full name / name of organization: 
William Wootten/University of Bristol


Plenary Speakers: A. Alvarez, John Fuller, Edward Lucie-Smith and Tom Raworth

To mark 50 years since the first publication of A. Alvarez's The New Poetry and the beginning of the Penguin Modern Poets series, the Bristol University Poetry Institute and the Penguin Archive Project will host a One Day Conference on 'Penguin Poetry and the 1960s' on Friday, 16th March 2012, 9.30am-9.30pm, in the Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol.

Penguin's programme of poetry publication of the 1960s was both ambitious and influential. Anthologies such as A. Alvarez's The New Poetry, Edward Lucie-Smith's British Poetry Since 1945, or Donald Hall's Contemporary American Poetry helped define the contemporary canon and attitudes to it. The translations in the Penguin Modern European Poets series, which were worked on by the likes of WH. Auden or Edwin Morgan, made available in English some of the most important poets of the century. The 27 volumes of Penguin Modern Poets contained many of the most important names in British and American verse. Penguin's publishing of poetry was also important in popular culture (Penguin Modern Poets 10: The Mersey Sound was to sell half a million copies) and, as in the case of Michael Horovitz's Children of Albion, the counterculture. In short, looking at how Penguin published poetry in the 1960s gives us a chance to look again at the many poets and poetries of the 1960s, and to reassess the 'poetry boom' that occurred then.

During the day there will be a plenary lecture by Edward Lucie-Smith. The conference will conclude with two plenary events open to the general public: A. Alvarez in conversation and a joint reading by three of the poets from the first Penguin Modern Poets Series: Edward Lucie-Smith, John Fuller and Tom Raworth.

Papers relating to all aspects of Penguin's poetry publishing in the 1960s, its impact and influence are welcomed, as are papers on the volumes of Penguin Modern Poets and Penguin Modern European Poets that were published in the 1970s. Proposals (of up to 300 words) for twenty minute papers should be sent to Dr William Wootten: by Friday, November 4, 2011.