Nick Selby

Nick Selby


  • 2.21 Registry And Council House

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Personal profile


Nick Selby is Professor of American Literature in the School of Art, Media and American Studies. Until 2020 he was Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and Chaired the University’s North America Dialogue Group.  

Nick has a wide range of research interests, with poetry of the twentieth century at the core of his research. His work centres on the poetry and poetics that emerge out of the modernist tradition, especially as it relates to American culture, but he has also written on connections between poetry and art, transatlantic connections in British experimental poetry, and ecocriticism. He has published books on Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Walt Whitman and Herman Melville and numerous other essays on a range of American poets and artists, and his essay ‘Ecopoetries in America' appears in the Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945 (ed. Jennifer Ashton). Central to his concern with environmental poetics is an ongoing examination of poetic difficulty and the ways in which close-reading entails ethical responsibility. His current book project turns to issues of intimacy, affect, and touch in Robert Creeley’s work in order to examine close-reading as ecological thinking.

Nick is happy to consider dissertation proposals in his main research areas. 

Nick was Editor of the journal Comparative American Studies, 2008-2018.

External Activities

  • Member of AHRC Peer Review College, 2014-
  • Member of AHRC Strategic Reviewer Group, 2014- 
  • Editorial Board, English: The Journal of the Enlglish Association, 2017-
  • Editor, Comparative American Studies, 2008-2018
  • Editorial Board, Negotiations: An International Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Editorial Board, Journal of American Studies, 1998-2005
  • Elected to the Committee on Programs and Departments of the American Studies Association, 2011-2014
  • Treasurer, British Association for American Studies, 2000-2005
  • Officer and Executive Committee, British Association for American Studies, 1998-2005
  • Treasurer, Scottish Association for the Study of America, 2002-2007
  • External Examiner, King’s College London, BA programmes in English literature, 2016-2019
  • External Examiner, Oxford Brookes University, MA programmes in English, 2014-2018
  • External Examiner, Goldsmiths, University of London, undergraduate programmes in English and Comparative literature, 2014-2017
  • External Examiner, University of Swansea, undergraduate programmes in American Studies, 2013-2015
  • External Examiner, University of Manchester, undergraduate programmes in American Studies, 2011-2014
  • External Examiner, University of Birmingham, undergraduate programmes in American Studies, 2011-2014
  • External Examiner, University College, Dublin, MA in American Literature, 2009-2012
  • External Examiner, University of Kent’s undergraduate American Studies programmes, 2008-2011

Key Research Interests

American poetry of the twentieth century is at the core of Professor Selby's research. As well as focusing on American experimental poetry, avant-gardism and the issue of what constitutes an American poetics, his current interests also include ecopoetry and poetics, Robert Creeley, transatlantic connections in British experimental poetry, and theories of the ethics and politics of close-reading.


Areas of Expertise

American literature, esp. poetry; ecopoetry and ecopoetics; American culture; American experimental art; British experimental poetry.