Rona Cran

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My scholarship is interdisciplinary and 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, Multiple Voices: New York City Poetry, 1960-1995, which combines close reading, creative writing, and archival research to explore the relationship between poetry and resistance from the counterculture to the AIDS crisis, and to argue that socially-situated poetry offers particular sites of resistance. I am also editing a comprehensive new anthology of New York poetry from the eighteenth century to the present day: City of the World: the Poetry of New York (under contract to Fordham University Press). 

I was awarded a British Academy Small Grant (2018-2020) for a project called Joe Brainard and the New York School: Material Texts and Digital Cultures (or 'Make Your Own Brainard'), which has digitized and made interactively accessible a selection of previously-unseen collage materials selected by and belonging to New York School artist and poet Joe Brainard. You can make your own Brainard at

I have written or am writing articles and book chapters on New 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 and eating, and William Burroughs and art.


I joined Birmingham as a Teaching Fellow in 2015, and as a Lecturer in 2016. 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. 



Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

    22 Jun 2018 -

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

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