Staying Human anthology launch events

Staying Human anthology launch events


The fourth volume in Neil Astley’s Staying Alive series of world poetry anthologies will be published on National Poetry Day, 1 October. It will be launched online at Berwick Literary Festival on 16 October and a series of events will be organised by Birmingham Literature Festival in October.
Staying Human is companion volume to the earlier books in the series, Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), but it can also be read fruitfully on its own. The series has had many high-profile admirers over the years, including Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Campion, Van Morrison, Philip Pullman, Kamila Shamsie and Bernardine Evaristo, among others.
Staying Human: new poems for Staying Alive is one of 40 recommended poetry books for National Poetry Day, included on their list of ten titles suggested for reading groups.  Notes for book groups are here.
Berwick Liteary Festival,  Friday 16 October 2020, 4pm
Neil Astley: Staying Human – New Poems for Staying Alive
Bloodaxe Editor Neil Astley presents a reading from Staying Human, the latest addition to his hugely popular Staying Alive series of world poetry anthologies. For this very special reading Neil will be joined by poets David Constantine and Imtiaz Dharker.
Click here to book. Registration opens 14 September.  Free online festival event.
Birmingham Literature Festival, 1-17 October 2020
To celebrate the launch of the Staying Human poetry anthology, Writing West Midlands have teamed up with regional development agencies New Writing South and Literature Works, to create a playlist of poems from the anthology read aloud in the voices and accents of their regions.

Featured as part of this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival, a digital festival that launches on National Poetry and runs throughout October, a new recording of a poem from the anthology will be released every day in October. The collection will celebrate the wide array of wonderful poetry and poets included in the anthology, a daily reminder of the power of connection and humanity in these uncertain times.

The recordings will be released across various social media channels and websites and available to listen to as a collection on Spotify at the end of October.

Details will be posted in due course at:


Film of readings by eleven of the Staying Human poets

Eleven poets included in Staying Human read short excerpts from their poems in the book: Tishani Doshi (extract from ‘Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods’), Wayne Holloway-Smith (from ‘The posh mums are boxing in the square’), Ruth Stone, 1915-2011 (from ‘The Excuse’), Jane Clarke (from ‘Who owns the field?’), Marie Howe (from ‘One day’), Jericho Brown (from ‘As a Human Being’), Elizabeth Alexander (from ‘Smile’), Patricia Smith (from ‘That Chile Emmett in That Casket’), Abigail Parry (from ‘The Quilt’), Louis de Paor (from ‘Marmalade’), and Thomas Lux, 1946-2017 (from ‘Refrigerator, 1957’), finishing with Jericho Brown speaking at Ledbury Poetry Festival about being first published in the UK in the previous anthology, Being Human.

[10 September 2020]

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