Innovative Poetry Readings In London

The Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck is pleased to host this regularly updated listing of forthcoming events on London’s innovative poetry scenes. See the FAQ at the bottom of the page for contact details and more.

Ongoing Exhibitions and Shows

Mon-Fri 9am-4pm until Fri 7 December. Translations: Exhibition of artists’ books, sculptures and prints by 15 different artists, all using language and translation as their inspiration. Milton Gallery, St. Paul’s School, Lonsdale Road, Castlenau SW13 9JT. Free.
Until Fri 14 December, opening hours not publicised. A Mythic Understanding: Inspired by David Jones: Exhibition of work by contemporary illustrators who are inspired by modernist poet and artist David Jones. Also features material about Jones’ life and work. Camberwell College of Art, Peckham Road, Camberwell SE5 8UF. Free.
Thu-Sun 12pm-6pm until Sat 15 December. The Psychopathic Now! Jeff Nuttall’s Bomb Culture and the International Underground: Exhibition reconstructing the milieu of Bomb Culture, poet Jeff Nuttall’s 1968 history of international counterculture, and marking a reissue of the book. Flat Time House, 210 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4BW. Free.
Sat-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm until Sun 27 January. Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy & the Avant-garde: Exhibition exploring the role of coupledom in the development of modern art. Contributors include poets like Jean Arp, Federico García Lorca, Claude Cahun, Nancy Cunard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Roland Penrose and Gertrude Stein. Barbican Centre Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City of London EC2Y 8DS. £16/£12/£10, free for under 14s. Book now.
Wed-Sat 1pm-6pm until Sat 2 February. Forms of Address: Group exhibition including work by poets Gertrude Stein, Heinz Gappmayr and Colin Sackett. Laura Genillard Gallery, 2 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia W1T 1HB. Free.
Tue-Sun 11am-8pm until Sun 31 March. Constructing Spaces: Exhibition celebrating WS Graham’s centenary year with an interactive reconstruction of the Scottish poet’s creative space. National Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Free.
Sun-Thu 10am–6pm, Fri-Sat 10am–10pm until Sun 28 April. Liliane Lijn: Spotlight: Display of three key works by poet and kinetic sculptor Liliane Lijn. Tate Britain, Millbank SW1P 4RG. Free.

 

December 2018

Thu 6 December, 6pm. State Violence and the Poetic Response: Evening Event: Fred D’Aguiar and Nick Makoha read their poetry, then join Leila Kamali in a panel discussion to consider how poetry situates special forms of resistance. Room 304a, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths University of London, 8 Lewisham Way, New Cross SE14 6NW. Free but booking is required. Book now.
Thu 6 December, 6.30pm-9pm. Workshop: Supersaturation + Cloud-Writing: Artist Josefina Nelimarkka presents a workshop and performative lecture thinking through climate and atmospheric phenomena through cloud-writing. Space, 29-131 Mare Street, Hackney E8 3RH. £7/£5. Book now.
Thu 6 December, 7pm or 7.30pm (details vary). Launch: Kingdom of Mud: Reading to launch Kingdom of Mud, a collaborative exploration of Norfolk by poet Jack Andrew Lenton and photographer Shiri Lee Webb. ‘Free drinks.’ Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Road, Haggerston E8 4AA. Presumably free.
Thu 6 December, 7.30pm. Cherry Smyth: Famished: Cherry Smyth performs Famished, a long, poetic sequence exploring the Irish Famine (1845-51) and the role of colonialism in causing the largest migration of the nineteenth century. A collaboration with composer Ed Bennett and vocalist Lauren Kinsella. Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, Whitechapel E1 6AB. £5. Sold out; to join the waiting list, email  boxoffice@artsadmin.co.uk.
Fri 7 December, 6pm. Avant-garde Film Night: Screening of René Clair’s film Entr’acte (1924), co-written with Dada artist and poet Francis Picabia, plus short films by Mary Ellen Bute, Maya Deren, Marcel Duchamp, Viking Eggeling, Len Lye, Norman McLaren, Man Ray, Hans Richter and Walter Ruttmann. Birkbeck Cinema, School of Arts, Birkbeck University of London, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury WC1H 0PD. Sold out.
Fri 7 December, 7pm. North by Northeast: WordFilmWord: An evening of linguistically innovative poetry, artist films, and in-between aberrations. Featuring cwl, Tim Atkins, Rosalind Fowler, Genevieve Tester, Hassan Vawda, Khaled Hakim, mjb & Mendoza, Finn Harvor and Peter Philpott. BYOB. One Hoe Street Gallery, 1 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4SD. £5/£3.
Sat 8 December, 1pm-3pm. The Psychopathic Now! Reading Group: Emmy Beber leads a reading group based on Bomb Culture, poet Jeff Nuttall’s 1968 history of international counterculture, tying in with the venue’s exhibition about Nuttall’s book (see ‘Exhibitions’, above). Flat Time House, 210 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4BW. Sold out.
Sat 8 December, 2pm-4pm. Writers Forum Workshop: Workshop focused on innovative and experimental poetry. Tenderbooks, 6 Cecil Court, Covent Garden WC2N 4HE. Free.
Sat 8 December, 3pm. The Freedoms of Self-publishing: Artists, writers, publishers and collectors give Presentation about self-publishing, followed by discussion. Featuring Sophie Carapetian, Nick Thoburn, OOMK, Erik van der Weijde and Gregorio Magnani. ICA, The Mall, St. James’s SW1Y 5AH. £5 plus booking fee. Book now.
Sat 8 December, 4pm-6pm. The Psychopathic Now! Film Screening: Screening of March to Aldermaston, Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson’s 1959 documentary about CND activism, and Cain’s Film, Jamie Wadhawan’s 1969 documentary about poet Alexander Trocchi. Introduced by writer Jamie Sutcliffe. An event tying in with the venue’s exhibition about poet Jeff Nuttall’s countercultural history book Bomb Culture (see ‘Exhibitions’, above). Flat Time House, 210 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4BW. Free.
Sat 8 December, 6pm-8pm (opening event), then Thu-Sat 12pm-6pm until Sat 12 January. Ache: Group exhibition including artworks by poet Dennis Cooper. Cabinet Gallery, 132 Tyers Street, Vauxhall SE11 5HS. Free.
Sun 9 December, 11am-7pm. Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair: Fair for self-publishing artists to display and sell their work. ICA, The Mall, St. James’s SW1Y 5AH. Free entry.
Sun 9 December, 12pm-11pm. OTO Xmas Fair & Party: Stalls with small publishers and labels selling records, CDs, prints, magazines, books and DVDs. The evening features DJs, an ‘Xxmas Choir’, and Pat Thomas (who will play Thelonious Monk). Cafe OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL. Free.
Sun 9 December, 3pm-5pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Mon 10 December, 7pm. Poetry Pamphlets Celebration: Celebrating ten years of the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. Readers include Shetlandic poet Christine de Luca.. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £8/£6/£5. Book now.
Mon 10 December, 7pm. An Evening of Feminist Film: Screenings of poet Redell Olsen’s film Now Circa (1918), about modern feminism and the historical struggle for women’s suffrage, and Katharine Meynell’s Elizabeth, about typographer Elizabeth Freidlander. Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, Westminster W1B 2HT. Free but bookable. Book now.
Tue 11 December, 7.15pm. Dancing Words Launch: Screening of 3  new poetry dance films featuring the work of Warsan Shire, Caleb Femi and Mimi Khalvati. Plus poetry reading by Caleb Femi & Theresa Lola, and a Q&A with Femi, film-maker Fiona Melville, Dancer/choreographers Ella Jade & Glenn Hudson, costume designer Sabrina Henry and creative director Nathalie Teitler. Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, Farringdon EC1R 3GA. Free but bookable. Book now.
Tue 11 December, 7.30pm. God Save the Teen: Poet and former youth worker Andrew Graves presents a one-man show about the tribulations of growing up. With live music by Benjamin McElroy. Bloomsbury Theatre & Studio, 15 Gordon Street, Bloomsbury WC1H 0AH. £8/£6. Book now.
Tue 11 December, 7.30pm. Langham Research Centre + Howlround: Langham Research Centre and Howlround present an evening of music inspired by tape and classic musique concrète processes. The groups join forces for a rare performance of John Cage’s epic 1955 work, Speech for 5 radios and newsreader. Cafe OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL. £8 advance, £10 on the door. Book now.
Wed 12 December, gates open 6pm-9pm, readings 7pm-8pm. Walthamstow Wetlands Late: An evening of bat-themed activities, plus craft stalls. Features readings by Lisa Kiew, Mike Weston, Julia Lewis, SJ Fowler and Cliff Hammett to launch Battalion, an anthology of bat poems from Sidekick Books. ‘Please note, the Engine House will be open; however, the rest of the site will be out-of-access.’  More on the readings here. The Engine House, Walthamstow Wetlands; access via the gates at 2 Forest Road, Walthamstow N17 9NH. £5 (includes free parking, glass of mulled wine and mini mince pie). Book now.
Wed 12 December, 7.30pm. Guillotine 2: Ollie Evans launches Splitter Echo, a selection of his Austrian translations. Plus more poetry from Amy Cutler and Doug Jones. The Beehive, Stoneleigh Road, Tottenham N17 9BQ. £4.
Wed 12 December, doors 7.30pm, start 8pm. Klinker: Experimental music and sound poetry from Raf and O, Martin Speake, Thogdin Ripley, and Alan Wilkinson & Matt Scott. Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42-46 Pollard Row, Bethnal Green E2 6BN. £7/£4.
Thu 13 December, 7pm. The Animal Drums: Screening of a new, feature-length film directed by Joshua Alexander and written by poet SJ Fowler. Introduced with a reading and talk by Iain Sinclair. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Fowler, Alexander, Sinclair and Gareth Evans. Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, Whitechapel E1 7QX. £9.50/£7.50. Book now.
Fri 14 December, 7pm. JackedFloss: Joint book launch, with Sarah Crewe reading from floss and So Mayer reading from jacked a kaddish. Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Road, Haggerston E8 4AA. Free.
Sat 15 December, 6pm. Forms of Address: Performance Schedule 1: Katherine MacRae (voice) and John Snijders (piano) perform John Cage’s Four Walls, plus music by Erik Satie. Part of the exhibition Forms of Address (see ‘Exhibitions’, above). Laura Genillard Gallery, 2 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia W1T 1HB. Free, but RSVP is essential – email lglondoninfo@gmail.com.
Sat 15 December, 7pm. Parasites of Pangu: Ayesha Tan-Jones presents an operatic performance combining poetry, trash-instruments and mythical laments for an apocalyptic, post-anthropocene landscape. ‘Drinks provided!’ Mimosa House, 12 Princes Street, Mayfair W1B 2LL. Free; booking required. Book now.
Sun 16 December, 4pm. Becoming Animal: Screening of Emma Davie and Peter Mettler’s new documentary exploring the philosophy of David Abram. Plus a Q&A with the directors, chaired by poet Amy Cutler. Bertha DocHouse Screen, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, Bloomsbury WC1N 1AW. £12.50/£10. Book now.
Sun 16 December, 5pm. North by Northeast: WordFilmWord: An evening of linguistically innovative poetry, artist films, and in-between aberrations. Featuring Ghazal Mosadeq, Iris Colomb, mmmmmfilms, Eta Dahlia, Matt Martin, mjb, Jonathan Catherall and Antony John. BYOB. One Hoe Street Gallery, 1 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4SD. £5/£3.
Sun 16 December, 7pm. artBLAB: Talks and discussion with artists including poet Stephen Emmerson, interactive artist Tobias Revell, video artist Andor Merks, photographer Christopher Andreou and illustrator Kourtney York.. Canvas Cafe, 42 Hanbury Street, Shoreditch E1 5JL.  Advance tickets are £8-£16 and come with perks (book now); £8 on the door.
Sun 16 December, 7.30pm. Torriano Poetry: Poetry with Geri Dogmetchi, Marianne Burton, SJ Fowler, Timothy Ades, Linda Black and Pascal O’Loughlin. Torriano Meeting House, 99 Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town NW5 2RX. £5/£4 on the door.
Thu 20 December, 7.30pm. Xing the Line: Beth Hopkins & Andrew Spragg launching dogtown, Sam Walton launching Self Heal, and new poems from Dan Eltringham. Iklektik, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, Lambeth SE1 7LG. £5/£3.

 

January 2019

Thu 3 January, 7.30pm. John Tilbury (Solo): Pianist John Tilbury performs an improvised set, followed by a selection of poems by Harry Gilonis, recited with piano accompaniment. Cafe OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL. £10 advance, £12 on the door. Book now.
Sun 6 January, 5pm. Rivet XVII: Connie Scozzaro launches her new book Marnie, plus more poetry from Naomi Weber and others TBC. Biddle Bros, 88 Lower Clapton Road, Clapton E5 0QR. £3.
Mon 7 January, 7.30pm. Vocal Classics of the Black Avant-garde: Sound artist Elaine Michener, poet Dante Michaux and a cohort of superb musicians present a programme of seminal works, drawn from the 1960/70s African-American avant-garde, which combine vocals and text with experimental jazz forms. Cafe OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL. £12 advance, £14 on the door. Book now.
Thu 10 and Fri 11 January, 7pm each day. Pushkin’s Half-hour with John Agard: Poet John Agard performs a personal take on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury WC1A 2TA. £12/£10. Book now.
Fri 11 January, 7pm. American Sonnets: Terrance Hayes & Dante Micheaux: Terrance Hayes reads from his new collection American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. Plus more poetry from Dante Michaux. London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, Bloomsbury WC1A 2JL. £10. Book now.
Sat 12 January, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. With  a reading by Clive Gresswell from his new book Rages of the Carbolic, followed by a Q&A. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Sun 13 January, 2pm. TS Eliot Prize Preview with Jeremy Noel-Tod: On the day of the TS Eliot Prize Readings, poetry critic Jeremy Noel-Tod shares a detailed overview of this year’s shortlisted books. What do they say about the past year in poetry? Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. £10/£7.50 plus booking fee. Book now.
Sun 13 January, 7pm. TS Eliot Prize Readings: Hear the poets shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize reading from their own work on the eve of the award ceremony. Nominees TBA. Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. £15/£11.25. Book now.
Mon 14 January,  7pm, then fortnightly at the same time until Mon 18 March, plus closing event on Mon 25 March. REGENERATE: Writing and publishing workshop for previously unpublished fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry writers. Use concepts from science fiction and social justice to explore changes in the local area. Specifically for those who have not had the opportunity to study writing, those on low incomes or in precarious work, carers, and members of under-represented communities including BAME writers, LGBTQI+ writers, disabled writers, and refugee writers. Participants must commit to all the sessions, be over 18, and live, work or study in postcode E8. Tutor: So Mayer. Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Road, Haggerston E8 4AA. Free, but you must submit an application – deadline Fri 21 December. A limited number of bursaries are available to support travel, childcare or access needs.
Tue 15 January, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Translating Farsi Poet Shooka Hosseini: Poetry Translation Centre workshop on Shooka Hosseini’s Farsi poetry. Open to all, no knowledge of Farsi required. Workshop leader: Alireza Abiz. The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. £8.25/£5.04, free for refugees and unwaged. Book now.
Wed 16 January, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: Henry Mead leads a session on Pound’s ‘Canto LXXVI’. Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 16 January, 7pm. Vertigo & Ghost: Fiona Benson and Daisy Johnson: Fiona Benson reads from her new poetry collection Vertigo & Ghost and will be in conversation with novelist Daisy Johnson. London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, Bloomsbury WC1A 2JL. £10. Book now.
Thu 17 January, then fortnightly until Thu 14 March, 6.45pm-8.45pm each evening. Downriver: A five-session course about representations of rivers in poetry and other literature. ‘The course will focus mainly on joint reading but there will be writing prompts and homework exercises geared towards producing new work on the theme.’ Tutor: Simon Barraclough. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £90. Book now.
Fri 18 January, 7pm-11pm. The Artist Dining Room: The Futurist Supper: A six-course meal and entertainment inspired by the aesthetics of Italian Futurists like poet FT Marinetti. Guest Projects, Sunbury House, 1 Andrews Road, Hackney E8 4QL. £50. Book now.
Sat 19 and Sun 20 January, 10.30am-4.30pm each day. The Light Room: Poetry & Photography’s Intersections: Weekend course exploring intersections and collaborations between poetry and photography. Take inspiration from past practitioners before producing new pieces of your own. No photography experience necessary. Tutor: SJ Fowler. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £144. Book now.
Mon 21 January, 7pm. Warsan Shire in Conversation: On a rare visit from the US, Warsan Shire joins Sheila Ruiz in conversation to discuss her work, process and inspiration. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £15/£12/£10. Limited places available. Book now.
Thu 24 January, then fortnightly until Thu 21 March, 6.45pm-8.45pm each evening. What is a Poem?: Five-session course exploring work that challenges conventional definitions of poetry. ‘The course will be part reading, part discussion, and will involve writing exercises’. Tutor: Chrissy Williams. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £90. Book now.
Thu 24 January, 7pm. English PEN Modern Literature Festival: Writers’ Centre Kingston hosts British writers who will present new works, each in tribute to an author who is part of the English PEN Writers at Risk programme. With Sam Jordison, Ellen Wiles, Gareth Evans, Ghazal Mosadeq, James Miller, Helen Palmer, Adam Baron, Albert Pellicer, Sara Upstone and more. The Bishop, 2 Bishop’s Hall, Kingston KT1 1PY. Free.
Sat 26 January, 10.30am-4.30pm. Origins of the Golem: One-day course exploring the parallels between golem-making and writing poetry. Participants will be invited to produce their own poetry in response to the topic. Tutor: Karen Whiteson. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £72. Book now.
Sat 26 January, 6pm. Forms of Address: Performance Schedule 2: The Langham Research Centre perform experimental, voice-based works by Tim Etchells and Alvin Lucier. Part of the exhibition Forms of Address (see ‘Exhibitions’, above). Laura Genillard Gallery, 2 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia W1T 1HB. Free, but RSVP is essential – email lglondoninfo@gmail.com.
Sun 27 January, 10am-5.30pm. Surrealism & Psychoanalysis: Conquest of the Irrational?: Conference on how psychoanalysis impacted the work of surrealist artists and writers, and vice versa. The Anna Freud Centre, 12 Maresfield Gardens  Hampstead NW3 5SU. £65/£50, with a limited number of £25 bursary places available for those under financial hardship – book now.
Mon 28 January, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Translating French Poetry by Tuareg Poet Hawad: Poetry Translation Centre workshop on Hawad’’s French-language poetry. Open to all, no knowledge of French required. Workshop leader: André Naffis-Sahely. The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. £8.25/£5.04, free for refugees and unwaged. Book now.
Wed 30 January, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Peter Middleton on a topic TBA. Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Thu 31 January & Fri 1 February, 7.30pm each night. Derya Yildirim & Grup Şimşek – Two-day Residency: Psych-pop settings of Turkish poetry. Support from Tahir Palali and Cigdem Aslan on the Thursday, and from Nilufar Habibian on the Friday. Cafe OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL. £25 advance for series pass covering both nights; £14 advance or £16 on the door for one event. Book now.
Thu 31 January, 7pm. The Neighbourhood – Launch: Hannah Lowe launches her new chapbook The Neighbourhood. Plus readings by Anthony Anaxagorou and Fran Lock. Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead NW3 2RR. Pricing TBA.

 

February 2019

Mon 4 February, 6.30pm. Artists’ Books Now: America Latina: Artists and curators talk about book arts in Latin America. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £8/£6/£5. Members-only priority booking now open; on general release 11am, Fri 7 December.
Tue 5 February, 7.15pm. Getting to Noh: From Page to Stage: Presentation by the creative team behind a forthcoming Japanese Noh Drama. Featuring poet Jannette Cheong, plus Richard Emmert, Teruhisa Oshima, Kinue Oshima and John Oglevee. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £8/£6/£5. Members-only priority booking now open; on general release 11am, Fri 7 December.
Sat 9 February, 10.30am-4.30pm. After Arcadia: Cy Twombly: One-day course exploring some of painter Cy Twombly’s techniques, such as gesture, repurposing of existing text and erasure / painting over, as methods to generate new poems. Tutor: Tamar Yoseloff. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £72. Book now.
Sat 9 February, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Sat 9 February, 7.30pm. University Camarade: Poetic collaborations between Kingston University students and comrades from other university creative writing programmes around the UK. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch E1 6LA. Free.
Tue 9 February, 7.30pm. God Save the Teen: Poet and former youth worker Andrew Graves presents a one-man show about the tribulations of growing up. With live music by Benjamin McElroy. Bloomsbury Theatre & Studio, 15 Gordon Street, Bloomsbury WC1H 0AH. £8/£6. Book now.
Tue 12 February, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Translating Korean poet Choi Jeongrye: Poetry Translation Centre workshop on Choi Jeongrye’s Korean poetry. Open to all, no knowledge of Korean required. Workshop leader: Mattho Mandersloot. The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. £8.25/£5.04, free for refugees and unwaged. Book now.
Wed 13 February, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: Roxana Preda leads a session on Pound’s ‘Canto XCIII’. Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 13 February, 7.30pm. 87.3: Poetry with Vahni Capildeo, Nat Raha, Samuel Solomon, Robert Kiely, Ed Luker and Dawn Hart. The Roebuck, 50 Great Dover Street, Southwark SE1 4YG. Pricing TBC.
Thu 14 February, 7.15pm. Sex, Love and Poetry: Nora Gomringer: Performance and discussion with versatile, Swiss-German poet Nora Gomringer, whose work ranges from concrete poetry to slam. Plus Annie Rutherford and Paula Varjack. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £10/£8/£7. Members-only priority booking now open; on general release 11am, Fri 7 December.
Tue 19 February – Wed 13 March, timings TBC. Phoetry & Photolit: Exhibition of visual poetry, focusing on explorations of handwritten poetry and analogue photography. Museum of Futures, 117 Brighton Road, Surbiton KT6 5NJ. Free.
Thu 21 February, 7.30pm. Visual Literature Exhibition Opening: Private view for the Phoetry & Photolit exhibition (see above). Museum of Futures, 117 Brighton Road, Surbiton KT6 5NJ. Free.
Sat 23 February, 10.30am-4.30pm. Write into the Territory: One-day, creative writing course on which participants will develop a liberatory and renewed definition of access to authorship and psychogeography. Tutor: Vahni Capildeo. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £72. Book now.
Mon 25 February, 7pm. Indigenous: Welsh, Gaelic, Scots, Cornish and More: Discussion of non-English languages that originate in the UK, featuring Gaelic poet Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, Shetlandic Scots poet Christine de Luca, Welsh/Cornish musician Gwenno and translator Rahul Bery. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £10/£8/£7. Members-only priority booking now open; on general release 11am, Fri 7 December.
Tue 26 February, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Translating Arabic Poets Najwan Darwish & Ibrahim Nasrallah: Poetry Translation Centre workshop on Najwan Darwish and Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Arabic poetry. Open to all, no knowledge of Arabic required. Workshop leader: Atef Alshaer. The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. £8.25/£5.04, free for refugees and unwaged. Book now.
Wed 27 February, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Sophie Seita on a topic TBA. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 27 February, 7pm. National Poetry Library Late Salon: MacGillivray and Hannah Lowe present their new collections. Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. £10/£7.50. Book now.

 

March 2019

Thu 7 March, 7.30pm. Poem Brut: Writers’ Centre Kingston hosts an exploration of artistic creative writing – poetry and colour, handwriting, composition, abstraction, scribbling, illustration. With poets and artists including Patrick Cosgrove, Nise McCullough, Lisa Kiew, mjb and more. The Museum of Futures, 117 Brighton Road, Surbiton KT6 5NJ. Free.
Sat 9 March, 10.30am-4.30pm. After Arcadia: Ian Hamilton Finlay: One-day course exploring artist and concrete poet Ian Hamilton Finlay’s practice as an integrated way of making. Tutor: Tamar Joseloff. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £72. Book now.
Sat 9 March, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Sun 10 March, 5pm. Dreamers: When the Writers Took Power: Volker Weidermann and Rebecca Abrams discuss the role of writers, including poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in the People’s State of Bavaria after the First World War. Kings Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross N1 9AG. £14.50 + £3 booking fee. Book now.
Tue 12 March, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Translate Brazilian Poet and Artist Carla Diacov: Poetry Translation Centre workshop on Carla Diacov’s poetry. Open to all, no knowledge of Portuguese required. Workshop leader: Annie McDermott. The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. £8.25/£5.04, free for refugees and unwaged. Book now.
Wed 13 March, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: A session on Pound’s ‘Canto XCIV’. Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Thu 14 March, 8pm. Indonesian Poets in London: Readings by poets from Indonesia – poets TBC. National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Free but bookable. Book now.
Sat 16 March, 10.30am-4.30pm. Technicians of the Sacred: The Poem as a Magical Event: One-day course taking inspiration from Jerome Rothenberg’s seminal anthology Technicians of the Sacred. Participants will complete writing exercises to charge their poems with the ancient power of charm, spell, hymn and hex. Tutor: Sascha Akhtar. The Poetry School, 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. £72. Book now.
Wed 27 March, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Andrew Duncan on a topic TBA. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Fri 29 and Sat 30 March, timings TBC. Memories of the Future: Conference exploring what it means to remember the future. What roles do memory, history and the past play in our consciousness as citizens of the early twenty-first century? Confirmed speakers include concrete poetry expert Stephen Bann. Venue and pricing TBC – presumably at a site within the University of London.
Fri 29 March, 7.15pm. Diary as Art Form: Jiří Kolář and Diary 1968: Curator and artist Milena Kalinovská presents poet Jiří Kolář’s Diary 1968, a key work of the Czech avant-garde. Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road NW1 2DB. £12/£10/£8. Members-only priority booking now open; on general release 11am, Fri 7 December.

 

April 2019

Thu 4 April, 7pm. European Poetry Festival: Writers’ Centre Kingston hosts poets from around Europe. With Maja Jantar and many more. Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston KT1 1HL. Free.
Sat 6 April, 7pm. Somewhere In Between: Borders and Borderlands: International conference seeking to identify and analyse the processes of border-making and border permeability in contemporary societies through aesthetic forms. Call for papers open until 10 December 2018 – the conveners are interested in proposals from the field of literature, and in those concerning ‘border poetics’. Provisional venue: Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury WC1H 0PD. £100 – registration not yet open.
Wed 10 April, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: David Moody leads a session on Pound’s ‘Canto CVIII’. Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Sat 13 April, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Tue 16 April, 6pm. Gresham College Lecture: Text Mining: A Test of Character: Richard Harvey lectures on the history of automated text processing, including possibilities for computer-generated poetry. Museum of London, 150 London Wall, City of London EC2Y 5HN. Free.
Wed 17 April, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: Svetlana Ehtee leads a session on Pound’s ‘Canto LXXII’ and ‘Canto LXXIII’. Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 24 April, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Alison Gibb on a topic TBA. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.

 

May 2019

Sat 11 May, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Tue 14 May, 6pm. Literary London Reading Group: Robert Hampson leads a session on ‘”Urban Poetics”: London Poetry in the 1970s’. Reading materials will be posted in advance on the linked site. Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 15 May, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: John Gery leads a session. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Wed 22 – Sat 25 May, timings TBA. Four Quartets: Collaborative, multimedia performance of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, with choreography by Pam Tanowitz, music by Kaija Saariaho, visuals by Brice Marden and narration by Kathleen Chalfant. Thu 23 May has a members-only pre-show talk at 6pm; Fri 24 May is a captioned performance and includes a post-show talk. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City of London EC2Y 8DS. £25-£45. Book now.
Wed 29 May, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Vincent Broqua on a topic TBA. Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.

 

June 2019

Sat 8 June, 4pm-6pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for poets to share new work that pushes the boundaries of their art. The Barley Mow, 127 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX. Free.
Sun 9 June, 6pm. Kate Whitley & The Multi-Story Orchestra: A concert intertwining spoken word and music about love, exploring relationships between sound and text through both sung poetry and live readings interspersed with music. Featuring new music by Kate Whitley, Ravel’s settings of Mallarmé, and poetry by Sabrina Mahfouz and more. KIngs Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross N1 9AG. £16.50/£9.50 plus booking fee. Book now.
Wed 12 June, 6pm. Ezra Pound Cantos Reading Group: Nick Selby leads a session on Pound’s ‘Canto XCV’. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.
Fri 14 and Sat 15 June, times TBC. Canon? Practice? Commodity? The Past, Present and Future of the Literary Anthology: Conference about the role of anthologies in forming and challenging canons. Call for papers open until Thu 28 February 2019 – the organisers seem especially interested in papers about poetry anthologies. Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, Stepney E1 4NS. Rooms and pricing TBC.
Thu 20 – Sat 22 June, timings TBC. Troublesome Modernisms: British Association for Modernist Studies International Conference 2019, exploring what can be drawn from modernism’s troubled relationship with its own pasts, presents and futures. Keynote speakers include Douglas Mao. Call for papers open until 31 January 2019 for papers, or 28 February 2019 for other proposals. Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Pricing TBC.
Wed 26 June, 6pm. Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar: Georgina Colby on a topic TBA. Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7HU. Free.

 

July 2019

Fri 12 – Sun 14 July, times TBC. IMEC International Meaning Conference 2019: The Social Power of Meaning: Three days of workshops and lectures about finding meaning in the modern world. Includes poet Scott Thurston on poetry and choreography. A call for papers remains open until either Tue 15 January or Fri 1 February 2019 (sources vary); the organisers are open to further proposals regarding poetry. Rooms and building TBC, Birkbeck, University of London. Early bird prices £54.49-£399.45 available until Mon 31 December – book now.

 

September 2019

Thu 19 September – Sat 2 November, Mon-Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat matinees 2.30pm. Blood Wedding: New adaptation of the classic play by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo SE1 8LZ. £40/£30/£20/£10; previews (Thu 19 – Tue 24 September) £25/£20/£10. Book now.

FAQ:

  • Who updates this?
    • The listings are primarily maintained and updated by Matt Martin, Stuart Hall Research Scholar and PhD student in the CPRC at Birkbeck.
  • Haven’t I seen this page elsewhere?
    • Innovative Poetry Readings in London was initiated by the poet Peter Philpott in 2009 as part of his website, modernpoetry.org.uk. He continued to run the listings as a service to London’s poetry communities until August 2018, when he handed it on to the CPRC with his blessing. The rest of his site remains available and is of great interest.
  • How can I get my event listed?
    • Email us at cprc.readings@gmail.com with details of any readings or other events for this page. Email us if you spot any errors too, please. You can also contact us via Facebook. Bear in mind:
      • The listings may not be updated every day. To ensure that your event is posted in time to spread the word, please send information at least a week beforehand – the further in advance, the more useful the listing will be for you.
      • These listings concern performances (and some related activities) within the traditions or communities of innovative poetry – those that the CPRC exists to further. The listings aim to be inclusive, incorporating cross-cultural and internationalist currents, and extending to celebrations of modernist precursors, but there are limits to what will be publicised here.
  • What do you mean by ‘innovative poetry’?
    • Broadly speaking, poetry that challenges the traditionally accepted definitions of the art form – work which might also be dubbed ‘experimental’, ‘avant-garde’, ‘modernist’ (or ‘postmodernist’, ‘neo-modernist’ etc.). Such poetry diverges from the conservative norm in many different directions – a personal view from Peter Philpott is online here. These scenes are constantly developing. Recent years have seen more acceptance of innovative poetry by universities, major publishers, literary prize-givers and other institutions – though this remains sporadic, and much exciting activity is still down to groups of friends who organise and publish with scant resources. In the last couple of decades, the field has been enriched by increasing overlaps and intersections between different innovative poetry communities. At the same time, women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, Black British and British Asian poets, as well as UK-based poets born overseas, have all become more prominent.
  • Can you guarantee that these events will be good?
    • We hope they will be, but the CPRC cannot take responsibility for the quality of events organised by other parties, the reliability of information made available by to us by others, or any views expressed by organisers, performers and exhibitors. However, every event here is listed because it promises something of interest to those wishing to explore new possibilities for poetry. Descriptions in the listings are based on publicity material.