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Poet, Novelist, and Critic






This book will provide an overview of the writing career of Mary Oliver by analyzing her poems in detail, explicating them by reference to her own prose writings and the essays by her critics, and by placing them in their most appropriate contexts, which include an American and English Romantic tradition, and a post-war American context which includes her key contemporaries Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich.



I am now the editor of Salt Wales, the Welsh section of Salt publishing, which is looking to expand its poetry publishing in Wales. I will be happy to receive unsolicited manuscripts.

Salt, which has an international scope and reputation, achieved by its award-winning and innovative web presence, and which is expanding its publishing in Wales, has put me in charge of the commissioning of books in this country. This involves the reading of manuscripts, interacting with authors and with Literature Wales (formerly Academi), who will also advertise Salt’s activities, and mediating between Welsh authors and Salt’s headquarters in Cambridge.



I am currently working on a book on the American poet Mary Oliver.



Current support for others' research





Astonishingly little critical attention has been paid to Mary Oliver whose importance nonetheless is clear from the esteem in which she is held by fellow poets and the prizes she has won (including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award).  She was recently described in The New York Times as ‘the best-selling poet in America.’  Her work is highly distinctive, especially in its tendency to celebrate experience and its emphasis on happiness:  as the important American poet Stanley Kunitz has written:  ‘Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations.’  Yet her work is far from naïve and earns its celebratory mode by acknowledging the sources of anxiety in other writers and drawing upon them to introduce a dialogic hesitation into her poems which have learned from postmodernist techniques and deploy them, paradoxically, to oppose postmodernist scepticism.  She can also be seen in the context of an urgent postmodern discussion of Nature, and can be compared to other practitioners of ‘ecopoetry’.





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