Dr Helen Tookey

Liverpool Screen School

Helen Tookey is a poet, writer and editor. She previously worked in editorial and production roles for publishing companies including Liverpool University Press and Carcanet Press. Her first full-length poetry collection, Missel-Child, was published by Carcanet in 2014 and was shortlisted for the 2015 Seamus Heaney Prize for Best First Collection. Her pamphlet In the Glasshouse was published by HappenStance Press in 2016. Her second Carcanet collection, City of Departures, was published in July 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize. Alongside poems, the book includes a creative non-fiction essay exploring themes of travel, European identity, and responses to visual art. Her third Carcanet collection, In the Quaker Hotel, is due out in May 2022.

In 2016 Helen published a CD/booklet in collaboration with musician Sharron Kraus, If You Put Out Your Hand (Wounded Wolf Press), and has subsequently performed with Sharron and with guitarist Nick Jonah Davis. She is also developing collaborative projects with sound artist Martin Heslop; tracks from this work were featured at a 'Translation as Collaboration' event as part of the AHRC-funded Poettrio Experiment project (https://poettrioexperiment.com/), and have been broadcast on the online platforms Radiophrenia, Helicotrema and Radio Space Borealis. In September 2009, Helen and Martin were awarded a two-week residency at the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village, Nova Scotia, to make new text/sound work responding to the location.

Helen has also published critical work on twentieth-century writers including Anais Nin and Malcolm Lowry. She is part of an ongoing programme of Merseyside-based events focusing on Lowry, which has included a major international conference in July 2017, hosted jointly by LJMU and Bluecoat. With Bryan Biggs, she co-edited the 2009 illustrated volume Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World (Liverpool University Press, 2009), and (also with Bryan Biggs) the edited volume Remaking the Voyage: New Essays on Malcolm Lowry and In Ballast to the White Sea (Liverpool University Press, 2020), the first academic book to focus on Lowry's 'lost' novel In Ballast to the White Sea. She is currently Co-Investigator (alongside Dr Alan Dunn, of Leeds Beckett University, as Lead Investigator) on an AHRC Research Network project focused on Lowry's ecologically inflected short stories, which brings together a network of artists, researchers and the public on ferry sailings between Liverpool and the Isle of Man, exploring sounds and words in relation to plastics pollution and care for our oceans (project website https://malcolmlowry.com/).

Helen is currently working on a creative non-fiction book exploring her relationship to the work of Malcolm Lowry and Elizabeth Bishop and, through that, with issues of place, landscape and belonging.

Languages

German
French

Degrees

2000, Wadham College, University of Oxford, UK, DPhil in English Literature
1991, Newnham College, University of Cambridge, UK, MPhil in Philosophy
1990, University of Sheffield, UK, BA Hons in Philosophy

Academic appointments

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Liverpool Screen School, Liverpool John Moores University, 2015 - present
Associate Tutor in Creative Writing, English, Edge Hill University, 2011 - 2012
Associate Lecturer in English, English, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2002 - 2003

Highlighted publications

Tookey H. 2022. In the Quaker Hotel Carcanet Press. Manchester 9781800171824 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2022. 'Image Machine': Gaspar Orozco's Book of the Peony and the Prose Poem Sequence as Perceptual Trick Caldwell A, Hardwick O. Prose Poetry in Theory and Practice Routledge. London 9781032058597 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. North and South Hinterland, :27-34 Publisher Url

Tookey H, Heslop M. 2020. To the End of Things: Sound-Poems from Elizabeth Bishop's House Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2020. Remaking the Voyage: New Essays on Malcolm Lowry and 'In Ballast to the White Sea' Tookey HJ, Biggs B. Liverpool University Press. Liverpool 978-1-789-62183-9 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2019. City of Departures Carcanet Press. Manchester 9781784107598 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2016. In the Glasshouse HappenStance Press. Glenrothes 9781910131312 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ, Kraus S. 2016. If You Put Out Your Hand Publisher Url

Tookey HJ, Schmidt M. 2015. New Poetries VI (Eds.) Tookey HJ, Schmidt M. Carcanet Press 9781784100377 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2015. Re-placing Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the world (and back again) Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 8 :193-215 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Tookey H. 2014. Missel-Child Carcanet Press 9781847772183 Publisher Url

Biggs B, Tookey H. 2009. Malcolm Lowry From the Mersey to the World Liverpool University Press 9781846312281

Tookey H. 2003. Anaïs Nin, Fictionality and Femininity Playing a Thousand Roles Oxford University Press on Demand 9780199249831

Chapters

Tookey H. 2023. ' "A Sort of Machine”: Under the Volcano and/as Tarot’ Valentine M. ‘The Consul Had Been a Cabbalist’: Malcolm Lowry, Magic, Myth, and the Occult Strange Attractor Press. London Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2022. 'Image Machine': Gaspar Orozco's Book of the Peony and the Prose Poem Sequence as Perceptual Trick Caldwell A, Hardwick O. Prose Poetry in Theory and Practice Routledge. London 9781032058597 Publisher Url

Book

Tookey H. 2022. In the Quaker Hotel Carcanet Press. Manchester 9781800171824 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2020. Remaking the Voyage: New Essays on Malcolm Lowry and 'In Ballast to the White Sea' Tookey HJ, Biggs B. Liverpool University Press. Liverpool 978-1-789-62183-9 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2019. City of Departures Carcanet Press. Manchester 9781784107598 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2016. In the Glasshouse HappenStance Press. Glenrothes 9781910131312 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ, Schmidt M. 2015. New Poetries VI (Eds.) Tookey HJ, Schmidt M. Carcanet Press 9781784100377 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2014. Missel-Child Carcanet Press 9781847772183 Publisher Url

Biggs B, Tookey H. 2009. Malcolm Lowry From the Mersey to the World Liverpool University Press 9781846312281

Tookey H, Ward A. 2008. Telling the Fractures 9780955482526

Tookey H. 2003. Anaïs Nin, Fictionality and Femininity Playing a Thousand Roles Oxford University Press on Demand 9780199249831

Other

Tookey H. 2022. from 'Charnwood' (a sequence in progress) The Lincoln Review, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2022. Leasowe PN Review, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. 'Shore' Bad Lilies, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. 'In the Quaker Hotel', 'Walking in the Woods with Sarah' and 'Trace' Anthropocene, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. 'Uncharted' and 'Pool / Empty' Finished Creatures: New Poetry, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. The Beach at Sonderho Moxy Magazine, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. 'Under the Lightship' Bath Magg, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. North and South Hinterland, :27-34 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2021. 'Moon Room' and 'Bottle Garden/Greenstick Fracture' M58, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. Cypress Poetry Review, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. 'swimmng again (Yvonne)', 'Citadel', 'New Brighton', 'Track' Shearsman, :23-27 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. 'River Oaks' Poetry Wales, 56 :23-23 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. Economy Falls The Interpreter's House, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. 'Nightfall, Parys Mountain' Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. '[sister]', 'return', 'Long Grass with Butterflies' The Abandoned Playground, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2020. '[sister]', 'return' and 'Long Grass with Butterflies' The Abandoned Playground, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2019. 'Louise' and 'Green' The Manchester Review, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2019. 'Tremella mesenterica' Tentacular Magazine, Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2019. 'Equinox', 'The Woman who Loves Lock-up Garages' Eborakon, 2 :36-37 Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2019. 'Painting the Sitting Room Door' Magma, Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2018. Geschwister Long Poem Magazine, Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2018. Hotel Apostrophe, Strandgade, What Can We Still Do (poems) Blackbox Manifold, Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2017. 'On the Black Canal', 'Episode', 'Halb Null', 'City of Departures' Shearsman magazine, :15-17 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2015. Rheidol Valley, That Day off Sakhalin, That Night in the Woods Shearsman, :42-44

Internet publication

Tookey H, Heslop M. 2020. To the End of Things: Sound-Poems from Elizabeth Bishop's House Publisher Url

Composition

Tookey H, Heslop M. 2019. Squall Publisher Url

Tookey HJ, Heslop M. 2017. Beautiful Error Publisher Url

Artefact

Tookey HJ, Kraus S. 2016. If You Put Out Your Hand Publisher Url

Journal article

Tookey HJ, Lindop G. 2015. In Conversation with Grevel Lindop PN Review, 42

Tookey HJ. 2015. Impertinent Questions Eborakon, 1

Tookey HJ. 2015. Re-placing Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the world (and back again) Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 8 :193-215 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Tookey HJ. 2013. In conversation with Sujata Bhatt PN Review, :30-32 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2013. Poets I Go Back To The North, Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2010. The Consul in the Pharmacy: Orphaned Writing, Alcohol, and the Pharmakon-Structure in Under the Volcano The Firminist, Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2008. A Kind of Mud-Wrestling: A Conversation with Jeffrey Wainwright PN Review, :38-41 Publisher Url

Tookey HJ. 2004. The fiend that smites with a look: the monstrous/menstruous woman and the danger of the gaze in Oscar Wilde's Salome Literature and Theology, 18 :23-37 DOI Publisher Url

Tookey H. 2001. '“I am the Other Face of You”: Anaïs Nin, Fantasies and Femininity’ Women: a cultural review, 12

Tookey H. 2001. Discovering the Plots of One’s Life: Narrative Selves and Psychoanalysis in H.D. and Anaïs Nin Anais: An international journal,

Tookey HJ. Re-placing Malcolm Lowry: from the Mersey to the world (and back again) Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 8 :193-215 DOI

Other invited event:

Walking and Writing, Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History seminar, LJMU, Talk on my work in progress, a creative non-fiction book on my engagement with the work of Malcolm Lowry and, via that, with place and landscape. 2021

Scottish Universities International Summer school guest reading, online, Guest poetry reading and discussion with SUISS students. 2021

Scottish Universities International Summer School, Edinburgh University, Invited poetry reading and discussion. 2019

Doped in Stunned Mirages: A Poetic Celebration of Don Van Vliet, Bluecoat, Liverpool, As part of ACE-funded Captain Beefheart Weekend at Bluecoat, thirteen poets were invited to respond to the work of this musician/artist.. 2017

Albert Poets, Huddersfield, Poetry reading: invited poets Helen Tookey, Judith Willson, Jeffrey Wainwright, Stuart Pickford. 2017

Fano Free Folk Festival, Fano, Denmark, Experimental music festival; I was invited to perform along with Sharron Kraus and Nick Jonah Davis, based on our collaborative CD If You Put Out Your Hand. 2017

Poettrio Experiment: Translation as Collaboration, Newcastle University, Event showcasing poetry work involving different types of translation, part of AHRC-funded Poettrio project (https://poetrrioexperiment.com). Martin Heslop and I were invited to present our text/sound collaborative work.. 2017

Carcanet's Emerging Poets, Books Upstairs, Dublin, Poetry reading. 2016

Belfast Books Festival, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, Poetry reading. 2016

Conference presentation:

From Painting to Poem: Responding as a Poet to Joan Eardley's Landscape Paintings, Joan Eardley: New Perspectives, Online (organised by DJCAD, University of Dundee), Oral presentation. 2021

'Image Machine': Gaspar Orozco's Book of the Peony and the Prose Poem Sequence, Prose Poetry Symposium, Leeds Trinity University, Oral presentation. 2019

Across the Constructed Space: Location and Communication in Malcolm Lowry and W.S. Graham, Local Modernisms: 1890-1950, University of Birmingham, Oral presentation. 2015

Re-placing Malcolm Lowry: from the Mersey to the World (and back again), Brighton Writes: Place-Based Arts, University of Brighton, Oral presentation. 2015

Award:

Hawthornden Fellowship 2021, Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers. 2020

'Hear Us O Lord': using sound and Malcolm Lowry's short stories to imagine a new vocabulary for plastic-filled seas (AHRC Research Networking project), AHRC. 2020

City of Departures shortlisted for Forward Prize for Best Collection 2019, Forward Arts Foundation. 2019

Commended in Newcastle Poetry Competition, Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts. 2019

Missel-Child shortlisted for Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection, 2015, Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University Belfast. 2015

Other Professional Activity:

External Examiner, BA (Hons) Creative Writing, Nottingham Trent University. 2019

Two-week residency awarded (jointly with Martin Heslop), following an open-call competition, at the Elizabeth Bishop House, Great Village, Nova Scotia, in September 2019, to make a new text/sound work responding to the location..

Conference organisation:

Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: An international Malcolm Lowry conference, Organiser. 2017

External committees:

Advisory committee, My Bluecoat project, Bluecoat, Advisor, http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/. 2016

Industrial connections:

PN Review, Coordinating editor, http://pnrev/iewco.uk. 2005

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