National Poetry Day: Poetry Karaoke

National Poetry Day is celebrated each year on the first Thursday of October. To mark the occasion the Bristol Poetry Institute held a session of Poetry Karaoke hosted on Zoom.

We also discussed the importance of observances like National Poetry Day as well as poetry, lockdown and the Institute’s role and activities in an interview for National Poetry Day 2020 with the Arts Matter blog.

More videos from the Bristol Poetry Institute can be found on our YouTube Channel.

Poetry, Plagiarism and Other Matters

The poet and artist, Ira Lightman

Date: 17 April 2018, 6.15 PM – 17 April 2018, 7.15 PM

Speaker: Ira Lightman
Venue: LR1, Arts Complex, 3-5 Woodland Road

Ira Lightman is known to many, and feared by a few, as the great ‘plagiarism sleuth’ of contemporary poetry; the results of his investigations are chronicled in the Guardian and elsewhere. Ira has made public art throughout the North East and also in the West Midlands and the South West. He made a documentary on Ezra Pound for Radio 4 last year. He is a regular on Radio 3’s The Verb and has been profiled on Channel 4. He is a professional storyteller. He won the Journal Arts Council Award for “innovative new ways of making art in communities” for his project The Spennymoor Letters. His new chapbook is called “Goose”. He has been described by George Szirtes as “Harpo Marx meets Rilke”.

Contact information

For further information please contact

Cian Murphy selected in 2018 Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology

BPI poet, Cian Murphy

Cian Murphy’s poem, ‘At the Clinic’, will be published in the 2018 Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology.

‘At the Clinic’ was selected by the American poet and writer Maggie Smith-Beehler. The poem will be published in April by Eyewear Publishing as part of their forthcoming anthology of the 50 best new British and Irish poets.

Cian Murphy was born and raised in Cork. He is Senior Lecturer in Public International Law at the University of Bristol, where he also sits on the board of the Bristol Poetry Institute. His poetry has appeared in Ink, Sweat and TearsThe Honest Ulsterman, and Envoi.

Further information

For further information on the Bristol Poetry Institute, please contact:

Jack Thacker wins first prize in international poetry competition

Jack Thacker’s poem, ‘The Load’, has been judged by Sir Andrew Motion as the winner of the 2016 Charles Causley international poetry competition

Jack Thacker’s poem, ‘The Load’, has been judged by Sir Andrew Motion as the winner of the 2016 Charles Causley international poetry competition.

The Load by Jack Thacker (PDF, 174kB)

Jack Thacker grew up on a farm in Herefordshire. He lives in Bristol, where he is studying for a PhD on contemporary poetry and agriculture at the Universities of Bristol and Exeter. His poetry has appeared in PN Review, The Clearing and The Literateur and has been commissioned

by the Bristol and Bath Festival of Nature and the Bristol Nature Channel. He is the co-founder of the University of York-based poetry magazine Eborakon and is a board member of the Bristol Poetry Institute.

Making my final decision about the poetry prize, I wanted to balance my admiration for risk and the spirit of adventure with my liking for poems that obey their own laws of organisation. I felt ‘The Load’ managed to get the best of both these worlds, and in the process to achieve something at once clear and suggestive.

— Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of the Judges

As part of his first prize award, Jack Thacker will receive £2,000 and a week long residency at Cyprus Well, the former home of Charles Causley, in which to work on his writing and explore North Cornwall.‌

Further information

This year’s entries to the Charles Causley poetry competition came from a diverse range of poets, both established and emerging. There was a considerable increase in the number of international entries, and the panel of shortlisting judges – Dr Kym Martindale, Dr Luke Thompson, and Charlotte Walker, writer-in-residence at Cyprus Well, spent a day at Charles Causley’s house reading and discussing the poems before selecting a shortlist to send to Head Judge, Sir Andrew Motion.

For more information on the Charles Causley Trust please visit

Danny Karlin to give 2016 Clarendon Lectures

Danny Karlin at the site of Henry James’s house in Boston, MA, 2015.

Daniel Karlin, Winterstoke Professor of English and founding Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute, will give the prestigious Clarendon Lectures at the University of Oxford this Michaelmas term.

Professor Danny Karlin will give the career-defining Clarendon Lectures at the University of Oxford later this term.

In delivering the Claredon Lectures, Danny Karlin will join a line of exemplary writers and critics to have received the honour. Previous Clarendon lecturers include, Frank Kermode, Stephen Greenblatt, Elaine Showalter, Christopher Ricks, Margaret Atwood, Stanley Fish and Quentin Skinner.

The subject of Danny Karlin’s Clarendon lectures will be ‘Street Songs’. The lectures will expatiate around the appearence of street songs and street singers in literary texts, such as Proust’s narrator hearing the cris de Paris in La Prisonniere, the one-legged sailor growling out ‘The Death of Nelson’ in Ulysses, or the old woman singing outside Regent’s Park tube station in Mrs Dalloway. The lectures will concentrate on how authors use street songs in their work.

Danny Karlin is known particularly for his work on the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His first book, The Courtship of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett (1985), brought about a decisive shift in the way the ‘myth’ of the two poets’ courtship was viewed, and is cited as a standard work in almost every subsequent biography and critical study. Browning’s Hatreds (1993) exemplifies his critical practice, based on the close reading of literary works, richly contextualised by reference to biography and to literary and linguistic history. His most recent monograph, The Figure of the Singer (2013), demonstrates the range of scholarship for which Professor Karlin is celebrated among his peers.

Textual scholarship is another major interest. With John Woolford and, latterly, Joe Phelan, Professor Karlin has edited four volumes of Browning’s poetry for the acclaimed Longman Annotated English Poets series, with a further volume in preparation; a substantial paperback selection appeared in 2010. He has also edited a successful selection of Browning’s poems for Penguin. His knowledge of the wider field of Victorian poetry is evidenced in the Penguin Book of Victorian Verse (1997), which includes the work of 147 poets, many of whom had never been anthologised. Other editions include Kipling’s Jungle Books, Rider Haggard’s She, and, the first fully annotated Scholarly edition of Edward FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Most recently he published a selection of Kipling’s Stories and Poems for Oxford University Press (2016).

Professor Karlin has a long-standing interest in American literature; he gave the Chatterton Lecture at the British Academy in 1987 on Walt Whitman’s Civil War poems, and has published on Bob Dylan (whom he has nominated for the Nobel Prize, and who he still thinks should get it). His edition of Henry James’s The Bostonians will shortly be available from Cambridge University Press.  He is a fluent French speaker, and in 2005 published Proust’s English, an innovative study of Proust’s use of English words and phrases.

Besides his continuing work on the Browning edition, Professor Karlin regularly publishes on British and American literature of the long nineteenth century, with a concentration, especially but not exclusively, on poetry.  Recent essays include, ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ and other poems of love and marriage’ and ‘Editing Poems in Letters’. During his career, Professor Karlin has made a point of engaging with research supervision across the gamut of English Literature from the Early Modern period onwards. In his time at Bristol he has supervised PhD projects on P. B. Shelley, Victorian poetry and fiction, and nineteenth-century American literature. His current research supervision includes a PhD on Bob Dylan by Craig Savage.


Further information

The 2016 Clarendon Lecture series will take place at the University of Oxford on the following days:

  • 8 November 2016
  • 10 November 2016
  • 15 November 2016
  • 17 November 2016

A full list of Danny Karlin’s publications can be found here.

Debut Poetry Collection from William Wootten

William Wootten, Co-Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute and Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing, will next month launch his first collection of poetry, You Have A Visitor.

We are delighted to announce the publication of William Wootten’s debut collection of poetry You Have a Visitor, which will be launched in Bristol next month.

You Have a Visitor is a book of songs and stories.  Intricately constructed, and employing a range of tight metres, stanza shapes and rhyme schemes, the poems delight in making use of traditional possibilities of English verse, and are, in the case of the lyrics, highly musical.

William Wootten’s poems have appeared in magazines including PN ReviewPoetry Review, the Spectator and theTimes Literary Supplement. He is also the author of the critical study, The Alvarez Generation: Thom Gunn, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Peter Porter.

Further information

Join us for the launch of You Have a Visitor on Thursday 10 March, 17.15 in LR1, University of Bristol, 3-5, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TB. The event will be free and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Title: You Have A Visitor
Author: William Wootten
Published: 01 April 2016
ISBN: 978-1-905208-33-3
Pages: 70