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Penny Boxall

Penny Boxall was born in 1987. Her debut collection of poetry, Ship of the Line, was first published in 2014 and relaunched in a new edition by Valley Press in 2018, alongside her second collection Who Goes There?

She won the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the Elmet Trust Competition, and holds an MA with distinction in Creative Writing (Poetry) from UEA. In 2017, she became writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire and a Hawthornden Fellow. Her poem 'A wedding list' won the Mslexia/PBS Women's Poetry Competition 2018.


Ship of the Line

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New edition of Penny Boxall's debut collection, winner of the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, a £20,000 biennial prize for the best collection by a Scottish poet under 30.

Praise for Ship of the Line:

Jackie Kay: ‘Penny Boxall runs a tight ship. Her poems are beautifully crafted. Reading her is to go on an interesting journey of exploration – stopping at fascinating places along the way. She has a curator’s mind and is always putting one thing beside another in an unexpected way.’

Michael Laskey: ‘In this wide-ranging, generous and engaging collection, Penny Boxall brings the past vividly and urgently back to life. She takes us on a wonderfully surprising journey from a taxidermist’s, via the Grand Tour, ice hockey, the Age of Steam, a penny-farthing, a balloon flight, to end up with a deafening beetle buried for years in her grandfather’s ear.’

John Siddique: ‘Penny Boxall’s poems are somewhat akin to the glass objects in an antique shop or the attic – each poem holds the light in its own way, and yet when we take the object into our hands it gives us something more, a memory, a story, a fragment of the poet exploring her own experience through these pieces. These are poems to wander about in and to take your time with as your eyes adjust to their particular light.’

Andrew Forster: ‘The poems in Penny Boxall’s rich and substantial debut are made of hidden fragments of history, things half-glimpsed and mistakes that won’t stay hidden. In her beautifully measured lines she takes us to the edge of the familar, to frontiers, to buildings both exotic and eccentric, and chronicles the people who live there, whose lives are held together by ideas, by “things that we don’t think to see.”’

Who Goes There?

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‘The lookout hails
into the weather.

We hear no words
but catch his meaning’

Halt! Who Goes There? Penny Boxall’s second collection throws light on the mysterious strangers we glimpse, and turns that same light on ourselves. From shadows lost to history to forgotten possessions and our own past identities, these poems consider questions of selfhood and the ways in which we can be peripheral in our own lives.

Praise for Penny Boxall:

‘Beautifully crafted’ Jackie Kay

‘Rich and substantial’ Andrew Forster

‘Generous and engaging’ Michael Laskey

Praise for Who Goes There?:

'Penny Boxall is a poet of the particular and strange, and her work in Who Goes There? often takes oddities as a launch pad – a wartime stunt by the secret services, or a Ravensburger jigsaw spilling out across a road – before alighting on further peculiarities through her delightfully finicky manipulation of thought and language... This collection is all nipped livery and briskness and comes with the lasting sting of the true poet. It will be fascinating to see where Penny Boxall goes next.' Andrew Neilson, Magma

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