Jenny takes a bow

A long day’s journey into morning for me and a night to remember for the rest of my life – 20 November 2017, the world premiere of the wonderful opera by composer Gennadyi Shiroglazov – How I Became an Amazon – based on my book When I Became an Amazon (Iron Press, 1996; Bilingua, Russia, 2002) with brilliant Russian translation by Natalya Dubrovina. Soprano Olga Popova, from the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre company, sang my words in English with such power and beauty it was hard for me to read the poems in between without tears (be strong and focus!) The 30-strong chamber orchestra was conducted by Valery Platonov. My deepest thanks to them all and to our interpreter and translator, Larissa Galanova, for enabling me to understand and communicate and to Serge Lepi and Elena Musihina for their wonderful photographs.


PHOTOS BY SERGE LEPI: Olga and Jenny performing; Gennadyi takes a bow; Audience applause; Valery Platonov; Discussions with translator; Violinist; harpist; cellist (ALL ATTACHED)




11 November 2017 – Seeds of War Requiem and Reading at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore

A wonderful event in the intimate atmosphere of Oxford’s Albion Beatnik Bookstore.  We started with Janet Davey’s beautiful setting of Wilfred Owen’s ‘Futility’ and heard readings in several languages including English, Arabic, Hindi, Greek and German. It included the Oxford pre-launch of Seeds of Bullets, a comparison of the poetry of Adnan al-Sayegh and Wilfred Owen.


11th November, at 7.30, Albion Beatnik Bookstore, Walton Street –


With a specially composed, multi-lingual setting of Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Futility’ by Janet Davey followed by readings in many languages by Adnan al-Sayegh, Jenny Lewis, Jenyth Worsley, Ruba Abughaida, Peter J. King, Jude Cowan Montague and Chinta Kallie. Tickets £6 at the door.

Seeds of war event

12th November, 2.30pm


With new pamphlets from Gina Wilson, Adnan al-Sayegh and Sarah Watkinson and open mic lead by Scarlett Sabet, Romola Parish and Catherine Atherton. Tickets £5 to include tea from the Woodstock Bookshop –

Two ‘Writing Mesopotamia’ events 1st April

‘Who Can Climb the Sky?’ and launch of the ‘Poetry for Peace 2016’ anthology

2.00-3.30pm, 1st APRIL, 2017, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

We’re nearing the end of our major, four-year, Arts Council-funded Writing Mesopotamia project with these two FREE high-profile events at the Ashmolean Museum. It’s been an amazing journey, sometimes stressful but always hugely rewarding and a joy to work with artists of the calibre of Adnan al-Sayegh, Yasmin Sidhwa and Euton Daley – all gifted and consummate professionals – as well as Paul Collins at the Ashmolean Museum who shares our vision of building bridges between English and Arabic-speaking communities through poetry, and supports our work in so many ways.

Who can climb the sky A5 flyer 2 copy


The Place for Film in Poetry. 18th January 2017


Maura, Mark, Jenny, Shakira, Nick & Adnan

5.00-6.00pm, 18th January 2017


As part of the ‘Place for Poetry’ Conference at Goldsmiths in May 2015, the Film Poem Exhibition that I curated with the Head of Digital Media, Mark Edmondson showed how film can be used with poetry at the interface of many different disciplines, including art, medicine and politics. On 2nd March 2016, we ran a second session in collaboration with the Poetry Society where FilmPoem director Alistair Cook came to the college to show his films and discuss different approaches, and Judith Palmer, Director the the Poetry Society, spoke about the films the Society commissions.


By popular demand, Mark and I ran a third session on Wednesday 18th January – ‘The Place for Film in Poetry’ which looked at the technical aspects of combining poetry/ text with film to show how people might begin to use the medium in their own creative practice.


Blake Morrison and Maura Dooley were there as well as a very engaged audience which included Shakira Morar, winner of the Poetry for Peace Prize, judged by Adnan Al-Sayegh and myself. Adnan and I read a poetry extract from ‘Second Song to Inanna/ Ishtar’ before we showed our promotional video, Anthem for Gilgamesh. People said they really enjoyed Anthem for Gilgamesh and that they liked my voice. I’m not a trained singer but you might know I was once a pop/ folk singer with my friends Vashti Bunyan and Angela Strange, so I was very chuffed.


Here are some photos of the event featuring Ed Hawkesworth, Jon Berry and Rowland Prytherch (aka Red2), Tom and Tari Hawkesworth, Iraqi countryside and Imperial War Museum WW1 footage.

Poets House, Oxford poets lead open mic event at Woodstock Poetry Festival, 2.30pm, Town Hall, 12th November 2016

Margot Myers and Lucinda Kowol are two poets with growing reputations in Oxfordshire and further afield. They will lead the Poet’s House, Oxford open mic session at the Woodstock Poetry Festival with a short selection of poems that express their distinctive voices. Add your own voice to the Woodstock Poetry Festival by coming along to read a poem. Tickets £5 from the Woodstock Book Shop.

Margot Myers 2.jpgMargot Myers – has been writing poetry for four years, beginning in Jenny Lewis’ OUDCE Weekly Class. Her poem, Dark Room, was a runner-up last year in a Cinnamon mini-competition for ‘dark interiors’ and she has poems included in the Emma Press Anthology of Dance (2015) and Urban Myths and Legends (2016)and been a winner or commended in several prizes, including the Havant Prize 2013/ 2015 and the Bridport Prize (2015). She has read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2013, at the Ashmolean Museum with Oxford Stanza Two and at Write Angle, Petersfield, June 2016.


The Dark Room
a tender curve of stem and arm
her tulip fringe, the flower bed
the crazy paving stones
the park composed to please
reflect the sun
like any other object
but like the moon she dreams
each printed piece of her
each glittering trace of
shadowed self unspooled
in interludes of black and white
across the park which lies
silver as a dish of salt





Lucinda Kowol

Lucinda Kowol runs a small engineering company near Chipping Norton.  She has been writing poetry for 10 years and has been shortlisted in the Deddington Poetry Competition, the Havant Poetry Competition and the Cinammon Press Mini competition for Concrete Poetry. She has had a Sonnet published in The Journal of Chartered Accountancy.


The country lane runs long and straight
familiar in its changing moods.
As I unlatch the kissing gate
to make my way into the woods,
I trace the textures of the land:
leaves veined like leaded glass,
turf springing soft beneath my hand,
I suck a juicy blade of grass.
Held cradled by the tawny ground,
relaxed on this my home terrain,
I listen to the throaty sound
of combines harvesting the grain.
Shifting my weight, I turn and reach
to stroke the stubble of your cheek.



Ten Poems exhibition and book launch, 1st November 2016

We’re half way through our huge Arts Council funded project – ‘Writing Mesopotamia 3’ with some terrific outcomes so far. As the project manager, I could never have predicted the challenges we’ve had to overcome but, interestingly, changes of venue and plans generally, though they didn’t improve my stress levels, have actually improved our events – including the wonderful launch of Ten Poems by Adnan al-Sayegh, illustrated by the amazing Kate Hazell, published by Mulfan Press as a small but perfectly formed ‘Mulfran Miniature’.

Having to move the event from a London gallery (because we missed our ‘window’ through hold ups with the funding) led to an invitation from my incredibly resourceful and imaginative niece Emily (aka Pom Pom) to mount the exhibition and hold the launch at air space in Oxford Street –  a few doors down from Tottenham Court Road tube station.

This is a very new, brilliant concept whereby six floors of ultra-smart office space offer hot-desking solutions and temporary office space to trendy Londoners and others – mostly working in the creative industries.

The first floor is an events and exhibition space and can be rented out. It has a fully equipped kitchen and bar plus AV facilities, so we were able to play jazz and Naseer Shamma to add atmosphere as the guests flowed in; and there was a radio mic all ready to use for Adnan’s and my reading.

Our publisher, Leona, summed up the collaboration very pithily when she said the combination of poems and drawings resulted in ‘an expression of wit that brought together two cultures, two art forms and two generations.’

It was lovely to see people smiling broadly as they went round the room, looking at the pictures (which fizz with exuberance and humour) and reading Adnan’s epigrams underneath them. Adnan says his short poems, often only a few words long, take longer to write than his longer poems – such is the art of the epigram.

A wonderful evening of light and laughter, and Ten Poems makes the perfect small Christmas gift. They come complete with envelopes. I’m going to give them to all my friends.

Visit Kate’s website

And for air space

‘The Tale of the Weaver’s Wife’ for a new Shakepeare Liturgy

I’ve written a specially commissioned poem, ‘The Tale of the Weaver’s Wife’ for a new Shakepeare Liturgy based on a Midsummer Night’s Dream which is among five poems based on characters in the play. The other contributing poets are Laurence Sail (Titania), Michael Symmons Roberts (Demetrius), Sinead Morrissey (Puck) and Micheal O’ Siadhail (Helena). The first presentation will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Tuesday 2nd August at 5:30pm; free entry.
The second presentation will be at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, on Wednesday 3rd August at 7pm; free entry (retiring collection).
Please do come if you can.
For more details –

Bottom and Titania Fuseli