her BBC Radio play ‘Who’s There?’, a sequence of poems set in a Dorset care home, and about judging this year's National Poetry Competition.

Following the 35-minute interview with Greta, hosts Robin Houghton and Peter Kenny discussed the book between themselves.

‘Did you ever repeat a word so often that its meaning ebbed away? Or look so hard at an object -- say a glass of water -- that it began to hint at unknowable mysteries?  No? Then you should join us as we meet Greta Stoddart and hear poetry from her new Bloodaxe collection Fool which will take you to an extraordinary place in your imagination where 'nothing might be what is called for'.  

Listen here. 1st item.



Greta Stoddart’s poem ‘Spell’ from her fourth collection Fool was featured by Carol Rumens as her Poem of the Week online column in The Guardian on 19 September 2022. Read here.

‘What is knowable, and how things are known, are themes of the collection. The Fool, a figure whose consciousness it often explores, may see more clearly through a gaze uncluttered by received ideas.’ – Carol Rumens, The Guardian, Poem of the Week

Carol Rumens also interviewed Greta Stoddart for the Autumn 2022 issue of The Poetry Review.

‘Greta Stoddart’s fourth collection Fool looks at ways in which, left to ourselves, we look for truth and meaning, how we inhabit various states of being and how it is we can know so much and so little at the same time.’ – Carol Rumens, The Poetry Review



An in-depth review of Fool was featured on The Friday Poem on 25 November 2022 here.

'Stoddart ranges dazzlingly across the nature of time, reality, happiness and self in what feels like an understandably feverish, obsessive anxiety... Among current major UK poets, Stoddart’s poetic voice is perhaps as hard to categorise as anyone’s, except in its excellence. Even more than its wondrous three precursors, Fool will demand re-readings to absorb its full richness.’ – Matthew Paul, The Friday Poem

Greta Stoddart wrote about the three poems she'd like to take to a desert island in The Friday Poem's Castaway Companions feature of 9 September 2022 here.


'In Fool, Greta Stoddart explores profound ideas of presence and absence, substance and void, but in an unassuming, conversational tone. Her poems are easy to underestimate, just like her chosen persona of the Fool, whose empty-headedness is not stupidity but a different way of responding to sights and sounds, people and objects...' - Dorothy Yamamoto, ARTEMISpoetry


Greta Stoddart reads and introduces seven poems from her fourth collection Fool: ‘Yesterday I planted a tree’, ‘Adult Education’, ‘Perfect Field’, ‘Consider the mornings’, ‘Walking into church’, ‘Spell’, and ‘My life came up to me and said’.

Jesse Adlam filmed Greta at her home in Devon in June 2023 reading selections of poems from her two Bloodaxe collections, Alive Alive O and Fool. Both films include music by Frank Adlam.



Bloodaxe September 2022 online launch reading


Greta Stoddart launched Fool alongside Jane Griffiths and Shazea Quraishi. All three authors read from their new books - a second, fourth and a sixth collection - and discussed their work with Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley and with each other. The event is now available on YouTube here, where it is divided into chapters, or click play on the above video. Greta read last in each set.

[01 December 2022]

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