Twice winner of the London Writers' competition and a Hawthornden Fellow, she was the Poetry Society's first-ever Public Art Poet and created a number of site-specific poems as part of a visual arts project in Birmingham's jewellery quarter. She was also commissioned by the Arts Council and the BFI to create London's biggest art poem that leads from Waterloo to the IMAX and was writer-in-residence at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill during ArchiTEXT week.
Co-founder of the Blue Nose Poets later Writers' Inc., which was funded by the Arts Council, for 15 years Sue Hubbard ran a series of readings and workshops both at the Barbican and The Abbey, Sutton Courtney, Oxfordshire. She has taught creative writing courses at Arvon, Tate Britain and Tate St. Ives, The V&A, The Royal College of Art, Middlesex University, Roche Court Sculpture Park, as well as in many schools and has read widely at literary festivals including Cambridge, Ilkely, Wirksworth, Kinsale (Ireland), Clifden (Ireland).
She is available for readings.
“There is nothing safely aesthetic about these poems, beautifully observed though they frequently are. The watching intelligence reaches so far into the places, situations or works of art that it nearly forgets itself, and maybe desires to. The central block of poems on the tragic deaths of women signal that danger, and make it all the more of an achievement when the closing poems journey to the edge of the Atlantic, almost beyond comfort or habitable land, and come back with a ﬁnal, hard-won ‘...yes’”
“'There are two kinds of islands' begins the poem, Dreaming of Islands, 'those born of erasure and fracture'. From the 'river's dark skin' at Bow Creek to Yves Klein, from St Ives to Prussian Blue; from Cliﬀ and Elvis to Charing Cross, from Dora Carrington to Diane Arbus, Sue Hubbard locates places and people with a lyrical precision of voice, following those erasures and fractures to a 'fragile yes'. The poems surge with a natural force breathing the world 'into and out of itself'. A mixture of nature and art, this is an impressive book.”
Her first collection, Everything Begins with the Skin, was published by Enitharmon in 1994 and a number of her poems appeared in Oxford Poets 2000 published by Carcanet. Her latest collection Ghost Station was published by Salt Publishing in 2004. Sue Hubbard and Donald Teskey's new book, The Idea of Islands, published in 2010.
'Poet and artist collaborations are generally more exciting than novelist/artist ones, if only because the artist in the latter tends to be regarded primarily as an illustrator. That is distinctly not the case with The Idea of Islands where the dark, painterly, drawings of Donald Teskey and the atmospheric, but sharply observed poems of Sue Hubbard add up to something more - more in fact than a kind of joint-reportage on sense of place. The sense of place here is also the place of body and mind where, as one poem puts it, "we feel ourselves / to be made from earth / our cells are filled with water". Life and place move around and within each other becoming each other's memorable conditions.'
Here then is a poet who serves as an antidote to the chirpy shalllow materialism of much of our culture, one whose most apparent quality is an honesty about the difficulties of living in the early 21st century.
Martyn Crucefix, Magma
Sue Hubbard brings passionate and prophetic visions into the sphere of family life… An accomplished art-critic, Hubbard can convey the pictorial in vivid and startling language.
Peter Lawson, Jewish Chronicle - The Weekly Review
It is hard to get poems 'right' about the death of a close relative, lover, or friend; mawkishness and sentimentality are dangers as is indulgent reminiscence and nostalgia. Hubbard avoids all of these with her pared down lines and stark scene setting, ending with startling directness with a powerful acknowledge of nature's indifference to the matter of our small deaths.
Richard Dyer, Ambit
In her first full-length collection, this London poet informs her poems with a painter's vision, sketching intense portraits of domesticity. When her daughter begins menstruating, she refuses to echo her own mother's whispered "The Curse," and urges the girl to "Feel your roots, deep/ and damp as rusty beets smelling of earth." Going beyond the visual, these unflinching poems take into account all the senses as they mark one woman's journey from childhood through motherhood, from love through, as one poem is titled, "Betrayal." Focusing mainly on women, Hubbard juxtaposes friends and relatives with legendary and artistic figures in a well-crafted collection that, taking an approach less common in British poetry than American, mines the unique riches of everyday experience.
Sue Hubbard's poems are haunting, senuous and at time disturbingly sharp in their revealed intimacies; her eye - and her touch - are vividly alive to pleasures of surface, as well as to dark depths of anger and melancholy.
She reminds me of Gwen John in her stillness and love of the "actually loved and known" … giving generously of life and warmth and technical mastery.