Drama and Creative Writing
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Matthew Welton

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

I am a practising writer, and have published two collections of poems with Carcanet Press and a pamphlet with EggBox. I am particularly excited by the breadth of poetic practice which exists among UK poets, and in my own writing I try to explore different methods of writing poems.

My interests range from the form and structure of poetry, including traditions such as the sonnet or ballad and innovations around mathematical or linguistic approaches to verse form, to poetry based on description or the expression of emotional content. I collaborate with artists and musicians and am interested in areas of blur between poetry and song, poetry and fiction, and poetry and text art. Performance is an important part of my writing practice and my readings are generally performed from memory, and incorporate music and stand-up comedy. I perform spoken vocals for the contemporary classical ensemble The House of Bedlam, led by the composer Larry Goves.

I have been an editor of Stand magazine and a board member of the Manchester Literature Festival, and am interested in exploring the different live and publication contexts of writing.

Outreach and Public Engagement

I have given writing workshops around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in a range of education and community settings.

I am a member of the Nottingham Writers' Studio, and work on the School of English's collaborations with the Nottingham Festival of Words and the University's Lakeside Arts Theatre in putting on readings by a range of authors.

Teaching Summary

My teaching is designed to support the students on our creative writing modules in developing their control of poetic conventions and techniques. I see the students on our creative writing modules as… read more

Research Summary

My third book will be an exploration of the use of mathematical constraints in the creation poetic form. Some of the poems use conventional structures, such as regular metres and stanzas, while… read more

Selected Publications

  • WELTON, M., 2009. We needed coffee but we'd got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we returned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind Carcanet.
  • WELTON, M., 2011. Waffles F.U.N.E.X..

I would love to hear from people looking to work on poetry projects for their PhD. Most of my work is in Creative Writing, though I would welcome enquiries from prospective students working in Literature .

I am particularly interested in work that investigates the formal possibilities of writing:

  • This could include projects that take a modernist or postmodern approach to playing with poetic form. If you are interested in or influenced by writers like Lisa Jarnot, Christian Bök, Inger Christensen, Thomas A. Clark, the Oulipo group, or other experimentalists, it would be great to hear from you
  • It could also mean work that takes a more conventional approach to poetic form. If you are working in the same kind of area as poets like Don Paterson, Paul Farley, Marilyn Hacker or Greta Stoddart, please get in touch.
  • I also have an interest in experimental fiction - Sheila Heti, Padgett Powell, David Markson - and would be very happy to hear from creative writers whose work fits that sort of context.

I am currently working with students whose focus includes contemporary nature writing and poetic sequences exploring family history.

My teaching is designed to support the students on our creative writing modules in developing their control of poetic conventions and techniques. I see the students on our creative writing modules as fellow writers and, although I have more experience in writing and publishing, I believe the challenges which they face are the same as those which confront me: we are all trying to create work which is meaningful to us and, we hope, to other people; and we are all trying to get better at what we do. I see reading as essential to writing and try to help students to find writers whose work they will love, and who will have an influence on the development of the students' work.

Undergraduate modules taught

I am part of the team that teaches on:

Beginning Creative Writing

Prose and Poetry Writing

Advanced Writing Practice

Creative Writing in a Contemporary Context

Postgraduate modules taught:

Poetry: Form & Context

Creative Writing Workshop

Creative Writing: Convention and Technique

Current External Examination Positions

Keele University: MA Creative Writing

University of Birmingham: BA Creative Writing (one-year cover only)

Current Research

My third book will be an exploration of the use of mathematical constraints in the creation poetic form. Some of the poems use conventional structures, such as regular metres and stanzas, while others are based on patterns of repetition of phrasing or sentence structure. Some of these ideas are borrowed from music, including baroque, jazz and bell-ringing, and some on patterns of language, or vocabulary borrowed from fields such as cookery, news and gardening. Some of my new poems are based on the creation of vivid visual imagery, while in others i use abstraction to a degree uncommon in contemporary poetry.

I recently invited colleagues and students in the School of English to workshop a set of my new poems, and we spent a very demanding morning investigating the balance between the structure and content of my work.

I have been working on an opera with the composer Larry Goves for a number of years, and we are hoping it will be produced sometime in 2014.

Past Research

My first book of poems, The Book of Matthew, was an attempt at making innovative poems using fairly conventional structural considerations. None of the poems is written in the first person, and the title piece is essentially a set of 39 variations on one stencil poem, using the structure of Roget's Thesaurus as a formal imperative. My second book, We needed coffee but... includes lengthier poetic sequences, many of which began in collaborative work with artists or musicians. I published a pamphlet with EggBox/FUNEX in which the poems take different approaches to the tight formal constraints of twelve-line stanzas and twelve-syllable lines.

Future Research

Once the mathematical poems are written I will continue to look for new ways of playing with form and formalism in writing. Recently I have been using my notebooks to sketch out something which combines the rhythmic elements of fiction within the structure of the twelve times table.

Collaborative work remains important and I think I will be working with the composer Larry Goves for a long time to come. We have recently been sketching out a new music theatre piece for the soprano Juliet Fraser, and are keen to open-ended workshopping time together to figure out where we might go next with our collaboration.

During Autumn 2013 will be giving performances of my poems in London and Norwich, and performing with the House of Bedlam in Manchester and London.

  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2017. Squid Squad
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2017. Five pieces, each of 250 words
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2017. Green Gauge, Blues Scale, Black List: three poems in beautiful experimental journal para:text.
  • A bird guide to Nottingham: poem poster as part of Words for Walls project supported by UoN, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Nottingham Festival of Literature 2017. At: Buses, cafes, Victoria bus station, Nottingham11/01/2017 00:00:00-12/31/2017 00:00:00.
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2017. Statement: (for Tutul) Available at: <http://shuddhashar.com/statement-for-tutul/>
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2016. The Number Poems Carcanet.
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2016. Eight pieces in imitation of Thomas A. Clark Granta: No Man's Land. 120 - 121
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2016. Poem in yr pocket: card in series of poem cards published by Five Leaves for National Poetry Day 2016
  • WELTON, M., 2013. Construction with six constraints New Walk: for poetry and the arts. 6, 5-8
  • WELTON, M., 2013. Idling & dawdling: sequence of six poems PN Review. 40(1), 63
  • WELTON, M., 2011. Waffles F.U.N.E.X..
  • WELTON, M., 2009. We needed coffee but we'd got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we returned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind Carcanet.

Drama and Creative Writing

School of English
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The University of Nottingham
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