Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary

The Poetry Society is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 in various ways throughout the year, with events, exhibitions and educational resources offering opportunities for people of all ages to celebrate Shakespeare 400. Keep an eye out for more activity to get involved in as the year progresses.

The Poetry Society is one of the many cultural, creative and educational organisations contributing to Shakespeare400. Coordinated by King’s College London, Shakespeare400 is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with public performances, programmes, exhibitions throughout the quatercentenary year.

Members’ Poems

Poet A.E. Stallings judged poems written by members of The Poetry Society in response to a Shakespearean sonnet for the winter 2015/16 Poetry News Members’ Poems Competition. Winning poems have been published in the latest issue and are available to read online.

New Types of ShakespeareNew Types of Shakespeare Exhibition

The Poetry Society and Middlesex University present a new typographic response to Shakespeare’s sonnets, featuring thirty young graphic design students who have responded typographically to some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing lines. Showing at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden until 7 May 2016, the exhibition is free to attend – and available for touring. 


Tongues in Trees, Books in the Running Brooks – workshop and reading

The Poetry Café held a day-long workshop on 23 April 2016 – Shakespeare’s birth- and death day, led by A.B. Jackson, taking the Bard’s words to create found poems and erasures.  This workshop was run in partnership with the Poetry School; visit the webpage for more details.
Later, that same day in the Poetry Cafe, A.B. Jackson was joined by the Athens-based poet and classicist A.E. Stallings for a Shakespeare-inspired reading, in a display of brilliant bardic resampling with references to Shakespeare, Pliny and Lucretius. 

Henry and Katherine by Alex Foster
Henry and Katherine, illustration by Alex Foster

Engaging young people

The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network hosts writing challenges for young poets aged 11-25, and will this year feature a series of Shakespeare-inspired prompts. First up is a challenge based on Henry V, where poets are asked to write work about the Battle of Agincourt which took place 600 years ago to enter into the Agincourt 600 Poetry Competition.

Poetryclass, The Poetry Society’s programme of resources for teachers, will also produce new ideas for approaching Shakespeare’s poetry in the classroom.