Born in Suffolk, Rachael Boast studied English and Philosophy at Wolverhampton University, after which she relocated to Bristol. In 2005 she moved to St Andrews to begin an MLit in Creative Writing. Her PhD was an examination of poetic technique with reference to The Book of Job. Her work has appeared in many magazines, including Archipelago, The New Statesman and The Yellow Nib, and anthologies, including Stolen Weather (Castle House Press), The Captain’s Tower (Seren), and Addicted to Brightness (Long Lunch Press). She lives in Bristol. Her first collection, Sidereal, was published by Picador in May 2011 and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Prize for Best First Collection. Her second, also from Picador, is Pilgrim’s Flower (2013).

In these measured, musical readings recorded by Boast for the Poetry Archive, her poems present themselves as at once intimate and open: their patient explorations are philosophical, while at the same time steadfast, their speculations and dizzying moments of elevation coming from a position that proves itself grounded, hard won, and strongly felt. A fascination with the unsaid energises these lines – a silence in which the world listens back, through the powerful hum before the poem is uttered, and emerging as the poem’s true subject: ‘suffusing the room/in the same way the face, when it communes/with the cup, disappears into it –/a moment in which we are only our lips.’

Rachael Boast’s favourite poetry sayings:

That practise falleth farr behinde wher knowledge of the cause is not in minde –Thomas Norton

Language propels the poet into spheres he would not otherwise be able to approach – Joseph Brodsky

The poem lives through an inner image, that ringing mold of form which anticipates the written poem. There is not yet a single word, but the poem can already be heard. – Osip Mandelstam


This recording was made for The Poetry Archive at Attic Attack on 4 November 2012, and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Poems by Rachael Boast

Frosted Fields - Rachael Boast
On Reading Lowell’s Imitations of Sappho - Rachael Boast
Rainbow Weather - Rachael Boast
Rachael Boast in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Books by Rachael Boast



Forward Prize for Best First Collection for 'Sidereal'

Prize website

Seamus Heaney Prize for Best First Collection for 'Sidereal'

Prize website

Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist for 'Pilgrim's Flower'

Prize website

T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist for 'Void Studies'

Prize website

Featured in the Archive