Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

Poetry and…

About ‘Poetry And…’


‘We are islands in the sea. Separate on the surface but connected in the deep.’
Psychologist William James


Poetry And is a much-loved public events series at King’s chaired by Professor of Poetry Ruth Padel, who writes about the series for the Guardian here. It is enjoyed by not only poets but anyone who cares about the subjects we discuss and celebrates the connectedness of poetry to all areas of life and learning.


‘Connected in the deep’ – poetry excels in calling up connections between all areas of human experience. As Orpheus drew people and animals together, so in our era of social distancing, remote learning and global emergency in health, economics and politics, poetry comes into its own as a focus of expression and communication.


In our events, a leading poet reads their poems in dialogue with a leading expert in the subject of their poetry, maybe human rights, climate crisis, ethnic identity, arctic exploration, neuroscience, child refugees, film, history, music or PTSD. See our past events and speakers below.


The ‘other expert’, scientist, writer, clinician, speaks about their work with reference to poetry, and the poet reads poems on their subject. The resulting dialogue is illuminating for everyone – as, for example, when the poet Sean O’Brien read from his book Europa in dialogue with human rights lawyer and prize-winning author Philippe Sands, speaking of his exploration into the origins of international law through the Nuremberg Trials.



Past Events




Poetry and Seeing,’ with art historian Neil MacGregor, author of The World in 100 Objects, and poet Lavinia Greenlaw.

‘Poetry and the Obisidian Foundation,’ with prize-winning poet Nick Makoha and alumni from the first year of his new Obsidian Foundation for Black poets of African descent: Ariana Benson, Zakia Carpenter-Hall and Saddiq Dzukogi.




‘Poetry and the Wild in a Time of Coronavirus,’ with prize-winning nature poet Pascale Petite, author of Mama Amazonica and Tiger Girl,  and award-winning wildlife cameraman/ film-maker Shekar Dattatri.

‘Poetry and Music,’ with Carol Ann Duffy: and King’s College Choir singing her poems set to music.




‘Poetry and the Havoc of the Body,’ with scholar-poet Linda Gregerson, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and Edinburgh doctor-author Gavin Francis.

‘Poetry and the Interpretation of Dreams,’ with poet Emily Berry, editor of Poetry Review, and psycho-analyst Darian Leader.

‘Poetry and Healing Child-Migrant Trauma’ with poet and dramatist Eric Ngalle Charles and doctor-singer Anna MacDonald, Founder-Director of child migrant charity Play for Progress.




‘Poetry and the the Good Friday Agreement,’ with leading Northern Irish journal Irish Pages.

Poetry, Europe and Justice,’ with author and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, author of East West Street, and poet Sean O’Brien with his book Europa.

‘Poetry and Women in the Arctic,’ in partnership with publisher Hercules Editions: with poet Helen Mort, travel-writer Sara Wheeler, and artist Emma Stibbon.

‘Poetry and Human Rights,’ with poet Mona Arshi and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales, former director of Liberty.




‘Poetry and Ted Hughes as Inspiration,’ with poet Simon Armitage and Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers.

‘Poetry and Nature vs Nurture,’ with geneticist Steve Jones, author of Darwin’s Ghost, and poet Ruth Padel, author of Darwin – A Life in Poems.

‘Poetry and the Red Egg,’ with ornithologist Tim Birkhead and poet Paul Farley.

‘Poetry and Film,’ with film director Thaddeus O’Sullivan and poet Glyn Maxwell.

‘Poetry and Neuroscience,’ with scientist Iain McGilChrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, and poet Michael Symmonds Roberts.




‘Poetry and Connection,’ with poets Declan Ryan and Malene Engelund and psychiatrist Sushrut Jadhav who works with marginalised communities: the homeless in London, Dalits in India.

‘Poetry and Cervantes,’ partnering King’s Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin-American Studies, Poetry And commissioned new poems on Don Quixote from poets Hugo Williams, Elaine Feinstein, Fiona Benson, Deryn Rees-Jones, Karen Solie, Jamie McKendrick, and Ranjit Hoskote.

Poetry and Soldiers,’ with returned soldiers, men and women, members of Combat Veteran Players, a theatre company founded for war veterans overcoming difficulties. They performed their own poems, and those of others, and spoke about what poetry meant to them in extreme situations and in post-traumatic stress. Supported on Wild Court by essays on war poetry and World War II experiences of poets Alun Lewis, and Edwin Morgan.

‘Poetry and Christmas,’ with King’s College Choir and poet Ruth Padel with her book Tidings – A Christmas Journey.




‘Poetry and Identity,’ with poets Daljit Nagra and Sarah Howe.

Poetry and History,’ with historian Roy Foster and poet James Brookes.

Poetry and Mapping,’ with Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps and poet Kei Miller, author of The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion’.




Poetry and Climate Change,’ with poet David Harsent and Rachel McCarthy, climate scientist.

Poetry and Our War in Afghanistan,’ with novelist Andrew O’Hagan, author of The Illuminations (about a soldier in Afghanistan) and poet Bryony Doran, mother of a returned war soldier, contributor to Home Front, poems by mothers and partners of active soldiers.

‘Poetry and Origins,’ with Vesna Goldsworthy, Serbia-born author of Chernobyl Strawberries, and Irish poet Bernard O’Donoghue.

Poetry and Science,’ with Professor Dame Gillian Beer, author of Darwin’s Plots, and Ruth Padel, Darwin’s great-great-grand-daughter and verse-biographer.