Photo Credit: Joe Warner

Jacqueline Saphra

Current City, State, Country

United Kingdom

Birth City, State, Country

United Kingdom


Jacqueline is a poet, playwright and teacher. Her collections include The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011) which was nominated for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, All My Mad Mothers, shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize and Dad, Remember You are Dead (2019), both from Nine Arches Press. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller (2017) and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia (2020) were published by Hercules Editions. Her newest play, The Noises was nominated for a Standing Ovation Award. Jacqueline’s most recent collection, One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets (2021) will be followed by Velvel’s Violin in July 2023 (Nine Arches Press). She is a founding member of Poets for the Planet and teaches and mentors for The Poetry School.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

I have always written about my own history, as well as my family and its Jewish history. These poems are found in all my collections. My upcoming collection, Velvel’s Violin focuses on stories, histories and absences, as well as current geo-political upheavals and displacements that link with Jewish history.

‘Velvel’s Violin, a deeply moving and political fifth collection by T.S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted poet Jacqueline Saphra places us on the shifting ground between past and present. Through its search for missing histories of the Jewish diaspora, the book is a call for empathy and a warning to a world where the legacy of the Holocaust echoes current narratives of prejudice, war, displacement, and migration. Saphra’s precisely-tuned writing ranges through tones of dark humour, lyrical beauty and moments of transcendent joy to find assonance between the turbulence of now and a family history of fragmented stories, irreparable loss and miraculous escapes. Between each poem—forgotten songs, weeping forests, buried violins – sound and silence combine to speak of love, absence and survival.’

Published Works

Velvel’s Violin (Nine Arches Press, July 2023)
One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets (Nine Arches Press, 2021)
Veritas: Poems after Artemisia Gentileschi (Hercules Editions, 2020)
Dad, Remember You Are Dead (Nine Arches Press, 2019)
A Bargain with the Light (Hercules Editions, 2017)
All My Mad Mothers  (Nine Arches Press, 2017)
If I Lay on My Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (The Emma Press, 2014)
The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011)
Rock’n’Roll Mamma (Flarestack Poetry, 2008)

 Access All Areas: Form and Revolution–Stanza Poetry Festival Annual Lecture (Hercules Editions, 2021)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Poet and Teacher at The Poetry School, United Kingdom


Manchester University, B.A., Drama, 1982
Manchester University, Diploma in Playwriting, 1983
University of South Wales, MPhil in Poetry, 2015

Subject Matter