Dr Sarah Barnsley

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature
Email s.barnsley (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 2990
Dr Sarah Barnsley

Sarah Barnsley is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature, with research interests in American literature, Mary Barnard, modernism (particularly late modernisms), poetry and poetics, creative writing and, more recently, the medical humanities - specifically applications of neuroscience within creative/critical practices. She is Programme Director for the BA/DipHE/CertHE English programmes (by distance-learning) at University of London Worldwide (UoLW).

Academic qualifications

  • PhD English, Goldsmiths College, University of London 2006
  • MA ELT & Applied Linguistics, King’s College, University of London 2001
  • BA (Hons) American and English Literature, University of East Anglia 1997

Teaching and Supervision

BA (Hons) English, MA Literary Studies: Comparative Literature and Criticism

Research interests

I write creatively and critically. As a researcher, I have been H.D Visiting Fellow in American Literature at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, which helped me complete my first book, 'Mary Barnard, American Imagist' (SUNY Press, 2013). My edition of Mary Barnard’s 'Complete Poems' is forthcoming. As a poet, my pamphlet, 'The Fire Station' (Telltale Press, 2015), explored experiences growing up in the Midlands where my dad was a firefighter. My lived experience of psychological pain is the focus of my first full collection of poems, 'The Thoughts,' (Smith|Doorstop, 2022). Long-term creative and research interests in literature are complemented by developing interests in the medical humanities, specifically neuroscience and positive psychology - and how such fields might be applied in creative/critical contexts. Particular enthusiasms include ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), meditation, Mindful Self-Compassion and positive neuroplasticity.

Publications and research outputs


Barnsley, Sarah. 2022. The Thoughts. Sheffield: Smith|Doorstop. ISBN 9781914914027

Barnsley, Sarah. 2015. The Fire Station. Lewes: Telltale Press. ISBN 9780992855536

Barnsley, Sarah. 2013. Mary Barnard, American Imagist. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-4855-8

Edited Book

Barnsley, Sarah, ed. 2024. Mary Barnard - Complete Poems. Albany, New York: SUNY Press.

Barnsley, Sarah; Houghton, Robin and Kenny, Peter, eds. 2018. Truths: A Telltale Press Anthology. Eastbourne: Telltale Press. ISBN 978-0-9928555-5-0

Book Section

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. Ode in the wrong time and place [POEM]. In: , ed. Live Canon Anthology 2020. Live Canon, p. 56. ISBN 9781909703841

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. My stay in that hotel was just out of a magazine [POEM]. In: , ed. Live Canon 2018 Anthology. Live Canon, pp. 38-39. ISBN 9781909703360


Barnsley, Sarah. 2023. Listen to the nightwatchman of the body [POEM]. Finished Creatures(8), p. 70.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2023. OCD, metaphor, and me: the horse that can’t eat apples. The Lancet Psychiatry, 10(3), pp. 170-171. ISSN 2215-0366

Barnsley, Sarah. 2022. The Human Nervous System Has No Delete Button [Poem]. The Frogmore Papers(100), p. 19. ISSN 0956-0106

Barnsley, Sarah. 2022. Two Vancouvers [POEM]. The Frogmore Papers(100), p. 19. ISSN 0956-0106

Barnsley, Sarah. 2022. Tainted Ode [Poem]. The North(67), p. 100. ISSN 0269-9885

Barnsley, Sarah. 2022. White Bears and Pink Elephants [POEM]. The North, 67, p. 100. ISSN 0268-9885

Barnsley, Sarah. 2021. Excavation [POEM]. Finished Creatures(5), p. 68.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2021. Body found in garden after confession [POEM]. Poetry News, 2021(Spring), p. 11. ISSN 1353-7237

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. The Thoughts [POEM]. Poetry Wales, 56(2), p. 25. ISSN 03322202

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. Contemporary policemen in their homes [POEM]. Finished Creatures(4), pp. 56-57.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. Private and confidential [POEM]. Fenland Poetry Journal, Spring(2), pp. 52-53. ISSN 2632-8259

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. I agree to read all the terms and conditions [POEM]. Shearsman, 2020(123-4), p. 59.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. The other side of the quarter panel mirror [POEM]. Shearsman, 2020(123-4), pp. 60-61.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. HELP WALLY! [POEM]. The White Review, Jul 20(28), p. 78.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. Poem on checks [POEM]. The White Review, Jul 20(28), p. 79.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2020. Virginia Woolf has fallen over [POEM]. The White Review, Jul 20(28), p. 80.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2019. Symposium response: “She would write about forest fires at a time like this!” – Mary Barnard at the Lockwood Memorial Library, University of Buffalo, September 1939. Paideuma, 44, pp. 9-18. ISSN 0090-5674

Barnsley, Sarah. 2019. Safety-seeking behaviours [POEM]. Tears in the Fence, 70, p. 88. ISSN 0266-5816

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. The day my brain broke [POEM]. Brittle Star, 43, p. 25. ISSN 1467-6230

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. The Heebie-Jeebies [POEM]. Brittle Star, 43, pp. 76-77. ISSN 1467-6230

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. Newly in love, distracted neuroscientists HEART [POEM]. Poetry News, Aut.(2018), p. 11.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. I carry a suitcase of whippets [POEM]. Under the Radar, 21, p. 10. ISSN 1758-3357

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. The Fugitive [POEM]. Under the Radar, 21, pp. 8-9. ISSN 1758-3357

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. I prefer to get my information from unreliable sources (online version) [POEM]. Truths: A Telltale Press Anthology, p. 33.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. I prefer to get my information from unreliable sources [POEM]. Truths: A Telltale Press Anthology, p. 32.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2018. Lane closed for material curing [POEM]. Antiphon, 22, p. 10. ISSN 2058-7627

Barnsley, Sarah. 2017. Today you went to lunch with a cave [POEM]. The Rialto, 89, p. 26. ISSN 0268-5981

Barnsley, Sarah. 2017. We have made a number of key appointments [POEM]. Orbis, 180, p. 42. ISSN 0300-4425

Barnsley, Sarah. 2016. This Horse [POEM[]. Under the Radar(18), pp. 10-11. ISSN 1758 3357

Barnsley, Sarah. 2016. Think of it in terms of geometry [POEM]. Under the Radar(18), pp. 12-13. ISSN 1758-3357

Barnsley, Sarah. 2016. Self-diagnosis outside a fishmonger’s [POEM]. The Interpreter’s House(62), pp. 26-27. ISSN 1361-5610

Barnsley, Sarah. 2016. Late Modernism in Manhattan: Mary Barnard and May Swenson. Women: A Cultural Review, 26(3), pp. 254-269. ISSN 0957-4042

Barnsley, Sarah. 2015. A Zoology of London [POEM]. The Stinging Fly, 31(2),

Barnsley, Sarah. 2015. ‘The Outsider’ [POEM]. Envoi(170), p. 38. ISSN 0013-9394

Barnsley, Sarah. 2013. Making it New: Sappho, Mary Barnard and American Modernism. Synthesis, 5, pp. 71-93.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2010. ‘“Sand is the beginning and the end of our dominion”: Mary Barnard, H.D. and Imagism,’ Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, 36 (Spring 2010): 47-74. Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics,, 36, pp. 47-74.

Barnsley, Sarah. 2009. Sarah Barnsley, ‘Mary Barnard’s “North Window”: Imagism and the Pacific Northwest,’ Western American Literature, 44.3 (Fall 2009), 251-74. Western American Literature, 44(3), pp. 251-274.

Further profile content

Professional projects

I am committed to mental health activism and advocacy in service of the greater good and to this end am a member of the Goldsmiths Compassion Collective, inspired by Compassion in Education. I am also Contributing Editor to The Understory Conversation, an online hub for creatives.

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

  • Goldsmiths Compassion Collective
  • GoldHealth (cross-College, interdisciplinary network of researchers with interests in health studies)

Conferences and talks

2023: Association for Medical Humanities Annual International Conference
Presenter, 'The poetics of uncertainty: an autoethnographic approach'

2023: Translation and Creative Practice - An in-person symposium on building capacity for practice research, Goldsmiths, University of London
Presenter, 'Translating the Brain: Poetry and Neuroscience'

2022: National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Annual Conference, Online
Co-Presenter, 'The Understory Conversation: a new way of building resilience, balance and inclusivity'

2018: Creating (and) the Critical: The critical component of practice-based PhDs, CHASE consortium conference, Goldsmiths, University of London
Roundtable participant, panel chair and workshop co-facilitator

2017: National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Annual Conference, York
Panel Organiser and Speaker ‘PhDs in Creative Writing: The Critical Component’

2017: Remaking the New: Modernism and Textual Scholarship Conference, British Association of Modernist Studies, Queen Mary, University of London
Speaker, ‘“Sent to Rapallo…”: Mary Barnard and the Modernist List’

2015: MLA Annual Convention 2015, Vancouver, Canada
Panel Organiser (‘Late Modernism in Manhattan’) and Presenter (‘Late Imagism in Manhattan: Mary Barnard, Babette Deutsch and May Swenson’)

2014: Contemporary Innovative Poetry Series, Institute for English Studies
‘Manhattan and Modernist Memory: The “new” New York Poets’

Grants and awards

2020: Founders’ Research Travel Award
British Association of American Studies

2014: Joint runner-up
Poetry School/Pighog Pamphlet Competition

2007: H.D. Visiting Fellow in American Literature
Beinecke Library, Yale University

Module teaching, PhD supervision

I am convenor of the following undergraduate modules:

  • 'Contemporary London Poetry' (Level 5 - creative/critical module);
  • ‘The Emergence of Modern America: American Literature 1890-1940’ (Level 6);
  • ‘Poetry since 1945’ (Level 6).

I lecture on ‘Introduction to Poetry’, ‘Moderns’, '(Re)writing America' at undergraduate level; at postgraduate level I lecture on ‘Modern Literary Movements’ and tutor for the MA in Creative and Life Writing.

I welcome PhD proposals in any area of modern and contemporary poetry. Current and recent PhD projects supervised/examined include:

• Sylvia Plath, ‘performativity’ and the ‘author function’;
• ‘play’ in contemporary poetry;
• intersecting Sylvia Plath and the Gothic in found poetics practice;
• Louis MacNeice at the BBC;
• an argument for hybridity;
• the modernist poetics of Benjamin, H.D. and Mina Loy.