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Dr. Jack McGowan

My research focuses on the development of spoken word in the US and the comparative trajectory of spoken word in the UK as a cultural phenomenon since the mid-20th century. I argue that the rise in popularity of spoken word, and a reconsideration of the oral traditions of poetry, indicate a potential shift in how poetry is predominantly received by its consumers. My analysis of this shift is coordinated by three main approaches: how performance poetry is received by the academy; affect and bodily responses to the receipt of poetry; and how space is occupied and negotiated by performance.

My research interests include new media in contemporary poetry, 20th century UK poetry and poetics, digital literature, video game narratives, and new creative writing pedagogies.

I am a performance poet with 10 years of experience in the UK spoken word scene and I write for both page and stage. My writing examines contemporary themes of alienation and fragmentation, unpicks the vicissitudes of 21st-century life, and shines a diminishing light on 90s pop culture.

Academic History
  • PhD English and Comparative Literary Studies. Thesis title: Slam the Book: The role of performance in contemporary UK poetry. - The University of Warwick (2017)
  • MLitt in Creative Writing - The University of St. Andrews (2011)
  • BA(Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing - The University of Warwick (2010)
  • WATE (Warwick Teaching Excellence) PGR Award (2015)
Publications and Performances

• Poetry included in: The New Victoria: Anthology of Collected Poets (New Fire Tree Press, 2010)
• Poetry included in: Dove Release: New Flights and Voices (Worple Press, 2010)
• We grow old because we stop being poets: Volume II Chapbooks (Silkworms Ink, 2009)
• Joint authored publication – 50% contribution: Voice-recognition Augmented Performance Tools in Performance Poetry Pedagogy (Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 2016)
• Poetry and critical essays included in: The Library is Dead! Long Live the Library!, Volume 1 Performing Poems in the Mackintosh Library (Glasgow School of Art, forthcoming)

Various spoken word performances across the UK including:

• Ilkley Literature Festival (2011)
• StAnza International Poetry Festival (2011)
• The Riverside Word Life ft. Buddy Wakefield (Sheffield, 2012)
• The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2011, 2012, 2013)
• Shoot From the Lip (organizer and host, Leamington Spa)
• Interview regarding current research and spoken word performance for National Poetry Day, BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire (2016)

‘“Slam poetry” is a term that seems to have evolved into a generalization, given to a style of delivery culminating in rapid, rhythmic, cathartic voice and presence [...] Poetry Slam is an event. Slam poetry does not exist (not outside of its practical role of being any given poem entered into a Poetry Slam)’. - Buddy Wakefield.



Jack McGowan

Dr. Jack McGowan

Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies

Humanities Building

University of Warwick

Coventry CV4 7AL