Tim Liardet was born in London in 1959 and educated at the University of York and characterises his early route to poetry as “…long, and circuitous, fraught with the exactions of wrong jobs, self-doubt and the occasional suggestion of a glimmer.” He has worked variously, and travelled widely, and is now Professor of Poetry at Bath Spa University and has published ten collections of poetry to date.

Competing with the Piano Tuner (1998), his third book, was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and long-listed for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, To the God of Rain (2003) a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The Blood Choir (2006), a  book which grew out of his experience of teaching in a young offender’s prison, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, winner of an Arts Council England Writer’s Award as a work-in-progress, and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Priest Skear, a pamphlet, appeared in 2010 and was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, and The Storm House, a book-length elegy for his brother who died in mysterious circumstances at a very young age, published by Carcanet in 2011. Madame Sasoo Goes Bathing, a pamphlet, appeared in 2013, and Arcimboldo’s Bulldog: New and Selected Poems, is due from the same publisher. His tenth collection, The World Before Snow, a transformative love-story told in intuitive grasps which reinvent the love poem and the self-portrait, appeared from Carcanet in March 2015 and is shortlisted for the 2015 T.S. Eliot prize.

Liardet was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship, and has performed his work on BBC Radio Three and BBC Radio Four and read at many major festivals, including the Ars Interpres Festival, Stockholm, and the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin. He is a well-known reviewer and has reviewed poetry for such journals as The Guardian, Poetry Review and PN Review and was recently appointed as Poetry Book Society Selector.

In these recordings, Liardet’s readings of his work reveal an intensity and mood that is almost musical. The directness of his language is measured by his disciplined and keen sense of line, striking a balance between formal elegance and fierce expression.

Tim Liardet’s favourite poetry quotations:

“Metaphor is my mathematics.”

– Jennifer Militello, KGB Bar Lit Magazine, 2013

“I write to remember the self that inherits me every time another self dies. I write because I cannot lie still. I write to rue the world. To shake my fist. To be incredulous. I write to uncover the ruins. To ruin the ruins. I write to find the already found.”

– Jennifer Militello, ‘Why Write #23’, Green Mountains Review, 2013

“The deterioration and corruption of language terrifies me. I try by my personal example to fight it; as I say, it is a poet’s role to protect the sacredness of language.”

– W.H. Auden, interview with Michael Newman, The Paris Review, 1972

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”.

– T.S. Eliot, Preface to Harry Crosby, Transit of Venus, 1931.

This recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 28 May 2015 at Attic Attack, Bristol, and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Poems by Tim Liardet

Shoe Gazing - Tim Liardet
Like Slant Rain - Tim Liardet
Bucko in Love - Tim Liardet
The Interment - Tim Liardet
Self-Portrait with Flowershop Idyll and Nihilistic Love - Tim Liardet
Self-Portrait with Flames and Arapaho Bison - Tim Liardet
Tim Liardet 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 Tim Liardet



Competing with the Piana Tuner - Poetry Book Society Special Commendation

Prize website

Hawthornden Fellowship

Prize website

To the God of Rain, a Poetry Book Society recommendation

Prize website

The Blood Choir - Arts Council England Writer's Award as a collection-in-progress

Prize website

Priest Skear - Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for winter

Prize website