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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Introducing Professor Robert Sheppard

On Tuesday I was ‘conferred’ as a professor at Edge Hill University, and I shall probably take on the title Professor of Poetry and Poetics. I celebrated this in the usual ways, but I thought here I’d explain the basis of my application, how I see it, why the title I intend to choose is apposite.

What follows are the ‘introductory remarks’ to my application, which I shall use in other contexts, hence the square brackets and final elision.


In a brief citation of my book Far Language, in her essay on contemporary poetic innovation, Professor Marjorie Perloff refers to me as a ‘poet-critic’, the hyphen appearing to announce an uneasy hybrid that dangerously looks as though it is trying to yoke by violence together two opposites. It suggests that unity is achieved by pressurised co-habitation, force of will. And yet, it is unity of purpose and project I would like to emphasise in [this presentation of] my academic career, a unity that is achieved by introducing a third term, ‘poetics’, not just as a mediator between the scholarly research of the ‘critic’ and the practice led research creative writing activities of the ‘poet’, although it is also that.

Poetics suggests a higher equivalence between the two activities, and relates these concerns to my own double-headed research, my supervision of research students, my designing and stewardship of the MA Writing Studies, my day-to-day teaching of undergraduates, my pedagogic innovations, and my current leadership role as Co-ordinator for Creative Writing at Edge Hill. It is at the centre of my proposed academic leadership role as a Professor….

... and read more stuff here.

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