Beowulf

Absolument Jolie

I am fascinated by the Old English epic Beowulf. It’s one of my favourite texts to teach! On this page you can find all my Beowulfiana!

Women in Beowulf Poetry Project

I am currently working on a poetry collection inspired by the women of Beowulf. A selection of my poems, plus a creative-critical essay reflecting on my writing process and recent feminist adaptations of Beowulf, was published in the academic journal postmedieval in August 2022 (‘Poems for the Women of Beowulf: ‘A Contemporary Medieval’ Project’)

I have had poems from the collection published in the following:

‘A New Woman at Beowulf’s Funeral Pyre’ in The Mechanics’ Institute Review Online

‘The King is Dead [Watch this Space]’ in Osmosis Press

(The two poems above respond to the same moment in Beowulf but in different styles)

‘Queen Wealhtheow: Cup-bearer’ in Ink, Sweat & Tears

‘Riddle I’ in Green Ink Poetry

‘The Woman’s Lament’ and ‘Hygd (Reflection)’ in Crow of Minerva

‘(Hygd and Seek)’ in Atrium

‘Dead Dragon, Deep Dragon’ in Acropolis Journal

‘I am the Queen without a Name’, ‘Indeed’, ‘Grendel’s Mother’, ‘Wealhtheow on the Whale-Road’, and ‘A Gift Between Queens’ in The Oxford Magazine (Autumn 2020)

‘Beowulf’s Mother’, ‘Grendel’s Sister’, ‘Teen Maiden’, and ‘Beowulf and Eadwacer’ in Dreich magazine (Season 3 no 11, print copies available from Dreich website)

I have poems forthcoming in Bad Lilies, Banshee, and Dear Reader. I have read my poetry on the podcasts linked below. My work has also been longlisted by The Rialto and Northern Gravy, and shortlisted by Fawn Press.

(I have had a rather different poem published in After…Poetry: ‘The Little Girl and The Laughing Cavalier’, available here).

Translations

In 2016 I took part in Jean Abbott, Elaine Treharne, and Mateusz Fafinski’s Beowulf by All project, a community translation which has now been published by Arc Humanities Press, 2021 (available here). The book is also available as an Open Access free PDF download here.

Reviews

I reviewed Maria Dahvana Headley’s new translation of Beowulf for History Today magazine: here.

Podcasts

I was the invited guest on the podcast Backlisted for the Beowulf episode in October 2020: here. Andrew Male and I joined Andy Miller and John Mitchinson to discuss the original epic and a host of amazing translations and adaptations, from Seamus Heaney to Maria Dahvana Headley, the 2007 film to Michael Morpurgo’s children’s version. At the end of the podcast I read a couple of my own Beowulf-inspired poems. (On the podcast we also discussed Robert Shearman’s incredible short story collection We All Hear Stories in the Dark, check it out here!).

In July 2021 I wrote and recorded my own episode for the Oxford English Faculty’s Great Writers Inspire series, discussing the Beowulf dragon as the inspiration for Tolkien’s Smaug and as reinvented by Maria Dahvana Headley in her new translation of the poem. I also read two of my own poems inspired by the dragon. You can find the podcast here.