Professor Anthony Caleshu

Professor Anthony Caleshu

Associate Head of School Research, Knowledge Exchange, Enterprise

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Born in Massachusetts, USA in 1970, I moved to Ireland in 1997 after completing my MFA in Creative Writing at University of Alabama. I wrote my PhD at National University of Ireland, Galway (on the American poet, James Tate), and began working at University of Plymouth in 2003. I became Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing in 2012. 

My chief interest is Contemporary Poetry. I've written 5 books of poetry and 3 books about poetry. I also write short fiction, and have recently completed a screenplay. Past writing publications include a novella as well. 
Critical interests include Creative Health. My current work is around the benefit of Community Assets (Arts & Cultural organisations) and Social Prescription to support those with common mental health symptoms. I'm at work on the development of an app to evaluate the benefit of Social Prescription and Community Assets, but also to return agency to the person availing of such with a 'story' of a their health journey. I was PI for the AHRC-funded 'Poets Respond to Covid-19' project (2020-2021). Our published project findings about the benefit of poetry to health and well-being during the pandemic were covered by over 200 media outlets around the world (read the article in The Journal of Poetry Therapy). 
All of my writing is research led and often stems from my wider interest in the creative arts and philosophy. My fifth and most recent book of poetry, Xenia etc. (Shearsman, 2023) aims to re-invigorate the ekphrastic tradition, spring-boarding from contemporary visual art into an exploration of the contemporary condition (exploring sexuality and gender in the paintings of Julie Curtiss, landscape and the environment in the work of Shara Hughes and Emma Webster, and race in the work of Henry Taylor). See two recent poems in FREE VERSE, issue 33. Read a review in World Literature Today (March 2024). 

Previous books include A Dynamic Exchange between Us (Shearsman, 2019), a book of criticism as Editor, In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan UP, 2018), and the earlier books of poetry, The Victor Poems (Shearsman, 2014 -- the first five poems of which won the Boston Review Poetry Prize), and Of Whales: in Print, in Paint, in Sea, in Stars, in Coin, in House, in Margins(Salt, 2010), named a ‘book of the year’ in The Daily Telegraph.

In 2016, I began the new poetry venture, Periplum, dedicated to publishing pamphlets, broadsides, books, and digital videos of a selectively slim sample of some extraordinary contemporary poetry ( -- poets like Peter Gizzi, Mark Ford, Heather Phillipson, Rae Armantrout, Vahni Capildeo). From 2007-2015, I was founding Editor of Short FICTION: ‘The Visual Literary Journal’ (an annual), and edited it until 2015, publishing writers such as Marina Warner, Kevin Barry, Julian Gough, Helen Oyeyemi, and Mary O' Donoghue. 

I've held a number of senior management posts over the past decade, including Associate Head of School: Research, Knowledge Exchange, and Enterprise for the School of School of Society and Culture (current); Academic Lead and Director of the Arts Institute's Arts and Culture Programme (current); Head of English and Creative Writing (2020-2021), Programme Manager of the MA Creative Writing (current); and Deputy Director of the Doctoral College (2015-2019). 
I've supervised over 20 PhDs in Creative Writing (all genres) and examined a similar number of PhDs at Universities in the UK and Ireland. 

I welcome prospective PhD candidates working in all forms of Creative Writing; please do get in touch if you're interested in 'practice as research' which investigate a particular theme or idea.


I was educated in the United States and Ireland, receiving my BA English from Lafayette College (1988-1992), MFA Creative Writing/Poetry from University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (1993-1997) Ph.D. English from National University of Ireland, Galway (1998-2002).

Roles on external bodies

I'm a peer review for the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I've been an external examiner and/or consultant for a number of BA and MA programmes at several Universities (including Winchester, Birmingham, Kent, and Dublin City University) and have examined PhDs in both English and Creative Writing at Universities such as University of Manchester, University of Birmingham, University of Kent, Trinity College, Dublin, and University College, London. I've been a peer reviewer for various journals and presses, including: Bloomsbury; University of Liverpool Press; University of Dublin Press; Irish Association of American Studies Journal; Modern Philology (Chicago), and Irish Centre for Poetry Studies Journal (POST).


Teaching interests

I've devised and/or taught on some 20+ modules over the past 25 years: in Creative Writing, Contemporary Literature, and American Literature. I've supervised 20+ PhDs in Creative Writing (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, dramatic writing), with accompanying critical dissertations in a wide variety of areas, including: innovative American poetry, contemporary Nepalese women's poetry, Japanese ekphrastic fiction, the legacy of the Black Mountain poets, early modern American women's narratives, and community theatre. 

Staff serving as external examiners

I've been external examiner for BA English and Creative Writing at University of Winchester, MA Creative Writing University of Birmingham, and MA Poetry Studies at Dublin City Univerisity.I've examined PhDs in English, Creative Writing, Theatre, Fine Art, and by 'Prior Publication' at over 10 Universities including: Trinity College, Dublin, UCL, and University of Manchester, Birmingham, Winchester, Kent, and Plymouth.


Research interests

Contemporary Literature -- especially Anglo, Irish, and American poetry.Creative Writing -- all forms.
Arts and Health --  Principal Investigator for 'Poets Respond to Covid-19: An international and Collaborative Poetry Project' (Arts and Humanities Research Council, £89,000).

Other research

Conferences Organised
2023 Poetry and Care (co-organisers: Russell Evans and Mandy Bloomfield)
2016: Contemporary Poetry: Thinking and Feeling (co organisers: Anthony Caleshu and Mandy Bloomfield)
2012: Contemporary Poetry and Source Conference (co-organisers Anthony Caleshu and Lytton Smith)
2007: Poetry and Public Language (co-organisers Anthony Caleshu, Tony Lopez, John Hall, and Mark Leahy). 

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

I've supervised over 20 PhDs in Creative Writing (fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and dramatic writing), with critical dissertations on poets and topics as varied as 'Painterly Poetics: Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Cole Swenson', Ekphrastic Possibilities in Modern Japanese Fiction; the Poetry of TS Eliot; and Contemporary Nepalese Women's Poetry.

Grants & contracts

2023-2024: Principal Investigator: 'Evaluating and Enabling Social Prescription of Arts and Cultural Activity for Benefit of Common Mental Health Symptoms', £50K (Impact Accelerator Award, AHRC/Univ of Plymouth)
2022-2024: Co-Investigator, Devon Community Assets Research Collaborative: Developing, Understanding, and Linking with Integrated Care Systems’ (AHRC, £250K
2020-2023: Co-Academic Director, 'Engaging University of Plymouth Students in Knowledge Exchange' (funded by Research England and Office for Students, £500,000)
2020-2021: Principal Investigator, 'Poets Respond to Covid-19: An international and Collaborative Poetry Project' (Arts and Humanities Research Council, £89,000).
2009-2011: Romanian Cultural Institute, Start up Series Editor for the University of Plymouth Press Bid to publish 20 Romanian Writers Series, 2009-2011. One of the team responsible for granting of publishing award of £77,000/annual.
2007-2010: Arts Council England, Individual Artists Grants: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, for editing and publishing of Short FICTION journal.

Creative practice & artistic projects

  • Xenia etc. (Shearsman, 2023)
  • A Dynamic Exchange between Us (Shearsman, 2019). 
  • The Victor Poems(Shearsman, 2015).
  • Of Whales: in Print, in Paint, in Sea, in Stars, in Coin, in House, in Margins. (Salt, 2010).
  • The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite(Salt, 2004). 
I've published over 100 poems in literary journals such as TLS, Granta, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Review, Agni, Narrative etc.
  • Churchtown: The Tale of Suzy Delou and Faye Fiddle (Roast Books, 2008). Winner of 'Great Little Reads' Prize.
  • Ed. Anthony Caleshu, In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan UP, 2018). Includes Introduction ad Chapter.
  • Reconfiguring the Modern American Lyric: The Poetry of James Tate (Peter Lang, 2011).
  • Eds Tony Lopez and Anthony Caleshu. Poetry and Public Language (Shearsman 2007). 
Founding Editor of Press / Literary Journal:
2016-present:  Periplum,a small poetry press publishing pamphlets, books, broadsheets and digital interviews of poets in conversation with the editor. Authors include: Mark Ford, Peter Gizzi, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Heather Phillipson, and Edward Clarke.
2007-2015, Short FICTION:The Visual Literary Journal, 9 Issues of c. 212 pages each.