Jon Silkin Complete Poems. Launch Events at Leeds University, Thursday 30 April 2015

Silkin, Jon copyright Christopher Barker

Jon Silkin, copyright Christopher Barker

In February this year, Jon Silkin’s Complete Poems was published by Carcanet, following several years’ work by co-editors Jon Glover and Kathryn Jenner. Despite being well known during his lifetime as a poet, editor and tireless promotor of his literary magazine Stand, Silkin’s profile has diminished somewhat since his death in 1997. With the publication of this collected edition of his poetry, the editors hope that his work will be read and heard again.

The Silkin Archive, held at Special Collections, The University Library, Leeds, was the source for the previously unpublished poems included in the collection. The archive holds thousands of pages of poetry manuscripts, some handwritten, some typewritten, and many including annotations, emendations and evidence of extensive revision, rewriting and expansion.

Silkin’s connection with Leeds dates back to the late 1950s, when he first travelled north to take up the Gregory Fellowship in Poetry at the University. He lived in Leeds until 1965, during which time Stand was resurrected and published from Leeds, before relocating to Newcastle. Silkin’s connection with the University was revived in 1994 when he became a Senior Fellow in Poetry in the School of English. In order to protect himself from working non-stop on Stand while his health was deteriorating, he proposed that the organisation of the magazine should move to Leeds. After his death in 1997, Stand once again was published from the School of English. The Stand and Silkin archives were subsequently acquired by The University Library, Leeds.Silkin, Complete Poems final cover

To celebrate the publication of Silkin’s Complete Poems, a poetry reading will take place at Leeds University on Thursday 30th April in the Brotherton Room in Special Collections at the Brotherton Library, chaired by Jon Glover and Kathryn Jenner. There will be a drinks reception from 6pm, with the main event beginning at 6.30pm. Speakers and poets will include Jeffrey Wainwright, John Whale, Hannah Copley, Emma Trott, Kathryn Jenner and Jon Glover. There will also be a small display of items from the Silkin Archive. All are welcome to attend. The event is free but ticketed, with tickets available through Eventbrite:

A related workshop will also be taking place in the Brotherton Room from 2-4pm on Thursday 30th April, during which Jon Glover and Kathryn Jenner will present some of the manuscripts from the Silkin Archive and discuss the process of selecting and editing poems for inclusion in the collection. This is a great opportunity for students and others interested in creative and editorial processes to discover hands-on what it’s like to work with modern literary archives. The event is free but ticketed, with tickets available through Eventbrite:


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Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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