Paul Stephenson

Lessons from the School of Night StAnza (part 3)

I felt there was an urgency about what I’d written, and I needed to tell another poet. I wanted desperately for another poet to read my work and tell me what they thought.
— Paul Stephenson

Suzannah V. Evans met with Paul Stephenson at the Byre Theatre bar. They discussed Paul’s StAnza highlights, his experience of living and working in France, and the publication of his second pamphlet The Days that Followed Paris (HappenStance, 2016), written in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. Paul also read his poems ‘Womb’ (at 11m52s), ‘The Pull’ (at 13m32s), and ‘Wake Up And’ (at 14m42s).

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!

Interview by Suzannah V. Evans. Image, Matt Hoffman

Paul Stephenson grew up in Cambridge, England. He studied modern languages and linguistics, then European studies. He has lived in France, Spain and Belgium, and most recently spent three years in Paris. He took part in the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme in 2013-14, working with Patience Agbabi, and completed the Sheffield Writing School. He was one of the Aldeburgh Eight in 2014 and a winner of the 2014/2015 Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet competition. His first pamphlet Those People (Smith/Doorstop) was published in May 2015. His second pamphlet The Days that Followed Paris appeared with HappenStance in October 2016. He teaches at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Suzannah V. Evans was born in London and studied at the universities of St Andrews and York. She has worked in publishing and recently as a sound technician, translator, and interpreter for StAnza poetry festival in St Andrews. Her poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Eborakon, The North, New Welsh Review, Tears in the Fence, and RAUM.

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.

StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, takes place in St Andrews each spring, in 2017 between the 1st and 5th of March.


Listen to the rest of the Lessons from StAnza 2017: Part 1 (Vahni Capildeo), Part 2 (Katharine Towers), and Part 4 (Robert Crawford).