Dr Neal Alexander BA (UW Bangor), MA, PhD (QU Belfast)
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I am a scholar of modern and contemporary writing, especially poetry. I began my career in the field of Irish Studies, specialising in the literature and culture of Northern Ireland. My first book was a study of the work of the poet and prose writer, Ciaran Carson (1948-2019): Ciaran Carson: Space, Place, Writing - Liverpool Scholarship (universitypressscholarship.com) More recently, my research on modernist writing has resulted in a second book, Late Modernism and the Poetics of Place: Late Modernism and the Poetics of Place (edinburghuniversitypress.com)
What links these bodies of work is my long-term interest in literary geographies: not only the various ways in which writers represent particular spaces and places, but also the shaping role that places and landscapes have upon the form and content of literary texts. I am also keen to explore further writers’ engagements with the contemporaneous work in geography and geology. I co-edited two significant collections of scholarly essays: Poetry & Geography Liverpool University Press: Books: Poetry & Geography; and Regional Modernisms Regional Modernisms (edinburghuniversitypress.com) I was also one of the founding editors of the interdisciplinary e-journal Literary Geographies: Literary Geographies With David Cooper, I am currently editing The Routledge Handbook of Literary Geographies, a volume of forty newly-commissioned essays.
I have a longstanding interest in Welsh writing in English, having published on the work of R. S. Thomas, Robert Minhinnick, Zoë Skoulding, Gwyneth Lewis, and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, among others. From 2015 to 2021, I was an editor of the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English: International Journal of Welsh Writing in English (uwp.co.uk)
Most recently, I have been thinking and reading about the climate crisis, focusing in particular upon the ways in which literary texts might illuminate our entanglements with the politico-economic systems of energy production. To date, this work has resulted in an article (co-authored with Jamie Harris) on Welsh poetry and nuclear power in Literature and History: After Chernobyl: Welsh Poetry and Nuclear Power - Neal Alexander, Jamie Harris, 2022 (sagepub.com); and another, shorter piece on Canadian poetry and the Alberta Tar Sands in Green Letters: Full article: Walking the Tar Sands: Poetry and the Fossil Economy (tandfonline.com)
I would be interested in supervising doctoral projects in any of the following areas:
- Literary geography
- Late modernism
- Literature and climate crisis
- Welsh writing in English
- The literature of Northern Ireland
I have reviewed contemporary poetry and literary criticism for Textual Practice, Review of English Studies, The London Magazine, Planet, The Irish Review, Irish Studies Review, and Irish University Review, among others.
Some of my poems have appeared in Planet and Poetry Wales.
I teach across all levels of study, from First Year undergraduate to PhD supervision, focusing chiefly upon twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and critical theory. In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of designing and teaching modules that are closely aligned with my research interests, including: ‘Literature and the Sea’ (Year 1), ‘Literary Geographies’ (Year 2), ‘Literary Modernisms’ (Year 2), ‘Contemporary Writing and Climate Crisis’ (Year 2), and ‘Writing Ireland, Writing Wales’ (MA).
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have a keen interest in pedagogy and improving my practice as a teacher.
I am Aberystwyth University’s Academic Integrity Officer. I am also theme lead for the Department of English and Creative Writing’s ‘Place and Belonging’ research strand.
Current research supervision:
- Lizzy Duffield-Fuller, ‘Space and place in the works of Dinah Craik’
- Amy Grandvoinet, ‘The Art of Everyday Life in British Psychogeography’
- Alex Hubbard, ‘At Midnight, Walking: Space, Place, and Experimental Fiction’
- Huaifang Jin, ‘History in the Fiction of Yan Geling: A Trans-cultural Perspective’
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