Doctoral Students

Fran Lock

The dead letter box: impossible telling through epistolary poetry.

My research examines the relationship between the epistolary form in contemporary poetry and the use of letters in therapeutic contexts. Through both critical and creative work I seek to interrogate poetic strategies by which trauma may be “told”, i.e. assimilated, integrated, and transformed into some kind of narrative language. My research will explore the idea that the epistolary form is one way in which this process takes place.

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Supervisors: Dr Peter Fifield and Dr Steve Willey.

Matt Martin

Nation Language as Political Resistance in the Poetry of Kamau Brathwaite and Bill Griffiths.

My research focuses on the Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘nation language’ poems written with Caribbean speech patterns, and on comparable approaches in the English avant-garde poet Bill Griffiths’ use of dialect from North East England. The goal is to find ways for English poetry to learn from theory and practice that have developed in the Caribbean, responding with similar innovativeness to its own local conditions of language and culture. Voice may therefore be given to communities that are often marginalised from centres of literary power, contributing to a sense of common cause and a shared body of tactics for diverse communities around Britain, in the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

I hold a BA in English from the University of York and an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal Holloway, University of London. I returned to university after a career in London museums, where I specialised in sharing knowledge of the city’s port history and its role in the transatlantic slave trade. I am grateful to the Stuart Hall Foundation for its support of my studies.

My poetry publications include full spectrum apotheosis (Contraband Books, 2013), the dotted line (Gang Press, 2019) and frequently asked questions (Kater Murr’s Press, 2021). Recent poetry and criticism have appeared via magazines and websites such as Long Poem Magazine, Material Witness, Stride and Tentacular, plus the anthologies Temporary Spaces (Pamenar Press, 2020) and Hilson Hilson: The Poetry of Jeff Hilson (Crater Press, 2021). Visual work has featured in exhibitions at venues like the South Bank Centre and the Poetry Society. I maintain and update the CPRC’s Innovative Poetry Readings in London listings page.

Supervisors: Dr Steve Willey and Dr Emily Senior.

Bronac Ferran

Language In Formation: Hansjörg Mayer & the Typoetical Revolution (1958-1970).

This research focusses on Hansjörg Mayer – poet, designer and typographer  of concrete poetry in the 1960s exploring his role as leading nterface to emerging computation of the period, situating this within a broader context of intersections between the languages of code, design, poetry and typography between 1958-1970.

Supervisors: Professor Martin Eve, Dr Steve Willey and Professor Roger Luckhurst.

Image Credit: o i l (Hansjörg Mayer, 1965)

Vicky Sparrow

“I object”: Legal subject and lyric subjectivity in the poetry of Anna Mendelssohn

This AHRC-funded thesis explores the poetry and poetics of the British poet and political activist, Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009), also known as Grace Lake. The thesis considers how the pressures of the law upon subjectivity transform Mendelssohn’s lyric self.

Supervisor (external): Professor Carol Watts