Words of Life and Death: Poetry and Culture in Crisis

In times of crisis poetry speaks into matters of enduring concern, the great themes of life and death. At the same time poetry speaks directly into our current context where the use and abuse of words, miscommunication and incomprehension, can be a matter of life and death. In many spiritual traditions, words have power to bring life but also to pronounce death.

This series of poetry readings and conversations will look at matters of life, death and poetry, exploring how words can bring life and hope to a fearful and divided world.

Presented by the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture (OCRC) in association with Sarum College.

These events will be held online at 1pm-2pm BST: 

Monday 7 September:            Suhaiyma Manzoor-Khan and Harry Baker

Monday 14 September:          Rachel Mann

Monday 21 September:          Martin Glynn

Monday 28 September:          Pádraig Ó Tuama

Convened by Dr Elizabeth S. Dodd, Research Associate for OCRC, and Lecturer at Sarum College

Please Register for these events via the link below.

We intend to record these sessions and your registration will give us permission to do so.


Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan is an educator, writer and poet from West Yorkshire whose work disrupts and interrupts questions of history, race, knowledge and power. Suhaiymah was the runner-up of the Roundhouse National slam 2017 with her viral poem, This is Not a Humanising Poem. In 2018-19 she was a Nicola Thorold Fellow at the Roundhouse and is currently an Associate Artist at Freedom Studios. She is the author of a poetry collection, Postcolonial Banter (Verve, 2019), co-author of the anthology, A FLY GIRL’S GUIDE TO UNIVERSITY: Being a woman of colour at Cambridge and other institutions of power and elitism (Verve, 2019) and hosts the Breaking Binaries podcast.

More information about Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

Harry Baker became the youngest ever Poetry World Slam Champion in 2012 and his first collection of poems The Sunshine Kid was published with Burning Eye in December 2014. He has been a full-time poet since he graduated from Bristol with a maths degree in 2015 and regularly tours around the UK as part of Harry And Chris. Harry ran a sell-out show, ‘I am 10,000’ at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 which is touring the UK in autumn 2020. Harry hosts the ‘Something Borrowed’ podcast featuring special guests from the worlds of poetry, comedy and music.

More information about Harry Baker

Revd Dr Rachel Mann is an Anglican priest, poet, writer and broadcaster based in South Manchester. She was poet in residence at Manchester Cathedral in 2009-2017 and her debut poetry collection, A Kingdom of Love, was published by Carcanet in September 2019. Her book, Fierce Imaginings: The Great War, Ritual, Memory and God has been shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey prize. She also writes on feminist/queer liturgical theology and cultural history and is publishing two more works in autumn 2020: Love’s Mysteries: The Body, Grief, Precariousness and God, and her debut novel The Gospel of Eve.

More information about Rachel Mann

Dr Martin Glynn is an internationally renowned criminologist with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and education. He has published numerous poetry books and released his debut album, Article St in 2019. He has published research in the area of black masculinities and criminal justice and his book Beyond The Wall: Black Art and the Criminological Imagination will be published in 2021. Speaking Data and Telling Stories: Data Verbalization for Researchers was published by Routledge in 2019 and concerns making research accessible by translating it into music and spoken word.  He is writer in residence for the National Justice Museum.

More information about Martin Glynn

Pádraig Ó Tuama brings interests in language, violence and religion to his work in poetry and theology. He presents Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios and also has the role of Theologian in Residence for On Being, innovating in bringing art and theology into public and civic life. Pádraig travels widely, lecturing and leading retreats, and he publishes both poetry and prose. He has recently published a collection of essays and poetry on the Book of Ruth, Crossing Borders, with Glenn Jordan (Canterbury Press). From 2014-2019, Pádraig led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.

More information about Pádraig Ó Tuama

Dr Elizabeth S. Dodd has been a research associate for OCRC since 2017 and a lecturer for Sarum College since 2015. Her research reflects on the transformative power of words and their capacity both to heal and to hurt, rooted in an understanding of Christ the Word as gift and challenge. She has previously published a monograph on the metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne and an essay collection on the idea of innocence in Christian theology, and is currently working on a monograph project on English Lyric Tradition, Lyric Theory and Lyric Theology for T&T Clark.

More information about Elizabeth S. Dodd

Dr Dodd is also running Teach Us How To Pray: Poetry And Prayer at Sarum College, 19 November 2020, 10am to 4pm

Read more in Sarum College News. Bookmark the permalink.

Please leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *