Professor John Goodby

Professor John Goodby
Personal Chair
English Literature & Creative Writing
Telephone: (01792) 604312

About Me

John Goodby is a critic, poet, translator and arts organiser. An expert on modern Irish poetry, he is also a world authority on Dylan Thomas, editor of the new annotated edition of the Collected Poems (2014) and author of The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall (2013). He is the Director of the Dylan Thomas Research Project within CREW, a Fellow of the English Association, and advises the British Council, BBC, AHRC, Literature Wales and other bodies marking the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth in 2014. His research focuses on late/modernist writing; he has pioneered critical recognition of its importance in Irish poetry, and argues that Dylan Thomas is a hybrid figure whose fusing of modernism and mainstream modes problematises the fault-line in post-Waste Land British poetry. From 2009-12 he was a co-organizer of the Hay and Alloa Poetry Jamborees, and in 2011 he founded the Boiled String series of poetry chapbooks, which has published titles by Childe Roland, Rhys Trimble and Ulrike Dräsner among others. Current projects include: a website and translation app based on Dylan Thomas’s poetry, a collection of essays on Irish poetry, a monograph on Welsh modernist and alternative poetry 1930-2010 and the anthology to go with it, and various poetry collections and translations. John welcomes Ph.D. applications on Irish poetry and fiction, English and Anglo-Welsh poetry, and innovative Creative Writing poetry projects.

Publications

  1. ‘The liquid choirs of his tribes’: Dylan Thomas as icon, influence and intertext. In The Poetry of Dylan Thomas Under the Spelling Wall. -462).
  2. Discovering Dylan: a Companion to the Collected Poems and Notebook Poems of Dylan Thomas. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  3. Trevor Joyce and What’s In Store. In Niamh O’Mahony (Ed.), The Poetry of Trevor Joyce. Shearsman Books.
  4. The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

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Teaching

  • EN-114 Voices of Poetry

    'Voices of Poetry' is an engaging and exciting module which aims to introduce students to poetry and the various voices it articulates. Taught by well-known poets as well as scholars of poetry, this course will introduce students to a wide range of poetic forms and literary periods, ranging from the medieval lyric to postmodern poetry, from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath. Particular attention will be paid to the interrelationship between meaning and form, and how rhetorical figures, metre, rhythm, tone, register and the speaker's voice create meaning. 'Voices of Poetry' will also foster an appreciation of how poetic forms are re-written in the socio-historical context in which they were produced.

  • EN-207 Revolution of the Word: Modernism

    An introduction to Modernist literature, focussing upon its origins in response to the crisis of modernity, its engagement with colonialism and the First World War, its formal experimentation, its depiction of city-life and its engagement with new ideas of gender and the unconscious.

  • EN-240 Revolution and Romanticism

    In this module students will study some major texts of British Romantic poetry and prose in the historical context of contemporary debates on revolutionising society. We will trace a dialectic between Romantic individualism and social concern in poetry, revolutionary ‘propaganda’, gothic fiction and the romantic novel. Through detailed critical analysis we will focus on the various ways in which writers sought to unmask bourgeois hypocrisy and political corruption; to portray lower-class life and sexuality honestly; or to invoke tradition and question change. The philosophical implications of such terms as ‘Romanticism’, ‘Sensibility’, and ‘Subjectivity’ will be explored, and the ideology of different literary styles, contrasted. Though we will be reading a varied selection of texts, a continuing concern will be on the ways in which social changes are embodied in literary consciousness, and on the relationship between experience and perception.

  • EN-3031 Dissertation - English Literature

    The Dissertation is an optional, two-semester, 40-credit module designed to develop high-level academic skills and intellectual independence in the students. A first-semester skills-building programme will include: research skills, summary skills, bibliographic skills, ability to synthesise succinctly, planning and organisational skills, correct presentation of a thesis and bibliography, presentational skills and public speaking. Students conduct research on a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of the English literature staff. The topic will be devised to fall within staff research and teaching specialisms, broadly defined. Students attend group sessions on research skills in Semesters 1 and 2, and have individual meetings with supervisors in Semester 2.

  • EN-319 Further Poetry Writing

    This module consists of ten two-hour weekly workshops, which will deepen knowledge of the craft of writing poetry, paying close attention to the specific language of the poem, and the relationship between form and content. This will occur against a background theme of the changing role of the poet in society and how it has affected poetic form, as well as an exploration of the position of poetry - whether performed or published - in the past and the present. the focus each week will be on writing and rewriting and weekly workshops will include discussion of published poetry and the students' own work.

  • EN-339 Dylan Thomas

    This course offers the chance to study the work of a leading twentieth century writer in the locale where he was born, brought up, and arrived at creative maturity. One of its main aims is to question the myth of the life which has dogged past interpretations of Thomas by re-placing his writing in its literary, historical and critical contexts. Using critical and theoretical approaches suggested by the work itself—linguistics, surrealism, psychoanalysis, theories of Gothic and the body, Welsh identity, war, popular culture and the pastoral—it explores the ways in which Thomas developed his explosive alternative to the ironic-realist tradition of English poetry by mediating the crises of his times (the Great Depression, world war, and the Cold War) through his hybrid poetic, a blend of revolutionary modernism and traditional form. You will learn about Thomas’s radical and exciting treatment of poetic creativity, language and the self, sex and biology, religion, the child, and what today we would call green issues.

  • EN-M45 Dylan Thomas and the Idea of Welsh Writing in English

    Was Dylan Thomas the beginning (and end?) of Welsh writing in English? If not, then when did it begin? And does it make any difference as to when we suppose it does? What, in any case, is meant by speaking of a Welsh Literature in English? What definition of it can one offer, and what model of such a body of work can one construct? These are the kinds of issues to be considered in this course. It is accordingly subdivided into two sections. The first is concerned with the range of responses to Thomas's writings in Wales itself, and the ways in which he was made to represent the Anglophone literature of Wales in England and the United States. The second considers other possible "beginnings" for Welsh writing in English ( ranging from the Middle Ages to the First World War and to the thirties generation of genius). We conclude by discussing some of the theoretical and cultural isses involved in constructing literary tradition.

Supervision

  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Kellermann
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Dr Steven Vine
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Kellermann
  • 'Pragmatic Pugilist:the Social and cultural Thought of Ishmael Reed' (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Daniel Williams
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Columbus Day (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Mr Nigel Jenkins
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Border States in the Writings of Tom Mac Intyre: A Paleo-Postmodern Perspective (awarded 2011)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Prof Daniel Williams
  • 'The World of Words': A Post-Freudian Rereading of Dylan Thomas' Early Poetry (awarded 2011)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Dr Steven Vine
  • WALT WHITMAN AND MIND CURE (awarded 2007)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof M.Wynn Thomas
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Bruno in England, 1583-1585 (awarded 2007)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Mr Glyn Pursglove
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • THE LIVING TRADITION: ELIOT AND HEIDEGGER (awarded 2005)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Prof Neil Reeve