Annual Kenneth Allott Lecture

The 2017 Kenneth Allott lecture: Jan Wagner

The Shedding of Skins and Schemes: a voice of one’s own and the voices of others 

Jan Wagner is the outstanding German poet of his generation. His lecture, delivered in English, is on influence and the exchange of poetic ideas across borders; of the teachers poets must find for themselves (and then distance themselves from again). Interspersed with readings of some of his own poems, Wagner’s lecture draws on poets such as Rimbaud, Heym and Brecht, Popa, Pound and Hughes, and the poet-translators who have carried their work between cultures.

Wagner’s collection Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees (Arc), translated by Iain Galbraith, won the Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015. He has translated into German poets including Armitage, MacNeice, Shapcott, Simic and Sweeney.

Watch clips from the event here.

The Kenneth Allott Lecture is organised in collaboration with the Poetry Society. The lecture will also tour to Oxford and London.


The 2015 Kenneth Allott lecture: Rita Dove

How Does a Shadow Shine? Poetry, Music, & the Underside of History  

20th Oct, 2015.

Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (1993-1995) and recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book, Thomas and Beulah. Her most recent poetry collections are Sonata Mulattica (2009) and American Smooth (2004), and she is sole editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. 

The Kenneth Allott Lecture is presented in association with the Poetry Society, the Birmingham Literature Festival and Writing West Midlands