Events to celebrate the launch of Three Symphonies by Tony Conran



                                            Visit Agenda Audio Recordings to listen to extracts from: 

            ‘Tony Conran Remembered’ performed at Another Festival, Caernarfon July 2015


The Conran Poetry Chorus will perform selections from each of the Symphonies at the following events to celebrate the launch of Tony Conran’s final volume of poetry:

Conran Poetry Chorus

'Poetry is not essentially literature. Like most of the creative arts it originates from dancing. It is a dance of the vocal chords and the mouth, which only really comes alive when you hear it and see it.'                          

      Tony Conran, 2010 

The next launch performances from Three Symphonies will be:

Aberystwyth: Saturday 08 October 2016  7.30pm Y Drwm, National Library of Wales, Penglais Road, Aberystwyth SY23 3BU. Performers: Lesley Conran, Dyfan Roberts, Gwilym Morus, Sheila Brook, John Griffiths with musicians Sioned Webb and ‘Bragod’.

London:  Saturday 11 March 2017, The Art Workers’ Guild, Queens Square, London, WC1N 3AT as the final event in a one day colloquium of the David Jones Society ‘(Starlight Order)’.  Full Details to follow.

The Conran Poetry Chorus came together in 2009-10 to work with Tony Conran to create vibrant, multi-faceted performances of his works. Using recitation, song, musicianship, choral speaking, dialogue and more, their performances are no ordinary readings. Always, the intrinsic meaning of the poem leads, and the vitality of language and image is vividly and expressively brought to life.

They work with musicians including harpist and composer Sioned Webb and the duo from south Wales – Bragod, Robert Evans and Mary-Anne Roberts, who have set some poems from Three Symphonies to be sung to the medieval Welsh musical measures on crwth and lyre.

Members of Corws Cerddi Conran Poetry Chorus include:

Lesley Conran – Director Tony’s wife and collaborator, a teacher of English and Welsh, folk-singer, vocal and instrumental performer.

Sheila Brook: Vocalist, songwriter and musician with a love of poetry and performance.


Pauline DownVocalist, choir leader, arts practitioner an experienced performer.


John Griffiths: Literature teacher, musian and vocal performer.


Gwilym MorusMusician, songwriter, poet in Welsh and English and vocalist.


Dyfan RobertsCelebrated Welsh stage, TV and film actor. Vocalist. Founder member of Theatr Bara Caws. 


Text Box: Lesley Conran, Sheila Brook and Dyfan Roberts, Bangor July 2016     Text Box: Sioned Webb, Bangor 2016

Text Box: Bragod – Robert Evans and Mary-Anne Roberts       


                               ‘A scintillating, vivid and moving performance.’

Sally Baker, PEN Cymru  ‘Tony Conran Remembered’ Caernarfon July 2015











POETRY  at  the 


Castle Hill, Cambridge


  Sunday 18 November

at 3 for 3.30pm


Please buy a drink

Lucy Hamilton introduces

Four high-profile Poets

                                                     from Agenda Poetry Journal              




  Will Stone         Patricia McCarthy        David Cooke        Timothy Adès

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PATRICIA McCARTHY is the editor of Agenda poetry journal. Her poems have been widely anthologised. A collection, Survival, was published in the US in 1978, and A Second Skin came out from Peterloo poets in 1985. Her new collection is Rodin's Shadow (below). Around the Mulberry Bush: New and elected Poems will be published by Waterloo Press in 2013. A pamphlet, Trodden Before, will also appear in 2013. Rodin's Shadow (Clutag Press/Agenda Editions) is written in the voices of Rodin's mistresses, Camille Claudel and Gwen John, of his long-standing semi-literate companion Rose Beuret, and of Debussy. 
TIMOTHY ADÈS is a rhyming translator-poet, from French, Spanish, and German, widely published. His books to date are: How to be a Grandfather by Victor Hugo (Complete Edition, 2012), and 33 Sonnets of the Resistance and The Madness of Amadis by Jean Cassou. Amadis is published by Agenda Editions. Due next year, another Resistance poet, Robert Desnos. Timothy has won various awards. Other favourites are Brecht, Alfonso Reyes, Angelos Sikelianós and Louise Labé. Work from older poets (out of copyright) is on the Brindin website. Timothy also writes lipograms (texts written under constraint, e.g. avoiding letter e).

DAVID COOKE won a Gregory Award in 1977 and published Brueghel’s Dancers in 1984, but then stopped writing for twenty years. A retrospective collection, In the Distance, was published last year by Night Publishing. A new collection, Work Horses, has appeared from Ward Wood Publishing. He has published poetry, translations and reviews in many journals such as AmbitAgendaThe Bow Wow Shop, Critical QuarterlyThe London MagazineMagmaThe NorthPoetry Ireland ReviewPoetry LondonPoetry Salzburg ReviewThe Reader,The Shop and Stand and The Use of English.

WILL STONE, born 1966, is a poet and literary translator who divides his time between England and Belgium. His first poetry collectionGlaciation (Salt, 2007) won the international Glen Dimplex award for poetry in 2008. A second collection Drawing in Ash was published by Salt in May 2011 and won the 3-am Magazine poetry book of the year award, 2011. His published translations include To The Silenced - selected poems of Georg Trakl (Arc Publications, 2005) and Journeys, a collection of Stefan Zweig's European travel essays (Hesperus Press, 2010). His translations of long-neglected Belgian francophone poets Emile Verhaeren and Georges Rodenbach are now due, and a first English translation of Rilke in Paris by Maurice Betz has appeared from Hesperus Press.                    


                  Drawing in AshWill StonePaperback / softback2011   198 x 129 mm   112pp    Cover of poetry book Work Horses








Agenda/St Leonards Mayfield Poetry Festival
October 9th to 14th 2012 at The Old Palace, Mayfield

Click here for programme download

Click here for Festival Poster

Photo & design: Sue Fallon

Prize-winning poets from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, India.

Art exhibitions: Brian Whelan, Carolyn Trant, Johnny Marsh

Tuesday 9 Gillian Clarke reading 2.30 workshop midday

Thursday 11 Split Tongues: Three Irish (Joseph Horgan), Scots (W.S.Milne) and Indian (Sudeep Sen) poets read their poetry and discuss how it is to have two or more native languages 7.30pm

Friday 12 Mimi Khalvati reading 2.30 Workshop 6.30pm

Hearteners: Gill McEvoy, Abegail Morley and Sue Roe read their moving poems 8 to 9pm

Saturday 13 Four Shades of Translation: Timothy Adès, Susan Wicks, Josephine Balmer, Sian Thomas giving readings and discussing the ‘impossible art of translation’. Poets discussed include Catullus, Ovid, Resistance French sonnets, modern French poetry. 2-3.15pm

Poetry workshop: Fragments with Josephine Balmer 4-4.45pm

Getting Yourself into Print with editors Simon Jenner, John F. Deane, Sudeep Sen and Patricia McCarthy 6-7pm

Storm Houses: Tim Liardet and Peter Carpenter read their haunting poetry 8-9pm

Sunday 14 John F. Deane, revered Irish poet, founder of Poetry Ireland and the Dedalus Press, a Chevalier d’Honneur reads his poems in the ancient Chapel 2.30pm

Launch of Rodin’s Shadow by Patricia McCarthy (Patsy Cornish):

a dramatic reading of five voices 4pm

Accompanying art work: Johnny Marsh

Young Agenda Broadsheet Poets reading their poems 5.30pm

Grand finale: launch of ‘Celtic Mists’ issue of Agenda and drinks 7pm.

Refreshments and wine available at all events.

Stroller ticket for all events (except workshops) £20 Other events £5 each; Gillian Clarke’s and Mimi Khalvati’s workshops £20 with lunch/supper; Jo Balmer’s workshop £10

Spaces only for 10-14 people in the workshops. Special prices on day/evening events.

Contacts: Tel 01435 874600 for tickets; 01435 873703 for further details or email for further information, tickets and times.

At the Festival, Patricia McCarthy will launch
Rodin's Shadow (Clutag Press/Agenda Editions) written
in the voices of Rodin's mistresses, Camille Claudel, Gwen John, of Rose Beuret, his long-standing semi-literate companion, and of Debussy.

'This collection is truly moving. The poems are energetic, exciting, demanding and rewarding. Patricia McCarthy is doing something unique here, using persona and art history to great effect. There is an energy to the language, and a half-wild experimentation that is uplifting and yet controlled. The shifting between rhyme and free verse is also exact and exacting. There is a fine labour manifest throughout and I find the whole a rich achievement',
John Deane, poet and founder of Poetry Ireland
Copies will be available to purchase at the Festival, and also at the Agenda online bookshop

In the Festival event Split Tongues, Joseph Horgan will be reading from his new collection, An Unscheduled Life (Agenda Editions 2012) about the London-Irish: what it means to be both an exile and an immigrant, accompanied by
artwork by Brian Whelan which will also be exhibited.

'...In the contemporary reality we need poets who will sing homelessness and rootlessness'.
Paula Meehan

'Brian - keep the brush in your hand!'
Seamus Heaney

'This is vey strong art; not for aesthetic wimps'.
Sister Wendy Beckett, art historian and critic

Copies available at the Festival and also at the Agenda online bookshop.

Split Tongues will also feature Omar Sabbagh, the British/Lebanese poet, who will also be reading from his latest collection, Waxed Mahogany (Agenda Editions, 2012).

Omar Sabbagh demonstrates in this new collection how he has grown into his Arabic/English voice, and found his place in its archetypal, instinctive reaches. His ear is finely tuned in these deft, incisive poems that shift between home and exile, love and death. Each poem flows all of a piece, carrying its own alchemy, eroticism, and startling imagery, along with feeling thoughts, and thinking feelings. Clever conceits, word play and large scope combine in this haunting, metaphysical, excitingly original collection.

Copies available at the Festival and also at the Agenda online bookshop

Put these Festival dates in your diary if you are within striking distance of Mayfield, East Sussex, an ancient hill-top village with beautiful views and an eleventh century chapel, the former banqueting hall of the Archbishops of Canterbury.
Stay in a local inn such as the historic Middle House in the High Street, or at B&Bs in the locality or in Tunbridge Wells which is only 10 minutes away. Have lunch/a drink in the charming pub, The Rose & Crown, Fletching Street or in the Carpenters Arms. Sample home-cooked food and coffee in Jason’s Coffee House, High Street. Visit The Dark Horse Art Gallery, also in the High Street.



                                       Patricia McCarthy read from her forthcoming collection

                                              (Oct 1st 2012) 'Rodin's Shadow'

                          in front of Rodin's 'The Kiss' at Turner Contemporary, Margate.






                                                         Robert Browning b. 7th May 1812

Two Essays

Michael Goldman:

The Humour in Browning’s Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister: a layman’s view

Tony Roberts:

Living with Browning: an appreciation of the poet in his bicentennial year



                                                          Poetry in the House
                                                                 9 Feb 2012
                                             Thanks to the following Agenda Poets

                                              Timothy Adès,Clare Best, Gill McEvoy,
                              Christine McNeill, Andrew McNeillie,Sue Roe, James Simpson

                              and all who braved the freezing weather and made it such a

                                                  successful evening

                                  Lauderdale House photographs courtesy Sue Fallon


                                Introduction by Patricia McCarthy Editor of Agenda


                                                      Timothy Adès


                                                          Clare Best


                                                      James Simpson


                         Patricia McCarthy, James Fish, Tamsin Andrews and Clare Best


                                                          Anita Money


                                                   Gill McEvoy




                                        November 15, 2011

                                 World Poetry Portfolio

                 Patricia McCarthy, editor of Agenda, is featured (with twelve poems) in the online

                            World Poetry Portfolio No 50, edited by Sudeep Sen









                                                  October 5th 2011


                 John Burnside wins Forward Prize: an honour for a poetry that is a vital

                                 life force, such as that promoted by Agenda.


                                Dwelling Places, An Appreciation of John Burnside

                                     Vol 45 No4/Vol 46 No1

                                     published May 20, 2011

                        Contents include a searching interview by Patricia McCarthy with

                        John Burnside, original essays on John Burnside, along with poems

                        to and for him.


                                 To obtain your copy of this issue of Agenda, email:








                                               Latest issue of Agenda,

                                  the 'Keenings' issue, woven around elegies.

                      Contents include: a revealing interview by Patricia McCarthy with

                      Peter Dale; poems by known and new voices, essays and up-to-date

                      reviews. Also the poems of the winners of Agenda's first poetry competition

                      (listed below).




                                            Vol 46 No.2 Published 29th Sept 2011

                                     Agenda Poetry Competition Results


                                     First Prize: Kim Lasky, 'The Bed that is a Tree'

                                     Second Prize: Sharon Black, 'Palomas'

                                     Third Prize: Claudia Jessop, 'Marionette Dream'


                                    Abegail Morley, 'Wasps'

                                    Judith Taylor, 'Afterlife'

                                    Will Johnson, 'a devotion'

                                    Anna Wigley, 'Dear John'

                                    Jane Lovell, 'The Prayer of St. Simon'


                        Published July 2011: Spanish poems translated by Arthur Terry who, just

                       before he died, sent a hand-written letter to William Cookson, expressing

                       a strong wish for Agenda Editions to bring this collection out. This has at

                       last been made possible by a generous grant from the estate of the late

                       Elizabeth Robertson, a lover of poetry.


                       Arthur Terry was part of the Belfast Writing Group which included such

                       well-known poets as Seamus Heaney, Philip Hobsbaum, Michael Longley,

                       James Simmons and Derek Mahon.



                                                  Price: £9 (plus P&P)




















                                                        Keith Jones   

                                         Keith Jones, Iran, 1978                   Photo: Gillian Jones

Keith Jones, whose collection, Merrimans, was published by Agenda Editions in 2001, was born in Gwaenysgor, North Wales, and studied at Aberystwyth University. After teaching English for two years in Birmingham, he escaped overseas to Turkey and Ethiopia. He joined the British Council in 1966 and was posted to Alexandria some months before the 6-day war. He worked for the British Council in Nigeria, London, Germany and the Middle East, taking retirement in 1993. Reflected in his poetry are his interests in the Tarot system and Welsh mythology, and his bizarre experiences in the course of his battle to live with Parkinsonism which he fought so bravely.

Agenda Editions hopes to publish more of his work posthumously, and he will be featured in the Welsh issue of Agenda (winter 2008)


…perhaps Queen Gaia’s begun some people

culling policy,

perhaps a possible world is passing through

hacking as she goes;

perhaps some swirling saucer took the slice

and now is busy with the DNA,

a small army of your clones even now

entering somewhere parallel universe

where Yeats, constantly summoning lexicographers,

is king of a misspelled world,

and you are his company of knights, come to applaud

the latest verses on Byzantium;

or perhaps just a road, a tree, a fire and reading the flames

a brother of the holy spirit

discourses on how god moved and left behind the swirl,

whrlpool, wheel, whirlwind, womb,

and from it falcon after falcon after jackal

after whatever Thoth deals from the deck.

                                   (from ‘The Ace of Deaths’)

…come forward my dear,

put this blindfold on

in each hand a sword,

now cross them overhead

the moon’s on her back,

the wind’s inside the sea,

the hair rising on our necks.

                         (from ‘The Two of Deaths)

…it’s time to listen my love, my rival,

to listen rigid to the wailing mothers

they know grief like the swimmer water,

their voices scratch the diamond eye of god,

they are professionals

taking in pain and washing it clean –

whatever the death their breath

can sing afterworlds inside us,

or maps of them and the will to journey,

head down in the Egyptian wind.

                          (from ‘The Three of Deaths)

…and you recite a self-critique

to each of your judges, all 42 of them, drenched in gossip,

and perhaps

the boatman beckoning

the underground night journey of the sun,

the lake of fire, the faithful serpent in whose coils

the hero hides,

seclusion sweet seclusion like a sleepy sphinx

let me lie here safe from the demands of love,

the plots of rivals,

let’s play the diplomacy of death, rouge the dead lips,

lift the coffin lid, rephrase despatches,

recode the papyrus.

                                 (from ‘The Four of Deaths’)

The above extracts are from Merrimans, Agenda Editions.



Conor Fallon, sculptor and painter, 30 January 1939 – 3 October 2007



Conor Fallon’s ‘Pegasus’ was on the front cover of the above issue, 1996. His ‘Nun with Singing Bird’ was on the back cover of the same issue:


Conor Fallon, son of the poet Padraic Fallon (whose Collected Poems were published by Carcanet) offered a steel sculpture of his Pegasus for the front cover of the Irish issue of Agenda, Vol. 33 Nos. 3-4 in 1996, guest-edited by Patricia McCarthy, and his ‘Nun with the Singing Bird’ for the back cover.

     He was one of the most important Irish sculptors of the last century, renowned for his steel birds, horses, hares and fish (all part of the Celtic tradition) which have a spare, sleek beauty and presence with their clean lines. He was influenced not only by Cubism which he considered ‘the development in the art of the 20th cenury’, by Brancusi and Picasso’s three-dimensional work, but also by the early Greek sculptures and the carved figures of Ancient Egypt. From Modernism, he looked to Naum Gabo (a resident of St. Ives, Cornwall where Conor and his artist wife Nancy lived for a while, before moving to Kinsale, Cork for some years and then to Ballinaclash, County Wicklow) who demonstrated the avoidance of mass in sculptural space.

      Although he was initially known for fairly small sculptures when he remarked ‘I was unable to see how I could do public sculptures of birds without them being distortions’, he eventually became noted for his monumental steel sculptures, mainly commissioned for important public places such as Enniscorthy Bridge, County Wexford, University College, Cork, and in Dublin, St. Patrick’s hospital, the Bank of Ireland Centre, University College, and a landmark piece for Independent Newspapers. He was awarded the Oireachtas gold medal for sculpture in 1980, and devoted much time to his role as secretary of the Royal Hibernian Academy and board member of the National Gallery of Ireland.


                                  ‘The Hawk that Rules the Wood’ by Conor Fallon. Photograph: Padraic Fallon







             On the occasion of the German Speaking Group

                HE The Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr Alexis P.  Lautenberg

            requests the pleasure of your company


 at a reception at the Residence

with Prof Rüdiger Görner, Chair of the German Department, Queen Mary College,

University of London

in association with the Special Issue of Agenda 'A Reconsideration of Rainer Maria Rilke'

who will speak on “Rilke with a Swiss flavour”

on  Wednesday 14 November 2007 from 6.00pm until 8.00pm

    Ambassador’s Residence

    21 Bryanston Square

    London W1H 2DR






                                                         Lounge Suit

                                     RSVP by 10 November


The above event was kindly hosted by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Switzerland. Patricia McCarthy introduced Agenda and the special Rilke issue. Sam Milne spoke briefly about Michael Hamburger's reputation as an expert on Rilke, including his long association with Agenda. Professor Rudiger Gorner delivered his paper very eloquently in German, and Charlie Louth (grandson of C.H. Sisson) read his translation from the Rilke issue.

The special double issue of Agenda, ‘A Reconsideration of Rainer Maria Rilke’ has been referred to by several well-known critics as ‘the best yet’. Dennis O’Driscoll, well-known Irish poet and critic calls it ‘an outstanding issue – the fruit of hard and loving labour.  It will serve as a permanent resource – a one-volume treasury – for Rilke readers, new and old’. Poet Brendan Kennelly calls it a ‘splendid, epic tribute to, and celebration of Rilke and his work.’ He continues: ‘It’s like a choir at its most magnificent…There’s something truly beautiful about the choir of poets paying tribute to Rilke’s unique spirit… Readers will love this issue of Agenda more as the years slip by.’

   Its arresting cover is a fitting and charming woodcut by Caroline Trant (email: ). The varied and carefully chosen 288 pages contain an organised mixture of new translations/versions by mainly well-known translators and version-makers, with some new voices;  highly interesting essays on Rilke, all of which take an original angle; a section of general poems to, on or for Rilke also by new and well-established poets; and translations of essays in French on Rilke.

   Young poets continue to be encouraged and two very gifted chosen young Broadsheet poets, Adam O’Riordan and Zoe Brigley are highlighted here for prominence. Other fine young poets and artists feature in the accompanying online Broadsheet (No. 8 in the series) on this site.

In November, 2006 the Editor of Agenda, Patricia McCarthy and Marcus Frederick, Administration Manager went to Florence, Italy where there was a German, American and Italian conference on Dante, with talks in Dante’s old house. There the Editor met Robert Pinski, a famous authority on Dante, and a past contributor to Agenda, who promises to contribute more work in the future.


The Irish poet, Greg Delanty, whose collected poems came out from Carcanet recently, has visited the Editor several times, and a section of an issue in 2008 to mark his fiftieth birthday will focus on his poetry.

Peter Robinson, well-known contributor to Agenda with poetry and essays, has now moved from Japan where he lived for eighteen years to Reading. He has taken up a challenging post at the university there.







The Agenda team suffered two major bereavements recently: the Administration Manager’s father  and the Editor’s mother. These are acknowledged by two poems written by the Editor on each of them at the front of the Rilke issue of Agenda.

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Michael Hamburger, well-known poet, translator and essayist. He has been associated with Agenda for many years, almost from its inception, and he has contributed to its pages many fine poems, translations and essays.

Edward Lowbury, who was also a contributor to Agenda, also sadly died recently.

Previous News Articles are available here.

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