I joined Keele in 2012 as an undergraduate in English and American Literature, where I obtained a First Class Honours and was awarded the King Alfred Prize in Medieval English and the Clare Coleman Memorial Prize for special achievement in my studies. I stayed on at Keele in 2015–16, where I achieved a scholarship (£10,000) to enrol on a Masters in English Literature (Distinction). In 2017, I received a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and embarked on my PhD studies in English Literature.
My doctoral research focuses on experimental poetry by women in the contemporary US. I argue that experimental poetry provides methods through which to reconfigure language, bodies, and knowledge in order to 'talk back' to heteropatriarchal narratives that 'represent' women. I am particularly interested in the materiality of writing and how poetic form plays with notions of ambiguity, fluidity, and multiplicity in relation to 'feminine' identities. I am supervised by Professor Oliver Harris (Keele University) and Professor Susan Billingham (University of Nottingham).
I have also conducted research on the poetry of Ely Shipley. My Masters dissertation argued that Shipley's poetry provides a means to subvert oppressive narratives of marginalised (trans)gender identities, thus contributing to the construction of identity based on self-definition and lived experience. My interest in LGBTQ+ re-presentation and queer poetics continues in my current research, which focuses on the experimental writing of several LGBTQ+ poets, including Dodie Bellamy, kari edwards, and Isobel O'Hare.
I am passionate about teaching and learning. My experience as a first-generation university student has led to an interest in student engagement and widening participation in higher education. Throughout my teaching career, one of my main focuses has been to promote inclusive education practices by developing sessions and resources that support and encourage students, from primary school to undergraduate-level, to engage with their curriculum and academic practice. To achieve this aim I have undertaken several teaching courses, through which I achieved Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) status, and organised a conference on trans inclusive education in partnership with Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent and Newleaf members (funded by the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion). In addition to my role as a GTA, I also work within the KIITE Student Learning team as a part-time Write Direction Academic Tutor and deliver English outreach Higher Horizons+ sessions to schools and colleges across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.
If you would like to have personalised assistance with academic reading, writing, or other study skills, please book an appointment via the following link: https://writedirection.youcanbook.me/
Research and scholarship
Merrydew, A. (In Review). 'Reflecting (on) the Body: Trans Self-Representation and Resistance in the Poetry of Ely Shipley.'
September 2019. 'Revolting Women: Reconfiguring Abjection in Dodie Bellamy's Prose Poetry,' PG CWWN Conference: New Configurations in Contemporary Women's Writing (University of Hull).
April 2019. 'Talking Bodies, Talking Back: Reflections and the Body in Ely Shipley's Boy with Flowers,' Talking Bodies: Identity, Sexuality, Representation (University of Chester).
November 2018. '"Poking fun at gender conventions": Rearticulating Trans Identities and Experiences in Contemporary Poetry,' Comedy and Power Conference (Sheffield Hallam University).
September 2018. 'Trans Self-Representation in Contemporary Poetry.' Humanities Work in Progress Seminar Series (Keele University).
August 2017. 'Trans(forming) Bodies: Poetry, Phenomenology, and Blossoming into the Desired Body in Ely Shipley's Boy with Flowers,' Queer Subjects and the Contemporary United States Colloquium (University of East Anglia).
Funding and Awards
2017 - 2020. Graduate Teaching Assistantship (Keele University).
2019. Travel Bursary to attend 'FUTURESEX: Activism and Academia' Workshop and Public Lecture (University of Surrey).
2019. Research Support Funding to present at 'PG CWWN Conference: New Configurations in Contemporary Women's Writing' (University of Hull). Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Keele University).
2019. Small Research Grant. David Bruce Centre for American Studies (Keele University).
2019. Research Support Funding to present at 'Talking Bodies: Identity, Sexuality, Representation' at University of Chester. Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Keele University).
2018 - 2019. Conference Organisation Grant (lead applicant). 'Trans Youth and Education: National Issues and Solutions.' Funded by Keele's Institute for Social Inclusion (Keele University).
2018. Research Support Funding to present at 'Comedy and Power Conference' at University of Sheffield. Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Keele University).
September 2018. Travel Bursary to attend 'Critically Queer' Conference (Bristol University).
2018. Conference Organisation Grant (£1,100), 'Breaking Walls in Humanities: Narratives of Critical Resistance in the Post-Brexit Research Environment.' Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Keele University).
2017 - 2018. Seminar Organisation Grant (£558), Humanities Work in Progress Seminar Series. Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Keele University).
2015 - 2016. Keele Postgraduate Support Scheme Scholarship (£10,000). Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Keele University.
2014 - 2015. Clare Coleman Memorial Prize.
2013 - 2014. King Alfred Prize in Medieval English.
2013. President's Honor Roll (Oklahoma State University).
I work within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and teach on the following modules:
ENG-10026: Reading Literature (first-year core module). Seminar designer and leader.
ENG-10030: Composition (first-year core module). Seminar leader.
I have also taught on AMS-10025: Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature (first-year core module). Lecturer, seminar designer, seminar leader.
My office hour is Thursday, 1-2pm (CBB0.028).
Administration and Academic Activities:
September 2019 - present. Write Direction Academic Tutor. Keele Institute of Innovation and Teaching Excellence (Keele University).
November 2018 - June 2019. Lead Conference Organiser. 'Trans Youth and Education: National Issues and Solutions' (Keele University).
September 2018 - present. Committee Member. David Bruce Centre for American Studies (Keele University).
March 2018 - present. Research Assistant for The Correspondence of Daniel Defoe (Led by Dr Nick Seager and funded by the AHRC).
September 2017 - present. Event Organiser and Panel Chair. Keele Humanities Work in Progress Seminar Series (Keele University).
January - May 2018. Event Organiser and Panel Chair. 'Breaking Walls in Humanities: Narratives of Critical Resistance in the Post-Brexit Research Environment' (Keele University).
April 2018. Peer reviewer for Under Construction (Keele University).
November 2017 - present. Outreach Tutor. Higher Horizons+ (Keele University).