Dr Sam Ladkin

PhD (Cambridge), MSc (Edinburgh), BA (Sussex)

Contact Photograph of Dr Sam ladkin

The School of English
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Fax: +44 (0)114-222-8481

email : s.ladkin@sheffield.ac.uk


I am a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature.

I arrived at the University of Sheffield in September 2010, after a year lecturing at University College Cork. Previously I held a post as Associate Lecturer at the Open University, and various supervisory roles at the University of Cambridge.

In 2013 I was one of six academics across the University of Sheffield to win the inaugural “Inspiration & Co. Award”, nominated by the Students’ Union.

My research tends to focus on the relationships between modern and contemporary poetry and the arts. 

I run the Centre for Poetry and Poetics at the University of Sheffield, though its purpose is simply to help collate the myriad examples of excellent work being carried out by colleagues in the faculty. Please visit www.sheffieldcpp.tumblr.com

I also direct the New York School Seminars, an outlet for a network of academics from a number of disciplines, including visual art, music, dance and film.

With Sara Crangle I run Sancho Panza, a poetry press. Our first two publications were XIVLiners by Tom Raworth, and Poems of Frank Rupture by Peter Manson. Please visit www.sanchopanzapoetrypress.weebly.com

With colleagues Bob MacKay and Fabienne Collignon I co-edit Constitutional Information, a press set up to publish ephemerides for poetry events in Sheffield, as well as serving as a half-way house for essays of theory, poetics, and various scurrilities (forthcoming). Please visit www.constitutional-information.weebly.com

I established the Small Press Poetry Collection at the University of Sheffield Library, and support the brilliant Amanda Bernstein in her development of the Private Presses Collection at Western Bank. Please visit: http://cppsheffield.tumblr.com/library-and-archive


My research interests include Modern and Contemporary American Poetry; Contemporary British Poetry; Interdisciplinarity; the Avant-Garde; the New York School; Phenomenology; Contemporary Theatre; Queer Theory.

My doctoral research, entitled Clark Coolidge: Language, Phenomenology, Art, offered comparative readings of the poetry of Coolidge with artworks by Albrecht Dürer, Paul Cézanne, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, and was broadly phenomenological in its methodology, finding particular help in the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

My current work includes:

  • Against Value in the Arts and Education. I received AHRC funding to develop the argument that the greatest possible value of the arts has been, and might continue to be, to oppose, rigorously and constitutively, dominant and dominating ascriptions of value. “Against Value” proposes that the best way to engage critically with our society is to suspend presumptions of value, to propose an incommensurability, the critique of any “common measure”, even if that common measure pretends to be as neutral as “value”. It seeks to antagonize questions about who gets to ascribe value, and how, and to interpret those ascriptions ideologically.
  • I am working on a monograph provisionally titled Frank O’Hara and the Language of Art.
  • With Miles Champion I am co-editing the selected poems of Mark Hyatt, a little known lyric poet whose work has been kept alive by word-of-mouth and more or less fugitive publications since his death. The collection will be published by Enitharmon.

I teach on the following courses:

  • Lit3000 America & the Avant Garde
  • Lit386 Dissertation (Convenor)
  • Lit6150 Contemporary Poetry
  • Lit252 International Avant-Gardes
  • Lit6351 Postmodernism to Neoconservatism in American Literature
  • Lit303 Contemporary Literature
  • Lit204 Criticism and Literary Theory
  • Lit302 Modern Literature
  • Lit108 Studying Poetry
  • Lit112 Critical Contexts

I welcome PhD applicants who wish to undertake research relevant to my interests (and theirs), in particular those wishing to work on interdisciplinary projects, and in the fields of contemporary American or British poetry.


Selected Articles and Book Chapters

Edited Collections

Selected Articles and Book Chapters



  • “Enter the theatre: Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson (formerly Goat Island) & Tim Etchells, Terry O’Connor (Forced Entertainment)”, University of Sheffield, 3rd June 2015.
  • Diligent Negligence: Frank O’Hara and Edwin Denby’ “Grace” conference, Queen Mary, 19th June 2015.
  • “Frank O’Hara and the Language of Art”, University of Oxford, 26th May 2015.
  • “Poor Poor Art”, Avant-Gardes Now! Conference, Oxford Brookes, 1st May 2015.
  • Keynote: “Resilience: Articulating Dance ‘Knowledges’ in the 21st Century (DanceHE), April 2015.
  • “Against Value in the Arts & Education”, University of Northampton, 29th January 2015.
  • “The End of the Conversation” Symposium. Co-organised with Professor Terry O’Connor. Roehampton, 11th July 2014.
  • “Against Value in the Arts.” ModCons Lectures. 20th March 2014. University of Sheffield.
  • “do not totally regret life”: Regret, Pentimento, Agon.” Modernist Studies Association (MSA). 31st August 2014. University of Sussex.
  • “LETTERS, on Christopher Knowles, to Chris Goode.” Part of “Illumination – Text – Typing – Inscription – Handwriting: Talks on Text,” in Opening up the Book. 18th October, 2013. University of Sheffield. 
  • “Libertinage of the Hand": Peggy Ahwesh's She Puppet.” Peggy Ahwesh Symposium. 22nd May 2013. British Film Institute (BFI).
  • “Reception Ethics and Poésie Brute in the Poetry of Mark Hyatt.” ‘Étant Donnés: Metamodernist Symposium. 13th April 2013. University College Cork.
  • “The Art of Masturbation.” Inspiration & Co. Invited lecture as one of six university lecturers to be voted as “inspirational” by the Students’ Union. 13th February 2013. University of Sheffield.
  • “Making a Virtual Spectacle of Yourself: Lyric Versus Audit.” Modernist Studies Association (MSA). 18th – 21st October 2012. Las Vegas.
  • “Feeling the Hero; Not Feeling the Martyr.” Modernist Studies Association (MSA). 18th – 21st October 2012. Las Vegas.
  • “A Bit Ambivalent... Or Not: Some Thoughts on the Sentiments of Contemporary Lyric Poetry.” University of Sheffield Research Seminar. 22nd February 2012.
  • “Lyric versus Audit in the Virtual Society: the case of Chris Goode.” Legacies of Modernism: the State of British Poetry Today. 9-11 June. Université Paris-Diderot.
  • “Late-Modernism: Frank O’Hara and the New York School.” New American Poetry Conference. University of Warwick. 23 October 2010.
  • “Virtual Syntax.” Cosmopoetics. University of Durham. 8-10 September 2010.
  • “Pavlov’s Surfer: Resistance to Googleatrophy, Google ADD, Google Amnesia, Googlebrain…” Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry Launch Symposium, University College Cork. 16 March 2010.
  • figura serpentinata in Art and Poetry: A Comparative Reading of Frank O'Hara's 'In Memory of My Feelings'.” Eye and Mind, University College Cork. 25 February 2010.
  • “Melancholy Reading Allegory: Clark Coolidge’s Melencolia.” Long Poems: Major Forms. University of Sussex. 17 May 2008.
  • “Written on Stones: The Collaboration of Frank O’Hara and Larry Rivers.” Reading Frank O’Hara. University of Sussex. 11 April 2008.
  • “Specious Spaces: Towards the Space of the Theatre.” The Field, The Stream, The Building: A Collaborative Research Project. Rose Bruford College. 16 March 2008.
  • “Problems for Contemporary Lyric Poetry.” Chicago Review British Poetry Tour. University of Notre Dame. 4 April 2007.
  • “Problems for Contemporary Lyric Poetry.” Chicago Review British Poetry Tour. Miami University. 9 April 2007.
  • “Descrying The Crystal Text.” Pressure to Experiment. University of Southampton. 28 September 2006.
  • “ ‘crawling baby unaware’: Dog Star Man (1961-1964) by Stan Brakhage.” American Literature Graduate Seminar. University of Cambridge. 4 November 2005.
  • “Willem de Kooning’s Excavation and Clark Coolidge’s Polaroid.” Re-Visualising Writing: Canvas, Screen, Page. University of Southampton. 10 June 2005.
  • “Through Craft and Friendship: Peter Manson’s Thurh Crafte and Adjunct: An Undigest.” Queens’ Arts Seminar. [Invited Oral Presentation] University of Cambridge. 10 May 2005.
  • ‘ “bearer”: On Clark Coolidge’s Space.” Talks: Poetics. [Invited Oral Presentation] Birkbeck College, University of London. 8 December 2004.

Academic Service

  • “How to be a Poet,” including “translation & transgression”, curating a series of lectures and workshops at the University of Sheffield for students and the public, including work on translation, the practicalities of publishing, and the small press/chapbook tradition. University of Sheffield.
  • Constitutional Information, editor of University of Sheffield imprint (2014)
  • Sancho Panza, poetry press, co-edited with Sara Crangle (Spring 2014)
  • Winner, Inspiration & Co. One of six lecturers from across the university to be voted as “inspirational” by the Students’ Union, University of Sheffield (2012-2013)
  • Making of the Book, part of “Opening up the Book”, University of Sheffield and Bank Street Arts (Autumn 2013)
  • “Art of the Book Exhibition,” co-curated with Bank Street Arts, Amanda Bernstein and Adam Piette in Jessop West Foyer (Autumn 2013)
  • Against Value in the Arts and Humanities. University of Sheffield. 23rd February 2012. For details visit: http://www.shef.ac.uk/faculty/arts-and-humanities/research-innovation/events-activities/againstvalueinaandh For the audio file of this event, skip approx. 15 minutes of the following: http://uecho.shef.ac.uk:8080/ess/echo/presentation/2490a955-7c12-4b64-bf31-c2a4e8c65bd8/media.mp3 And for the handout for the event download here.
  • New York School Symposium 2. University of Sheffield. January 2012.
  • New York School Symposium. University of Sheffield. 29th June 2011.
  • Fool’s Errand. One-day festival of avant-garde performance. University College Cork. 18 March 2010. http://errantfools.blogspot.com/
  • R&D with Chris Goode, National Theatre (NT) Studios. 25-29 January 2010. See Chris Goode’s blog here http://beescope.blogspot.com/
  • [with Josh Kotin] Organiser, Chicago Review British Poetry Tour: University of Notre Dame, University of Miami, University of Chicago, Harvard University, State University of New York at Buffalo. April 2007.
  • [with Neil Pattison and Ed Holberton] Cambridge Series Poetry Readings. University of Cambridge. 2004-2006.
  • [with Sara Crangle] Cambridge Poetry Summit. Festival and Conference, University of Cambridge , 26-28 June 2005. See http://www.cambridgepoetry.org/summit.htm
  • [with Keston Sutherland] Cambridge Poetry Summit. Festival and Conference, University of Cambridge , 9-11 January 2004. See http://www.cambridgepoetry.org/2004/
  • [with Neil Pattison] Co-editor Arehouse press. 2004 – present. Visit: http://www.cambridgepoetry.org/arehouse.htm
  • Curator of cambridgepoetry.org.www.cambridgepoetry.org