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  2. Dr Siobhan Campbell

Dr Siobhan Campbell

Siobhan Campbell photo

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a poet and critic, originally from Ireland, where interests in post-conflict and cross-community work have developed into my current outreach in creative writing with military veterans. Educated at University College Dublin and at Lancaster University, I also pursued post-graduate study at NYU and the New School, New York. I joined the OU from Kingston University London where I was Associate Professor in English Literature and Creative Writing. I am the author of five works of poetry and co-editor of the forthcoming book of essays on the work of Eavan Boland. My work has received awards in the National Poetry Competition and the Troubadour International Competition and is the recipient of an Arts Council award and the Templar Poetry Prize. I publish regularly in the literary journals of the US and the UK/Ireland including Poetry and The Hopkins Review (US) and Agenda and Magma Poetry (UK). I appear in the canonical anthologies of the past two decades including Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe), Women’s Work: Modern Women Poets writing in English (Seren) and The Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature (NYU Press).

Research interests

I am interested in the place of the political poem in contemporary poetics and in re-exploring the prisms for looking at ‘conflict poetry’ with a focus on the ‘ethics of aesthetics’ as well as on perceived personal/political divides.

In my own work I explore the moral obligations of the artist who writes about or from a contested or violent society. In exploring the ideas of ‘witness’ and of the socially engaged writer, I both wish to critically engage with contemporary debate as well as develop new creative writing pedagogies for non-traditional environments or in recovering cultures.

Current research includes a re-reading of the work of poet Richard Murphy in the light of recent ‘peace-process’ poetry as well as an assessment of the poetics of Padraic Fiacc.

Selected Publications:



2016: That Other Island (Bridgend: Seren Books)
2010: Cross-Talk (Bridgend: Seren Books)
2009: Darwin Among the Machines (Wales: Rack Press)

That Water Speaks in Tongues  (Derbyshire: Templar Poetry)

Winner of the Templar Award for Poetry, Shortlist: Michael Marks Poetry Award

2002, 2000: The Cold that Burns (Blackstaff Press/Dufour Editions)
1997, 1996: The Permanent Wave, (Blackstaff Press/ Dufour Editions)

Edited Collections:

2016:     Inside History: the work of Eavan Boland (co-editor with Dr. Nessa O’Mahony) (Arlen House/ Syracuse University Press)

2012:     Courage and Strength: Stories and Poems by Combat Veterans, KUP/ Combat Stress UK

2011:     Forces Stories and Poems, SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Family  Association) /KUPress


‘Seamus Heaney’s Casualty - Causal or Casual?’ in Poetry Ireland Review 113: A Seamus Heaney Special Issue (Dublin: Poetry Ireland 2014)

‘Working without a Safety Net: Guidance for Writing after the Creative Writing Classroom’ (with Patricia Clark, GVSU) in Beyond the Workshop: Creative Writing Theory and Practice. Ed. Paul Perry. (London: KUP, 2012)

Berryman’s Fate: poems on the centenary of the birth of John Berryman, ed. Philip Coleman (Arlen House/Syracuse University Press, 2014)

Tokens for the Foundlings, ed. Tony Curtis (Bridgend: Seren Books, 2012)

The Forward Book of Poetry 2011: A collection of the best from the Forward Poetry Prizes, ed. Ruth Padel (London: Faber, 2011)

Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets, ed. Roddy Lumsden, (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 2010)

Womens’ Work; Modern Women Poets Writing in English. Eds  Amy Wack and Eva Salzman (Bridgend:Seren Books, 2009)

From a Small Back Room: A Festschrift for Ciaran Carson. Ed. Richard Irvine (Belfast: Netherlea Press, 2008).

Forgotten Light: memory poems. Ed. Louise C. Callaghan. (Dublin: A and A Farmar, 2003)

Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature Volume IV (ten poems). Ed. Clair Wills et al. (New York: NYU Press 2002)

Kestrel: a journal of literature and art, Special issue on contemporary Irish poetry. Ed.Mary Dillow Stewart. (Fairmont: Fairmont State College Press, 2000)

Ireland’s Women: Writings Past and Present. Eds Katie Donovan, Norman Jefffares, Brendan Kennelly (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1994)

Irish Poetry Now. Ed.Gabriel Fitzmaurice. (Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1993)

Hard Lines 3: New Poetry and Prose. Ed. Tom Paulin (London: Faber and Faber, 1987)

Journal publications (selected):

‘Weeding’ and ‘Lace’ in The Hopkins Review. Ed. John Irwin et al. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press) (Winter 2013)

‘The longing of the bees’, ‘Drip Feed’ and ‘Pastimes in Occupied Territory’ in The Poetry Congeries. Ed. John Hoppenthaler, Sept 2013 1(v)

‘The Shame of our Island’  in Cyphers. Eds Ni Chuilleanain and Woods. (Spring 2014)

‘The Climb’ in About Place, the Black Earth Institute journal, Peaks and Valleys issue, Ed. Seamus Cashman, ( 1.3 (Winter 2012)

Featured poet on Poetry Foundation.Org, run by Poetry magazine, see

‘Doubled’ and ‘Blind Eye’ in The Oxford Magazine Nos 264 (2007) and 270 (2009) Bernard O’Donoghue, (poetry editor) Oxford University Press

‘By the shunt of his vowels’ in Protest Poems, Spring 2009,

‘These Women’, leading four poems from That Water Speaks in Tongues on The British Library poetry podcast, recorded at the readings to announce the Michael Marks Poetry Award Shortlist, May 2009 www.bluk/poetrypamphlets/campbell

‘Creed’ in Magma Poetry, No 42, Spring 2008, ed. Roddy Lumsden

Four poems led by ‘The last long drag’ in Wasafiri: Magazine of International Contemporary Writing, No. 54, 2008.ed. Susheila Nasta  (Routledge)

‘When all this is over’ in Brand Literary Magazine (poetry ed. Cherry Smyth), Greenwich University, London, 2008, ISSN 1754-0593

‘The Hawthorn Bush’ recorded as part of selection for the ‘7 for 07’ Oxfam Poets on Lifelines 2, a CD of new poems by leading practitioners. Oxfam. CD no OXLL002 (2007)

Five poems: ‘Warrenpoint’, ‘Canola’, ‘Rosé’, ‘When all this is over’ in Rhythm Magazine, Dalhousie University Canada, Winter 2008/9,  1(2)

‘Quickthorn’ in Poetry (Chicago), Wiman C., ed. December 2007, p.206. ISSN:0032-2032

‘The Hawthorn Bush’ in Crannog, eds Sandra Bunting, Tony O’Dwyer, Sunner 2007. p.5. ISSN 1649-4865

Five poems led by ‘You’re never just out walking a field’, nthposition journal of arts and politics, November 2006,

‘When I asked my dad’ in Wigtown Poets, chapbook of winning poems, Wigtown International Poetry Competition, 2007 (also a featured reader at Wigtown International Festival of Literature, 2007)

‘A fine line’ in Magma Poetry, No 36, Winter 2006, ISSN:1352-9269 ed. Anne Marie Fyffe

‘Platform’ in National Poetry Competition Winners pamphlet, Poetry Society, 2005

‘Campbell’, in The Southern Review, 41(1), p. 150. ISSN (print) 0038-4534 (2005)

‘Defined by negatives’, The Southern Review, 41(1), p. 148. ISSN (print) 0038-4534 (2005)

‘Hothead’ The Southern Review, 41(1), p. 149. ISSN (print) 0038-4534 (2005)

‘Pitched’ in Cyphers, No. 57, eds E.Ni Chuilleanain, M.Woods et al, ISSN 1393-2985, 2005

‘Plat du Jour’ in Writing Women, Nos 11(3) and 12 (1), ed. Linda Anderson. ISSN 1356-5435

‘Testing the Green’ in Crab Orchard Review: Special issue of Irish and Irish-American Writing 1 (2), p. 27 ed. Allison Joseph. ISSN 1083-5571

Essays and Papers (selected)

Paper: ‘Violence in Teaching War and Remembrance: how working with combat veterans affects the HE classroom’ at the HEA Teaching War and Remembrance Symposium, Senate House, July 2014

Essay, ‘The Villanelle, a Disputed Legacy’ in The Portable Poetry Workshop, Edited by Nigel McLoughlin, (London: Routledge) (forthcoming)

Essay. ‘Reading ‘The Mountain’ by Robert Frost’, in The Portable Poetry Workshop, Edited by Nigel McLoughlin, (London: Routledge) (forthcoming)

Paper:’ Irish Poets and the political legacy: an inherited tradition or a ‘new’ poetic?’ at American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), Chicago 2013

Paper: ‘Creative Writing with Combat Veterans, the politics of reading and response’, at ‘Human Rights and Narrated Lives: Genres of Testimony’ Conference, KUL/University of Minnesota, 2011

Paper: ‘Learning from non-traditional students in the creative writing workshop: new methods of teaching and assessment’, presented at AWP Conference (Association of Writers and Writers’ Programs), Chicago 2012

Paper, ‘Cultural Politics in a time of Peace’ delivered at Cultures of Reconstruction: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Aftermath of Conflict, CRAASH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, 2008

Paper, ‘Publication and Promotion: a perspective on women and poetry’ delivered at Kicking Daffodils III, Women and Poetry in the 21st Century, Bath Spa University, 2007

Teaching interests

I have been privileged to supervise English Literature and Creative Writing theses at MA, MFA and PhD levels. Interests include poetic ekphrasis, the stylistic and ethical considerations around life-writing/memoir and contemporary poetries and poetics. I have supported many student writers towards publication across a range of creative practice including poetry, eco-critical post-apocalyptic fantasy and the re-working of folklore and legend into stories that speak ‘truth to power’.

Consistently engaged by the development of pedagogies which support a diverse range of distance students, I am actively working on the creation of materials for the new OU MA in Creative Writing.

I am glad to hear from prospective students who wish to explore possible writing,research or critical-creative projects at the above contact email.

Impact and engagement

In tandem with my creative work, an outreach project – since founding the Military Writing Network – is to adapt creative writing pedagogy for work with veteran soldiers and others in post-conflict situations.

I have devised programmes and workshops with organisations including SSAFA UK and I have an ongoing writing project with Combat Stress UK. Outputs include the book Courage and Strength: stories and poems by combat veterans (KUP) as well as an exhibition of poetry and related visual art at Guildford Cathedral.

I am an invitee on the USIP (United States Institute of Peace) distance course on arts activism in communities with identity-based difference and I’ve acted as the story-gathering consultant to the Heinrich Boll Foundation project ‘Mapping Jabaal Al Natheef’ which took place in Jordan.

I am interested in collaborating with other interdisciplinary scholar-practitioners on the aftermath of crisis, especially those interested in the ramifications around cultural reconstruction.

The public presentation of work at readings and festivals has included appearances at Johns Hopkins University, Berkeley University, Glasgow Arts Festival, Ottawa International Festival and Poetry Now.

External collaborations

Funded Projects

Combat Stress UK: Matched funding to support pilot workshops with military veterans: Grant awarded to support the project 

Dialogue for Peaceful Change: Bid for grant-funded study in Diploma in DPC: Result: Grant received and Diploma Awarded 

Heinrich Boll Foundation supported project ‘Mapping Jabal Al Natheef’ 2013

Invited as Distinguished Visiting Writer Fellow at the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin 2010-2011 presenting ‘The Library of Imagination: post-conflict writing and its contexts.’


Writing-based interventions: from Communities of Practice to Life Stories (2020-12-10)
Campbell, Siobhan and Jensen, Meg
Writing in Education(82) (pp. 54-60)

Writing in a Time of Violence: Padraic Fiacc’s Demotic Aesthetic (2020-03-01)
Campbell, Siobhan
PNReview, 46(4)

Crossing the Lines: Borders, Transgressions, and a Spot of Smuggling (2017-12-06)
Campbell, Siobhan
New Hibernia Review, 21(4) (pp. 11-19)

Periwinkles (2016-04)
Campbell, Siobhán
Poetry Ireland Review(119) (pp. 88-88)

Seamus Heaney's 'Casualty' - Causal or Casual? (2014-09-27)
Campbell, Siobhán
Poetry Ireland Review(113) (pp. 133-134)

Filíocht Nua: New Poetry (2014-02)
Campbell, Siobhán
New Hibernia Review, 18(4) (pp. 36-43)

The Expressive Life-Writing Handbook (2017-04-18)
Jensen, Meg and Campbell, Siobhan M.
ISBN : 978-1-5262-0260-4 | Publisher : Beyond Borders Scotland in association with The Stabilisation and Recovery Network | Published : London and Edinburgh

Heat Signature (2017-02-23)
Campbell, Siobhan
ISBN : 978-1-78172-367-8 | Publisher : Seren Press | Published : Bridgend, Wales

Eavan Boland: Inside History (2017-01-17)
Campbell, Siobhan and O'Mahony, Nessa
ISBN : 978-1-85132-150-6 | Publisher : Arlen House | Published : London, Dublin and New York

Negotiated Truths and Iterative Practice: The Women in Conflict Expressive Life Writing Project (2019-06-03)
Jensen, Meg and Campbell, Siobhan
In: Douglas, Kate and Barnwell, Ashley eds. Research Methods for Auto/Biography Studies. Routledge Auto/Biography Studies (pp. 115-129)
ISBN : 9780429288432 | Publisher : Routledge

‘Bygone canon, bygone spleen’: Richard Murphy as a conflict poet in The Battle of Aughrim (2019)
Campbell, Siobhan
In: Keatinge, Benjamin ed. Making Integral: Critical essays on Richard Murphy (pp. 111-126)
ISBN : 9781782053231 | Publisher : Cork University Press

Eavan Boland and the development of a poetics: ‘It may be beauty/but it isn’t truth’ (2017-07-30)
Campbell, Siobhan
In: Campbell, Siobhan and O'Mahony, Nessa eds. Eavan Boland: Inside History (pp. 1-22)
ISBN : 978-1-851321-50-6 | Publisher : Arlen House