Professor Redell Olsen

Personal profile

Redell Olsen is a poet and writer who often works with film and performance. She is interested in the emerging critical space between academic and creative practice, innovative and interdisciplinary writing.

Her past film and performance projects include: ‘Newe Booke of Copies’ (2009), ‘Bucolic Picnic (or Toile de Jouy Camouflage)’ (2009) and the collaboratively realised ‘The Lost Swimming Pool' (2010). These texts were published as Film Poems (Les Figues, 2014). In 2014 she took part in the 'Polar Muse' exhibition at the Scott Polar Museum. She was one of a group of poets who installed their poems and texts on glass in the musuem.

Her scholarly articles include essays and conference papers on sound and poetics, the painter Grace Hartigan and Frank O'Hara, Susan Howe, feminism and poetry and film. Her poetry publications include: 'Film Poems' (Les Figues, 2014), 'Punk Faun: a bar rock pastel' (subpress, 2012), ‘Book of the Fur’ (Rempress, 2000), ‘Secure Portable Space’ (Reality Street, 2004) and the collaboratively edited (with Susan Johanknect) ‘Here Are My Instructions’ (Gefn Press, 2004).

From 2006 - 2010 she was the editor of How2 the online journal for modernist and contemporary poetry, poetics and criticism by women and in 2013-14 she was the Judith E. Wilson Lecturer in Poetry at the University of Cambridge.

Her most recent works include a film: 'Now Circa (1918)' that she wrote and directed for an all female cast. The film reflects on the parallels between the struggle for female suffrage and the protests of women in our contemporary era (trailer She has also recently shown a text for film and live performance, ‘Observation Judgement Action’ or (Foil, Jumping, Daisies)’ which draws on research into Black Mountain College and in particular the work of Josef and Anni Albers.


Research interests

Her research interests include: avant-garde modernist and contemporary poetics, visual arts and poetry, feminist theory and writing practice, Language Writing, contemporary fiction, novels by poets, ecology and environmental literatures, performance. She is interested in supervising students wishing to work on academic and practice-based Phds in these areas and on collaborating with museums and galleries or other non HE bodies who wish to involve creative writing and poetry in their programme.



Educational background

Redell Olsen graduated in English Literature from New Hall, Cambridge University. She subsequently completed an MA in Fine Art. She was awarded funding from the British Academy to complete a PhD in contemporary poetry, women's writing and its relationship to the visual arts in 2002.


Redell Olsen joined the department at Royal Holloway as a full-time member of staff in 2003. From 2002-2003 she was a Lecturer in Writing (Performance Writing) at Dartington College of Arts in Devon. She has also taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of the Arts, Camberwell (MA in Bookarts), Oxford Brookes University and at The Berlin University of the Arts. From 2013-4 she was the Judith E. Wilson visiting poetry fellow at the University of Cambridge.


She currently teaches on the MA in Creative Writing on the Poetic Practice pathway.


Some Past Taught Courses:

Virginia Woolf (special author), MA Poetic Practice (Course Director), MA Modernist and Contemporary Literatures, Third Year Poetic Practice, Writing and the Short Story, Writing / Painting, Introduction to Poetry, Creative Writing.

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