Dr Gregory Leadbetter

Director of the MA in Creative Writing, Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing

School of English

Gregory is a poet and critic, with research interests in English Romanticism, poetry and creative writing. His poetry collections include The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and The Body in the Well (HappenStance Press, 2007). A regular contributor to The Poetry Review, his poems are published widely elsewhere, including the journals The North, The Rialto, Magma and Poetry London, and the anthologies CAST: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets, Birdbook II, and See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers.

He has held a number of poetry commissions and residencies at schools, conferences and festivals, including a recent commission by Writing West Midlands for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and a poetry project working with refugees joint funded by Oxford Brookes University and Arts Council England. He has written radio drama for the BBC, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013. Gregory was also selected for the Writing West Midlands Room 204 Writer Development Programme 2015-16. His book on Coleridge’ s poetry, the transnatural, and the dilemmas of creativity, Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English (formerly CCUE) Book Prize 2012. As well as his work on Coleridge, he has published essays on Wordsworth, Lamb, Keats and Ted Hughes. These include chapters in the Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (Oxford University Press), John Keats in Context and the forthcoming Ted Hughes in Context (both Cambridge University Press).

Gregory has also carried out primary research on witchcraft and magic in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century fiction, as part of a project funded by the British Academy. He regularly speaks at international academic conferences on Coleridge, Wordsworth and Ted Hughes, and chair events at Birmingham Literature Festival, including the Man Booker Prize event and interviews with leading authors.

Over the last ten years, Gregory has been invited to read his work at the Ledbury Poetry Festival, Wenlock Poetry Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, the Troubadour (Earls Court), Foyles Gallery (London), the Scottish Poetry Library (Edinburgh), Strokestown Poetry Festival (Ireland), the Herbert Art Gallery (Coventry), Goldsmiths, Warwick Words Festival, the Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham Conservatoire, the Coleridge International Summer Conference, and the University of Malta, Valletta.

As Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing in the School of English, he leads our programme of guest seminars and masterclasses with authors, editors and agents for our students, together with a programme of public literary events every year, including readings, book launches, seminars and writing workshops. He is currently supervising doctoral theses on representations of the domestic uncanny in contemporary short fiction, fictional autobiography and the fragmentary novel, and disability poetics.

Gregory is an external examiner for the University of Chichester creative writing programme, and has acted as external examiner for the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is a peer reviewer for Romanticism, and a reader for Oxford University Press. Besides his work for The Poetry Review, he also reviews for Notes & Queries, Romanticism, The Wordsworth Circle, The Coleridge Bulletin, The Charles Lamb Bulletin, and the BARS Bulletin and Review.

Gregory is Vice-Chair and Trustee of the Friends of Coleridge, Trustee of the Wordsworth Conference Foundation, and Trustee of Writing West Midlands. He was Hon. Treasurer of the Wordsworth Conference Foundation 2014-16, and Trustee of Wenlock Poetry Festival 2013-16. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the Ted Hughes Society, the British Association for Romantic Studies, University English, and the European Society for the Study of English.

Current Activity
  • MA (Cantab) Law - Trinity College, Cambridge
  • MA Creative and Life Writing - Goldsmiths, London
  • PhD English Literature - Oxford Brookes University
  • Organising Committee, International Coleridge Conference
  • Trustee of the Friends of Coleridge
  • Associate of the Higher Education Academy
  • British Association for Romantic Studies
  • The Wordsworth-Coleridge Association
  • Solicitor of the Supreme Court (non-practising)

Gregory's research interests are in:

  • English Romanticism, and its intellectual, political and spiritual traditions
  • Twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, the work of Ted Hughes
  • Poetry and creative writing

His research in English Romanticism is principally on poetry, and the relationship between poetry, philosophy and spirituality. His interests focus in particular on Coleridge and Wordsworth. His work on twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, especially Ted Hughes, is continuous with these themes and their ongoing evolution. As a poet, I am particularly interested in the fusion of the lyric and the mythic, the transnatural, and the experience of mystery.


‘Coleridge’ s Transnatural Poetics’

Gregory's thesis presents a new reading of Coleridge based uponthe formative drama it discovers at the heart of his work –namely the simultaneous experience of exaltation and transgression, and its signature embodiment in the daemonic figures of his poetry.


Most recent

  • A new book of poems: The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016)
  • A new sequence of poems about a fictional city, paired with photographs by Phil Thomson of the School of Visual Communication.
  • Two papers on Ted Hughes, based on work presented at the Ted Hughes Conferences in 2012 and 2015, and preparation for a chapter on ‘ Ted Hughes and Shamanism’ for the forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press, Ted Hughes in Context. Chapter on ‘ The Hunt Circle and the Cockney School’ , published in John Keats in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
  • The first close reading of a largely unknown poem by Coleridge, entitled ‘ Orpheus’ . Research and preparation for my next book on Coleridge,which develops a fresh reading of Coleridge’ s spiritual philosophy to reveal in his work an unfamiliar and as yet uncategorised form of thinking, through which it becomes possible to conceive and imagine a culture at once post-religious and post-secular.
  • Research for a book on contemporary poetry (Routledge USA ‘ Engagements with Literature’ series).


  •  The Poetry Review 105:2 (Summer 2015) - Two poems: 'Imp', 'Stalking'
  • CAST: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets, ed. Simon Armitage, Joanna Gavins, Ann Sansom and Peter Sansom (Sheffield: Smith/Doorstop, 2014) - Five poems: 'Feather', 'The Body in the Well', 'The Chase', '6 June 1944', 'Mouse' Poems in journals:
  • The North 52 (Spring 2014) - Two poems: 'Descent', 'White Horse Hill' The Poetry Review 104:1 (Spring 2014) - Two poems: 'The Fetch', 'My Father's Orrery'
  • The Body in the Well (Glenrothes: HappenStance Press, 2007)
  • Anthologies: Birdbook II: Freshwater Habitats, ed. Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone (London: Sidekick Books, 2012); See how I land: Oxford poets and exiled writers, ed. Carole Angier (Coventry: Heaventree Press, 2009); Heaventree New Poets 4 (Coventry: Heaventree Press, 2006); Goldfish: An Anthology of New Writing from Goldsmiths (London: Goldsmiths College, 2006); He Drew Down Blue from the Sky: The Arvon International Poetry Competition Anthology 2004 (London: Arvon Foundation, 2004)
  • Journals and magazines: Variations 20 (forthcoming November 2012); Romanticism 16.2 (July 2010); Poetry London 59 (Spring 2008) and 52 (Autumn 2005); The New Writer (September/October 2005); Agenda 40:4 (Autumn/Winter 2004) (online Broadsheet 3); Raw Edge 19 (Autumn/Winter 2004)

Book Chapters

  • The Fetch (Rugby: Nine Arches Press, 2016) – Poems: to be published October 2016
  • ‘ The Hunt Circle and the Cockney School’ , in Keats in Context, ed. Michael O’ Neill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • The Lyric Impulse of Poems, in Two Volumes’ , in The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth, eds. Richard Gravil and Daniel Robinson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)


  • Scriptwriter, BBC radio drama series Silver Street (2005-2007)


  • Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)


  • Coleridge and the Mystery of “Orpheus”’ , Times Literary Supplement(forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘“The Snake in the Oak”: Ted Hughes, Coleridge and the Contentions of Reading’ [working title], The Ted Hughes Journal (forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘ Poetry, Politics and Portents: Coleridge and the Waters of Plynlimon’ , The Coleridge Bulletin 43 (NS) (Summer 2014), 29-36
  • ‘The Comic Imagination in Lamb and Coleridge’ , The Charles Lamb Bulletin 159 (Spring 2014), 11-19
  • ‘The Lyric Impulse in Poems in Two Volumes’, chapter for The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (ed. Richard Gravil and Daniel Robinson) (forthcoming 2014)
  • 'Geraldine under the Sun: Coleridge’s Lizards in Malta and Sicily’, The Wordsworth Circle ‘Encountering Malta’ special issue (forthcoming 2012)
  • ‘Wordsworth’s “Untrodden Ways”: Death, Absence and the Space of Writing’, in Grasmere 2011: Selected Papers from the Wordsworth Summer Conference (Humanities-Ebooks, 2011), ed. Richard Gravil
  • 'Liberty and Occult Ambition in Coleridge's Early Poetry', The Coleridge Bulletin 32 (NS) (Winter 2008), 1-9
  • 'Coleridge and the "More Permanent Revolution"', The Coleridge Bulletin 30 (NS) (Winter 2007), 1-16
  • 'Coleridge and the Languages of Paganism', The Wordsworth Circle 38:3 (Summer 2007), 117-121

Reviews and Comment

  • John Beer, Coleridge’s Play of Mind, for the British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review (forthcoming)
  • Fiona Stafford, Local Attachments: The Province of Poetry, for The Keats-Shelley Review (forthcoming)
  • David Higgins and Sharon Ruston (eds.), Teaching Romanticism, for Romanticism (forthcoming)
  • David Fairer, Organising Poetry: The Coleridge Circle 1790-1798, for The Charles Lamb Bulletin (forthcoming)
  • Margot Finn, Michael Lobban and Jenny Bourne Taylor (eds), Legitimacy and Illegitimacy in Nineteenth-Century Law, Literature and History, for The Wordsworth Circle (forthcoming)
  • Daniel Hahn, Coleridge, for Romanticism 18.1 (April 2012), 123-24
  • Barry Hough and Howard Davis, Coleridge's Laws: A Study of Coleridge in Malta, for Romanticism 17.3 (October 2011), 374-76
  • Tom Duggett, Gothic Romanticism, for The Wordsworth Circle (forthcoming)
  • Nicholas Reid, Coleridge, Form and Symbol, and Richard Berkeley, Coleridge and the Crisis of Reason, for the British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review 37 (October 2010)
  • Brian Goldberg, The Lake Poets and Professional Identity, Romanticism 16.1 (April 2010), 102-04
  • Felicity James, Charles Lamb, Coleridge and Wordsworth: Reading Friendship in the 1790s, The Wordsworth Circle 40:2 (Autumn 2009), 155-57
  • '"Man" and "Monster": Coleridge on Shakespeare' – invited contribution, January 2006

Recent Conference Papers

  • Guest poet and panellist on ‘ Ted Hughes’ s Politics’ , Ted Hughes Festival, June 2016
  • ‘ Poetic Faith: Poetry and the Supernatural in the “Mind’ s Education”’ , Coleridge Summer Conference, August 2016
  • Plenary speaker: ‘ Wordsworth’ s Idleness’ , Wordsworth Summer Conference, August 2016
  • Plenary speaker: ‘ Christabel’ , Coleridge Autumn Study Weekend, September 2016
  • ‘“The Knight”: Two Laws of Ted Hughes’ s Poetics’ , Ted Hughes Conference, University of Sheffield, 9-12 September 2015
  • ‘ Coleridge and the Mystery of “Orpheus”’ , University of St Andrews research seminar, 14 October 2015
  • One-day symposium on ‘ Coleridge and Lamb in London’ , which was held at Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution on 31st October 2015. 
  • Invited sub-plenary speaker: ‘ Coleridge’ s Daemonic Imagination’ , European Society for the Study of English Conference 2014, Košice, Slovakia, 29 August-2 September 2014
  • ‘ Coleridge and the Mystery of “Orpheus”’ , Coleridge Summer Conference, 28 July-1 August 2014 Poet in Residence
  • ‘ Twice Upon a Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses’ , Centre for Fine Art Research, School of Art, Birmingham City University, 26 June 2014
  • Plenary lecture: ‘“Resolution and Independence”and “Moods of My Own Mind”’ , Wordsworth Winter School, 17-22 February 2014
  • Invited speaker: ‘The Rise of Creative Writing’, Institute of English Studies seminar in association with the Open University, 1 May 2012
  • ‘Politics and Portents: Coleridge’s Walking Tour to Wales, July 1794’, at ‘The Wye Valley: Romantic Representations, 1640-1830’ conference, 6-8 July 2011
  • ‘Coleridge’s Daemonic Imagination’, at the ‘Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence’ conference, The University of Kent, 5-7 May 2011
  • '"Unlawful Thoughts": The Power of Words in "The Foster-Mother's Tale"', at the International Coleridge Conference, 21-28 July 2010
  • Invited speaker: 'Looking for "another God": Coleridge's "The Wanderings of Cain"', at the 'Romantic Realignments' seminar, Oxford University, 11 February 2010
  • Invited speaker: 'Coleridge and the Transgressive Self', Romantic Graduate Forum, Oxford University, 11 March 2009
  • Invited speaker: 'Transnatural Coleridge', at 'Coleridge's Religious Imagination', Friends of Coleridge Kilve Study Weekend, 5-7 September 2008

Readings and Festivals

Over the last few years, Gregory has read his poetry at the Troubadour (Earls Court), Foyles Gallery (London), the Scottish Poetry Library, Strokestown Poetry Festival (Ireland), Goldsmiths, Warwick Words Festival, the Midlands Arts Centre, and Birmingham Conservatoire, among other places.

He has also conducted ‘in conversation’ and panel sessions with other writers for the Birmingham Book Festival.

Media Work

Gregory Leadbetter is one of the University’s dedicated team of trained media champions, and can comment on a range of subjects including:

  • Creative Writing
  • English Literature
  • Poetry

To arrange a media interview, please contact Birmingham City University Press Office on 0121 331 6738, 07967 271532,
email press@bcu.ac.uk or via Twitter @BCUPressOffice

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