skip to content

Professor Ian Davidson, FEA

BA Hons (Essex), PGCE (Normal College), PhD (Aberystwyth)

Professor of English Literature

Contact details:
Faculty of Arts, Design & Social Sciences
Northumbria University
Lipman Building, room 103Newcastle upon Tyne
phone: TBC
fax: +44 (0) 191 227 3696  



I work across the fields of English Literature, American Literature and Creative Writing. I studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Essex, before completing my PhD on the relationship between spatial theory and contemporary poetry at Aberystwyth University. After teaching for a while at Aberystwyth I joined the School of English at Bangor University where I became Senior Lecturer in English before leaving to become Reader in English at Northumbria in 2011, and then Professor in 2013. I have taught and contributed to a range of English and Creative Writing undergraduate modules, including third year options in Experimental Writing, The Short Story and Modern American Poetry. I am Research Lead for English Language and Linguistics, Literature and Creative Writing.  

I regularly publish through monographs and journal articles on space and mobility in modern and contemporary poetry and fiction, and have edited essay collections and special issues of journals.  As well as a literature critic I am also a practicing poet. I have published four full length collections of poetry and a number of shorter chapbooks and pamphlet, and my work has appeared in magazines and journals in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Australia and in translation in Italy, Latvia and Slovakia. I co-edited the magazine Skald for some years, and now co-edit the pamphlet series Gratton Street Irregulars. I am poetry editor for the journal English.


BA (Hons) Essex  

PGCE Normal College  

PhD Aberystwyth

Affiliations and Memberships

Fellow of the English Association

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the Welsh Literary Academy

Advisor to the Welsh Arts Council

Assessed funding applications for AHRC, Leverhulme, the British Academy, the IRCHSS  and other grant giving bodies

External examiner at undergraduate and postgraduate level

Research Interests

My recent research has focussed on the way the form and content of modern and contemporary poetry has engaged with the process of globalisation and with theories of space and mobility.  A monograph on this topic, Ideas of Space in Contemporary Poetry (please visit the Palgrave website for a sample chapter) was published in 2007. In this book I explore the ways in which spatial theory can support new readings of modern and contemporary poetry. I also examine the way in which the virtual spaces of the internet and digital technology have changed the production and distribution of poetry and relationships between poetry and the space of the page in visual and concrete poetry. These arguments are developed in my most recent monograph, Radical Spaces of Poetry, published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2010. In this book I explore relationships between the body and local and global spaces, and the ways experimental poetry has provided a space for the exploration of social positions outside of mainstream culture. Research papers on Lisa Robertson, Alice Notley, Charles Reznikoff, Frank O'Hara and Jeremy Prynne that explore these ideas have either been published or are forthcoming. My current critical project applies the spatial theory of my first two monographs and draws on the current interest in cultural and social studies in 'mobility' to complete a major survey of the role of the automobile in modern and contemporary US literature.

I am a practicing writer and have published four book length collections of poetry and a number of shorter chapbooks and pamphlets. I publish broadly through the more experimental and avant-garde outlets in the UK, Canada, America and Australia and recent publications have been with Shearsman, Wild Honey, West House and Oystercatcher. Pamphlets are forthcoming from Red Squirrel Press and Knives, Forks and Spoons. Work has also appeared in more mainstream national publications such as Poetry Review, Poetry Wales and New Welsh Review.

My most recent full length collection, Partly in Riga, was based in part on writing carried out during a one-month residency in Riga in August 2006, and was published by Shearsman in 2010. Previous collections include At a Stretch (2004) a collection of poems that reinvent the notion of 'place' in a post-modern and globalised environment. Moving on from the idea of place as a 'structure of feeling' – an important concept for post-war British and US poets as diverse as Frank O'Hara, Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney – the poems, both in the content and the forms they employ, explore increasingly interconnected and destabilised landscapes. As if Only (2006) continues to develop the idea of place, and its relationship to increasingly globalised structures and systems.

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised research students at master's and doctoral level in contemporary literature and in creative writing. Topics at doctoral level have included:

Geographies of contemporary British poetry
Richard Brautigan and the experimental novel

Creative Writing
The short story
Short stories and folk tales
The blog and the autobiographical novel
Women’s writing and the novel
The novel and travel writing

If you are interested in supervision in any of the above areas, or in other aspects of contemporary literature or creative writing, then please contact me.


I have taught contemporary literature and creative writing at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level. Recent undergraduate teaching has focused on third year options in experimental writing, the short story and writing and identity, and masters level teaching in contemporary literature and creative writing.

Funding Awards

AHRC Creative Fellowship (2003-4)

Literature Across Frontiers Residency (2006)

HEFCW research leave (2006)

Welsh Literature Abroad travel grant (2007 and 2008)

British Academy Travel Grant (2010)

I successfully sponsored, an AHRC Creative Fellowship (Dr Zoe Skoulding, 2007) and a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship (Professor Michael Davidson, 2013).

I was responsible for submitting the Block Grant Partnership (capacity building) bid for Bangor University (2010).

Selected publications

Placing Poetry [as co-editor] (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013).

Radical Spaces of Poetry (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

'Automobility, materiality and Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis.' Cultural Geographies, 19.4 (2012), pp. 469–482.

Partly in Riga (Exeter: Shearsman, 2010).

Full list of publications