Call for Papers

Anthologising in Contemporary Poetry in the UK

Bank Street Arts Midsummer Symposium

in association with Sheffield Poetry Festival and University of Sheffield

20th-21st June 2014

Keynote speaker: Nathan Hamilton


Nathan Hamilton runs Egg Box publishing and co-edited the anthology series Stop

Sharpening Your Knives. In 2013, Hamilton edited the Bloodaxe anthology, Dear

World & Everyone in it: new poetry in the UK, which in Bloodaxe’s words:

“… is the first British anthology to attempt to define a generation through a properly representative

cross-section of work and a fully collaborative editorial process.

By drawing on the poets’ own recommendations, this anthology represents more effectively and

appropriately a new generational mood … Less top down, more bottom up …”


This provokes much thought about the various potential processes of anthologising,

its ambitions and effects on contemporary poetry, those reading, writing and

publishing it.


What are the editor’s responsibilities to contemporary poetry and poets? And how do

anthologies function in communicating with the wider reading public? Do they

identify trends or establish them?


Anthologies provide media focus, marketability, a platform as much for poetry as for

the poets. But in order to achieve this model, do anthologies create the impression

that they are exhaustive? What sorts of poems and poets do they exclude; what are

the literary, socio-political narratives that they create, and what responsibilities come

with this potential for canon-forming?


We invite proposals for 20-minute papers; please send 300 word abstracts and a brief

biography to


The deadline for abstracts is Friday 11th April. We will notify participants of

acceptance by 9th May.


Topics for papers might include, but are not limited to:

The anthology as a medium for new voices

Anthologies and their publishers

Anthologies as historical narratives

Socio-political boundaries and contemporary poetry in the UK

Anthologies and trend-setting

The role of the editor

The anthology as a medium for feminist debate

The anthology and postmodernism

Philosophy and the poetry anthology

Health and/or healthcare and the poetry anthology

The role of print and digital media in reading and creating contemporary poetry

Poetry journals as anthologies

Bottom up anthologising

Reviewing and anthologies

Anthologies and new or multimedia strategies

Anthologies and the mainstream

Anthologies and the underbelly


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