Nick Selby
  • 2.21 Arts and Humanities Building

Personal profile


Nick Selby is Professor of American Literature in the School of Art, Media and American Studies.

He is President of the UK Council for Area Studies Associations (UKCASA) and Chair of the QAA Advisory Group currently revising the Subject Benchmark Statement for Area Studies. He Chairs the Board of Examiners in AMA. 

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 projects are: American Poetry Since 1900, due for publication by Edinburgh University Press in 2024; and Robert Creeley's Ecopoetics - On the Limits of Ecological Thinking, which is under contract with Palgrave (in its 'Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics series'). This latter book 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.

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.