1917 poetry poster


The University of Westminster, in its various historical guises, has a long pedigree when it comes to poetry. Ezra Pound gave a series of lectures at the Polytechnic between 1909 and 1910, and the Archives hold a number of prospectuses along with other related documents on this. Other notable poets with links to the University include: David Gascoyne, Menghistu Lemma, George Barker and Clive Sansom and, as the images in this Flickr gallery show, the Polytechnic ran lots of short courses and events with key figures such as Roger McGough and others.

An important figure was Louie Bagley who, while not specifically a poet, was appointed Head of the School of Elocution at the Polytechnic in 1913. Bagley was a pioneer in 'the difficult art of expression through the medium of the voice'. Among many other things, she had a brilliant idea for a course of 24 lectures in 1917 entitled 'Poets and Poetry of Today'. Louie Bagley was extraordinarily well-thought-of. As her obituary in the Polytechnic magazine in August 1926 noted:

Let those who try to follow in her footsteps
see to it that her work does not die,
but lives.

Celebrated wordsmith Mike Garry was appointed Associate Fellow and Writer in Residence at Westminster Law School in 2014. Mike performed at Westminster Law School’s matriculation, organised a Shaken and the Stirred event to showcase Canadian poets at Fyvie Hall and teaches on the Creative Writing degree, among other things.

Mike is integral to our Poetry Matters initiative, which will ensure that Louie Bagley's work and ethos does not die, but is reflected in the activities of the University in the twenty first century.

Watch his promotional video 'Why Poetry Matters'.

In the same way that the Soho Poly disrupted the everyday with lunchtime theatre and challenged notions of space, Poetry Matters seeks to bring poetry into the everyday and stresses the importance of words.