Rona Cran


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome research proposals on 20th century American poetry, New York City literature and culture (particularly the New York School, queer writing, and/or HIV/AIDS), collage, and other aspects of literature and culture relating to my research.


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Personal profile

Research interests

My scholarship centres on the literature and culture of New York City, queer writing, and modern American poetry.

My first book was entitled Collage in Twentieth-Century Art, Literature, and Culture: Joseph Cornell, William Burroughs, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan (Ashgate, 2014). Exploring the influence of Europe’s artist-émigrés on New York City culture from 1912 onwards, it argued that collage was both a transformative practice and a provocative theoretical model that was central to modernism and its aftermaths, revolutionizing the ways in which literature was written and art and music was made during the twentieth century.

I am currently writing my second monograph, Everyday Rebellion: Resistance and New York City Poetry, 1960-1995, which combines close reading, creative writing, and archival research to explore the relationship between poetry and infrapolitics from the counterculture to the AIDS crisis, and to argue that socially-situated poetry offers particular sites of resistance. 

In 2020 I was awarded an AHRC Research Networking Grant for the project Creating the Network for New York School Studies. The project will create an official global Network designed to offer scholars, poets, creative organizations, and members of the public an intellectual and creative community within the wide and growing field of New York School studies. In 2018 was awarded a British Academy Small Grant (2018-2020) for the digital humanities project Joe Brainard and the New York School: Material Texts and Digital Cultures (or 'Make Your Own Brainard'), which has put the work of New York School artist and poet Joe Brainard into dialogue with digital media and digital media users via an interactive website ( and examines questions about hegemonic narratives surrounding academic impact, funding for the arts, and the digital humanities.

I have written articles and chapters on the ecopoetics of Anne Waldman's Life Notes, Joe Brainard and queer optimismNew York poetry, American women poet-editors and the mimeograph revolution, Joe Brainard and John AshberyAllen Ginsberg and Frank O’HaraAllen Ginsberg and collageplace, space and identity in Richard Yates, William Burroughs, affect, and taste, and William Burroughs and art.


I am a Londoner who grew up in Kenya. I joined Birmingham as a Teaching Fellow in 2015, and as a Lecturer in 2016, where I have broadened the teaching of modern American poetic texts and contexts. I became Associate Professor in 2021. I previously taught at University College London, where I received my PhD, and I also spent several years working in student support and in the educational charity sector. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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