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 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 interests are Contemporary Poetry (the writing of and the writing about), and the writing of short fiction, though I'm also interested in innovative novel or script writing.

Critical interests include the Arts-Health nexus, as in my recent AHRC-funded 'Poets Respond to Covid-19' project (2020-2021), and current work around Social Prescription of the Arts to support those with common mental health symptoms. 

My fifth book of poetry, Xenia etc. (forthcoming, 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.

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 Head of Research for the School of School of Society and Culture (current); Head of English and Creative Writing, Programme Manager of the MA Creative Writing (current); and Deputy Director of the Doctoral College. 

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 PhD candidates interested in practice-as-research -- eg. innovative creative writing projects which investigate a particular theme or idea -- to get in touch. 


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 member (peer reviewer) of 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 Kent, Trinity College, Dublin, University of Manchester, University of Birmingham, 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

My teaching interests include Creative Writing, Contemporary Literature (poetry, fiction), and American Literature. I've supervised 10+ PhDs in Creative Writing (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction), with accompanying critical dissertations in a wide variety of areas, including: contemporary Nepalese women's poetry, Japanese ekphrastic fiction, the legacy of the Black Mountain poets, and early modern American women's narratives. 

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, Manchester, Birmingham, Winchester, Kent, and Plymouth.



Research interests

Contemporary Literature -- especially Anglo, Irish, and American poetry.

Creative Writing -- all forms.

Arts and Health -- I'm currently the Principal Investigator for 'Poets Respond to Covid-19: An international and Collaborative Poetry Project' (Arts and Humanities Research Council, £89,000).

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

I've supervised a number of PhDs in Creative Writing (fiction and poetry), with critical dissertations on poets and topics 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

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 for 'Poets Respond to Covid-19: An international and Collaborative Poetry Project' (Arts and Humanities Research Council, £89,000).

Arts Council England, Individual Artists Grants: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, for editing and publishing of Short FICTION journal.

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 from RCI.




Creative Writing: 

A Dynamic Exchange between Us (Shearsman, 2019) -- Book of Poetry

The Victor Poems (Shearsman, 2015) -- Book of Poetry 

Of Whales: in Print, in Paint, in Sea, in Stars, in Coin, in House, in Margins. (Salt, 2010) -- Book of Poetry

 Churchtown: The Tale of Suzy Delou and Faye Fiddle (Roast Books, 2008). Winner of 'Great Little Reads' competition -- A novella

 The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite (Salt, 2004) -- Book of Poetry

As Editor: 

Founding Ed. 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

Founding Ed. Short FICTION:The Visual Literary Journal (an annual of circa 192pp). 2007-2015. Since 2015, Contributing Editor.


Ed. Anthony Caleshu, In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan UP, 2018).

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).



Conferences organised

Conferences Organised

2022 (Delayed due to Covid): An Interdisciplinary Conference on Arts and Health

22-24 May 2016: Contemporary Poetry: Thinking and Feeling (co organisers: Anthony Caleshu and Mandy Bloomfield)

18-20 May 2012: Contemporary Poetry and Source Conference (co-organisers Anthony Caleshu and Lytton Smith)

31 May -1 April, 2007: Poetry and Public Language (co-organisers Anthony Caleshu, Tony Lopez, John Hall, and Mark Leahy). 


Recent Publications: 

Webpage for The Victor Poems (Shearsman 2015).

Webpage for In the Air: Essay on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan University Press, 2018).