Emma Wagstaff

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

I investigate poetic form from the following perspectives: the effect of form on the writing and reading process, with a particular focus on attention; the relationship between contemporary French poetic practice and other arts and disciplines, including poetry in translation; and the connection between the form of creative works and cultures of protest.

My most recent single-authored book is the first in English to investigate major twentieth-century French poet André du Bouchet, and examines attentiveness in his poetic and critical work: André du Bouchet: Poetic Forms of Attention (Leiden: Brill, 2020).

From 2017-2020, I led a British Academy/Leverhulme-funded series of activities on responses to the protest and events of the 1968 period in cultural reviews and magazines in different parts of the world, which will result in a comparative special journal issue. The project website is here: https://1968inreviews.wordpress.com/home/ and the digital exhibition of reviews here: https://protestinprint.co.uk/.

Together with Professor Nina Parish (University of Stirling), I directed an AHRC network on Contemporary French Poetic practice (2012-2015) which led to a number of co-authored and co-edited publications, including Writing the Real: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary French Poetry (London: Enitharmon, 2016). Of those intermedial connections, my particular interest lies in the ways in which writers reflect on visual art, and I published the single-authored book Writing Art: French Literary Responses to the Work of Alberto Giacometti (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011). 


I have taught at the University of Birmingham since 2006, contributing to core courses at all levels and offering specialist teaching on French poetry, experimental writing and the visual arts. I am currently Director of Undergraduate Studies in Modern Languages.

Previously I held temporary teaching posts at Trinity College, Cambridge and at the université Paris XII at Créteil. I was Research Fellow at St John's College, Cambridge from 2002-2005, having completed my PhD in French and undergraduate degree in French and German at Trinity College.  


  • PhD in modern French poetry, supervised by Jean Khalfa (Cambridge, 2003)
  • MPhil in European Literature (Cambridge, 1999)
  • BA Hons in Modern and Medieval Languages (Cambridge, 1998)


Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

    Time and Forgetting in the Poetry of Andre du Bouchet, Philippe Jaccottet and Bernard Noel

    1 Oct 1999 - 30 Jun 2003

Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy,

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I currently co-supervise doctoral researchers working on early modern, modern and contemporary French writing, connections between literature and visual art, and Caribbean and African literature. I would be very glad to hear from students wishing to pursue Masters or doctoral research in the following areas:

modern and contemporary poetry
poetry and translation
comparative topics in modern literature
poetic form and political engagement
French writers and art
word-image interactions.

I have also supervised projects and dissertations by students taking the MA in Translation Studies, and have acted as internal and external examiner for PhD and MA dissertations.