Professor David Herd

Professor of Poetry,
Co-organiser, Refugee Tales
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Professor David Herd


David Herd is Professor of Poetry and co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales. He is the author of several collections of poetry. His work is at the intersection of writing and human rights.

Research interests

David’s most recent collection of poetry, Walk Song (Shearsman, 2022), was a Book of the Year in the Australian Review of Books. Through (Carcanet, 2016) was a Book of the Year in the Herald newspaper. His 2012 collection, All Just (Carcanet), was described by the Los Angeles Review of Books as ‘one of the few truly necessary works of poetry written on either side of the Atlantic in the past decade’. He has given readings in Europe, North America, India, Australia and the UK and has held visiting writing fellowships at George Mason University, Simon Fraser University, and the Writing Center Gloucester, Massachusetts.

In collaboration with Anna Pincus and colleagues at Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, David has co-organised the project Refugee Tales since 2014. Through that work he has helped articulate the call for an end to the UK’s policy of indefinite detention and for a future without detention. Refugee Tales makes its call by sharing the stories of people who have experienced indefinite detention. Stories are told as part of large-scale public walks and have been published in four volumes by Comma Press.

Building on the work of Refugee Tales, David’s critical history, Writing Against Expulsion in the Post-War World: Making Space for the Human is published by Oxford University Press in September 2023. He was Principal Investigator on the British Academy project Hostile Environments: Policies, Stories, Responses from 2019-2023 and is co-lead of the University of Kent’s Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme. He ran the Sounds New Poetry Festival from 2011 to 2014 and is co-editor of the magazine Free Verse.  


David currently teaches on ENGL3390: Creative Writing Foundations and ENGL8920: Poetry 1.


David supervises PhDs in Creative Writing, Poetry, and Literature and Human Rights. He is currently supervisor to David Hayward (Poetry: Text, Practice as Research), Winsome Minott (Poetry: Text, Practice as Research), Ken Moffat (Poetry: Text, Practice as Research), Olive Zhong (Poetry: Text, Practice as Research), and Subhadip Mukherjee (Narratives of Encampment). He regularly supervises MA dissertations in Creative Writing: Poetry and is mentor to the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Rachel Gregory Fox.  

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