September 2014

Newsletter: September 2014

What’s been happening…

Summer of 2014 has seen a number of changes in the Keats Foundation. Three Trustees have stepped down for various personal reasons – Michael Welbank, Ann Wroe and Sue Kirby – and we’re grateful to all three for doing so much to ensure the success of the Foundation in its early days. Their successor Trustees will be elected at a Trustees’ meeting on 3 October, and announced shortly thereafter once the relevant details have been registered at the Charity Commission. Our financial and banking arrangements have been overhauled, and from 3 October the Foundation continues as an independent registered charity. Our remit is unchanged: to encourage enjoyment and understanding of John Keats’s poems, letters, life and times and to inspire new generations of young poets to fulfil their creative ambitions. We are closely engaged with and support a broad spectrum of educational and creative initiatives at Keats House, Hampstead, including, talks, lectures, poetry readings, and Keats-related conferences.

Amy Murat, the Keats Foundation administrator for the past two years, has now left to complete her PhD studies. We thank her for all her work and support, and welcome our new administrator Ms. Hrileena Ghosh, a PhD student at St Andrews University who is researching Keats’s medical training at Guy’s Hospital.

Important notice: We have 60+ Supporters on the Keats Foundation database who have not supplied electronic (e-mail) addresses for the Newsletters and other Keats Foundation circulars. If you currently receive the Newsletter by post, please would you ensure that an e-mail contact for you is forwarded to the Keats Foundation Administrator, Ms. Hrileena Ghosh at Thank you.

John Keats Bicentenary Conferences at Keats House and Guy’s Hospital

On 2-4 May the Keats Foundation hosted its first bicentenary John Keats Conference at Keats House, with 60 delegates from Hampstead, London, the UK, USA, Italy, Taiwan and further afield. See below for a full report.
The second Keats Foundation bicentenary Conference will be hosted at Guy’s Hospital, Southwark, London, 1-3 May 2015. Please see further below.

The Second Keats Foundation Summer Garden Party

Susan Kirby


Volunteers from Keats House and the Keats Community Library joined Supporters for the Keats Foundation Garden Party on Thursday 26th June this year. The evening was warm and intermittently sunny and with a sprinkling of summer rain we repaired to the Chester Room for the raffle draw following the poetry reading by Keats Poets Forum member, Anthony Hett. The 30 people who came enjoyed themselves and expressed their thanks.

The event was organised by Sue Kirby who would like to thank all Keats House staff and volunteers: Vicky Carroll, Sofie Davis and volunteers especially Clive, Paul, Jennifer, Mary and Charmaine; Trustee: Bob Hall; Foundation Supporters: Edwina Towson and Ann Saunders.

The days when this event attracted 50 to 70 people are past and it is not possible to cover the costs with only 30 or so attendees. The Foundation Trustees will be discussing the best course of action for the future. They will be looking for help with event planning (there is plenty actually on the day). Please contact the Foundation if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

The John Keats annual lecture and drinks reception 2014-15

Michael O' Neill

We’re particularly fortunate that Michael O’Neill, Professor of English Literature at the University of Durham, will be presenting the 2014-15 Keats Foundation lecture in spring next year. Michael is a leading scholar and editor of Romantic poetry, and an acclaimed poet in his own right. He has published books, editions, chapters, and articles on many aspects of Romantic literature, especially the work of Percy Bysshe Shelley, on Victorian poetry, and on an array of British, Irish, and American twentieth- and twenty-first-century poets. His research has concentrated on questions of literary achievement and of poetic influence, dialogue, and legacy. Among his recent books are The All-Sustaining Air: Romantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American and Irish Poetry since 1900, and Poetic Form: An Introduction. He is currently editing the Cambridge University Press volume, John Keats in Context. Arc Publications published Michael’s third collection of poems Gangs of Shadow earlier this year.

John Keats Seminar at Keats-Shelley House, Rome


John Keats’s Early Poems, 1814-1817

A Seminar organized by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association and the Keats Foundation, and supported by the British School at Rome.

31 October 2014 at the KEATS-SHELLEY HOUSE, Rome


To mark the bicentenary of the composition of ‘Imitation of Spenser’ (1814), Keats’s earliest known poem, the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association and the Keats Foundation are hosting a seminar on 31 October, Keats’s birthday, at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome.


The first Keats Foundation Bicentenary John Keats Conference at Keats House, Hampstead, 2-4 May 2014.

KF conf. photo 2014

Foundation Supporter Richard Marggraf Turley writes:

The first Keats Foundation conference, held this May in Hampstead’s ‘slope side suburb hills’, was a wonderful success. Over three, packed days of plenary sessions, it brought political, biographical, visual and formal dimensions of Keats’s life and work into energizing, sometimes surprising, apposition. The standard of engagement was high, and it was a genuine privilege to hear preluded in the Nightingale Room several outstanding papers on such a range of topics. Foot-stepping Keats’s Hampstead haunts was, for me, a particular highlight of the conference, taking delegates from Wentworth Place, through the tree-lined ways of Well Walk, past the chalybeate drinking fountain with its rusticated granite base, along Pond Street, then across the heath to the Vale of Health (site of a group photograph), and back. Another high spot was John Barnard’s illuminating account of Keats’s ‘Horse shoe business’, which brought Keats’s bawdy mischievousness in a letter to Leigh Hunt of May 1817 into clear view. The conference setting was genial and inclusive, and breaks in the Keats House gardens, resplendent in the glorious weather, were conducive to both social and scholarly exchange. I especially enjoyed the generous mix of established figures – scholars who have shaped and inspired my own work on Keats – and emerging voices; the wealth of ideas, and ingenuity of approaches, from this new generation of Keats enthusiasts was exciting, and humbling. With a number of key anniversaries approaching in the next years, it is to be hoped the Keats conference will become a regular fixture in the Romantic calendar.

Foundation supporter Sarah Wootton writes:

It was a real pleasure and a privilege to speak at and be involved with organizing a conference devoted to John Keats. The venue (seen to best advantage in the beautiful May sunshine) could not have been bettered and the staff at Keats House were friendly, informative, and accommodating. For me, the best aspect of the conference was the opportunity to spend two and a half days in the company of Keats scholars and enthusiasts from across the UK, the US, and further afield. It presented a unique opportunity to meet distinguished scholars whose work has inspired my own. The mix of established and early career academics worked particularly well and the decision not to have parallel sessions ensured a collective experience among participants. A friendly, collaborative atmosphere was conducive to debate and dialogues were generated within, between, and beyond panels. That Keats’s poetry, letters, and life generated such stimulating papers and discussion – ranging from the influences on his poetry and the medical contexts that informed his work to his afterlives in literature, art, and popular culture – is a testament to his continuing cultural and aesthetic relevance.

John Keats: Poet-Physician

A Bicentenary Conference at Guy’s Hospital

1-3 May 2015

Open to all Keats Foundation Supporters

Confirmed Speakers include

Jenny Uglow

author of In these Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815

Druin Burch

author of Digging up the Dead: Uncovering the Life and Times of an Extraordinary Surgeon

Jeffrey Cox

author of Romanticism in the Shadow of War: Literary Culture in the Napoleonic War Years

Damian Walford Davies

author of Presences that Disturb: Models of Romantic Identity in the Literature and Culture of the 1790s

R. S. White

author of John Keats. A Literary Life

Guest of Honour: Stuart Curran

author of Poetic Form and British Romanticism

The Keats Foundation announces that its second John Keats Bicentenary Conference will be held at Guy’s Hospital, Southwark, London, from Friday 1 May to Sunday 3 May 2015, marking two hundred years since Keats enrolled as a student at the Hospital. The Conference is organized by the Keats Foundation (U. K. Registered Charity 1147589), and follows a successful first bicentenary conference at Keats House, Hampstead. The 2015 Conference themes embrace all aspects of Keats’s medical-poetic career: his writings during the Guy’s Hospital years; the poet-physician and physician-poet; war, disease, medicine and Keats’s poetry; his hospital training and the medical context; Keats’s social circles at Guy’s, fellow poets, biography, and critical reception. The Conference will include lectures, papers, a visit to the Old Operating Theatre at Guy’s Hospital, a tour of Keats’s Southwark, and a reception at the George Inn– London’s last surviving coaching inn, and surely known to Keats while at Guy’s.

‘John Keats: Poet-Physician’ will keep its registration fee as low as is practically possible. We leave accommodation choices and costs to participants, in the belief that this will be welcome for offering maximum flexibility for all attending. Travel arrangements are likewise a matter for those coming to London. The Call for Papers will be published soon, in early Autumn 2014, to allow delegates as much time as possible for arrangements to be made.

Keats's ticket to Allen's lectureJohn Keats’s ticket to William Allen’s lectures on Experimental Philosophy at Guy’s Hospital. The duration of Keats’s ticket is ‘Perpetual – 1815’.

KeatsBronzeJohn Keats with his Medical Notebook, Guy’s Hospital.

Upcoming events at Keats House until December 2014

Saturday 4 October


Singing for Inanna workshop

Discover the influence of praise poems on Arabic and English poetry with British poet Jenny Lewis and Iraqi poet Adnan al Sayegh. Enjoy the lyricism of this vibrant tradition and write your own poems and songs of praise in response to it.

£15 / £12 concessions


Tuesday 7 October

7-8.30 pm

A Tale of Two Autumns

Come and immerse yourself in an evening of conversation and readings at Keats House. Autumn 1819 saw deep political ferment, Keats’s ‘To Autumn’ and Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’, whilst in Autumn 1820, both published their greatest collections, and Keats left for Italy. Free, booking recommended


Saturday 11 October


Afternoon Poems: Dylan Thomas

This October will mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth. Join us to celebrate his life and work with readings by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors.

Free with an admission ticket, drop in


Sunday 12 October


Keats Quartet: When I have Fears

Keats Quartet is delighted to visit the house of its namesake for the first time, to perform a programme of all-English music, including works by Purcell, Holst and Vaughan Williams. Also featuring a premiere by young talent Lewis Wolstenholme, a piece based on Keats’s poem ‘When I Have Fears’ written especially for the Quartet.

Free with an admission ticket, drop in.


Tuesday 14 October


Templar Poetry Live at Keats House

Join us for the launch of Matthew Henley’s first collection, Beetle, alongside readings from Paul Maddern. Henley is preoccupied Bosnia, where he served as Political Advisor to the UN High Representative. Whilst Maddern’s poetry is often located on the exotic island of Bermuda where he grew up. Supported by Arts Council England.

Free, booking recommended


Sunday 19 October


Family Day: It’s Our World

Be inspired by Keats House and garden to make your own drawings, cartoons and collages. Then work together to build a picture of Our Future World. Part of the Big Draw Family Arts Festival, celebrating the environment and buildings around us.

Free, drop in


Thursday 23 October


London Literature Lounge

An evening of poetry with open mic. Writer, broadcaster and Director of London Literature Lounge, Anjan Saha, will read from his collection Lost Luggage. Anjan’s work explores themes of travel, the individual and spiritual journey. He will be joined by special guests and live tabla (Indian percussion) accompaniment. Open mic sign up from 6.30.
Free, booking recommended


Saturday 25 October

Keats in London

Meet at Moorgate tube

Discover the London haunts of the ‘Cockney poet’. Starting at Keats’s birthplace in Moorgate walk through the quiet City streets to Cheapside and to Apothecaries Hall, then stroll along the river to London Bridge. We finish by the Keats memorial statue in Guy’s Hospital.

£10/8 concession. Booking essential.


Sunday 26 October


Keats House Poets Present…Jo Bell

A relaxed afternoon of poetry and spoken word with an open mic and performances from the Keats House Poets, plus headliner Jo Bell. Former director of National Poetry Day and Glastonbury Poet in Residence, Jo is now the UK Canal Laureate. Her poems are about narrowboats (she lives on one), archaeology, and dysfunctional relationships (write what you know).

Free, drop in


Friday 31 October


Late Night Keats – Halloween with Daljit Nagra

Join us on All Hallows’ Eve for gothic literature, music and poetry open mic compered by Keats House Poet in Residence, Daljit Nagra. For lovers of life and literature – adults only.

£8 (includes a complimentary drink)

Booking essential


Saturday 8 November


Afternoon Poems: Women at War – Mothers, Martyrs and Munitions

Some of the finest poetry ever produced came from the devastation and bravery witnessed during the First World War. This afternoon’s readings by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors will focus on the unique perspective of women writers.

Free with an admission ticket, drop in


Saturday 15 November


Poetry Surgery with Daljit Nagra

Do you have poems that you can’t quite get right or are not sure if they work? Poems that keep getting rejected by poetry magazines? Bring along up to three poems and Daljit Nagra will offer supportive critical feedback to help you unlock your poems and take them to the next level.

£5, booking recommended


Sunday 16 November


Family Day: Witches and Wizards

Come to Keats House for tales, songs and poems with a magical flavour from our storyteller. Learn some of the secrets of Merlin, and invent your own magic spell.

Free, drop in


Tuesday 18 November

Templar Poetry Live at Keats House


An evening with Christopher James, Beatrice Garland and the winner of the 2014 Straid Collection Award (yet to be announced!). Award-winning, Scottish-born poet, Christopher James will read a selection of his darkly comic and quintessentially English works. Beatrice Garland’s The Invention of Fireworks won the 2013 Straid Award. Supported by Arts Council England.

Free, booking recommended


Saturday 22 November

Keats in Hampstead

11 am – 1.30 pm

Meet at Hampstead tube

Follow the story of Keats’s life in this walk around Hampstead with readings from some of his best-loved poems. Starting at Hampstead tube, we will stroll through old Hampstead, visit the Vale of Health, dip into the Heath and finish at Keats House.

£10 /8 concessions Booking essential

Sunday 30 November


Keats House Poets Present…“when the frost Has wrought a silence”

Join Keats House Poets Anthony Hett and Deanna Rodger for a winter wonderland of words. Shake off the chill in your bones and welcome in December with this seasonally inspired poetry workshop.

Free, booking essential


Sunday 7 December


Sounds of the Real World

Join us for a reading by Scottish poet Gordon Meade. Meade, who now lives in London, divides his time between his own writing and running creative writing courses for vulnerable young people. His most recent collection, Sounds of the Real World, was published by Cultured Llama Publishing in Autumn 2013.

Free with an admission ticket, drop in

Tuesday 9 December


Keats and Festivity

This evening of poetry and games will focus on Christmas festivities during the Romantic period, as practised by Keats, Hunt and their circle. Poetry readings will be interspersed with riddles, quizzes and silhouettes, and the evening will culminate in a performance of ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’. In partnership with UCL English Department.

Free, booking recommended


Saturday 13 December

Afternoon Poems: Christmas Bells


Escape the dreary December afternoon and join the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors for words of winter and celebration. Seasonal readings in the warm comfort of Keats House.

Free with an admission ticket, drop in


Sunday 14 December


Keats House Poets Present…Daljit Nagra

A relaxed afternoon of poetry and spoken word with an open mic and performances from the Keats House Poets, plus awesome headliner Daljit Nagra. Daljit won the Forward Prize for Look We Have Coming to Dover! His Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!! and Ramayana were both shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Free, drop in


Saturday 20 December

Keats in Hampstead

11 am – 1.30 pm

Meet at Hampstead tube

Follow the story of Keats’s life in this walk around Hampstead with readings from some of his best-loved poems. Starting at Hampstead tube, we will stroll through old Hampstead, visit the Vale of Health, dip into the Heath and finish at Keats House.

£10/8 concessions Booking essential


Sunday 21 December


Family Day: Christmas Fun

Celebrate Christmas the Keats House way. Make your own cards and decorations to hang from the tree, try some festive family games, and see how people celebrated the festival in times past.

Free, drop in

Link to KF September 2014 Newsletter