Poems of the Decade 2019 – emagazine Student Conference

The Conference is now fully booked. To be added to the waiting list, please email admin@englishandmedia.co.uk


With poets poets Sarah Howe, Daljit Nagra, Ros Barber, Patience Agbabi and Alan Jenkins, critic Sarah Crown and exam expert Esther Menon, plus performance poet Harry Baker to end the day.

  • Readings and performances by poets set for the EDEXCEL AS and AL.
  • Discussion of poems and aspects of contemporary poems by poets and poetry writers.
  • Comparing poems.
  • Looking ahead to A Level – responding to an unseen poem and a set poem.

Feedback on recent emagazine student conferences

Teachers said:

A great balance between the recognition that there is an examination which must be prepared for and a joyful celebration of poetry for poetry’s sake.

As with all events and resources offered by EMC, I thought the conference was outstanding…The perfect balance of practicality and inspiration.

An excellent day and incredible value for money!

Inspirational and such fun!

An excellent variety of speakers and subjects!

Students said:

Simply mind-blowing!

Loved seeing and hearing the poets talk about their poems!

Really good speakers and very interesting and helpful content.

Presented in a fun way, leaving us to feel both educated and entertained!

Booking enquires

General booking enquires:

Email Maria

Fax: 020 7354 0133

Programme enquiries:

Email Emma


Poems of the Decade 2019 – emagazine Student Conference


Monday 24th June 2019


Friends House
173-177 Euston Road

Programme & Speakers

Programme & Speakers

Come and be inspired by hearing poets reading and discussing their own work, develop your critical understanding of contemporary poetry and enjoy spoken word performance! Ideal for AS students going on to AL and for students doing a two year linear AL.

Download the programme for the day.

image of Emma Barker
Emma Barker


Emma Barker, English and Media Centre, introduces the Conference

Download the programme for the day.

image of Sarah Howe
Sarah Howe

Keynote Lecture on Contemporary Poetry

Paying close attention to a selection of the set anthology poems, Sarah Howe will share her critical insights, relating them to wider currents in contemporary poetry.

Sarah Howe is a British poet, academic and editor. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Born in Hong Kong to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her pamphlet, A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia (Tall-lighthouse, 2009), won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She is a Lecturer in Poetry at King’s College London.

Photo credit: Hayley Madden

image of Alan Jenkins and Ros Barber
Alan Jenkins and Ros Barber

'Effects' and 'Material' – A Poetic Dialogue

Ros Barber is a poet, novelist, and academic. Her critically-acclaimed verse novel The Marlowe Papers (2012) won the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award. Her poetry collections include How Things Are on Thursday (2004) and Material (2008), a Poetry Book Society recommendation.

Photo credit: Steve Cross

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Alan Jenkins has won several awards for his collections of poems, the most recent of which are A Shorter Life, Revenants and Marine (in collaboration with John Kinsella). He is Deputy Editor and Poetry Editor at the Times Literary Supplement, has taught creative writing in London, Paris and the United States, and until recently was Poet in Residence at St. John’s College, Cambridge.

11.50-12.10 BREAK

image of Sarah Crown
Sarah Crown

Poetry Critic Sarah Crown Tackles the Unseen!

Exam style, Sarah will be prepared to discuss one of the poems set for study from the Poems of the Decade collection. But exam style, the poem she compares it with will not be known to her in advance – the student audience will select the poem on the day!

In her discussion, Sarah will show how a comparative reading of known and unknown poems can be handled, giving insights into the process as well as offering a fresh reading of the texts.

Sarah Crown is Director of Literature at the Arts Council England. She edited the Guardian's books website for many years, and regularly reviews fiction and poetry for the Guardian, the Telegraph and the TLS

image of Esther Menon
Esther Menon

Poems of the Decade: How to Approach the Exam with Confidence

This session will consider the skills students should employ to read and respond to unseen and contemporary poetry in the A Level examination. It will address ways students can develop confidence and competence in writing a good analytical response, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls in writing about poetry in exam conditions.  

Esther Menon is an English consultant, teacher and educational author. She was the external English specialist who led the development of the Edexcel 2015 A Level Literature specification and now works alongside the English team at Edexcel to support centres delivering this specification. Esther is a Lead Adviser for the Russell Education Trust and continues to teach A level and GCSE students. Before this she worked as an English consultant in two local authorities and in London Challenge schools.

1.15-2.15 LUNCH

Poets will be available for signing at the bookstall in the East Corridor.

image of Daljit Nagra
Daljit Nagra

Look We Have Coming To Dover!

Daljit Nagra introduces the Forward/emagazine Creative Critics Competition and then reads and discusses his poem 'Look We Have Coming to Dover!'.

Daljit’s four poetry collections, all with Faber & Faber, have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and twice for the TS Eliot Prize. Daljit is a PBS New Generation Poet whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the LRB and the TLS, and his journalism in the FT and The Guardian. The inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra, he presents the weekly Poetry Extra, and serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, and teaches at Brunel University London.

image of Patience Agbabi
Patience Agbabi

Eat Me

Patience Agbabi reads and discusses her poem 'Eat Me'.

Patience Agbabi read English Language and Literature at Oxford and has an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex. From schools to universities, the Prague Metro to Flamin’ Eight tattoo and piercing studio in North London, she has taught, created and delivered poetry. Her four collections include Telling Tales, a 21st century, multicultural retelling of The Canterbury Tales. She was Writer-in-Residence at Bronte Parsonage in 2018.

image of Harry Baker
Harry Baker

A Love of Language

From creating Jay-Z maths parodies to forming bilingual falafel-based tongue twisters, the love and craft of language has always been at the heart of Harry’s work. See him perform a combination of old and new poems that have taken him all over the world.

‘Harry Baker’s intricate, quick-fire rhymes have always been on the impressive side of mind-blowing’ – The Scotsman

World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker published his debut anthology The Sunshine Kid with Burning Eye in December 2014. The subsequent show of the same name was voted ‘Best Spoken Word show’ of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. Now a fully fledged maths graduate and full time poet/adventurer, his work has been shared on TED.com and viewed millions of times worldwide, as well as being translated into 15 different languages. He regularly gives performances and workshops all around the world and as well as being one half of Comedy-Rap-Jazz-Duo ‘Harry and Chris’ he is working up poems for a new collection.

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Conference Close

Emma Barker closes the Conference.



Where is the Conference Held?

The emagazine Poems of the Decade Conference is being held at Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ – directly opposite Euston Station.


Getting to the Conference


The closest train stations are Euston and Kings Cross.

Tube (underground)

Tube stations within a 5 to 15-minute walk include: Euston, Euston Square, Kings Cross, Goodge Street, Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road and Warren Street. The closest tubes are Euston and Euston Square.


Numbers 10, 18, 30, 73, 205 and 390 pass the door whilst 59, 68, 91, 168, and 253 stop nearby.

Travelling by Minibus or Car?

Friends House is within a meter parking zone. Charges must be paid Monday to Friday 08:30 - 18:30 and Saturday 09:00 - 13:30. Please note that Friends House is within the congestion charge zone. For details of how to pay here.


Coaches may stop outside Friends House to drop students off.


London Euston Station Car Park

MSCP Melton Street
Tel: +44 (0)345 222 4224

The Royal National Car Park 

38-51 Bedford Way
Tel: +44 (0)20-7691 2630

Important Info

Important Info

Prices, Booking and Cancellations


The fee is £22 per student, with one free teacher place per 10 students. (For small groups of up to nine students, a single free teacher place will be available.)
For additional teachers, or teachers attending without students, for their own interest or CPD, the charge is £50 each.


  • Book online and choose to pay by invoice.
  • Conference places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 
  • Please note: we are unable to take provisional bookings.
  • Please do not make final travel arrangements until your final booking has been confirmed and we have contacted you to let you know that you have definitely been allocated places.


Cancellations or amendments can be made without charge until 5pm on Thursday 23rd May 2019.

All subsequent cancellations will be dealt with in the following way:

  • Cancellations after 5pm on Thursday 23rd May 2019 and up to 5pm on Monday 10th June 2019: 50% charge
  • Cancellations after 5pm on Monday 10th June 2019: 100% charge

Please note: We will be unable to make refunds in the case of weather, transport difficulties or other circumstances beyond our control.

Arrangements on the Day


Registration will open at 9.30 and we ask you to be in your seats for 10.15am.

Entrance is via the Euston Road entrance to Friends House.

Download the programme for the day.

Teachers Accompanying Students

We expect all students to be accompanied by a teacher. There should be a minimum of 1 teacher per 20 students.
We request that teachers meet their students in advance, register as a group and sit with their groups of students. Teachers are responsible for ensuring that their own students maintain acceptable standards of behaviour in the auditorium and in the Friends House building.

Lunch and Refreshments

The cafe at Friends House is open from 8am.

You and your students will be responsible for providing your own lunches. There are sandwich shops in the area immediately behind Friends House and plenty of food outlets across the road at Euston Station.

There are spaces outside for students to eat their packed lunch but no indoor spaces.


Full – waiting list


This conference is already fully booked. However, places may become available. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email admin@englishandmedia.co.uk.