“Peter has the uncanny ability to see the poem intended through the poem I have written and to urge me on, killing my darlings, drowning my kittens, until, lo, we have together arrived in fact where I thought I had arrived some drafts earlier. Peter is the soul of tact and also the soul of rigour. Working with him is an astringent delight, almost the best thing about writing a poem… Indispensable and irreplaceable.”
— Michael Schmidt, OBE
With the support of Huddersfield Polytechnic and an enterprise grant, Peter set up The Poetry Business in 1986. The business is now based in Sheffield, and he remains a company director and editor (with poet Ann Sansom) of The North magazine and Smith/Doorstop Books.
Poets published by The Poetry Business have won or been shortlisted for almost every major literary prize, and the business has a well-earned reputation for discovering and nurturing new poetry talent. Very few titles are published under the Smith/Doorstop imprint each year, allowing Peter and Ann to provide intensive editorial attention to each writer and title.
The first issue of The North featured poems by Peter’s writing group (including the then-unpublished Simon Armitage), as well as Carol Ann Duffy, Ian McMillan, and others; and was photocopied and stapled together.
25 years on, The North has subscribers around the world and was declared “excellent” by The Guardian.