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Durham University

Centre for Poetry and Poetics

Dr Thomas Bristow

Tom Bristow

Tom is the Junior Research Fellow in English Studies, focusing on contemporary elegy. This project aims to disclose the value of reading literary genres as emotional practices, to understand feeling as something that is habitu­ated. Elegy’s qualified habitus is a system of embodied dispositions–– grief, sorrow, and joy ––that organize the ways in which we perceive the world and our corporeal relations to it. Tom wishes to rediscover and analyse elegy’s facility to carry emotions across time and space, and to examine whether transcending the specificity of the context of composition and reception enablesrealistic connections between suffering in the past and the present.

While examining what might constitute new nature writing, Tom has written on Anglo-American relations, American-Australian dialogues, and the afterlives of pastoral. His book, The Anthropocene Lyric: An Affective Geography of Poetry, Person, Place (2015) offers insight into the lyric moment alert to the mutability of the observed and the observer, while sensitive to the ways that the devastation of nonhuman ecologies also involves the desecration of human interiorities; it has been described as ‘a beautiful book’ (Tim Morton). In the ecocritical mode, Tom has published several articles on the landscapes and dwelling places of John Burnside, John Kinsella and Alice Oswald, while his interest in space and memory registers in chapters on the poetics of space (affective atmospheres of museums), the post-industrial spaces of Paul Farley and Iain Sinclair, and the poetics of desire in Anne Carson.