Oxford Poets - Celebrating Fifty Years of Carcanet Press

Oxford Poets

Celebrate Fifty Years of Carcanet Press
publishing some of the very best in contemporary poetry
in an evening of readings and discussion 
Followed by a Drinks Reception
Merton College, Oxford

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Venue tbc
6 – 7 30 pm
All welcome, no tickets necessary

This convivial and informal evening has been planned to highlight the poetry and creative practice of prominent poets on the Carcanet list, all of whom have connections to Oxford and the University.

Join the Oxford Poets to hear a range of readings by Peter McDonald, Jane Yeh, Rowland Bagnall, Jane Draycott, Peter Davidson and Jenny Lewis, along with Carcanet publisher, Michael Schmidt, and be part of a discussion that will take us from themes of influence and tradition to a consideration of contemporary poetics and the role of the poet in contemporary society. 

A drinks reception will follow the presentation, where there will be an opportunity to meet the poets, purchase copies of recent collections  and learn more about the work of Carcanet Press in making a major contribution to our cultural life in the UK and beyond.

The evening is hosted by Kirsty Gunn, Visiting Creative Research  Fellow, Merton College. 


Peter McDonald is a Fellow of Christ Church College and has been publishing poetry since 1989. His “Collected Poems” came out in 2012 and a new volume, “Gifts of Fortune” is due from Carcanet in May this year.

Jane Yeh’s “Discipline” , her third volume of work exploring the spaces between the real and surreal, was published last year following  a period of working and living in Oxford. She was named a Next generation Poet by The Poetry Society and teaches for the Open University. 

Rowland Bagnall was born in Oxfordshire at studied at St John’s. His first volume, “A Few Interiors”, has been described by fellow Carcanet Poet Oli Hazzard as “a beautiful and eerie book”. He lives and works in Oxford.

Jane Draycott teaches on the Oxford MSt in Creative Writing and recently translated the Medieval classic, “Pearl”, in language described by David Morley as “marvellously modulated yet stirringly wild”. Her work has won and been shortlisted for a number of prizes including the Forward and T S Eliot awards. 

Peter Davidson is  a Fellow of Campion Hall and the author of haunting and deeply contemplative prose as well as poetry. “The Palace of Oblivion”, a celebration of the baroque in a collection described as “a cabinet of curiosities”, was followed “Distance and Memory”, poetic essays about the idea of north. 

Jenny Lewis retells the story of Gilgamesh in “Gilgamesh Retold” and has completed a range of projects that bring together poetry writing with translation, theatre, music and performance. She was educated at St Edmunds Hall and teaches poetry as part of the University’s Writing programme. 

Michael Schmidt OBE FRSL is a poet, author and scholar who founded Carcanet Press fifty years ago to enlarge the stores and capabilities of a poetry reading public. It is, today, the UK’s most energetic and exciting poetry publishing house, continuing to bring to our attention otherwise lost as well as vital new works of poetry, prose and freshly edited collections. 

Kirsty Gunn is an author of short stories, novels and essays who joins Merton College as Visiting Research Fellow where she will be investigating the use of prose as poetic language in the writing of essays and fiction.  


For more information contact: to be completed