John Goodby

Professor John Goodby FEA

Professor of Arts and Culture


My research specialisms are Irish writing, Welsh poetry, and British / US poetry, especially modernist poetry, more broadly. I am the leading authority on the work of Dylan Thomas and the author / editor of five books on the subject; in this capacity I have worked with and as a consultant to: the BBC, the Arts Council, the National Trust, Aardman Films, the OU, the British Library, British Council, etc. I'm also a poet and translator of poetry (to date, from Italian, French, and German), with a strong interest in non-anglophone poetries. I have an interest in the visual arts and modern art music, and this is reflected in several collaborations with composers and artists. As an active arts organiser, I have organised poetry festivals, edited poetry anthologies and magazines, run a poetry press, and curated and presented poetry reading series.


I was born and brought up in Kingstanding, in north-east Birmingham, and gained an English BA degree (1st Class Hons) at Hull University in 1977-80, and an English MA and PhD (on modern Irish poetry) at Leeds University in 1981-82 and 1983-86 respectively. In 1985 my first poems were published in Pennine Platform and my first poetry pamphlet, Before the Flood, was published in 1986, winning an Arts Council Bursary. I worked for the Leeds City Council Disabilities Unit and as a part-time A-level tutor before my first university post, a 3-year lectureship at Leeds University. I taught there for two years before moving to work at University College Cork, where I taught from 1990-94. As a result of experience gained in a Leeds poetry workshop with Ian Duhig and John Whale I was a major prizewinner in the Arvon/Observer poetry competition in 1990 and I was one of ten poets was included in Faber's Poetry Introduction 8 (1993). While still at Cork I was invited to read at the International Poets' Festival at Coimbra, gave invited papers and lectures for the British Council in Granada, Jaén and Göttingen universities, and at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin. In 1994 I was offered a lectureship at Swansea University and returned to the UK. At Swansea I was heavily involved in the 1995 Swansea UK City of Literature programme, reading my own work with Miroslav Holub, and introducing readings by Paul Muldoon among others. completed and published my first full-length poetry collection, A Birmingham Yank (Arc, 1998) and published the monograph Irish poetry since 1950: from stillness into history (MUP, 2000). My interest in Dylan Thomas was launched in 1998 when I co-organised a conference on his work in Swansea, the outcome of which was a joint-edited title in the New Casebook series (Palgrave, 2001).

In the 2000s I co-edited the Irish Studies Glossary (Edward Allen, 2003), and thereafter concentrated on work reflecting my interest in other literatures, and on my own poetry: I published a translation of Heine's Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen (Smokestack, 2005), and (with Tom Cheesman) of Adel Guémar's État d'urgence (Arc, 2007), which won a P.E.N. award. I also co-edited and introduced No soy tu musa: Antología de poetas irlandesas, with Carlota Caulfield (Ediciones Torremozas, 2008). I won first prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition in 2006 with 'The Uncles', which has been anthologised in the Forward Best Poems of the Year (Faber, 2008), Best Poems of the Decade (Faber, 2015), 100 Prized Poems: (Faber, 2016) and Stories of Ourselves (CUP, 2008). I was also first prizewinner in the New Welsh Review / Aberystwyth University Prize (2009). I published a Cageian mesostic writing-through of Dylan Thomas's Collected Poems, uncaged sea (Waterloo, 2008), and founded a poetry performance troupe, Boiled String, to perform and record it. Boiled String became a publishing imprint in 2010-20 and pioneered the publication of neglected innovative Welsh poets, such as Peter Meilleur (Childe Roland); my chapbook Wine Night White (2010) was among the 15 titles it published. In the same year I published Illennium (Shearsman), followed by The True Prize (Cinnamon, 2011). The No Breath (2017) and The Ars (2020) are my most recent poetry books, with collections forthcoming from Oystercatcher and Aquifer. Aside from writing, I spent September 2018 teaching in Tianjin and made two ERASMUS exchanges with Köln University (2018, 2019); organised a successful Hallam-based zoom launch of the fifth notebook on 27 October 2020; this year curated and introduced an anthology of innovative Welsh poetry for Blackbox Manifold magazine (#25) and organised a zoom event for 3 poets in it for the Sheffield University Centre for Poetry and Poetics (22 April 2021).


College of Social Sciences and Arts

Subject area

I am not contracted to teach


Current Projects

As touched on in my Biography, I am currently involved in the following research projects:

3 book chapters on Dylan Thomas (on the influence of the Metaphysicals; on punctuation; on the editing of the fifth notebook) A biography of Dylan Thomas (for Reaktion Books; MSS delivery Easter 2022 for publication September 2023).

The following books, poem-sequences and translations:

  • Young Ames (due to be published by Aquifer books, late 2021)
  • Sherds
  • In Brynmill and More
  • Swoon
  • The Black & Blue Books of Dafydd
  • Etherstrophen (versions from Emmy Hennings, with David Annwn)
  • Dickterliebe (versions from Heine / Schumann's Dichterliebe)
  • GIRALDUS (with David Annwn)

Featured Projects

I have links to be added for:

  • a Zoom launch of the Fifth Notebook of Dylan Thomas (hosted by SHU), 27 October, 2020
  • recordings of two Poetry Jamborees; a special feature on Welsh innovative poetry for Blackbox Manifold
  • a Welsh innovative poetry event hosted by the Centre for Poetry and Poetics reading series at Sheffield University (22 April 2021)

The following link is for my forthcoming International Dylan Thomas Day event:

  • None of my projects have yet been given Hallam-linked pages

Relevant Projects

I have no projects related to teaching.

Collaborators and Sponsors

  • Centre for Poetry and Poetics, Sheffield University (Prof Adam Piette, Dr Agnes Lehocz)
  • Blackbox Manifold online poetry journal, Sheffield University (Prof Adam Piette, Dr Alex Houen)
  • International Dylan Thomas Day (Hannah Ellis, Hilly Janes, Dr Ade Osbourne and Andrew Dally)
  • Dr David Annwn (Etherstrophen [translations and versions from the poetry of Emmy Hennings]; reworking of Giraldus Cambrensis' A Journey Through Wales [working title: GIRALDUS])
  • Dr Kimberly Campanello (University of Leeds), ongoing work on a joint-edited anthology of Irish innovative poetry for Shearsman books.
  • Dr Andrew Duncan, ongoing work on Arcadian Rustbelt, an anthology of 1980s-generation innovative poets, for Waterloo Books [publication late summer 2021).
  • Dr David Lancaster, York St John University (ongoing collaboration on settings of poems from The No Breath)


Journal articles

Goodby, J. (2022). Edward Allen (ed.) Forms of Late Modernist Lyric [Book review]. The Review of English Studies, 73 (312), 998-1000.

Goodby, J. (2021). 'Dexion-lined stakeout': some thoughts on Welsh innovative poetry at a time of Covid and Brexit. Black Box Manifold, (25), N/k.

Goodby, J. (2011). Djuna Barnes As A Source For Dylan Thomas. Notes and Queries, 58 (1), 127-130.

Goodby, J. (2010). “Through My Dream”: Trevor Joyce’s Translations. Études irlandaises, (35-2), 149-164.

Goodby, J. (2005). Whitman's Influence on Dylan Thomas and the Use of 'sidle' as Noun. Notes and Queries, 52 (1), 105-107.

Goodby, J. (2004). Larkin's Two Bleaneys. Notes and Queries, 51 (2), 182-183.

Edwards, M., & Goodby, J. (2002). 'Glittering Silt': The Poetry of Trevor Joyce and the Myth of Irishness. Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies, 8 (1), 173-198.

Goodby, J. (1999). 'The Prouder Counsel of Her Throat': Towards a Feminist Reading of Austin Clarke. Irish University Review: A Journal of Irish Studies, 29 (2), 321-340.

Goodby, J. (1999). Bhabha, the post/colonial and Glenn Patterson'sburning your own. Irish Studies Review, 7 (1), 65-71.

Goodby, J. (1998). Pugh, What a Scorrcher! The New Welsh Review: Wales's Literary Magazine in English, 11 (1 [41]), 40-41.

Goodby, J. (1989). 'The Importance of Being Elsewhere,' or 'No Man Is an Ireland': Self, Selves and Social Consensus in the Poetry of Philip Larkin. Critical Survey, 1 (2), 131-138.

Book chapters

Goodby, J. (2020). ‘Thrown Back on the Cutting Floor’: Dylan Thomas and Film. In New Theoretical Perspectives on Dylan Thomas: “A Writer of Words, and Nnothing Else”?. (pp. 113-132). Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press

Goodby, J. (2020). ‘“Ark-lamped thrown back upon the cutting flood”: Dylan Thomas and film’. In Smith, K., & Barfoot, R. (Eds.) New Theoretical Perspectives on Dylan Thomas A writer of words, and nothing else?. University of Wales Press:

Goodby, J. (2018). Ted Hughes’s Apocalyptic Origins. In Ted Hughes, Nature and Culture. (pp. 177-194). Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan (London)

Goodby, J. (2018). ‘Lamp-posts and high-volted fruits’: Scientific Discourse in the Work of Dylan Thomas. In Reading Dylan Thomas. (pp. 91-109). Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press

Goodby, J. (2018). ‘“Lamp-posts and high-volted fruits”: Dylan Thomas and the discourses of science’. In Allen, E. (Ed.) Reading Dylan Thomas. EUP:

Goodby, J. (2018). ‘The Lyric a Form / of Shame Management’? In Sheils, B., & Walsh, J. (Eds.) Shame and Modern Writing. Routledge:

Goodby, J. (2014). ‘Through my Dream: Trevor Joyce’s Translations’. In O'Mahony, N. (Ed.) Essays on the Poetry of Trevor Joyce. Shearsman

Goodby, J. (2014). 'The Liquid Choirs of his Tribes": The influence of Dylan Thomas. In Ellis, H. (Ed.) Dylan Thomas: a centenary celebration. (pp. 205-221). Bloomsbury

Goodby, J. (2013). 'Repeat the Changes Change the Repeats': Alternative Irish Poetry. In Brearton, F., & Gillis, A. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry. (pp. 607-628). Oxford, England: Oxford UP

Goodby, J. (2012). 'The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive': Dylan Thomas as Surrealist. In Adamowicz, E., & Robertson, E. (Eds.) Dada and Beyond, Volume 2: Dada and Its Legacies. (pp. 199-223). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi

Goodby, J. (2003). From Irish mode to modernisation. In The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry. (pp. 21-41). Cambridge University Press:

Goodby, J. (2001). 'Very Profound and Very Box-Office': The Later Poems and Under Milk Wood. In Dylan Thomas. (pp. 192-220). London, England: Palgrave Macmillan (London)

Goodby, J. (2001). 'Very Profound and Very Box-Office': The Later Poems and Under Milk Wood. In Dylan Thomas. (pp. 192-220). London, England: Palgrave Macmillan (London)

Goodby, J., & Wigginton, C. (2000). ‘Shut, too, in a tower of words’: Dylan Thomas' modernism. In Locations of Literary Modernism. (pp. 89-112). Cambridge University Press:

Goodby, J. (1994). Hermeneutic Hermeticism: Paul Muldoon and the Northern Irish Poetic. In In Black and Gold: Contiguous Traditions in Post-War British and Irish Poetry. (pp. 137-168). Amsterdam: Brill/Rodopi

Goodby, J. (1988). 'Armageddon, Armagh-geddon': Language and Crisis in the Poetry of Paul Muldoon. In Anglo-Irish and Irish Literature: Aspects of Language and Culture. (pp. II: 229-236). Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International


Goodby, J., & Osbourne, A. (Eds.). (2020). The Fifth Notebook of Dylan Thomas : Annotated Manuscript Edition. Bloomsbury Academic.

Goodby, J., & Osbourne, A. (Eds.). (2020). The Fifth Notebook of Dylan Thomas : Annotated Manuscript Edition. Bloomsbury Academic.

Goodby, J., & Davies, L. (Eds.). (2018). The Edge of Necessary: Welsh innovative poetry 1966-2018. Llangattock: Aquifer Books.

Goodby, J., & Davies, L. (Eds.). (2018). The Edge of Necessary: Welsh innovative poetry 1966-2018. Llangattock: Aquifer Books.

Goodby, J. (2017). The No Breath (poems). Red Ceilings.

Goodby, J. (2017). Discovering Dylan Thomas: A Companion to the Collected Poems and Notebook Poems. University of Wales Press.

Goodby, J. (Ed.). (2014). The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas : The Centenary Edition. Weidenfed & Nicolson.

Goodby, J. (2013). The Poetry of Dylan Thomas Under the Spelling Wall. Liverpool University Press.


Mundye, C., Goodby, J., & Wigginton, C. (2014). Understanding Dylan Thomas: A Symposium on the work of Dylan Thomas. Presented at: Off the Shelf Festival of Words, Sheffield

Other publications

Goodby, J., & Collings, S. (2024). 9 collages accompanying a prose poetry work, Some Guts, in collaboration with Simon Collings. The Fortnightly Review:

Goodby, J. (2023). Two poems, 'The Ghost Walks' and 'A bell on every tooth'.

Goodby, J. (2020). Poem, section VII, Young Ames. Junction Box:

Other activities

I co-organise the Zoom poetry jamborees with Lyndon Davies (2 under lockdown; in November 2020 and March 2021);
I am currently organising an event based on the fifth notebook of Dylan Thomas for International Dylan Day (14 May, 2021)

Postgraduate supervision

I can supervise most areas of English / US literature and creative writing

The following former PhD students are enjoying successful academic / creative writing careers:

  • Dr Melanie Otto (TCD)
  • Dr Ivan Philips (Uni of Hertfordshire)
  • Dr Jessica Davies (OU)

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