Fleur Adcock: A Symposium


Saturday 21 May 2016, at University of Winchester

Co-hosted by the University of Northampton

Fleur Adcock, one of Britain’s best loved poets, celebrated her 80th birthday last year while her  most recent book  The Land Ballot was published by Bloodaxe in 2015.  Her compendious Poems 1960-2000 was published in 2000.  In 1996 she was given an OBE; in 2006 was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and in 2008 was named Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit  for services to literature..

A New Zealander by birth but resident in the UK since 1963, Fleur was initially a member of the Group and then – when women poets were very much in the minority — she ploughed her own furrow;  from her London base she has travelled extensively in Great Britain and Europe, holding residencies in Ambleside,  Newcastle and Durham in the 1970s,  and visiting Romania for the British  Council in the 1980s. A persistent thread in her work is the ties of affection and family loyalties. In exploring and sustaining many of these connections she has visited New Zealand regularly over the decades; recently there are poems devoted (again) to her ancestors and her family history. She has also translated Romanian and Latin poetry.

Adcock became known as a voice for women writers in the 1980s when she edited the Faber Book of Twentieth Century Women’s Poetry, and wrote satirically about the Thatcher regime. Interwoven with these topics throughout her oeuvre poems on her abiding passions: for animals and creatures, landscape and the environment, childhood and ageing, the state of the world.

This symposium aims to celebrate Adcock’s unique world of poetry. The organisers invite  submissions of abstracts for papers of 20 minutes that may be on (but are not necessarily restricted to) the following topics:

  • Fleur Adcock  and British post-war poetry
  • Fleur Adcock, ‘feminism’ and women’s  poetry?
  • Fleur Adcock,  expatriatism and  exile
  • Fleur Adcock: beginnings and their historical contexts
  • Fleur Adcock, family  history, loyalties, and genealogy
  • Fleur Adcock: classical poetry and translation
  • Fleur Adcock and the craft of poetry
  • Fleur Adcock as a model for teaching Creative Writing
  • Fleur Adcock: creatures, animals and poetry
  • Fleur Adcock: places, landscape, travel
  • Fleur Adcock and her New Zealand/British contemporaries
  • Fleur Adcock, political issues and a public voice
  • Fleur Adcock, nature and the environment
  • Fleur Adcock, childhood, growing, ageing
  • Fleur Adcock and her literary legacy

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to Professor Janet Wilson (, by  1 March 2016; and for further information write to Julian Stannard (

Details of registration to come.