Kim Moore

- United Kingdom -

Kim Moore’s first pamphlet ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’ was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition.  The pamphlet went on to be shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year.  It was also named in the Independent as a 2012 Book of the Year.  In 2011 Kim won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize.  She won a Northern Writers AwardNorthern Writers Award in 2014 to buy time to work on her first full length collection, ‘The Art of Falling’ which will be published by Seren in April 2015.  Kim was recently Poet-in-Residence at the Ilkley Literature Festival and Digital Poet in Residence at The Poetry School.  She was Young Poet-in-Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival in 2012.  She works part time as a peripatetic brass teacher and has recently completed her first half-marathon. 

Kim Moore’s first pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition.  Her first full-length collection The Art of Falling is forthcoming from Seren in April 2015. She won a prestigious Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and after she read at Ledbury Poetry Festival she was invited back as Young Poet in Residence in 2012, giving workshops and a reading. As a performer she exudes warmth, intelligence and humour.


“Kim Moore’s poetry is tough and beautiful. It is also an absolutely distinctive presence: hers is a voice that knows its own mind. Moore’s work is drily hilarious but also mysterious, disciplined but also risk-taking. Exact and exacting, she is modernizing the lyric tradition.” Fiona Sampson


Carol Ann Duffy writes about If We Could Speak Like Wolves, “These are terrifically assured poems- sensual, perceptive, entertaining – which bridge the gap between feeling and utterance with a genuine lyric gift.”


A review in the TLS states, “A number of poems in If We Could Speak Like Wolves by Kim Moore ... seem to address explicitly the strengths of this excellent and versatile poet. The Master Engraver is about a man whose night-long dedication to his craft – ‘his solitary light shining for as long as the dark / holds the city to account’ – hints at the poet’s own passionate craftsmanship, while in The Ferryman the souls of the dead make their own way across ‘as if the rules did not exist’. This is a poem that both acknowledges tradition and insists on remaking it. Although in many ways Moore’s poems are like the old path she describes in Walney Channel – ‘the spine of some forgotten animal / turning in its sleep before you come’ – it is with the imprint of a lover’s foot – ‘go barefoot / Don’t stop”’– that they come alive.”


About her new collection, The Art of Falling she writes “Poetry helps me see the funny side of things, and a poem often comes from a moment of pure exasperation, like a child stuffing a pom pom down her cornet (in The Trumpet Teacher’s Curse) It’s both awful and funny and somewhere in the gap between them is the poem.  I had nearly finished the manuscript of The Art of Falling before I realised that I had a lot of poems about falling.  I love that the word ‘falling’ has so many connotations in the English language, both positive and negative.  I think my fascination with falling also has a lot to do with my father, who is a scaffolder and who has had two death-defying falls in his life.  The best part of writing a poem is the feeling of setting off and not knowing where you will end up.” The Art of Falling is filled with particular and vividly realised places and people. In Tuesday At Wetherspoons,


All the men have comb-overs,
bellies like cakes just baked,
risen to roundness. The women tilt
on their chairs, laughter faked,

like mugs about to fall, cheekbones
sharp as sadness.


Fred A’Aguiar writes that this poem “places a woman novice with a critical eye in the middle of her apprenticeship to male oppression, except that the males are bundling and helpless and the powerful women limit themselves to serving these unworthy men in a cycle resembling one of the lower rings of Dante’s Hell.”


Kim Moore’s poetry has a quality reminiscent of old hymns, prayers and church songs.  Sometimes the language is overtly religious (‘let them be plagued’, ‘a psalm for the scaffolders’, ‘a pillar of smoke’). She writes, “I’ve spent a lot of time in churches as a musician, listening to the language that is used in services. I think the thing that is interesting about Biblical language is that there is often a power imbalance inherent in it, which is maybe what attracts me to it. Like the phrase ‘Let them be plagued’ – it assumes that there is a speaker who can call a plague on somebody else (and in the Bible there is).”


Kim Moore is willing to share the “realities of the things around the act of writing poetry – submissions, acceptances, rejections, work, readings – all of these things can help  or hinder your writing.  I think poets are usually very private about such things, but I’m interested in what happens if you open all of this up to the open air.” In her blog she is also generous in her enthusiasm for the work of other poets. She works with young writers, facilitates writing in prisons and in a myriad other ways she acts as a champion for poetry.  Her approach to talking about her poetry is open and humorous. In response to a question about product versus process she writes, “if the product was the most enjoyable thing we would only need to write one poem, but it is the process of writing that I find irresistible and all consuming, whereas the victory dance (a routine in my house) around the living room when a poem is finished only lasts a couple of minutes. Maybe ten minutes if I’m really showing off.”


In her ‘other’ life, Kim Moore works as a part time peripatetic brass teacher for Cumbria Music Service.  She also conducts two brass bands, the Barrow Shipyard Junior Band and Brasstastic.  She plays the trumpet in a soul band called Soul Survivors and in the South Lakes Brass Ensemble.  Kim Moore’s other hobby is running.


There is no doubt that Kim Moore is a hugely impressive talent and there is considerable excitement surrounding her forthcoming collection.