Dr Liz Bahs

Supervised by

  • Jo Shapcott First/primary/lead supervisor


Personal profile

Practice-based PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry), completed in 2017.

Supervisors: Professor Jo Shapcott, Dr Kristen Kreider

Thesis: On the Threshold: the Polyphonic Poetry Sequence

My research focuses on the distinguishing features of multiple-voice contemporary poetry sequences and their connections to music, especially through the metaphor of polyphony. The primary sequences under examination are The Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay, Room of Leaves by Amanda Dalton, and Circus Fire, 1944 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. The creative component is a collection of polyphonic and poly-vocal poetry including ‘The Calling’, a pamphlet-length work for four voices, and ‘Composition’, a sequence comprised of sixteen vocal portraits.


Research Interests

I am a keen observer of borders, with an interest in hybrid and multi-media forms and where boundaries blur between poetry / prose / travel & nature writing / music / drama / visual art / languages. I am a member of the International Society for the Study of Narrative, the National Association of Writers in Education, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I write poetry book reviews for Frogmore Press and blog about writing and reading at http://whenyoureadtome.blogspot.co.uk/


Publications & Awards

My poetry has been published in a wide variety of magazines and journals including Envoi, HARTS & Minds: The Journal of Humanities and Arts, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, Magma, Mslexia, The North, The Rialto, Southword, The Still Point Journal, Wasafiri, Visual Verse. Poetry and flash fiction have also placed or won awards in Troubadour International Poetry Prize (2011), Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2013), Magma Judge’s Prize (2014), The Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition (2015), Literary Kitchen Flash Fiction Contest (2015), Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition (2015).


Conferences and Performances

International Conference on Narrative, University of Kentucky, Speaker, March 2017

Creative Historiographies, Royal Holloway Seminar Series, Speaker, March 2016

The Calling, New Writing South Brighton, December 2015

Written & Composed: Truth / Lies, Hackney Picturehouse, Sept 2015

The Place for Poetry Conference, Goldsmiths University, Speaker,May 2015

Confessions of a Writing Group, New Writing South Brighton, April 2015

Needlewriters Anthology Launch, East Sussex, March 2015

Needlewriters, East Sussex, Headline poet, October 2014

Margins, Oxford English Faculty Graduate Conference, Speaker, June 2014

The Silence of the Bees: A Science Opera, RHUL Science Festival, March 2013

Royal Holloway Research Forum, Science Opera, Speaker, November 2012 

Poets’ Research Forum, Royal Holloway, Speaker, December 2011

Runnymede International Literature Festival: Poetry Symposium, 2011



  • Associate Lecturer, The Open University (2005-present): Undergraduate Level 2 & 3 Creative Writing; Mentor for New Tutors since 2008; Exam marking and Moderation, Advanced Creative Writing Tuition Monitor 2016–present
  • Visiting Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London (2012-2014): Introduction to Poetry; Poetry Seminars CW1010
  • Associate Tutor, University of Sussex (2007-2012): Ways Forward in Creative Writing; Advancing Your Creative Writing
  • Associate Tutor, Central Sussex College (2008-2012): Advanced Writing Workshop; Short Story; Advanced Poetry
  • Tutor, Creative Future (2010-2012): Museum Tales: Writer-in-Residence and Tutor at Brighton Museum
  • Workshop Leader, Emerson College, PoetryOtherwise 2006: Residential Creative Writing Retreat Workshop Leader; Guest poet and speaker
  • Creative Writing Teacher, Artemis School of Speech and Drama (2003-04): Literature and Creative Writing; Drama and script work

Other work

Event Coordination:

  • Needlewriters (2008-2015):  A cooperative of East Sussex writers organising a successful series of readings by local poets and writers.  http://www.needlewriters.co.uk
  • poetrypolice (2006-2007):  Community Poetry Café in Sussex
  • Meridian Poets (2004-2006): Network of East and West Sussex writers promoting new voices and projects through writing events, workshops and readings.


Educational background

PhD Creative Writing: Poetry, Royal Holloway, University of London  (2017)

MA: English Literature: Sexual Dissidence and Cultural Change, University of Sussex (2003)

BA (Hons): English Literature and Creative Writing, University of Florida (2000)

Associate of Arts:  World Religions; Women’s Studies, University of Florida (2000)

Semester Abroad, University College Cork, Ireland (1999)

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