About Me

Hello, I’m Meryl.  I write poems as well as prose.

a woman wearing blue framed glasses smiles at the camera

The other thing I do with my life is teach. I taught secondary school English and Drama in my twenties and thirties, and then spent some time as a freelance educator in museums, before teaching creative writing and poetry for a range of educational institutions. I’ve given creative writing workshops in schools, prisons, museums and city squares – and taught for the Arvon Foundation, Morley College, Poetry School – and the University of East Anglia, from which I obtained my PhD in Critical and Creative Writing in 2016. I’ve just finished a fixed-term lectureship there and am currently taking some time out to work on a couple of writing projects.

I’m interested in the encounters between interiority, place and environment, how gendered bodily experience might inflect that – and particularly at the moment, listening, sound and textual representation.

Please Note: If you’re thinking of engaging me as a speaker or reader – firstly, thank you! Secondly, I should alert you that I no longer appear on all-white panels where possible.

Publications:

My non-fiction debut, Feral Borough, is published by Penned-in-the-Margins (November 2022).

My third poetry pamphlet, Wife of Osiris, was published by Verve Poetry Press in May 2021.

Natural Phenomena, (2018, Penned-in-the-Margins) was my first, full-length collection. It was the Poetry Book Society’s Spring Guest Selection for that year, Highly Commended in the Forward Prizes, a Poetry School Book of the Year and long-listed in the 2020 Laurel Prize.

January 2023

COVER IMAGE OF FERAL BOROUGH. A park, a binbag, a streetlamp, a deer, the city skyline.
Feral Borough, 2022,
Penned in the Margins.
Wife of Osiris, 2021, Verve Poetry Press.
Natural Phenomena, 2018, Penned in the Margins.
The Bridle (pamphlet), 2011, Salt.
Relinquish (pamphlet), 2007, Arrowhead Press.

8 thoughts on “About Me

    1. Andrew, thank you! Enjoyed yours too, I think your work so interesting (and the poems you shared, would love to encounter them again at close quarters – publications?). I think our interests are well aligned, shall be following your work closely! All best, Meryl

  1. Pingback: Meryl Pugh
  2. I am nearly at the end of Feral Borough – having to read in bursts or it will all be over. I’m at Honesty.
    Can I ask, was it easy to get published? I have written a book which is not dissimilar in that walking is its origin and in its pleasure of small things and making historical connections, but it’s so hard to find a publisher.
    Thank you, Tamsin

    1. Hi Tamsin – thank you so much for reading Feral Borough! Fantastic to know the book has readers!

      My route to publishing it was atypical, in that I already had a working relationship with the publisher, who’d published my debut collection of poetry. I approached them with a proposal directly, so didn’t go through a scouting agency or indeed seek an agent first, which many prose authors do. I’m sure that already existing relationship helped – as did the fact that my proposal hit the ‘sweet spots’ – all the things Penned-in-the-Margins were interested in as topics.

      Of course, before all this, I went through years and years as a poet of submitting to mags and comps and mentorship schemes, sometimes getting somewhere, often not. The advice I received along the way is worth passing on, though it won’t be anything you haven’t heard before:
      Keep sending stuff out and don’t give up. Persistence really is the key.
      Research who you’re sending the work to; make sure their interests and preferences align with what your piece is doing.
      If it’s a longer work, are there smaller sections you can submit to periodicals or competitions? Getting the work out there, creating a track record; all this helps.
      Treat it like a cottage industry. The submissions go out, they come back. They go out to the next place on the list, they come back. And so on.

      I hope this is helpful – or at least encouraging. Everyone experiences rejection of their work, and for every published book, I bet there’s a long story of NOs before that acceptance. After all, you only need one YES.

      Good luck,
      Meryl

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