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Marc Chamberlain

Research Postgraduate

Research Postgraduate in the Department of English Studies


My practice-based research comprises the development of an original collection of poetry and a critical thesis on the poetry of John Wieners (1934-2002). Both elements draw extensively on concepts in contemporary queer theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis. My poetry is formally diverse and, in part, experientially based. It thus owes something to confessionalism, which is also a specialism of my critical work. Across both creative and critical sides of my work, I take an intellectually vigorous and unsentimental approach to queerness, complicating the social/anti-social distinction that has dominated so much of queer theory to develop new modes of art-making and understanding.

My poetry has been published in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, including but not limited to Bad Lilies, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021, dadakukuThe Financial Times, Finished Creatures, The Hudson Review, Living With Other People (Corrupted Poetry), Magma and The Mechanics' Institute Review (where work is available online, links have been included).

I have a chapter in the book Utter Vulnerability: Essays on the Poetry of John Wieners (ed. Michael Kindellan), Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée (forthcoming, 2024). The chapter shows how Wieners' poetry transcends the confessional mode, superseding the binaries of truth-lie and confession-concealment with higher-order concerns. I have written about Robert Lowell and confessionalism for The Times Literary Supplement. The article, based on an interview I conducted with the poet Frank Bidart in 2019, was largely concerned with Lowell's relationship with Elizabeth Hardwick and his 1973 collection The Dolphin. 

In March 2002, I convened an international symposium of leading Wieners scholars, securing funding for the event from the Durham Centre of Poetry and Poetics. Across three sessions, we explored Wieners' work in the context of psychiatry, politics and sexuality, Wieners as a love poet, and his later work. Recordings of the sessions are available online at Research in English at Durham (READ).

In April 2023, I visited Wieners’ archives at the University of Delaware, DE, and Syracuse University, NY, a trip funded by the Durham Faculty of Arts and Humanities. In May 2024, I visited Wieners’ archive at Boston College, MA (his alma mater). These archival explorations have been fundamental to my research and continue to be so. 

My work at Durham is supervised by Professor Paul Batchelor and Assistant Professor Kayombo Chingonyi.