School of English


Ben’s research centres around British and American experimental poetry of the last hundred years, with a particular focus on the political potential and limitations of poetry, the lives and afterlives of the avant-garde, and labour in modernist and contemporary writing. He’s written on a broad range of figures including John Clare, Michael Gold, Muriel Rukeyser, John Ashbery and Amiri Baraka. His most recent monograph is Crisis and the US Avant-Garde: Poetry and Real Politics (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). Ben is Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry and a co-organiser of Canterbury’s premier series of art/music/poetry events, Free Range.

Contact Information


School of English, Rutherford Extension NC33

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Hickman, B. (2015). Crisis and the US Avant-Garde: Poetry and Real Politics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Hickman, B. (2012). John Ashbery and English Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Book section
Hickman, B. (2017). New York School: Chapter 18. In: Belletto, S. ed. American Literature in Transition, 1950-1960. Cambridge University Press, pp. 251-267. Available at:
Smith, S. (2015). Beached here at random by mysterious forces: fifty years of poetry at the University of Kent. In: Hickman, B. and Montefiore, J. E. eds. Beached Here at Random by Mysterious Forces: Fifty Years of Poetry at the University of Kent. 2015: University of Kent.
Hickman, B. (2015). Death in life: the past in 'As the Dead Prey Upon Us'. In: Herd, D. ed. Contemporary Olson. Manchester UP.
Hickman, B. (2014). 'A Big Kiss for Mother England': The New American Poetry in Britain. In: Woznicki, J. R. ed. The New American Poetry: Fifty Years Later. Lehigh University Press.
Hickman, B. (2013). "Our Program Is the Absence of Any Program": The New York School Reading the Past. In: Silverberg, M. ed. New York School Collaborations: The Color of Vowels. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 17-34. Available at:
Hickman, B. (2018). Life After the Avant-Garde: Proletarian Realism, Proletarian Modernism. Amerikastudien/American Studies [Online] 62:585-601. Available at:
Hickman, B. (2018). Location and Address in Vancouver's New Poetries of Place: Wayde Compton, Peter Culley, Meredith Quartermain. Canadian Literature [Online]. Available at:
Hickman, B. (2015). 'Atlantis Buried Outside': Muriel Rukeyser, Myth and the Crises of War. Criticism 57.
Hickman, B. (2012). John Clare and the End of Description. John Clare Society Journal:53-69.
MacKay, D. (2017). Speaking Beyond Words: George Oppen's Late Poetry As an Exploration of Cognition.
Walters, R. (2015). On The Border: Charles Causley In 20th Century British Poetics.
Total publications in KAR: 13 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

  • Twentieth-century poetry
  • Twenty-first-century poetry
  • Twentieth-century American literature
  • American studies
  • Arts activism
  • Avant-garde poetry
  • Canadian writing
  • Contemporary American literature
  • Contemporary literature and culture
  • Contemporary women's writing
  • Critical theory
  • Experimental literature
  • Lyric poetry
  • Marxism
  • Mid-century American literature
  • Modern poetry
  • Modernism
  • Modernism after 1945
  • Political literature
  • Prose poetry
  • Psychogeography
  • Revolutionary poetics and liberation movements
  • Stylistics of poetry
  • The Cold War
  • The avant-garde
  • Transatlantic literature
  • Working-class literature
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Research supervision

Ben currently supervises PhD work in post-war British and American poetry and would welcome any proposals within this or in any of his areas of research interest.

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School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 28/11/2018