An Ekphrastic Update: Exhibition, Course, and Conference

explore collective exhibition wales millennium centreAs my final year of being a PhD student draws to a close, I’m excited to be continuing my work on ekphrasis (writing poetry in response to art) in lots of different ways! First, there is still time to visit the Wales Millennium Centre where you can see our Explore Collective project exhibition: Freedom to Create.
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My Literary Highlights of 2023 – Publication, Art & The PhD!

poetry book - Octopus MindThis year has been an incredible milestone, with the publication of my debut collection Octopus Mind in July. It felt like everything was leading up to that moment, and the launch was a wonderful celebration of all that hard work, cheered on by the people who have encouraged and supported me over the past 39 years.    Continue reading

The End of an Era: Completing the PhD at Gregynog Hall

Gregynog in the sunIn December 2019 I visited Gregynog Hall for the first time – a gorgeous, rambling old mansion in mid Wales, where the annual Cardiff University Creative Writing retreat takes place. I was still working out what the plan would be for my PhD over the coming years, with no concept of what 2020 would bring.    Continue reading

What Are You Looking For? An Ekphrastic Interactive Exhibition

What are you looking for? An interactive exhibition.Last year I put together an interactive poetry exhibition at National Museum Cardiff, and loads of people took part, writing poems and other texts in response to the artwork and other people’s poems, drawings and comments. Since then, as part of my PhD, I’ve been writing my own poems in response – an ekphrastic response to ekphrastic response… and some of my poems have morphed from text into 3D objects!    Continue reading

PhD Progress, Poetry, Collage and My Book Launch!

Interactive collage - part of the exhibition in RomeI have struggled a lot with my health over the past few months, but I also have a lot to be thankful for in what is effectively the final year of my PhD. The two writing retreats I attended in December were fruitful. I spent much of January writing new poems based on the January Writing Hour prompts provided by Kim Moore and Clare Shaw, inspired by the response to my interactive poetry museum display last autumn. Continue reading

The Joys of Poetry Editing and Writing Retreats

Totleigh BartonI love editing my poems. There’s a thrill in getting that first draft down on the page, but nothing beats spending hours, days, weeks, months (even years) pondering over a poem, testing out words, switching line breaks, finding the perfect form. However, I’ve never been in quite this position before, knowing that the final changes I’m making right now will end up as an actual book of poems. My debut collection Octopus Mind is due for publication in July, and the deadline is looming.    Continue reading

Poetry in the Art Museum: In So Many Words

Interactive Poetry Display board at the museumFor the past nine weeks I’ve enjoyed seeing my PhD theories come to life, in the form of an interactive poetry display at National Museum Wales. The response has been phenomenal, beyond anything I could have imagined, and it’s been a real privilege to see so many people interacting with the display in different ways.    Continue reading

A Creative Writing PhD – The Third Year (Part 1)

Poetry books by Emily Berry and Ocean Vuong

It feels like this year has been busier than ever, probably because in-person things have started happening again, and it’s so nice to see real people!

The academic year started off with a bang, as my first ever peer-reviewed journal article was published online! The title is ‘Shaping the Lyric: Literal and Metaphorical Blank Space in the Poetry of Emily Berry and Ocean Vuong’ and it’s freely available online if you’d like to read it. It began life as a 2000 word essay for my MA, a few years ago, and I’ve spent many, many, many hours re-working and extending it for publication. I initially tried a different journal, and made it all the way through the peer review process, only to be turned down at the last minute. I’m so glad I decided to try again!

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A Creative Writing PhD – The Second Year

notebooksMy first year as a creative writing PhD student was fairly eventful, with a pandemic taking over every aspect of life from March onwards. Looking back, I think the routine of PhD work, with the opportunity to immerse myself in research, was the main thing that kept me going through the lockdown. The second year has included teaching online, running workshops online, organising a conference (also online) and plenty of reading, mainly from the comfort of my own home. For obvious reasons, I don’t have many photos!  Continue reading

A Creative Writing PhD – The First Year

notebooksI began my PhD last autumn with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I was going back to study full time, to focus on creative writing – the subject that had thrilled me as an undergraduate thirteen years before. And what a year it has been, with so many unexpected challenges! But it has been fascinating too, and even though the last few months have not been easy, there have been plenty of highlights along the way.   Continue reading