Dr Sarah Kennedy
Fellow in English

BA (Melbourne), LLB (Melbourne), PhD

My research interests fall within twentieth-century and contemporary Anglophone poetry, and include early and high modernism, metaphor, nature-writing, the pelagic imaginary, literary self-conception, originality, and allusion. I am especially intrigued by questions of poetic influence and the literary afterlives of poets.

My PhD (St. John's College, 2012) followed in the tradition of histories of the Romantic and Victorian poetics of originality, but focused on the twentieth-century legacy of those histories and their interrelation with parallel fields of knowledge. It charted the relations between metaphor and creativity in T. S. Eliot's poetry and criticism through their affinities with discursive developments in 'new physics', optics, colour theory, psychology, and anthropology. Most recently, I have contributed a chapter on 'Ash-Wednesday and the Ariel Poems' to The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

My current research explores metaphor as the active principle underlying the processes of transmission and assimilation (as well as the vertical pressure of literary influence) that generate creative tensions within the work of three exemplary mid-century poets: Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop and Judith Wright.

I am also interested in the postcolonial literatures of the Pacific, including Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia, and in trans-regional encounters between these literatures and modernist diasporas.

‘Let these words answer: Ash-Wednesday and the Ariel Poems’, in The New Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot, ed. Jason Harding (Cambridge: CUP, 2016).
'“Where’s home, Ulysses?” Judith Wright in Europe 1937', Journal of Commonwealth Literature, published online before print August 6, 2015, doi: 10.1177/0021989415589833.
‘The “unknown, remembered gate”: Four Quartets as spiritual biography’, Literature  & Aesthetics 18 (1) June 2008, 84-97.