Sean Borodale


Sean Borodale
was Northern Arts Fellow of the Wordsworth Trust in 1999 and Guest Artist at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2002. From 2002-7 he was a teaching fellow at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

His long topographical work Notes for an Atlas was recommended by Robert Macfarlane in the Guardian Summer Books 2005. It was performed in 2007 at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, directed by Mark Rylance, as part of the first London Festival of Literature. Recent projects include Grey Matter with artist Jonathan Houlding which included a residency at the Fundacion Pilar i Joan Miro, Mallorca, 2009

Bee Journal, his debut full-length collection of poems was published by Jonathan Cape on July 5th, 2012 < more >

He was selected as a Granta New Poet in 2012 and was recently shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and the Costa Book Award.


'Harbours great energy and abundant imagination ... a strikingly original voice'


Notes for an Atlas is 'an extraordinary 370-page poem written whilst walking through London ... Rings with sadness, haphazardness and utterly modern beauty'


author image


April 2014
Miighty Beast (Radio 3) nominated for a
Radio Academy Award ...

July 2013
Reading with Naomi Shihab Nye at The Wordsworth Trust, The Daffodil Hotel, 7.30pm 16th July ...

Reading from Notes for an Atlas at
Art-Walking Weekend, Visual Arts in Rural Communities
, Highgreen, Tarset, Saturday 13th July ...

Reading with Jacob Polley at the Ledbury Poetry Festival, Saturday 6th July ...

June 2013
Reading with Jacob Polley at the Durham University Centre for Poetry and Poetics in association with the Poetry Book Society T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry Annual Reading, Palace GReen , 7.30pm, 13th June ...

May 2013
The Verb with Ian Macmillan, You Are Wolf and Jo Shapcott, Friday May 24th, BBC Radio 3 ...

Reading at
Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
with John Burnside as part of the London Festival of Literature. Monday 27th May 4pm ...

April 2013
Reading at Wenlock Poetry Festival with Carol Ann Duffy and Imtiaz Dharker. Saturday 6th April 8pm ...

March 2013
@ Colomboscope, Sri Lanka 22nd - 24th March 2013. Festival curated by Ashok Ferrey, organised by the British Council and Goethe Institute. Participating authors include Anjali Joseph, Sean Borodale, Carolin Emcke, Sharmila Kantha, Julian West, Sumathy Sivamohan, Malinda Seneviratne, Anne Ranasinghe, Ramya Jirasinghe, Vivimarie Vanderpoorten, Brandon Ingram, Neluka Silva, Madhubhashini Ratnayaka Disanayake, Smriti Daniel and Rajiva Wijesinha ...
Festival programme ...

Reading at
stAnza Poetry Festival
with Ron Butlin in the Town Hall, St Andrews.

February 2013
BBC Radio 4 'The Echo Chamber'. Sunday 24th Feb.
Presented by Paul Farley, featuring Sean Borodale, Alice Oswald and Don Paterson ...

Granta Magazine online
In dialogue with Granta New Poet Eric Anderson ...

January 2013
Mighty Beast on BBC Radio 3 'Between the Ears'. Extracts from a long documentary poem written at cattle markets and during interviews with farmers, market staff, hauliers and auctioneers in the southwest.
With Chris Bianchi as the auctioneer, soundscape by Elizabeth Purnell; incorporating conversations with some of the farmers, market staff and auctioneers who inspired the work. Produced by Sara Davies. On iplayer until Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 ...

Two poems from Mighty Beast in POEM magazine ...

@ the Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge, as part of Thresholds: Poets in Residence at the University of Cambridge museums and collections. Find out more ...

December 2012
The T S Eliot Prize marks its twentieth anniversary this year so there’s plenty to celebrate at the T S Eliot Prize Readings, which will take place at 7pm on Sunday 13 January in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. All ten shortlisted poets will be reading from their work on the eve of the judges’ decision on the winner, at what is now the biggest poetry event of the year.

Ian McMillan will host the Readings, which will be prefaced by Carol Ann Duffy, Chair of the judges, reading one of T S Eliot’s own poems.

Get your tickets now from the Southbank Centre’s box office!

November 2012
Bee Journal nominated for the Poetry category of the Costa Book Awards.
The shortlist of four books includes:
The World's Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus (Faber)
People Who Like Meatballs by Selima Hill (Bloodaxe Books)
The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie (Picador)

Bee Journal shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

The shortlist of ten books includes:
The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage (Faber)
Bee Journal by Sean Borodale (Jonathan Cape)
Ice by Gillian Clarke (Carcanet)
The World's Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus (Faber)
The Dark Film by Paul Farley (Picador)
P L A C E by Jorie Graham (Carcanet)
The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie (Picador)
Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds (Jonathan Cape)
The Havocs by Jacob Polley (Picador)
Burying the Wren by Deryn Rees-Jones (Seren)
The winner will be announced on the 14th January, A reading will take place on the 13th January at Southbank's Festival Hall.

Reading with Maurice Riordan and others as part of Magma 54 launch on the 19th November @ The Troubadour, Old Brompton Road, London ...

Reading @ Spike Island on the 8th November at 7pm, One Night Stand Readings with other writers/artists ...

October 2012
Reading with Ann Gray and Adam Horovitz @ the Cheltenham Lit Fest on Saturday 6th Oct at 2pm ...

September 2012
Bee Journal on the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize shortlist ...

Reading with Steve Benbow (Urban Beekeeper) at The Blenheim Palace Lit Fest at Woodstock on Friday 14th September at 3pm

August 2012
Reading with WIlliam Letford at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday 24th August at 8.30pm

Sean Borodale will be reading at Topping's bookshop in Bath on Wednesday 8th August at 8pm

July 2012
Sean Borodale will be reading from his debut collection Bee Journal on Saturday 21st July at the Port Eliot Festival ...

Reading with Steve Benbow (Urban Beekeeper) at Chorleywood Bookshop on Wednesday 18th July at 7.30pm ...

Bee Journal published by Jonathan Cape on July 5th ...

May 2012
Sean Borodale is a GRANTA NEW POET ...

December 2011
Five poems from Bee Journal in BLAZEVOX11 - Winter 2011 ...

November 2011
Pages from Bee Journal pamphlet is recommended by Simon Armitage in the Guardian Books of the Year 2011 ...

'Queen' wins third prize in the Bridport Poetry Competition 2011, judged by Carol Ann Duffy ...

September 2011
Lyrigraph for the Upper Mells Stream (Damp Night)
in The Furthest Reach
Poetry Review Volume 101,
No.3 Autumn 2011 ...

August 2011
Pages from Bee Journal all-day launch of a 16-page pamphlet as part of Exmoor Honey Fest, Dunster.
27th August 2011 ...

ly 2011
Reading from Notes for an Atlas at 7.30pm Sunday Sound Waves // 24 July – 28 August 2011 / 18:00 – 21:00 @ Galerie8, London. Guest Curated by Alexa Kusber ...

June 2011
'Field Theatre: Dramatic Tendencies in Lyric Poetry'
Poetry in Process, Irish Centre for Poetry Studies, Mater Dei Institute, Dublin, Saturday 18th June ...

May 2011

Bee Journal: 7th August in The Rialto Issue 72 ...

Lyrigraph for Ice Forming on a Bucket of Water & Lyrigraph for a Road at Midwinter in BRAND 07 ...

April 2011

Extract from Bee Journal in Poetry Ireland Review Issue 103, pages 67-73

February 2011
Where is the Poet? p15-19, Moving Between the Lines, ed. Suze Adams, published by Wild Conversations Press for PLaCE, Bristol, 2011.
Conference hosted by UWE, Bristol on 01/02 July 2010 – a collaborative venture between The School of Creative Arts, UWE and the Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.

Where is the Poet? outlines a presentation in which I "introduce my documentation of landscape and exploration of the act of writing. I position a few spotlights along what I consider my path of activity; how an obsession with note-making evolved into two lengthy topographical poems – Walking to Paradise, Notes for an Atlas – using peripatetic movement as a mechanical means for reading a landscape, as a score or script for playing the poetic temperament (instrument) of the writer. I then consider how these works informed what I have come to call lyrigraphs – written in a poetic register, on location in real time, and later read in an attempt to re-invoke some shape of the original place or moment."
For pdf of publication and text, follow ...

January 2011
Notes for an Atlas
on the Hackney Podcast
Episode 20 : Writers on Walking - Sean Borodale
Stewart Home, Iain Sinclair and Lemn Sissay

Extract from Bee Journal in The Poet's Progress

Poetry Review Volume 100, No.4 Winter 2010 ...

July 2010
Mighty Beast, a documentary poem
had it's first performance as part of the Bristol Old Vic Ferment series of events ...

March 2010
I am currently working on lyrigraphs - scriptive and documentary poems written on location; this derives from my process of writing and walking for works such as Notes for an Atlas and Walking to Paradise. My focus is now on the lyric poem and its function as an element of invocation - especially within a larger verse work - and the implied or latent drama which lies under the work as a kind of field theatre for both intended and random correspondences.

Home -

Works -

Contact -


- Notes for an Atlas, book


- Notes for an Atlas

- Monument for a Witness

- Walking to Paradise


- Bee Journal

- Mighty Beast

- Lyrigraphs

- Ice Observatory Surveys


- The Woodcutter


- Grey Matter


  images and text © Sean Borodale 1997-2011