Eric Langley

Lessons from the School of Night

I generally find that language will just open up again every time you hit a wall.
— Eric Langley

Sean Robinson met with Eric Langley at the Topping bookshop, before Eric’s appearance at the School of Night, where he read from his first book of poetry, Raking Light. They discussed Eric’s childhood holidays with J.H. Prynne, the influence of the Elizabethans on his work, and the role of the words themselves in the process of composition. Eric also read his poem ‘Puncture’ (at 26m50s).

Note: We are currently moving our files from Soundcloud to another system. Please bear with us – the ‘Lessons from the School of Night’ will be back soon!

Music: Luvva by Heman Sheman.

Eric Langley‘s first poetry collection, Raking Light, was published by Carcanet earlier this year. His work has previously appeared in New Poetries VI, Blackbox Manifold, and PN Review. Eric works in the English department at UCL, where he teaches both Renaissance and contemporary literature, and he has published scholarship on Shakespeare in a variety of contexts, particularly in relation to developments in medical and scientific thought of the period: his first academic monograph is Narcissism and Suicide in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (OUP, 2009), and he is in the final stages of a second book to be called Ill Communications: Shakespeare’ Contagious Sympathies. He was born in the Midlands, went to university in Leeds, lived in St Andrews, and has now settled in London.


Sean Robinson is a poet and writer from London, currently living in Leith. He is studying for an MFA under Don Paterson at the University of St. Andrews. Before turning to poetry, he studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, then worked with the civil service. He hosts and produces the podcast Lessons from the School of Night.


Lessons from the School of Night are an irregular series of video or audio interviews and tips from poets and writers who visit St Andrews. 

The School of Night – inspired by the group which included Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh – is Topping & Company Booksellers’ Year-Round Poetry Festival in St Andrews. Curated with the help of Don Paterson and playing host to poets as varied as Paul Muldoon and Lorraine Mariner, Simon Armitage and Annie Freud, it is anchored to a regular fixture on the last Tuesday of the month. The School of Night offers the chance to explore and discuss the work of some of the best poets on the contemporary scene. For more details on these and other events, please visit the Topping & Company website.