Fleur Adcock Readings

Fleur Adcock Readings


'This monumental Collected serves as a historical document – hundreds of snapshots, in the backgrounds of which pass millions of lives – as much as an artistic one, the sixty-year-long record of a piercing, curious mind. Adcock’s poems have the confidential feel of a private journal, all witty asides and wry observations, following her imagination into her ancestors’ past, her youth during the war, old loves and friendships. A book like this is a rare thing indeed, a life lived in poems.' – Dave Coates, Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin 2024


The first complete edition of the poetry of Fleur Adcock, one of the UK’s most celebrated poets, was published by Bloodaxe Books on 10 February 2024 to mark her 90th birthday. 

Fleur Adcock launched her Collected Poems with an in-person reading at London Review Bookshop on 13 February 2024 (podcast available here) and took part in Bloodaxe’s live-streamed reading and discussion event on 20 February. She also appeared at StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival in March 2024, and also gave readings at Newcastle and Ledbury Poetry Festivals in May and June 2024.

Collected Poems brings together Fleur Adcock’s work from the past fifty years. It supersedes her earlier retrospective, Poems 1960-2000, for which she was awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2006, and includes her five subsequent collections from Bloodaxe, along with 20 new poems. Her poised, ironic poems are disarmingly conversational in style, remarkable for their psychological insight and their unsentimental, mischievously casual view of personal relationships.

Fleur Adcock writes about men and women, childhood, identity, roots and rootlessness, memory and loss, animals and dreams, as well as our interactions with nature and place. Her poised, ironic poems are remarkable for their wry wit, conversational tone and psychological insight, unmasking the deceptions of love or unravelling family lives. Born in New Zealand in 1934, she spent the war years in England, returning with her family to New Zealand in 1947. She emigrated to Britain in 1963, working as a librarian in London until 1979. In 1977-78 she was writer-in-residence at Charlotte Mason College of Education, Ambleside. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1979-81, living in Newcastle, becoming a freelance writer after her return to London. She received an OBE in 1996, and The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006 for Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 2000). In October 2019 Fleur Adcock was presented with the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry 2019 by the Rt Hon (now Dame) Jacinda Ardern.


‘Fleur Adcock may be about to turn 90, but – as her new Collected Poems shows – she’s still writing essential work. Originally from New Zealand, since settling in England in 1963 she has become one of the most celebrated, and quietly influential, voices in British poetry. Adcock writes with a rare lightness of touch, and a candour that’s often seen her labelled a confessional poet. “For a Five-Year-Old” is one of her earliest poems, but its careful balancing act of light and dark – warmth on the one hand, faintly shocking, self-critical humour on the other – sets the tone for her later writing.’ – Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph (Poem of the Week)


Fleur Adcock’s Collected Poems was discussed as the first item on the Irish podcast Books for Breakfast on 29 February 2024.  Hosts Peter Sirr and Enda Wyley discussed the book and read favourite poems from it – Enda read ‘The Russian War’ and Peter read a ‘properly angry’ poem from the sequence in memory of Fleur’s good friend Roy Fisher: ‘Dead Poets’ Society’.

Fleur Adcock was discussed first.  Fellow Bloodaxe poets were nterviewed ahead of their Dublin launch: Kerry Hardie features from 7:09 and Aoife Lyall from 18:50.


‘Fleur Adcock’s Collected Poems is a vast treasure chest of vivid, memorable poetry.’ – Edmund Prestwich, London Grip

This wonderful in-depth review can be read in full online at London Grip here.



Online launch reading by Fleur Adcock, Kerry Hardie and Aoife Lyall, 20 February 2024

Fleur Adcock, Kerry Hardie and Aoife Lyall celebrated the publication of their new books with an online launch reading on our YouTube channel. All three poets read live and discussed their work with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley. This free Bloodaxe launch event is now available to watch on this YouTube page: https://youtube.com/live/_dLjHYNGf1Y.



Tuesday 13 February 2024, 7pm

London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Pl, London WC1A 2JL

Launch of Collected Poems

Fleur Adcock launched her Collected Poems in person at London Review Bookshop on 13 February 2024.  She read from the book and was in conversation with Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley. 

A podcast of this sold-out event is now available via the link below.




Fleur Adcock reads nine poems

Fleur Adcock reads nine poems from her Collected Poems: ‘The Video’, ‘For a Five-Year-Old’, ‘The Pangolin’, ‘An Illustration to Dante’, ‘Things’, Weathering’, ‘For Heidi with Blue Hair’, ‘Where They Lived’ and Counting’.  Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Fleur Adcock at her home in London on 29 June 2007. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).

[04 January 2024]

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