London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group: ‘The Dangerous Mix of Atomism & Poetry’, 19 April 2016


The second session of the London 18th-Century postgraduate reading group will be at 12.30pm on Tuesday 19th April in Room S3.05, Strand Building, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS. We’ll be continuing with the theme of Resentment and Regard (more details on the group’s blog, here).

‘Whatever in Lucretius is Poetry is not Philosophical, whatever is Philosophical is not Poetry’ – Samuel Taylor Coleridge to William Wordsworth, May 1815.

The week’s reading is focused on the simultaneous resentment and regard directed towards Lucretius’s poetics from the late seventeenth-century English translations onwards. Seen as a prime example of atheistic poetry, the publication of various translations of Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura provoked many backlashes that both regarded the high quality of his poetic verse whilst resenting the atomistic philosophy it aimed to teach its readers. We will look at various commentaries on Lucretius and his translations across the early to mid-eighteenth century as a way of discussing the interactions between poetics and dangerous philosophies in the period:


– Lucy Hutchinson’s dedication to her unpublished 1675 translation of De Rerum Natura [Available online here]

– John Dryden’s comments on Lucretius in his ‘Preface to Sylvae’ [Available on Eighteenth Century Collections Online here, images 10-18]

– Thomas Creech’s Preface to his 1682 translation of De Rerum Natura, [Available on Early English Books Online here, images 8-11]

– Aphra Behn’s ‘To the Unknown Daphnis on his Excellent Translation of Lucretius’, [Available on Eighteenth Century Collections Online here, images 62-65]

– Richard Blackmore’s preface to his 1712 anti-Lucretian poem Creation [Available on Eighteenth Century Collections Online here, looking at pages 1-2; 32-52]

– Later comments on Lucretius in the 1740 The Christian Free-Thinker: Or an Epistolary Discourse Concerning Freedom of Thought [Available on Eighteenth Century Collections Online here, pages 28-34]


Topics to discuss might include: the religious ramifications involved in a turn towards a classical past; the use of poetics to present philosophy; the power and danger of poetry; the place of Lucretius’s poetry as part of a gendered resentment in Behn and Hutchinson; the balance of regard for poetics and resentment for philosophy; the use of poetics to simultaneously promote and overturn.

For optional critical material on the place of Lucretius in the eighteenth-century, see: David Hopkins, ‘The English Voices of Lucretius from Lucy Hutchinson to John Mason Good’, in The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 254-273.

For further information (and for copies of the readings if you cannot access them through your institution), please contact Robert Stearn ( or James Morland (

You can read about the first session’s discussion here.

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Spiralbound Reading, 19 April 2016

Spiralbound Reading (hosted by the CPRC) – 19th April 2016

You are warmly invited to the launch of three poetry books by Spiralbound, a non-profit artists’ publishing project exploring the influence of new digital technologies on the material presence of the book.

When: 19 April 2016, 7-9pm
Where: Birkbeck College, Room 102, 30 Russell Square
Who: Ghazal Mosadeq, Andrew Spragg, Florence Uniacke

About The Readers

Ghazal Mosadeq is a writer, poet and translator. Her poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines in the UK, Iran, Canada, Portugal, and Greece. She is the winner of the 2013 Bayhaqi Short Fiction Prize and her collection of poems dar jame ma (2010) was shortlisted for the 2011 Khurshid poetry award in Iran. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Andrew Spragg was born in London and lives there. Recent books include Tether//Replica (Sprialbound/Susak Press, 2015), OBJECTS (Red Ceiling Press, 2014), A Treatise on Disaster (Contraband Books, 2013) and To Blart & Kid (Like This Press, 2013). Occasional

Florence Uniacke is a poet living in London.
She can be reached at

About Spiralbound
Spiralbound is a non-profit artists’ publishing project exploring the influence of new digital technologies on the material presence of the book. Strongly supported by London gallery studio1.1. and existing as an offshoot of Susak Press, we work with artists and writers who want to use the book medium to experiment beyond and challenge their usual practice. By subverting the capabilities of digital print on demand, the project’s aim is to publish book editions that can remain uncompleted and in flux as we allow our authors the opportunity to re-shape and interfere with the book’s original version.

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One-Day Symposium: ‘W. S. Graham: The Far Coasts of Language’, 18 March 2016

W S Graham Symposium


One-Day Symposium: ‘W. S. Graham: The Far Coasts of Language’
Organised by the Bristol Poetry Institute, University of Bristol

Speakers: Jon Cook (UEA), Ralph Pite (Bristol), Natalie Pollard (Exeter), David Punter (Bristol), Denise Riley (UEA), William Wootten (Bristol)
When: Friday 18 March 2016
Where: Link Room 2; 3-5 Woodland Road, BS8 1TB11:00-16:30

This one-day symposium, hosted by the Bristol Poetry Institute, will feature six short talks on various poems by W. S. Graham, one of the most extraordinary poets of our time, with ample time for participation by the audience.

Admission is free but booking is required by Eventbrite; lunch will be provided:

Any enquires regarding this event please contact:

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Verdant Intersections: An Event on Landscape, Ecology, Poetry and Performance

Verdant Intersections

An Event on Landscape, Ecology, Poetry and Performance

Hosted by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck College, University of London.

When: 4 March, 7-9pm
Who: Linda Russo, Dan Eltringham and Laura Burns
Where: Birkbeck College, University of London – Room 102, 30 Russell Square

Linda Russo, Dan Eltringham and Laura Burns will be presenting a combination of critical and creative work for around twenty minutes each in response to one of the following themes: human/non-human ecologies, geopoetics, ecopoetics, landscape and/or site-specific work.

After the readings/presentations Richard Hamblyn and Stephen Willey will co-chair a short discussion between the participants.


About the speakers
Linda Russo is the author of two books of poetry, most recently Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way (Shearsman, 2015). Participant, winner of the Bessmilr Brigham Poets Prize, and a collection of literary-geographical essays, To Think of her Writing Awash in Light, winner of Subito Press lyric essay prize, are forthcoming. Her recent reports on Bioregional/Body-Regional poetics is “Emplaced, and local to.” She lives in the Cascadian region of the northwestern US, tends garden plots, and teaches at Washington State University.


Dan Eltringham is working towards an AHRC-supported PhD at Birkbeck College, entitled ‘William Wordsworth and J. H. Prynne: pastoral, enclosure and the commons’. In autumn 2015 he participated in the interdisciplinary network ‘Land, People, Poetry’ at Colorado State University as a visiting scholar. His poetry and translations have appeared in E-Ratio, Blackbox Manifold, The Goose, Intercapillary Space, Emotions in Dialogue, and Scabs are Rats Zine 4, and in two pamphlets, Mystics and Ithaca. His first full-length poetry collection is in process and he co-edits Girasol Press.


Laura Burns is a performer and writer working at the intersection of poetry, dance, live art and installation. Her work seeks to call into question the agency of the nonhuman world, reconsidering how language and consciousness stems from the biological unfoldings of the thinking worlds around us. Her practice explores how embodiment, orality and a practice of belief in unknowing, give rise to new perceptions, an ecology of knowledges and choreographies of being-with.

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Call for Papers: The Still Point Journal Issue #2 – The Researcher’s Notebook, deadline extended 21 February 2016

Call for Submissions

The Still Point Journal Issue #2: The Researcher’s Notebook

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s notebook

Each [notebook] was a small landscape through which it was possible to wander, and within which it was possible to get lost. […] The notebooks, taken together, represented an accidental epic poem of [the writer’s] life, or perhaps a dendrological cross-section of his mind.

Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks

For Issue #2 of The Still Point Journal, we ask contributors to imagine that their submissions are part of a collective Researcher’s Notebook in both a literal, and a broader, metaphorical sense. We want to explore the idea of the journal as a space for spontaneous discovery, self-creation/autopoeisis; whether this be through pages from an actual notebook filled with doodles, mind-maps and beautiful scrawls, or pieces which explore the researcher’s thought-process and the genesis of an idea over time. Send us your works-in-progress, your unfinished ideas, or the thoughts you feverishly scribbled down in the middle of the night.

We invite submissions of non-fiction, short fiction, poetry and visual work in all forms. Responses can be as creative and as broad as you like, and we are particularly interested in seeing work which blurs the boundaries of form and genre.


The Still Point Journal is a literary journal for Arts and Humanities researchers in London, funded by the LAHP (London Arts & Humanities Partnership) and the AHRC. The Still Point aims to be a forum for dialogue, collaboration and experimentation, and offers a space for creatively writing through ideas in original forms.

‘The still point’ reflects our experience of being new researchers and represents those moments when we take time out of our days for deep thinking and reflection: when the world gets quiet but our minds are still racing. The journal’s particular focus is on non-fiction writing, related – however tangentially – to our research and the kind of rich thinking and exploration we do during the course of this research.


Submission Guidelines:

–         Non-fiction pieces should be between 1000 and 3000 words.
–         Short stories should be no more than 2000 words in length.
–         Please send between 1 and 3 poems.
–         For all visual submissions please send us a high quality digital file.


Deadline Extended: Please send any questions or submissions to by the 21st February 2016.

If you want to discuss an idea with us before you make a submission, please drop us a line: Contributors should be currently affiliated with a research institution, although we are also interested in hearing from artists, designers and illustrators who would like to collaborate with researchers on their pieces.


Blog Submissions

We accept submissions for the blog on a rolling basis, exploring any aspect of the experience of research (not restricted to the theme of the current or future journal). Ideally submissions will be no more than 500 words, but we may accept longer pieces.

Please send your ideas, questions, articles, images, or videos to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can also follow us on Twitter @stillpointLDN, or find us online at  and on Facebook:

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Birkbeck Poetry Workshop meeting, 2 February 2016

The next meeting of The BIRKBECK POETRY WORKSHOP (an Alumni Group)

2nd February 2016, 7pm to 9pm


(For constructive criticism of each poem read out.)

Chair: Bryn Studwick


Themes for poem to bring along:

1)     Footfall

2)     Fireside

3)     Unrequited love


Form to write poem in:

a) Sonnet

b) Rhyming couplets

c) Villanelle


“For Poets with a Birkbeck connection”


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Browning and Close Reading: A Workshop

‘To be compelled to look at a drama through a pair of horn spectacles would be a cheerful pastime compared with the ennui of tracing the course of Sordello through that veil of obscurity which Mr. Browning’s style of composition places between us and his conception’ (The Athenaeum, June 1864).

If you would like to indulge in such a cheerful pastime, please join us for a close reading workshop on Robert Browning’s poetry on Friday 11th December 2015 at the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, Birkbeck, University of London. There will be a session on each of the following four poems: Sordello, ‘Two in the Campagna’, ‘By the Fireside’, and ‘Caliban upon Setebos’. Speakers will offer a short reading of the poem and then open up discussion to the rest of the group. We have three speakers in each session, and the main focus of the day will be close reading as a group. The event will be chaired by Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck), Dr Clara Dawson (University of Manchester) and Dr Ana Vadillo (Birkbeck). Any enquiries can be addressed to

The workshop will take place in the Keynes Library at 46 Gordon Square, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0PD.

Registration will cost £25 to cover the cost of coffee, lunch and room hire and you can register at the following link:

Please register by 3 December to ensure your place.




Sordello: Matt Campbell (University of York)



‘By the Fireside’: Sarah Kremen-Hicks (University of Washington), Britta Martens, (University of the West of England) Andrew Hodgson (Durham University)



‘Caliban upon Setebos’: Jayne Thomas (Cardiff University), John Woolford (Independent scholar), James Williams (University of York)



‘Two in the Campagna’: Martin Dubios (Newcastle University), Suneel Mehmi (University of Westminster), Sophie Ratcliffe (University of Oxford)

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Veer Books at the Surrey Poetry Festival 2015

Veer Books will launch the new edition of Bob Cobbing’s abc in sound at the Surrey Poetry Festival 2015 in Guildford, on Saturday June 9 2015.

The festival will begin at one minute past midday on Saturday 9th May in The Ivy Arts Centre, at the University of Surrey, Guildford.

The Cobbing launch reading will take place from 19:30, with a performance of the text by multiple readers.

067  Bob Cobbing – ‘abc in sound’ (8th edition)
Veer Publication 067 [ISBN: 978-1-907088-76-6]
‘This 8th edition of Bob Cobbing’s 1965 ground-breaking polylingual sonic abecedary unites Jennifer Pike Cobbing’s cover design for its original publication as Sound Poems with the typeset text of later printings and a new introduction by Robert Sheppard which investigates its character, pre-history and subsequent realisations in performance.’ (Adrian Clarke)
A5 size. 72 pages. March 2015. £6.00

Surrey Poetry Festival

A diverse array of writers – from New York, Shropshire, Cataluña, Hastings and beyond – will perform for 25 minutes each; there will also be collaborations and an open house rendition of Bob Cobbing’s seminal abc of sound to fire up the evening.

This year’s festival is organised by Surrey’s Poet in Residence, Nicholas Johnson.

Readers at the festival include:

JOHN HEALY – A reading from The Grass Arena, followed by Q&A with the author

See here for a full schedule

Tickets are £12.00 all day, and £6.00 for students.
Individual sessions £6.00, £4.00 students.

Please e-mail to book your place.

The festival is supported by the University of Surrey, School of English and Languages.

More information online here and here.

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Numbers Day – Edited by Becky Tomlin

‘Numbers in Early Modern Writing’, a special edition of the Journal of the Northern Renaissance is now live.

Edited by Dr Katherine Hunt and Rebecca Tomlin (English and Humanities), the articles in this issue explore the multiple ways in which numbers feature in early modern writing, from Robert Record to Civil War code manuals, with poetry and tragedy, fencing, accounting, and printing on the way. Follow this link, for your profit and delight: Journal of the Northern Renaissance Issue-6-2014

Becky is currently working on her thesis ‘Staging Exchange: Commerce, Drama and Gender in Early Modern England’ with Professor Sue Wiseman.

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