I am a poet and critic, originally from Ireland, where interests in post-conflict and cross-community work have developed into my current outreach in creative writing with military veterans. Educated at University College Dublin and at Lancaster University, I also pursued post-graduate study at NYU and the New School, New York. I joined the OU from Kingston University London where I was Associate Professor in English Literature and Creative Writing. I am the author of five works of poetry and co-editor of the forthcoming book of essays on the work of Eavan Boland. My work has received awards in the National Poetry Competition and the Troubadour International Competition and is the recipient of an Arts Council award and the Templar Poetry Prize. I publish regularly in the literary journals of the US and the UK/Ireland including Poetry and The Hopkins Review (US) and Agenda and Magma Poetry (UK). I appear in the canonical anthologies of the past two decades including Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe), Women’s Work: Modern Women Poets writing in English (Seren) and The Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature (NYU Press).
I am interested in the place of the political poem in contemporary poetics and in re-exploring the prisms for looking at ‘conflict poetry’ with a focus on the ‘ethics of aesthetics’ as well as on perceived personal/political divides.
In my own work I explore the moral obligations of the artist who writes about or from a contested or violent society. In exploring the ideas of ‘witness’ and of the socially engaged writer, I both wish to critically engage with contemporary debate as well as develop new creative writing pedagogies for non-traditional environments or in recovering cultures.
Current research includes a re-reading of the work of poet Richard Murphy in the light of recent ‘peace-process’ poetry as well as an assessment of the poetics of Padraic Fiacc.