Portrait of Dr James Underwood Dr James Underwood

j.s.underwood@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471644


James Underwood joined the University of Huddersfield in 2016 as Research Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Literature, having previously taught at the University of Hull and Bishop Grosseteste University. With Dr Steve Ely, he is responsible for developing the Ted Hughes Network, a major university initiative which seeks to become a centre of excellence for Hughes-related research, teaching, creativity, and public engagement. 

James is the recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for 2017-18. This award funds a 12-month project, ‘Literature and the Reading Public: Challenges and Opportunities’, which explores issues and ideas relevant to literary studies and public engagement. The project will provide training for a number of Early Career Researchers.

James is a Director of The Elmet Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting the birthplace and legacy of Ted Hughes. He is also Secretary of the Ted Hughes Yorkshire Literary and Heritage Trail Consortium. 


2015    PhD, University of Hull

2012    MA Modern & Contemporary Literature, University of Hull

2011    BA English Literature, University of Durham

Research and Scholarship

James’s research focuses on modern and contemporary poetry, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes, as well as ideas relating to poetry, biography, and letter-writing. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals and essay collections, and he is currently working on a monograph entitled Early Larkin. James reviews new work on twentieth-century poetry for Modern Language Review.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Underwood, J (2017) ‘Mayday on Holderness: Ted Hughes, National Service, and East YorkshireTed Hughes Society Journal , 6 (2), pp. 86-98. ISSN 2051-7270

Underwood, J (2017) ‘Review: The Rimbaud of Leeds: The Political Character of Tony Harrison's Poetry by Christine ReganModern Language Review , 112 (4), pp. 998-999. ISSN 0026-7937

Underwood, J (2017) ‘Out of Place, Out of Time: Peter Didsbury's Hull’. In: Hull: Culture, History, Place. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. pp. 18-20. ISBN 9781781384190

Underwood, J. and Weston, D. (2017) ‘'A Poetic Place': The Hull of Philip Larkin’. In: Hull: Culture, History, Place. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. pp. 259-261. ISBN 9781781384190

Underwood, J (2017) ‘Review: Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of his Time by Tom WalkerModern Language Review , 112 (2), pp. 503-504. ISSN 0026-7937


Underwood, J (2016) ‘Book review: Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words by Matthew SperlingModern Language Review , 111 (4), pp. 1131-1132. ISSN 0026-7937

Underwood, J (2016) ‘Review: 'Poetry and Principles': Philip Larkin's Poetics: Theory and Practice of an English Post-war Poet by István D. RáczAbout Larkin: The Journal of the Philip Larkin Society , 42, pp. 27-29. ISSN 1362-542X

Underwood, J (2016) ‘'A Kind of Homosexual Relation, Disguised': Larkin's Letters to Monica JonesEnglish , 65 (248), pp. 38-57. ISSN 0013-8215


Underwood, J (2014) ‘Book Review: 'Only Connect': Belonging and Estrangement in the Poetry of Philip Larkin, R. S. Thomas and Charles Causley by Rory WatermanAbout Larkin: The Journal of the Philip Larkin Society , 38, pp. 28-29. ISSN 1362-542X

Underwood, J (2014) ‘Larkin's 'Church Going': A SourceNotes and Queries , 61 (1), pp. 146-148. ISSN 0029-3970

Research Degree Supervision


  • Rebecca Devine (NECAH-funded), ‘Philip Larkin: Family Man?’ (with Dr Jane Thomas, University of Hull)

James Underwood is happy to supervise research degrees (MRes, PhD) in the following areas:

  • Twentieth-century poetry, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes
  • Literary biography / literature and biography / literature as biography
  • Poets’ letters / poetry and letter-writing