College: College of Humanities
I completed both my BA and MA at the University of Reading, where I gained a first class and distinction respectively. After graduating I worked for a few years as a management consultant, before deciding to return to academia and pursue my passion for modernist and contemporary poetry. I am very fortunate that my research is fully funded by an AHRC BGP award.
My thesis, titled “Contemporary British Poetry and Objectivism”, focuses on three British poets – Charles Tomlinson, Gael Turnbull and Andrew Crozier – who formed friendships with elder American contemporaries (namely William Carlos Williams, George Oppen, Louis Zukofsky and Carl Rakosi) who had been associated with the brief 1930s modernist grouping called the “Objectivists”; my study directly traces this neglected but important link through extensive archival research, looking at both letters and manuscripts. For all three British poets, the Objectivists became significant influences on their work and my thesis examines this influence in terms of form and technique, approach to language, and ways of “perceiving” the world in the context of an alternative to the authoritative-judging and collective outlook of The Movement, the prevailing mode of “mainstream” British poetry of the 1950s and 60s. My study finally considers why Objectivism – a distinctly “American” of modernisms – so appealed to Tomlinson, Turnbull and Crozier in a time of post-war British “provincialism”. I posit that Objectivist poetics equipped these poets not just with new techniques but with the means to subtly resist certain social structures, values and hierarchies implicit within much British poetry, as well as to make renewed claims about poetry’s relevance to the world.
I am very lucky to have visited a number of archives in the course of my research, including the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and Special Collections at the University of Cambridge. From September to December 2014 I was an International Research Fellow at the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, Austin, courtesy of an AHRC IPS award.