Catherine Ormell


The mysterious interaction between poet and reader may take its time or be instant and provoking, but, really, what poets want readers to say is simply –

I felt that too!

Despite the media’s relaunches and advertising’s faithless raps, poetry mostly hangs about in life’s margins, yet all the while poets determinedly commit to its production as if their lives depended on it (they may).

Out of this abundance, comes the best poetry, truly the cat’s miaow’, hopping across generations and centuries. And never is poetry more needed than during emergencies: planetary or health, emotional or existential, social or political.

Poetry today is a loose-fit genre; humour is hardly in fashion, theory (not creativity) has secured academic preferment, and there can be a surprising orthodoxy on subject matter.

But reframing poetry as just another form of communication is a remedy, refreshing, liberating and debunking. As Keats wrote spiritedly, I have no trust whatever on Poetry… the marvel to me is how people read so much of it.’


My poems have been published in The Times Literary Supplement; The Spectator; The London Magazine; Long Poem Magazine; the Rialto; Magma; Other Poetry; the sHOP and Smiths Knoll amongst others. I was shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship in 2019 and I’ve been recognised in competitions including the National Poetry Competition; the Arvon; the Bridport; the Troubadour International Poetry Competition; Magma Editors’ Prize; the Fish Poetry Competition and Ware Poets.

In my other life, I have another identity as, Catherine Reading. Here I am co-owner with my husband of an independent consultancy that runs global architectural competitions for cultural, educational, philanthropic and civic projects.

As Creative Director, I have been privileged to work on some fascinating initiatives, amongst others, the design competitions/​architect selection for: NG200 (National Gallery); Houston Endowment; Tintagel Castle Bridge; Mumbai City Museum; Adelaide Contemporary; Guggenheim Helsinki; the UK Holocaust Memorial; UK Pavilion at Milan Expo; the V&A Exhibition Road; St Catharine’s College, Cambridge; St Hilda’s College, Oxford; New College, Oxford; the Illuminated River; and Science Island, Lithuania.

Previously, I worked in the City and journalism – a broad introduction to life’s worldly and unworldly aspects.

Catherine ormell portrait desaturated
Catherine Ormell