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Dr Luke Roberts

Roberts_LukeLecturer in Modern Poetry


Address Department of English
King's College London
VWB 7.40 
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE


I joined King’s in September 2016 as Lecturer in Modern Poetry, after studying at the University of Cambridge (BA, PhD) and Birkbeck College (MA).

My research focuses on 20th and 21st Century poetry, and the relationship between poetry, political commitment, and social history. I recently completed a monograph on the work of Barry MacSweeney, and I’m currently trying to think more broadly about poetry and the State, beginning with prisons and the police.

I’m also interested in archival and bibliographic research. In 2012 I co-edited Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer, which reprinted some of the arguments about poetry and poetics going on in Cambridge (and further afield) in the 1960s.

I remain devoted to little magazines and other ephemeral documents of triumph and failure. My own poetry has been published in the UK and the USA by independent presses. 

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Poetry and left-wing politics
  • Poetry and psychoanalysis/feminism/queer theory/ Marxism
  • Bibliographic and textual history

I am interested in all aspects of poetic work, from the moment of composition through to public circulation. I particularly value the recovery of marginal writers and the illumination of forgotten social and political contexts. Aside from MacSweeney, I’ve recently written essays on John Wieners and the queer lyric; on Bill Griffiths and prison writing; and on experimental poetry in the 1980s and 1990s.

I welcome PhD students who work on 20th and 21st Century poetry and the social and political contexts for poetics.

Selected publications

Barry MacSweeney and the Politics of Post-War British Poetry: Seditious Things (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

‘Lyric Audibility: In Public’ (Textual Practice, forthcoming)

‘Strategies of Survival in Experimental Poetry’, in Berthold Schoene and Eileen Pollard, eds, Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

‘Strikers With Poems’, in Abigail Lang and David Nowell Smith, eds, Modernist Legacies: Trends and Faultlines (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer, co-edited with Neil Pattison and Reitha Pattison (Mountain 2012; 2014)
Poetry and Poetics; Modernism; British and American Poetry; Contemporary Writing









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