Words the Turtle Taught Me

Susan’s fourth collection of poetry, Words the Turtle Taught Me, published by Cinnamon Press in 2018, was recently shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award.

Described by writer Philip Hoare as ‘vital, glorious, salutary’, the collection grew out of Susan’s recent poetry residency with the Marine Conservation Society. Fostering engagement with endangered ocean species, it blends science with shamanism, contemporary ecological peril with ancient myth.

Intricate, moving, and often humorous, this work evokes a threatened environment and draws our attention to the ecological challenges of our time Ted Hughes Award judges

Multi-media poetry show

Throughout 2018, Susan took her Words the Turtle Taught Me multi-media poetry show to venues around the coast of the UK. She performed in arts centres and beach cafés, at universities and Wildlife Trust Visitor Centres from Aberystwyth to Edinburgh, from Cornwall to the Isle of Man. The show, incorporating marine wildlife-themed poetry, story and art, is continuing to tour in 2019.

Susan Richardson’s work sparkles and startles by turn…remarkable and challenging – Twelve Rivers

Beautifully presented with fascinating, funny and moving between-poem anecdotesWords & Ears

World Animal Day

Susan is honoured to be World Animal Day poet-in-residence, helping to raise awareness of, and generate support for, this global animal welfare initiative. Each year, she’s invited to write a new poem, the first of which, focusing on endangered species and extinction, was unveiled and circulated on World Animal Day, October 4th 2015. Other subjects with which she has engaged include the controversial issue of de-extinction and the theme of ocean debris – most notably, the injuries/deaths sustained by marine creatures when they become entangled in discarded fishing gear or ingest plastic rubbish that they mistake for prey.

British Animal Studies Network

Susan also much enjoys being poet-in-residence with the British Animal Studies Network, facilitated by the University of Strathclyde. The Network’s themed conferences always attract a wide range of participants and attendees including historians, geographers, artists, writers, sociologists and vets. In the past few years, Susan has been commissioned to write animal-focused poems on the subject of ‘smelling’, ‘hearing’ and ‘sex’, while the subject for the 2019 conference is ’emotion’.


Susan is delighted to be poetry editor of Zoomorphic, the online literary journal that features work in celebration and defence of animals. Ten digital issues have already been published, as has a first print anthology, Driftfish, themed around marine species. Including poetry and prose by a wide range of international writers, the anthology was launched in Brighton at the ONCA Centre for Arts and Ecology, alongside Zoomorphic visual art and audio poetry, as part of the Do You Speak Seagull? Festival.

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