My first book was entitled Collage in Twentieth-Century Art, Literature, and Culture: Joseph Cornell, William Burroughs, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan. Exploring the influence of Europe’s artist-émigrés on New York culture from World War I onwards, I argued that collage was an enduringly vital practice that was central to modernism and its aftermaths, transforming the ways in which literature was written and art and music was made. I am currently co-editing a follow up collection called The Poetics of Collage, which includes work on Allen Ginsberg, Adrian Henri, Joseph Cornell, and Joe Brainard, among others.
My current research examines the New York literary scene in the 1960s and 1970s, with the aim of developing new thinking around the accepted narrative of mid-to-late 20th-century American poetry. Taking Frank O’Hara’s death as its point of departure, it explores the aftermath, for a literary community, of the loss of a key creative figure, and interrogates the suggestion, made by John Ashbery, that O’Hara’s death was ‘the biggest secret loss to American poetry’. Focussing on writers including Ted Berrigan, Eileen Myles, Bernadette Mayer, Joe Brainard, and John Ashbery, my research examines the development of radical poetic centres at a time when experiments in community-building were crucial to the rejection of conservative culture, and elucidates the social systems and networks of influence within this mid-century New York coterie. It also considers the struggle between American individuality and involvement with collaborative movements inspired by the European avant-garde, and draws links between New York and Liverpool during the period.
I am also interested in cultural studies and contemporary print and visual cultures within the fields of modernism and American literature, and in transnational exchange.