Activism in poetry

How can we become activists within poetry in the world we live in today? Poets Khairani Barokka, Clare Pollard and Jacqueline Saphra discuss the role of activism in poetry in a panel chaired by Will Forrester of English PEN.

Broadcast live by the Society of Authors in Week Five of the SoA @ Home Festival on 18 May 2020.

Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer, poet and artist in London whose work has been presented extensively in 15 countries. She is Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet in Residence. Her books are Rope (Nine Arches) and Indigenous Species (Titled Axis).

Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and now lives in London. Her first collection of poetry, The Heavy-Petting Zoo (1998) was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2000. It was followed by Bedtime (2002) and Look, Clare! Look! (2005), which was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus. Her fourth collection Changeling (2011) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and her latest is Incarnation (Bloodaxe, 2017). Her pamphlet The Lives of the Female Poets is published by Bad Betty Press (2019).

Jacqueline Saphra’s collection All My Mad Mothers from Nine Arches Press was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize. In the same year A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller was published by Hercules Editions. Dad, Remember You Are Dead was published by Nine Arches Press in September 2019 and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia Gentileschi will be out from Hercules Editions in May 2020. Jacqueline is a founder member of Poets for the Planet. She lives in London and teaches at The Poetry School.

Will Forrester runs the Writers in Translation programme at English PEN, managing PEN Translates, PEN Transmissions, International Translation Day and the World Bookshelf. Previously, he worked for Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, and at Shalini Ganendra Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has a BA in English and an MSt in World Literatures from the University of Oxford. Elsewhere, he is Assistant Editor at Review 31, and nurses a fraught relationship with the writing of J. M. Coetzee.
Twitter: @official_foz