School of English

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Matthew Welton

Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I was appointed to the University of Nottingham in 2010 to set up the Creative Writing programmes in the School of English. Before that I taught at the University of Bolton.

In 2021 I completed my PhD by publication at Nottingham for my book, The Number Poems. I hold a MA in creative writing from Lancaster University and a BA in Social Science from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Expertise Summary

I am a well known poet, and have published four books of poems with Carcanet Press. My poems have also appeared in many anthologies including the Penguin Book of the Prose Poem and the Forward Book of Poetry, and journals including Poetry Review, Granta and the Times Literary Suplement. My writing has been recognised with the Eric Gregory Award, the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and second place in the Arvon International Poetry Competition.

My writing is known for an inventive and playful approach. I am fascinated by the areas of overlap between poetry and other forms, particularly art and music (I do this in my book We needed coffee but), maths (The Number Poems), and fiction (Squid Squad: A Novel). I am excited by the possibilities of poetic imagery, and the scope for inventiveness in poetic form, both conventional and innovative.

Collaboration forms an important part of my practice, and I have worked in particular with musicians - the composer Larry Goves, especially - artists, and other poets.

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

I am particularly excited by the breadth of poetic practice which exists among UK poets, and the sense of community shared between poets.

Outreach and Public Engagement

I have given writing workshops around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in a range of education and community settings. I am closely connected to the poetry communites in Nottingham, nationally and internationally.

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

Having recently published my fourth book of poems, I am at that exciting stage of beginning to play around with drafting what comes next. As a writer who is known for his use of poetic form, I am… 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:

Creative Writing Practice

Poetry: Forms and Conventions

Advanced Writing Practice: Poetry

Postgraduate modules taught:

Writing Workshop: Poetry

Practice and Practitioners

Current External Examination Positions

I am available for external examining, and would welcome approaches.

Current Research

Having recently published my fourth book of poems, I am at that exciting stage of beginning to play around with drafting what comes next. As a writer who is known for his use of poetic form, I am trying to ask myself what my poems would look like if I put aside the usual structures and constraints and experimented with something a little looser.

Past Research

My first book of poems, The Book of Matthew (Carcanet, 2003), 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... (Carcanet 2009) includes lengthier poetic sequences, many of which began in collaborative work with artists or musicians.

My next, The Number Poems (Carcanet 2016), explored the effects of constraint in making poems. It includes a number of poems made in conventional forms, such as metre and stanza, alongside poems using mathematical and conceptual constraints.

In my last book, Squid Squad: A Novel (Carcanet, 2020) I drew on a range of fiction techniques to create a playful surreal set of poems.

Future Research

I am curious about what happens to poetry when it comes into contact with other disciplines. And I find it very interesting that many poets are also involved in other areas, such as music, dance, fiction and art, or have an involvement in poetry that extends beyond their writing, including editing, teaching, and criticism. Sometime in the future I think I would like to do something that addresses the idea of overlap or hybridity within and around poetic practice.

  • 2020. Squid Squad: A Novel Carcanet.
  • MATTHEW WELTON, 2017. Squid Squad: (pamphlet)
  • 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.

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