Mohan Rana and Bernard O’Donoghue at the Whitechapel Gallery

On Thursday 4th February the Indian poet, Mohan Rana, will read his poems in Hindi alongside newly commissioned translations read by Bernard O’Donoghue.

This special event, held at The Whitechapel Gallery in East London to coincide with their exhibition ‘Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’, will be the first time these translations are read in public.

For more information visit The Poetry Translation website.

Health Literacy: Making the most of health

3-day Conference at London South Bank University (London SE1)

24 – 26 February 2010

National and international experts will host a series of seminars to review current knowledge and discuss the importance of Health Literacy (HL) in the UK. Seminars will be interactive, with speakers and the audience reviewing current knowledge and the relevance and importance of HL in UK health, education and society.  Sessions will be recorded and proceedings of the conference will be published.

Conference Seminar Topics:Day 1

  • HL and Health Inequalities in the UK
  • The Economic costs of low HL
  • HL and productive business
  • HL and lifestyle choices
  • Using HL to support informed lifestyle choices

Day 2

  • Concepts and definitions of HL
  • Health Literacy and health outcomes
  • Assessing the impact of HL

Day 3

  • HL and communities
  • HL and lifelong learning
  • HL and evidence based health, education and social policy
Seminar format

  • What is currently known on this topic in the UK and internationally?
  • Viewing current knowledge on this topic in the UK context: how does it link with policy?
  • Interactive discussion: where to in for this topic in the UK? What do we need to know? What are the research and development questions?
Speakers includeUK: Don Nutbeam University of Southampton UK, Gill Rowlands London South Bank University,

Nicola Gray University of Nottingham, Joanne Protheroe University of Manchester, Jonathan Berry ContinYou

International: Rima Rudd Harvard School of Public Health, Scott Murray DataAngel, Canada,

Diane Levin, Tel Aviv, Israel, Deborah Begoray University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada,

Doris Gillis, St Francis Xavier University Nova Scotia, Canada Albert Lee, Chinese University, Hong Kong, Michael Wolf, NorthWestern University, Chicago, US.

Cost: £50 ($84) per day (or £120 ($200) for all 3 days)

For more information, directions and a booking form: email Alison or Saffron on tel: 020 7815 6934/44 or visit our website:

SLAMbassadors in Liverpool

From Bea Colley, Education Manager at The Poetry Society

After piloting The Poetry Society’s slam championship in Liverpool last year, SLAMbassadors UK is now nationwide and coming back to the city for more beats and rhymes. Running in partnership with BBC Blast in 2009, The Poetry Society’s centenary, this is the chance for all 13-19 year olds to take part in a workshop that could see them meeting performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah and performing live in London in the Autumn!

Young people nationwide have been taking part in slam poetry workshops with The Poetry Society’s team of performance poets. They are encouraged to write a 60 second piece around the theme of identity, perform their poem/rap to camera, then are uploaded to the BBC Blast website to be entered into the SLAMbassadors UK competition. In November, six lucky acts will be invited to attend a workshop in London with internationally renowned performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah and poet and SLAMbassadors Mentor, Joelle Taylor. They will then perform at a prestigious London venue and receive ongoing support from The Poetry Society.

On Saturday 12th September, The Poetry Society is running two workshops with kind support from the Bluecoat, for young people aged 13-19. Liverpool poet Nikki Blaze and SLAMbassadors Co-ordinator Joelle Taylor will run sessions at the Bluecoat to help you start slammin’. See our website for more information.

For more information, please call Bea Colley on 020 7420 9894 or to book your place, email: If you would like to bring a group of young people along, please get in touch. I would be very grateful if you could pass this information on to any young people you think may be interested and do let us know if you would like us to send some flyers for you to hand out.

Feeding Body and Brain

Here I am, eating my lunch, at my desk, reading the news online (I know I should get outside but I will, later) and I come across a feature from the Guardian called, ‘Reclaim you lunch hour’. What’s it about? Seeing 45 minute theatre productions at London’s Bridewell Theatre in your lunch hour. Obviously, something will be lost in the shortening of the plays but what a backdrop to your sandwich munching. Click on the link above to watch a short video about the idea behind Lunchbox Theatre and the current production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. It’s certainly food for thought about how we spend our lunch hour.

Featured Poem: ‘Song on a May Morning’ by John Milton

John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet and author best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667); the story of Satan’s defiance of God, and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Brought up in Cheapside near St. Paul’s Cathedral, Milton went on to attend Cambridge University in 1625; only to be suspended a year later following an argument with his tutor. After his degree, Milton returned to London to act as tutor to his nephews and children of other, more well-to-do families. His literary career covered a particularly turbulent time in history: the outbreak of Civil War in 1642. After the end of the Commonwealth in 1658, Milton was forced to go into hiding from King Charles II’s followers due to his propaganda writings, some of which were publicly burned. From 1663 onwards, Milton’s life was spent tutoring students and working to complete Paradise Lost.

‘Song on a May Morning’ is taken from Milton’s volume of 1645 Poems: a collection written in a variety of genres, and including some of his more famous work such as ‘Lycidas and Comus’. This particular poem celebrates both the youth , innocence and ‘mirth’ that is generally associated with the coming of Spring, and the  ‘blessing’ of new life and colour that the month of May provides us with. The image of dawn breaking in the first two lines of the poem emphasises the start of a new time in life: the coming of the ‘flowery May’.

Song on a May Morning

Now the bright morning-star, Day’s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

John Milton, 1645

Event: Why Victorian Literature Still Matters

Philip Davis and Adam Phillips –  ‘Why Victorian Literature Still Matters’
Friday 17th April, 19.00-20.00
Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Noted literary scholar and Editor of The Reader magazine Philip Davis and renowned psychoanalyst Adam Phillips discuss the enduring appeal and impact of Victorian literature and realism today. They ask why the authors and characters remain so popular and argue for the relevance of Victorian literature to contemporary society, and for its powerful evocation of human purpose, morality, secularization and belief, human stories and living in time.

Philip Davis is the author Why Victorian Literature Still Matters (2008), Editor of The Reader magazine and Professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

Visit The Reader Bookshop for a list of books by Philip Davis and Adam Phillips.

Tickets for the event cost £8 (£6 concessions). To book, call 020 7942 2211 or visit the online booking page.