Eric Mottram Conference

Thursday 19 - Saturday 21 November 2015, Senate House

Organisers: Amy Evans (University of Kent), Robert Hampson (Poetics Research Centre, Royal Holloway, University of London) and Jeff Hilson (Roehampton University).

This conference is organised to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Eric Mottram's death.

Eric Mottram (1924-1995), Professor of American Literature at King’s College, London, was an important poet, editor, critic and teacher. He published over 160 articles and 20 critical works including a collection of essays on American culture, Blood on the Nash Ambassador, Allen Ginsberg in the Sixties and the first book-length study of William Burroughs, The Algebra of Need. He was, famously, a radical editor of Poetry Review. He also published some two dozen collections of his own poetry. Last but not least, he was the first teacher of American Studies in the University of London and co-founder of the University’s Institute of United States Studies.


  • Standard rates: £30 for two days, £15 for one day
  • Concessionary rates (students/unwaged): £15 for two days, £10 for one day



Thursday, 19 November 13:00 - 16:00

Visit to the Eric Mottram Archive at King’s College London, Strand Building.

This is an opportunity for individual visits to the Archive and is not a guided group tour.

Please follow signs to the Liddell Hart Centre or ask at Reception. 

Register interest to visit the archive during this time by emailing

There will be a conference reception at the KCL Virginia Woolf  Building in Kingsway.

Please meet Professor Hampson in the Virginia Woolf  Building lobby at 16:00.

  19:30 - 21:30

Xing the Line: Poetry Reading

Maggie O’Sullivan and Allen Fisher

Venue: The Apple Tree, 45 Mount Pleasant, London, WC1X 0AE

Click here for venue map

Friday, 20 November 10:00 - 10:30 Registration
  10:30 - 11:30

Keynote Lecture

John Whiting: Recordings of Eric Mottram

  11:30 - 11:45 Tea/coffee break
  11:45 - 13:00 Mottram and American Poetry

Gavin Selerie: Mottram and Charles Olson

Robert Hampson: Mottram and Ginsberg

Juha Virtanen: Mottram on poetry and performance

  13:00 - 14:00 Lunch: own arrangements
  14:00 - 15:30

Workshop: Eric Mottram’s Legal Poems

Led by Will Rowe

  15:30 - 16:00 Tea/coffee break
  16:00 - 18:00 Mottram and British Poetry

Simon Smith: Interrogation Poems

Gareth Farmer: Mottram and Veronica Forest-Thomson

Geraldine Monk: King’s Reading

  18:30 - 20:00

Poetry reading

By participants in conference – and to include poems by Mottram

Saturday, 21 November 10:00 - 10:30 Registration
  10:30 - 11:30

Keynote Lecture

Clive Bush: ‘Eric Mottram, Muriel Rukeyser and Juhasz’

  11:30 - 11:45 Tea/coffee break
  11:45 - 12:45

Workshop: Elegy 30

Allen Fisher

  12:45 - 13:45 Lunch: own arrangements
  13:45 - 15:00 Mottram and American Studies

Peter Barry: Mottram as educator

Maggie Humm: Eric, Paul Goodman and Me: Eric as Supervisor

Robert Vas Dias: Mottram and Poetry Review

  15:00 - 15:15 Tea/coffee break
  15:15 - 16:15

Workshop: Shelter Island & The Remaining World

Ian Brinton

  16:15 - 17:30 Mottram Miscellany
    Frances Presley: Experimental poetry and feminism? Eric Mottram in London
    Peterjon Skelt: "He has been a rover of the outer seas: paying attention with Eric Mottram"
    Steven Willey: Girlie Poems: Gender and Naming in the British Poetry Revival

The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: