School of English

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Image of Lila Matsumoto

Lila Matsumoto

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing, Faculty of Arts



I am an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. Before taking up my post at Nottingham in 2016, I taught English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow. I obtained my PhD in English Literature (with a dissertation on 1960s Scottish poetry magazines) from University of Edinburgh, a MLitt in Scottish Literature from University of Aberdeen, and a BA in English from Vassar College (US).

My full-length poetry publications include Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water (Prototype, 2021), which was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize and recommended by the Poetry Book Society, and Urn & Drum (Shearsman, 2018). My poetry pamphlet publications are Foggy Eyes (Earthbound Press, 2022), Light Hazzles (Essence Press, 2022), Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and Allegories from my Kitchen (Sad Press, 2015).

Alongside my poetry writing, I publish creative-critical writing and occasional criticism, and regularly perform my poetry in the UK and abroad. I create experimental music and poetry in the band Food People.

Expertise Summary

The main areas of my research and teaching are in creative writing and twentieth and twenty-first British and American poetry, with a focus on the modernist and contemporary period. I am particularly interested in experimental forms of production and performance of poetry, and the points of contact, historical and potential, between literary practice, visual arts, and music.

My poetry, literary essays, and criticism have been published in journals and anthologies. I have given lectures on poetry at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Little Sparta garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Nottingham Contemporary. I am a member of the Critical Poetics interdisciplinary research group.

Literary Events and Outreach Initiatives

I am committed to connecting the practice and study of creative writing to wider research culture through innovative research and outreach methods.

I convene the Nottingham Poetry Exchange, a programme of poetry performances, seminars, and reading group sessions. This platform supports a student placement scheme.

I am currently working with BACKLIT gallery and the Environmental Agency to develop a creative writing workshop series on ecopoetry, which will be delivered in late 2023. This is funded by the AHRC Impact Arts Accelerator grant.

In 2021 I co-curated Pommel, an online programme of videos created by artists innovating at the intersection of textual, visual, and sonic performance, held at Nottingham Contemporary.

Other past events I have organised include the conference Modernist Art Writing/ Writing Modernist Art at the University of Nottingham; Women's Poetry Publication Workshop, a series of workshops encouraging women to engage with small press publishing in partnership with Small Press Library in Liverpool and Nottingham Women's Centre; Syndicate, a series of readings, performances, and lectures on the intersection of technology and poetry in collaboration with New Media Scotland; Women Translate Translation, a symposium and poetry night on the theme of women and translation at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh; and Outside-In/ Inside-Out, a festival and online resource of 'outside' and 'subterranean' poetics held in Glasgow supported by the AHRC Digital Transformations Fund.

Teaching Summary

I am teaching on the following courses in the School of English in 2023/24:


Academic Community

Poetry: Forms and Conventions

Advanced Writing Practice


Learning to Read: Criticism for Creative Writers

Creative Writing Conventions & Techniques

Writing Workshop: Poetry

Practice and Practitioners

I am currently supervising a number of PhD students in Creative Writing, ranging from a creative-critical thesis on monstrous motherhood, an experimental midwifery memoir, a poetry collection exploring 'the eerie' and South Nottinghamshire landscape, a poetry collection on women in folklore and myths, and a critical literary thesis on the poetics of walking.

Research Summary

My current creative-critical practice centres on the theme of contingency, the affective state of uncertainty and/or the condition of being subject to chance and change. I am interested in poetry's… read more

Current Research

My current creative-critical practice centres on the theme of contingency, the affective state of uncertainty and/or the condition of being subject to chance and change. I am interested in poetry's various presentations of contingency: as individuated, ordinary-extraordinary moments (expectation, fear, grief, delight for example), as broader cultural milieu (climate crisis, migration), and as resonances of social and environmental inequities. I am particularly intrigued by the fictive possibilities of poetry and poetry's affinities to song and performance.

Recent poetry has been published in The Weird Folds: Everyday Poems from the Anthropocene (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), Poetry London, Murmur (Monitor Books), Plume (Museums Press), The World Speaking Back (Boiler House Press), In Transit (Emma Press), and Wretched Strangers (Boiler House Press).

I have a particular interest in collaborating with artists and musicians and am currently working on a project with fashion designer Taiga Takahashi.

A selection of talks, workshops, and public lectures I have given include:

'Dream Ecologies', a talk and performance with Nisha Ramayya, Natasha Ruwona, and Maria Sledmere, Paisley Book Festival (February 2023)

'Hybrid Poetries', performance and conversation with Caleb Klaces, Elizabeth Reeder, and Amanda Thomson (June 2022)

'Tainted Pastoral - Poets Figuring City', a talk and performance with Vahni Capildeo and Padraig Regan, Belfast Book Festival (June 2022)

'Big Contemplative Utopia: solace and consolation in the writings of Denise Riley, Lisa Robertson, and Lyn Hejinian', Therapy and Experimental Poetry Symposium, Birkbeck, University of London (September 2019)

'Energy Objects In-Conversation: Hannah Imlach, Dr Lila Matsumoto & Dr Alexandra Campbell', a conversation on sculpture, poetry and energy cultures, Peacock Gallery, Aberdeen (July 2019)

'When the Sardine Can Looks Back: the role of material objects in poetics', workshop as part of Critical Poetics Reading Group, Nottingham Trent University (January 2019)

'Objects aren't topid: artwriting and feminist frameworks', University of Westminster School of English guest lecture (December 2018)

'Poetic Technologies: Exploring Hebridean renewable energy production through poetry- sculpture collaboration', Bath Spa University Intercultural Communication through Practice Research Group (November 2017)

'The Stitching of Her Wake: The Collaboration of Pamela Campion and Ian Hamilton Finlay', Little Fields, Long Horizons, Ian Hamilton Finlay Symposium, University of Edinburgh (July 2017)

'Happy Work: Poetics, Women's Labour, and Object oriented ontology', Land/Change Environmental Humanities Festival: Bath Spa University funded by British Academy (February 2017)

School of English

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The University of Nottingham
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