Dr John Clarke


Dr John Wedgwood Clarke was born and raised in the West Penwith area of Cornwall. He is a poet, prose non-fiction writer, lead artist, editor and academic, who also directs collaborative, multi-disciplinary, grant-funded arts projects. He trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before going on to study literature and completing a D.Phil. in Modernist poetry at the University of York. He set up the Beverley Literature Festival and Bridlington Poetry and ran them for ten years before leaving to undertake a Leverhulme Artists' Residency at the University of Hull in 2012/13. Prior to his current appointment, he was a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Hull for four years. 


His poems have been published in periodicals of national and international significance, including PN Review, Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland, POEM, Poetry Wales, Oxford Poetry, The New Statesman, Guardian on-line, Rialto, Magma, Antigonish Review and many others. His first full collection Ghost Pot (2013) was selected by New Writing North for ‘Read Regional 2015’ and by the Poetry Book Society as an ‘Emerging Voice’. T.S. Eliot Prize-winner Bernard O’Donoghue declared it ‘a masterpiece that rewards continual rereading.’ ‘Outer Harbour’ from Ghost Pot featured on the side of Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, as part of the anniversary celebration of the Festival of Britain. He has been invited to read from it at National Poetry Live at the South Bank Centre, The National Gallery, The National Maritime Museum and many literary festivals. He is represented by the leading literary agents Rogers Coleridge and White and currently working on a prose non-fiction work. His latest collection, Landfill, published in September 2017, was begun during a Leverhulme Trust Artist’s Residency and completed through assistance from an Arts Council England (ACE) Grants for the Arts award. Television credits as a presenter include presenting the BBC4 programmes, ‘Through the Lens of Larkin’ (2017) and ‘The Books that Made Britain’ (2016).


Recent impact-intensive, multi-disciplinary research projects have included: ‘Above 8’ commissioned by Invisible Dust for the major Hull2017 exhibition Offshore (a long poem about the ecology of the Humber estuary); ‘Voices over Water’ commissioned by the Caloustie Gulbenkian Foundation for ‘Valuing the Oceans’ symposium (a poem-soundscape exploring aquatic communication); ‘Greensand Way’ commissioned by Surrey Arts for Greensand Way national trail; Dictionary of Stone (a poetry and sound installation at the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough); the Cultural Olympiad Project Sea Swim (exploring how sea bathing influences creativity); In Between (a sequence of site-specific poems installed in the snickets of York for York Curiouser); ‘Ouse’ (commissioned by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for Watercycle); and a ‘Suite for Artificial Voices’ for the University of York’s AHRC-funded Creative Speech Network.