Authenticity and the Lyric Voice

12–13 May 2007, Headington Hill Hall, Oxford Brookes University

Keynote speaker

  • Al Alvarez

Confirmed speakers

  • Robert Hampson
  • Nick Selby
  • Alice Entwistle
  • Jahan Ramazani

Poetry reading

  • Helen Farish

The aim of this colloquium is to create space for discussion of issues surrounding twentieth- and twenty-first-century lyric poetry, particularly as it engages with notions of voice and authenticity.

The colloquium is open to anyone with an interest in modern and contemporary poetry, regardless of whether or not they are presenting a paper or have any academic affiliation.


12th-13th May 2007

The conference will begin at 10.00am on Saturday 12th, and finish at 3.30pm on Sunday 13th. The provisional programme can be found below.


The registration fee is £50 for all those attending. This includes lunch on both days, tea and coffee, and a wine reception on the Saturday, but does not include accommodation, breakfasts, or dinners. You will have the opportunity to sign up for a conference dinner nearer the time. See below for information about how to register.

If you are only able to attend one day, the cost is £35 for the Saturday and £25 for the Sunday.


The colloquium will be held in Headington Hill Hall, which is part of the Oxford Brookes Headington campus - it's situated in parkland one mile from the city centre. Free parking will be available on the Headington campus for the duration of the colloquium.

Bus services to and from Oxford city and Headington are fast and frequent. The express coach service to London (100 minutes) stops nearby.

Information on how to get to Oxford Brookes is available here, and a map of the Headington Hill campus, showing Headington Hill Hall, can be found here.

Provisional programme


10-10.30am: Registration; tea and coffee

10.30-10.50am: Welcome

10.50am-12.10pm: Session 1 - Chair: Prof. Steven Matthews

  • Dr Nick Selby (University of Glasgow): ‘Being "in the picture": remembering and the lyric body in Frank O'Hara's "In Memory of My Feelings"'
  • Dr David Arnold (University of Worcester): ‘Without Lyrical Interference: Surreal Objectivism'
  • Giles Goodland: ‘Be one traveller: negotiating the first person in the poetry of Frost and Reznikoff'

12.10-1.10pm: Lunch

1.30-2.30pm: Plenary - Al Alvarez: 'How to listen'

2.50-4.10pm: Session 2 - Chair: Dr Alex Goody

  • Prof. Jahan Ramazani (University of Virginia): 'Lyric Poetry and Globalization'
  • Dr Reena Sastri (University of York): ‘"desire, and the freedom to imagine it": embodiment and lyric freedom in Rita Dove'
  • Matthew Powers: ‘A Domestic Disturbance: Silence, Myth, and the Lyric in Louise Glück's Meadowlands'

4.10-4.30pm: Tea and coffee

4.30-5.45pm: Session 3 - Chair: Dr Stephen James

  • Sabina Kim (York University, Toronto): ‘Lyrical Sound'
  • Jennifer Sykes (Hertford College, Oxford): ‘For the Sake of Rhyme: Sound v. Sense in the work of Simon Armitage and Paul Muldoon'
  • Prof. J. Fitzpatrick Smith (Wittenberg University): ‘"Les transports de l'esprit': Ciaran Carson's The Alexandrine Plan and The Twelfth of Never'

6.00-6.30pm: Poetry Reading - Helen Farish

6.30-7.30pm: Wine reception

8.15pm: Dinner



9.45-10am: Tea, coffee and pastries

10-11.20am: Session 4 - Chair: Dr Jane Dowson

  • Dr Alice Entwistle (University of Glamorgan): ‘The lyric sequence and the contemporary woman poet in Wales'
  • Yomna Saber (University of Nottingham): ‘Gwendolyn Brooks's A Street in Bronzeville: Finding and Giving Voice'
  • Aaron Deveson (University of East Anglia): ‘Two Modern Lyric Poets: David Constantine and Denise Riley'

11.20-11.40am: Tea and coffee

11.40-1.00pm: Session 5 - Chair: Dr Reena Sastri

  • Prof. Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway, University of London): ‘Misremembered Lyrics: Denise Riley and Ken Edwards'
  • Dr Victoria Sheppard (Southampton University): ‘"Pulled at by voices": Experiments with Voice in Contemporary British Poetry'
  • Prof. Jennifer Ashton (University of Illinois at Chicago): ‘Mainstreaming the Avant-Garde: Sincerity and Form in Recent U.S.-Based Poetry'

1.00pm-2pm: Lunch

2pm-3.30pm: Session 6 and closing comments - Chair: Dr Rachel Buxton

  • Dr Stephen James (University of Bristol): ‘The authentic eccentric: Geoffrey Hill'
  • Will May (Balliol College, Oxford): ‘"Drawn by everything in turn": displacing the lyric "I" in the poetry of Stevie Smith'
  • Kit Fan (University of York): ‘Thom Gunn and the Occasions of Poetry'