Innovative Poetry Readings in London

Precautions are in force to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in London and throughout the UK. These include the closure of all event venues, plus restrictions on public assembly. All live events for the immediate future have been cancelled, postponed, or moved online. In light of this, the ‘Innovative Poetry Readings in London’ calendar of live events is temporarily discontinued. It will return as soon as a date is announced for the lifting of the emergency measures.

If you would like to engage with poetry online from the comfort of your home, the poet Peter Philpott has assembled useful lists of links to online resources at If you are missing the experience of hearing innovative poetry performed aloud, his list of audio and video sites – – may be of special interest.

Please see below for online provision by London poets and organisations during the shutdown. If you would like to add anything to these lists, please email us at, or contact us via Facebook.

Time-specific online events

Until Fri 5 June. Escapisms: Poem Atlas presents an exhibition of visual and object poems on the theme of escapism, featuring Sarah J Sloat, Maggs Vibo, Chris Kerr, Lisa Golze, Emma Filtness, Paul Hawkins, Andrés Felipe Üribe Cárdenas, Andrew Dyer, Briony Hughes, Astra Papachristodoulou, Michał Kamil Piotrowski, Julia Nakotte, Manuela Zammit, Paolo Montanari, Kate Siklosi, Yasmine Seale, Pavel Zarutskiy, Jon Stone, Tor Lukasik-Foss, Kimberly Campanello, James Kearns, indigo eli, Amanda Earl, Gary Barwin and Simon Frank.
Until Tue 9 June. Translations: Mellom Press hosts an exhibition of visual poetry translations, featuring Catalina Aranguren, Gary Barwin, Derek Beaulieu, Richard A Carter, Theodoros Chiotis, S Cearley, Iris Colomb, Amanda Earl, Sara Elgerot, SJ Fowler, Helen Frank, Peter Jaeger, James Knight, Canan Marasligil, Luke Murphy, Astra Papchristodoulou, Silje Ree, Imogen Reid, Danni Storm and Nico Vassilakis.
Thu 4 June, 9.30pm. Words & Art: Poetry with Nicki Heinan and Matthew Caley, accompanied by improvised live painting by Aurelie Freoua. Booking required.
Fri 5 June, 7pm. Break into the Forbidden: Ignota Books presents poetry by Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Raymond Antrobus, Jay Bernard, James Goodwin, Bhanu Kapil, Canisia Lubrin, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Fred Moten, M NourbeSe Philip and Nisha Ramayya. £5 (donated to black liberation organisations and bail funds in support of justice and resistance movements in the US); booking required. Via Zoom.
Mon 8 June, 6pm-8pm. Poetry as a Form of Spores: The Royal College of Fungi and the Antiuniversity Festival present a workshop on deconstructing and reconstructing a collective poem. Booking required. Donations welcome.
Mon 8 June, 8pm. Launch Reading for Plastiglomerate: Penned in the Margins hosts a reading and discussion with poet and geographer Tim Cresswell to launch his new collection Plastiglomerate. Via Twitter.
Tue 9 June, 10am-5pm, then at the same time weekly until Tue 30 June Drawing, Collage and Poetry: Sophie Herxheimer and Rosie Vohra lead a 4-session course for the Royal College of Drawing, on the use of collage to combine poetry and visual art. £160 enrollment fee.
Tue 9 June, 7.30pm BST, 8.30pm Berlin time. Sonic Atlas: poesiefestival berlin hosts a performance by London-based poet Caroline Bergvall with Jamie Hamilton, Andy Delaney and Léonce Lupette. Plus Night & Refuge, Bergvall’s collaboration with poets Vahni Capildeo, Nisha Ramayya, Leo Boix, Will Harris and Ghazal Mosadeq.
Wed 10 June, 6pm. Creative Writing Wonder Women: Birkbeck, University of London hosts readings by poet Golnoosh Nour, novelists Abi Dare and Louise Hare, and short story writer Jac Shreeves-Lee. Free but bookable; book now.
Thu 11 – Mon 15 June. Caribbean Nights: The George Padmore Institute screens the BBC Arena film Caribbean Nights: Poetry (1986), featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson, Fred D’Aguiar, Derek Walcott and Darcus Howe. Plus discussion of the film by Jacqueline Bishop, Hannah Lowe and Dorothea Smartt, readings by Jay Bernard and Anthony Joseph, and a life-writing workshop with historian Colin Grant.
Thu 11 June, 3pm-6pm. Event_Study: Common House and the Antiuniversity Festival host a reading group on ideas about study in The Undercommons by poet Fred Moten and Stephano Harvey. Booking required.
Sat 13 June, 2pm-3pm. Post COVID-19 and the Revival of Feminism?: Yewande Okuleye and the Antiuniversity Festival host a reading and reflection workshop on the poetry of Audre Lorde. Booking required.
Sat 13 June, 3.30pm-5.30pm. Writers Forum Workshop – New Series: Workshop for experimental poets to share their work. Via Zoom; registration required.
Thu 18 June, 7pm. Poetry London Summer 2020 Online Launch Readings: Raymond Antrobus, Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal, Jee Leong Koh, John McCullough and Claudine Toutoungi read to launch the new issue of Poetry London magazine. Booking required (details TBA).
Thu 18 June, 7pm. Say Owt Livestream 2: Readings by Bad Betty Press poets Gabriel Àkámọ, Anja Konig and Kirsten Luckins. Via Facebook.
Tue 23 June – Tue 21 July. ‘I knew what was going to happen and I was right’: Poetry & TV: Jenna Clake leads a creative writing course for the Poetry School, inspired by TV programmes. £79 course fee.
Thu 25 June, 7pm. Launch of Animal Experiments by Anja Konig: Reading and Q&A with Anja Konig to launch the new Bad Betty Press collection Animal Experiments. Via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Wed 8 July – Wed 5 August. Beyond Ekphrasis: Poetry & Visual Art: Sam Buchan-Watts leads a creative writing course for the Poetry School, exploring alternative techniques for engaging with visual art in poetry. £79 course fee.
Sat 8 & Sun 9 August. Fifty Shades of Language: The London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research presents this conference about the nature of language. The call for papers is here – proposals regarding poetry and language are welcome (deadline Wed 20 May). £90 registration fee.

Entropy magazine and Newcity Lit are curating listings and links for US-based online literary events, all available globally (if listening from the UK, remember there will be a time difference). Trafika Europe Radio is carrying events from around Europe.

Ongoing online provision

  • 3am Magazine is running a series of features on writers in lockdown.
  • AfterFM, a Colorado radio station, has a recording of London-based poet Khaled Hakim’s radio art piece Re-membering Brakhage.
  • All Saints Sessions, Cheryl Moskowitz and Alastair Gavin’s music and poetry events, are taking place online for the duration of the emergency; those performed so far are archived.
  • Archive of the Now, maintained by Queen Mary University of London, contains a vast array of recordings by innovative poets from the UK and beyond.
  • Book Works, an avant-garde publisher, is updating its Vimeo channel with videos of performances by its stable of writers and artists.
  • The British Library is maintaining access to its online collections, including recordings of many poets and writers.
  • Burley Fisher Books is running an ‘Isolation Station’ with podcasts featuring favourite authors.
  • Cabinet Gallery is posting recordings and texts from its roster of innovative artists and writers.
  • Café OTO has been live-streaming performances, mostly (very good) avant-garde music; some of the musicians cross over into sound poetry.
  • Camden Arts Centre is live-streaming and archiving its events, including its Public Knowledge series of readings and talks.
  • Dead [Women’s] Poets Society is running online projects, including a ‘[Virtual] Séance’ featuring videos of readings from the work of dead women poets – see here for how to submit a recording.
  • English PEN hosts its PEN Transmissions series of podcast discussions with international authors.
  • Estorick Collection has videos documenting its exhibition by Futurist painter and poet Tullio Crali, plus a resource on creating Futurist poetry at home.
  • European Poetry Festival presents videopoems by poets from throughout Europe as a taster for its annual festival, which has been rescheduled to Tue 6 – Sun 18 October 2020.
  • fowlerpoetry is SJ Fowler’s YouTube channel, hosting a huge range of recordings from poetry event series he has curated, including Maintenant, Camarade, Poem Brut, Illuminations, the European Poetry Festival and the Nordic Poetry Festival, plus his film-poems.
  • Guillemot Press is hosting Eel Fest 2020, with recordings of readings from their eel-themed anthology The Creel, including performances by London poets.
  • The Hythe, online journal of The 87 Press, is presenting Digital Poetics, a weekly series of poetry and prose.
  • The ICA is sending daily mail-outs of links to online content representing a range of artforms; there are also plans to organise live-streaming events over its social channels.
  • Instituto Cervantes has podcasts and videos about Spanish-language poetry.
  • Laure Genillard Gallery‘s Vimeo channel has recordings of past events, including performances of texts by or about experimental writers.
  • Libreria, a Shoreditch bookshop, has podcasts by or about experimental writers (Spotify account required).
  • Lisson Gallery has a video tour of its exhibition of concrete poetry by Dom Sylvester Houédard, presented by curator Nicola Simpson.
  • The Live Art Development Agency is compiling information and resources to support artists and art workers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • London Review Bookshop has podcasts of its last decade of live events, including many poetry readings.
  • The National Poetry Library has online archives of poetry, including audio recordings of past events.
  • nova, a French radio station, is hosting poet Anthony Joseph’s playlist of ‘Music for Healing’.
  • Owl Call Radio is Katherine E Bash’s newly established website of poetic sound collages.
  • Pilots is an series of video collaborations by poet Amy Cutler and artist/musician Graham Dunning, created during April 2020.
  • The Poetry Translation Centre has an archive of podcasts, featuring poems read in their original languages and in English translation.
  • Resonance FM, London’s avant-garde radio station, boasts a number of literary programmes, plus several shows that blur boundaries between poetry and experimental music.
  • The Royal Drawing School is blogging art activities to try at home, plus opportunities to share the results online; notably, there is an ‘Image & Text’ activity proposed by poet and artist Sophie Herxheimer.
  • Serpentine Galleries are presenting a series of podcasts featuring artists, thinkers and writers, including poets.
  • streetcake magazine is running an Experimental Writing Prize for poets and fiction writers aged 18-26. Deadline Wed 1 July.
  • Turf Projects, a Croydon art gallery, presents a creative writing resource by Taylor Le Melle, ‘Learn to Mis-Use English Grammar’.
  • The Ukrainian Institute has recordings of live and online events about Ukrainian culture, including Ukrainian poetry.