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

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.


  1. The No Breath. New Mills, Derbyshire SK22 4BR: The Red Ceilings Press.
  2. Mine arch never marble. Argotist Online.
  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.
  5. ‘‘The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive’: Dylan Thomas as Surrealist. In Dada and Beyond, vol. 2: Dada and its Legacies. (pp. 199-223). Amsterdam - New York: Rodopi Press.

See more...


  • 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 poets as well as critics and scholars of poetry, this course begins by defining the lyric poem and then exploring the basic structures and devices which make it work ¿ metre, rhyme, rhetorical figures, rhythm, metaphor and so on. Having done this, the course moves on to the relationship between meaning, form and voice, introducing students to a variety of poems ranging from the anonymous medieval lyric to postmodern US poetry, from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath. Attention is paid at all times to the way poets create the effect of a `voice¿, and to poems¿ socio-historical contexts. The main aim of the course is to give students the confidence, enthusiasm and expertise to engage in independent close reading, analysis and critical assessment.

  • 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-3038 'If You Can Remember Them, You Weren't There': Literature of the 1960s

    The 1960s were the most innovative and culturally vibrant period in postwar British history, marking the belated end of post-WWII austerity, and the upsurge of a newly stylish and confident national identity. Reflecting prolonged economic upswing, the coming-of-age of the 'baby boomer' generation, and empowerment by the 1944 Education Act, the culture of the decade tends to be recalled today in the quasi-mythical terms of a golden age. Yet its swagger was brittle, overshadowed as it was by imperial decline, the threat of nuclear war, and the growing cultural dominance of the USA. A time of great upheavals - in morality, the arts, politics and social behaviour - it was also a period of angst and anguished self-questioning. This module explores the ways in which the increased aspirations and fears of the 1960s were mediated by and reflected in its writing. Special attention is paid to the way writers dealt with the challenge of new ideas and the new media, such as television and rock music, as well as the revolution in traditional art forms. Along with literary texts, therefore, students will explore some 1960s music and fine art, as well as the work of critics and theorists such as Guy Debord, Herbert Marcuse, Susan Sontag and Marshall McLuhan.

  • 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-M40 Poetry 2

    This module follows on from and builds on the lessons learned in Writing Poetry 1, introducing students to a wide range of approaches to poetry, from the intricacies of strict traditional forms such as the sonnet and the villanelle to the experimental possibilities of concrete poetry. Many of the forms considered are non-English in origin and some of them, such as the Japanese haibun, are notably novel, in the West at least. Consideration of the operations of chance - in found poetry, for instance - will be balanced by exposure to the deliberate and complex calculations of, for instance, Welsh prosody. Students will be encouraged both to create in these forms and to adapt them to their own purposes. The module consists of a series of eleven weekly workshops which will comprise a fluid mingling of tutor-led discussion and workshop-based exercises; verse forms and techniques will be clarified by the reading and discussion of named works of poetry and by the dissemination of explicatory handouts. Short assignments will be set every week and brought to the workshop to be considered communally. The workshops will last for up to two and a half hours and will be supplemented by sessions of individual mentoring on a one-to-one basis with a tutor. The module will be evaluated by a portfolio of poetry together with a 1000-word reflective essay on the creative process involved in assembling the portfolio.


  • The Fifth Notebook: A Variorum Facsimile Edition (30,000 word equivalent)«br /»«br /»«br /» «br /»«br /»«br /» `A Beast, an Angel, and a Madman’: Dylan Thomas’s process poetry and prose 1933-39 (70,000 word thesis)«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Steven Vine
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Green Figs & Blue Jazz (and others). (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Kellermann
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Raining Old Wives and Walking Sticks: A poetry project exploring the cultural identity of modern Wales (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Tudur Hallam
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
  • Ring Composition and Literary Alchemy: The Form and Function of J. K. Rowling’s Fiction (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof John Goodby
    Other supervisor: Prof Julian Preece