Talks & Topics
Talks & debates

The Lives of Poets

Part of London Literature Festival

Should details about a poet’s life change the way we read their work? A panel of poets and literary experts discuss and debate how important the lives of poets are when it comes to reading their work.

From Hughes and Plath to Walcott and beyond, we ask whether knowing a poet’s biography in greater detail enhances our understanding of their writing, or if we learn everything we need to know from the poetry itself, and what happens when the life threatens to overshadow the work itself.

Featuring acclaimed Canadian poet Anne Carson, and Mexican-British poet, author of The Lives of Poets, scholar and publisher Michael Schmidt OBE.

The panel also includes Sami poet Sigbjørn Skåden; prize-winning poet and novelist Elaine Feinstein; and author and academic Professor Sarah Churchwell.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green side, Royal Festival Hall


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BSL Interpretation
This event is British Sign Language-interpreted. To join our free Access Scheme and book concessionary tickets for this service, email [email protected] or call our Ticket Office on 020 3879 9555.

This event is included in both the Poetry International Saturday Pass and the Poetry International Weekend Pass.