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Poetry Library 60th Birthday Party | 01-Nov-13

Poetry Library 60th Birthday Party
Tuesday 29 October
Queen Elizabeth Hall

We had a wonderful 60th birthday party on Tuesday night, and want to say a big thank you to everyone for coming along! In case you weren't able to make it, here is a list of the running order, and who read. You will find some photographs from the event on Facebook here.

The evening began with some free events in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer, before moving into the Hall itself for further poetic delights.

Foyer Poetry Films

1. Sea Wall, John Wedgwood Clarke & Lara Goodband. Sound recording & composition by Rob Mackay. Sea Swim was part of imove: a Cultural Olympiad Programme in Yorkshire, funded by Legacy Trust UK.

2. Elegy with Judy Garland and Refrigerator, For Tin House Reels, poem and film by Bianca Stone.
You can watch this film online here:

3. Ten Thousand Things, an excerpt by Jack Wake-Walker, words by Jorge Luis Borges, music and film by Jack Wake-Walker.
You can watch this film online here:

4. Dog, poem by Richard Scott, film by Kate Jessop, commissioned for London Lines, a project delivered in partnership by Southbank Centre and Jaybird Live Literature.

5. For Women Who Are Difficult to Love, poem by Warsan Shire. Director, Producer, Editor: Andrea Cortes-Juarbe and Christine Mehr. Audio mashed by Christine Mehr, instrumental track: Zoe Keating's 'Sun Will Set'. Special thanks to Lauren Stanton, Sara'o Bery, Ada Pinkston and Isa Nakazawa.
You can watch this film online here:

6. The Event, poem by Tom Chivers, directed by Julia Potts. A Random Acts Production, Underwater Gardening. Conceived and produced by Carrie Thomas.
You can watch this film online here:

7. Danebury Ring, poem and film by Tim Cumming.
You can watch this film online here:

8. Regarding Gardens, poem by Simon Barraclough, film by Carolina Melis. Producer Abigail Addison, Animator Michaela Bruno, Historical Researcher Michael Ann Mullen. Music, Julia Kent. An Animate Projects production funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for Ham House and Garden, Garden of Reason 2012.
You can watch this film online here:

9. Streamschool (Patakiskola), a film by Péter Vácz, based on the poem 'Patakskola' by Zsolt Miklya, backgrounds by Kari Egely.
You can watch this film online here:

10. The Black Delph Bride, poem by Liz Berry, directed by Alastair Cook. A Filmpoem production for the Poetry Society in partnership with the Canal & River Trust as part of the Canal Laureate 2013 project.

11. May I Feel Said He, poem by e.e. Cummings, film by Karsten Krause, camera Hans Krause, voice Lena Hartung, soundmix Jan Stegemann.
You can watch this film online here:

12. A Poem for A, poem by Harold Pinter, film by Justin Anderson. (Unavailable on the night due to technical problems)
You can watch this film online here:

Foyer Birthday Cake

The cake was cut by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, and Antonia Byatt, Director of Literature Strategy at Arts Council England.

Foyer Birthday Readings

Six poets who are regular users of the Poetry Library were commissioned to each write a birthday poem for us, and read each one of these in turn. These poets were Annie Freud, John Hegley, Kate Kilalea, Daljit Nagra, Mario Petrucci and Indigo Williams.

Their poems were available in the foyer on postcards. Come up to the Poetry Library to collect all six! (You will find images of these postcards shown at the bottom of this page.)

60th Birthday Party Readings

Introduced by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan.

Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan was born in 1956 and has been a freelance writer, performer and broadcaster since 1981. He presents the weekly show The Verb on BBC Radio 3. His latest collection is Ah've Soiled Ma Breeks, a pamphlet from Smith/Doorstop books.

The readings were given by the following poets:

Fleur Adcock
Born in New Zealand, she has lived in England since 1963. Her collections of poetry, all from Bloodaxe, are: Poems 1960-2000, Dragon Talk and Glass Wings; she has also published translations and edited several anthologies. In 2006 she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

John Agard
Afro-Guyanese playwright, poet and children's writer, now living in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he was selected for the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. His most recent book is Travel Light Travel Dark (Bloodaxe 2013).

Emily Berry
Emily's debut poetry collection Dear Boy (Faber, 2013) was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and is shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives and is a contributor to The Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013), a compendium of breakfasts.

Peter Finch
Poet, edge pusher, prose writer, psychogeographer and literary entrepreneur living in Cardiff. His latest book is Edging The Estuary, a fat thrum along the Bristol Channel. His poetry is in Zen Cymru and Selected Later Poems, both published by Seren.

Jen Hadfield
Jen has published two collections of poetry with Bloodaxe Books. Her second, Nigh-No-Place, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2007 and won the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry in 2008. Her third, Byssus, is due out with Picador in early 2014. She lives in Shetland, and blogs intermittently at

Kei Miller
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, his most recent book of poetry is A Light Song of Light (Carcanet, 2010). A new collection, The Cartographer Tries To Map A Way To Zion, comes out next May. Kei has been an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa and is presently Reader in Caribbean Literature at the University of Glasgow.

Daljit Nagra
Comes from a Punjabi background; born and raised in London then Sheffield. He has won several prestigious prizes for his poetry. In 2004, he won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His latest book is Tippoo Sultan's incredible white-man-eating tiger toymachine!!! (Faber, 2011)

Amjad Nasser
Born in Jordan in 1955, he lives in London, where he works as managing editor and cultural editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily newspaper. He has published nine volumes of poetry, four travel memoirs and a novel. Shepherd of Solitude: Selected Poems, is his first work translated into English (Banipal, 2009). Amjad's poems will be read in their English versions by Margaret Obank, editor of Banipal Books.

Brenda Shaughnessy
Her three books are Our Andromeda, Human Dark with Sugar, and Interior with Sudden Joy. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review and elsewhere. She teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.

Warsan Shire
A Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer, editor and educator who is based in London. Her debut book, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth was published by Flipped Eye in 2011. She won the 2013 Inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize and is the current Young Poet Laureate of London.

The Six Birthday Poems

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