Sarah Barnsley

SJB May 2015 

Photo by Hannah Brackenbury

Sarah Barnsley was born in 1974 and grew up in the Midlands.  She studied at the University of East Anglia (with a year at Reed College), King’s College London, and then at Goldsmiths, University of London where she now teaches American literature and modern poetry, as well as directs distance-learning provision in English.

Shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award (2004) and the Bridport Prize (2010), Sarah was joint runner-up in the Poetry School/Pighog Pamphlet Competition (2014). Her poems have appeared in Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Magma, Mslexia, Obsessed with Pipework, Raindog, The Stinging FlyUnder the Radar and anthologies by the Cinnamon Press and The Shuffle. Her debut pamphlet, The Fire Station, was published in September 2015 by Telltale Press.

Sarah has written widely on American modernist poetry, with a special interest in the poet Mary Barnard, whose centenary she co-organised with Barnard’s literary executor at Reed College, Portland, Oregon (2011).   Her research on Barnard won her the award of the H.D Fellowship in American Literature at the Beinecke Library, Yale University (2007/8).

Currently working towards her first collection of poems, Sarah is also researching a group biography of a loose network of late modernist poets based in New York, editing Mary Barnard’s Complete Poems and writing a literary biography of the poet May Swenson. Sarah lives in Hove.

Publications (selected)

The Fire Station, (Telltale Press, 2015)

Mary Barnard, American Imagist, (Albany, NY:  SUNY Press, 2013)

(for a full list of publications, please see my staff page at Goldsmiths below)

Where to find Sarah

Les Rapides Faciles

We kayak to the supermarket,
arms chopping air rhythmically,

noses and chins angled forward,
bobbing at junctions,

slaloming around postboxes,
wheelie bins, silver birches,

paddles of quiet conversation
steadying our boat of focus

launched from the jagged sands
of inconvenient bus timetables.

We may rush corners,
tumble down the rapids of

Victorian-banked streets,
but it’s the gliding I like best,

the effortless, continuous flow
of being with you, the kingfishers

and dragonflies dipping into our
gentle wash like magic sapphires.


First published in Obsessed with Pipework 52, October 2010

Published in The Fire Station (Telltale Press, 2015)


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