Monchrome head and shoulders of poet facing towards the right and looking back at the reader. Clare Best has always lived closely with words: she has been a bookbinder, a bookseller and an editor. She has taught Creative Writing for Brighton University and for the Autobiography and Life Writing Programme, and has been an Open University Associate Lecturer since 2005. She has held residencies in settings as various as Woodlands Organic Farm in Lincolnshire, HMP Shepton Mallet, a town on the shore of Lake Maggiore in Italy, and at Brighton University. In 2020 she was awarded MA (Distinction) in Opera Making and Writing at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and held a Fellowship there the following year.

Her poetry has been published in a range of literary magazines including Poetry News, The Rialto, Magma, The North, The London Magazine, Envoi, Smiths KnollAgenda, Resurgence and in many anthologies. Poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Her first full collection, Excisions, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize 2012. She has performed her autobiographical poem cycle Self-portrait without Breasts around the UK and Ireland and in Boston and Toronto. 

Springlines (Little Toller 2017) is part of Clare’s collaborative project with the painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, exploring hidden and mysterious bodies of water across the South Country of England. Springlines exhibitions have been mounted at Glyndebourne (2015), Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery (2017) and St Barbe Museum in Lymington (2018).

Her prose memoir, The Missing List (Linen Press 2018), has been described as 'an important, essential text in the context of the #MeToo movement'.

Special interests include landscape writing, life narratives, and writing the body.

Poetry publications:

  • Beyond the Gate, Worple Press, 2023
  • End of Season / Fine di stagione, Frogmore Press 2022
  • Each Other, Waterloo Press, 2019
  • Springlines, Little Toller Books, 2017
  • CELL, Frogmore Press, 2015
  • Excisions, Waterloo Press, September 2011 (hear 'Last', from Excisions, here)
  • Breastless, Pighog Press, 2011
  • Treasure Ground, HappenStance, 2010 (hear 'February' here)