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About Dead [Women] Poets Society

 
Who are the Dead Women Poets? How dead are they? And what is our relationship to them, as contemporary women, poets, artists, ‘queens of the whole world’?

Since 2015, we've been resurrecting women poets of the past. In live events (which we call séances) and online, we aim to highlight women's astonishing but too-often forgotten literary heritage, and open up conversations between living writers and their great-great-grandmothers. Poets such as Rachel Long, Helen Mort, Caroline Bird and Warda Yassin have communed with Audre Lorde, Sarah Kane, Anna Wickham, Lucille Clifton and more, reading their poems to a candle-lit audience and reflecting on how their chosen Dead Women Poets have influenced them. Our events usually feature an open mic section, where audience members can resurrect a Dead Woman Poet of their choice, too. 

On our website, you can explore our archive of living women poets we've featured in past events, beautifully illustrated by our artist Lily Arnold. Visit her instagram to see more of her incredible work. We also make zines​, commission new work by poets inspired by writers of the past, and get involved in lots of other ghoulish stuff, like guest-editing Modern Poetry in Translation (Autumn 2020).

 

We're an open collective who love to collaborate. If you have a project you think we could be involved in, or would like to host us for one of our regular events, send us a message.

#JoinTheSéance

Meet the team

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Helen Bowell

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Jasmine Simms

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Lily Arnold

Past work

Hannah Hodgson on Julia Darling

Poet Hannah Hodgson communes with the spirit of Julia Darling, a writer who made huge waves in the North East of England and died of cancer in 2005. Hannah, who lives with a life-limiting illness, explores her relationship to Darling's work, particularly the themes of illness and death, and shares new poems of her own in response to Darling's.

 

This was recorded from our 11th April séance with Momtaza Mehri, [Not] in Newcastle. 

Launching MPT 'Origins of the Fire Emoji: Focus on Dead [Women] Poets'

MPT Editor Clare Pollard will be joined remotely by Dead [Women] Poets Society’s Helen Bowell and Jasmine Simms. We’ll welcome three translators featured in this issue: Zoë Brigley, Natalie Linh Bolderston and Jessica Wood. This launch will work like a Dead [Women] Poets Society séance, so get ready to resurrect the spirits of the dead and hear how our translator-mediums have communed with these ghostly grandmothers over the past months.

Dead Women Poets Society in Sheffield 2020

In Janurary we were at Dina Venue in Sheffield, for an evening of resurrection as two outstanding poets communed with two poetry queens of the past. They mapped the marks left on their practice by the dead. The event was followed by our popular open mic. 

DEAD [WOMEN] POETS SOCIETY: zine making workshop in Sheffield

A collection of some of the zines made at our zine making workshop, held at Red Haus Books. We gathered together for an evening resurrecting the words of women and non-binary poets through the creation of some funky little zines (it's DIY guerrilla publishing baby!). The mediums who guided communication with the other side are Jasmine Simms (poet) and Lily Arnold (artist). participants left with 10 copies of their own zine to distribute around the city, spreading their publications as far and wide as they liked.

DEAD [WOMEN] POETS SOCIETY in Durham, 2015

 

A video of our first event in at Empty Shop, Durham