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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Jenna Clake joined the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law in June 2018. Jenna holds a BA (Hons) in English with Creative Writing, a MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Writing, all achieved at the University of Birmingham. Her doctoral thesis, 'A Noisy Situation': The Feminine and Feminist New Absurd in Twenty-first Century British and American Poetry, defined and characterised a new poetry aesthetic - the New Absurd. Jenna's research interests include the relationship between writing and popular culture, the prose poem and lyric essay, Absurdism, intersectional feminism, and equality, diversity, and inclusivity in the literary sphere.

Jenna is a member of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team, and a member of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law Research Innovation Subcommittee. She is the Northern Bridge Consortium's Insitutional Subject Contact for Creative Writing. She is a member of HAStEN, the Humanities and Social Sciences Equality Network North East, and the Centre for Culture and Creativity’s Grand Challenge Lead for ‘Forging a smarter, greener industrial economy’.

Research interests

As a poet, Jenna's writing has been published widely in journals of international repute, including Poetry Review, The White Review, The Rialto, The Stinging Fly, and Oxford Poetry. Her debut poetry collection, Fortune Cookie (2017), was awarded the Melita Hume Prize and shortlisted for a Somerset Maugham Award. In 2018, Jenna received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Additionally, she was shortlisted for the inaugral Rebecca Swift Women Poets' Prize, commended in the University of Hertfordshire Single Poem Prize, and placed second in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. A pamphlet of her experimental prose poems, CLAKE / Interview For, was published by Verve Poetry Press in 2018, and a micro-pamphlet of poems I can't promise you anything but whale fall / for you was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2021. Her second full-length poetry collection, Museum of Ice Cream was published by Bloodaxe in 2021.

Jenna additionally reviews poetry for Poetry London, Poetry School, and The Poetry Review.

Her chapter 'Rat Phones, Alligators, Lemon Pepper Wet: The New Absurd of Atlanta' will feature in Television as Literature: From the Ordinary to the Unthinkable (Reto Winckler and Víctor Huertas Martín [eds.], Palgrave).

External Research Collaborations

Jenna has worked with Dr Richard O'Brien (Northumbria University) to organise a conference designed to promote cross disciplinary dialogue and collaboration: Poetry and TV (2018), a symposium exploring the complex relationships between the two mediums.

She is additionally working with Dr Luke Kennard (University of Birmingham) on a collaborative, creative response to John Ashbery's long poem 'Litany'. They presented a section of their project at the New Work and the New York School Conference (University of Birmingham, 2018). 

Jenna's current research project focuses on cetacean conservation, marine mammals, and whale watching. Through writing residencies with ORCA and the Natural History Society of Northumbria, Jenna will be developing a new collection of poems, and engaging wider communities with conservation efforts and the natural world through writing workshops. 

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Jenna is a Fellow of Advance HE. Her teaching is focused on active learning, and fostering confidence and digital capabilities. Her teaching interests are in writing for social change, the relationships between writing and popular culture, and poetry and fiction more broadly.

Jenna currently teaches on Teesside's Creative Writing BA, and English Studies and Creative Writing BA, including the following modules: Practising Poetry, Creative Writing Lab: Writing and Audience, Creative Writing Lab: Writing for Social Change, Creative Writing Lab: Experimental Writing, Speculative Writing, Focus on Fiction, Critical Practice, Writing Popular Culture and Creative Writing Project. Jenna also teaches across modules on Teesside's MA Creative Writing and MA Creative Writing by Distance Learning, including The Professional Writer in the World, Writing Specialisms, and Creative Writing Project.

PhD and Research Opportunities

Jenna welcomes enquiries from prospective research students interested in the relationships between writing and popular culture, writing and technology, modern poetry aesthetics and movements, the prose poem, the Surreal and the Absurd, feminist writing, and writing for social change. She also welcomes proposals for Collaborative Doctoral Awards as part of the Northern Bridge Consortium.

Jenna is Director of Studies for Christina Wilson's  Northern Bridge Consortium funded Collaborative Doctoral Award: 'Systemic Inclusion: Representation and Diversity in UK Literary Festivals'. She is also Director of Studies for Sam Rose's PhD project on writing for cancer survivors.

Jenna is second supervisor for two students: Jessica Wortley and Eve Darwood.


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