Dr Kimberly Campanello

Dr Kimberly Campanello


I am a poet and writer with an academic background in English and French Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Creative Writing. My practice-based PhD focused on ekphrasis and the sheela-na-gig stone carvings. Originally from the US, I have lived in France, Ireland and the UK. I joined the University of Leeds School of English in 2018 after holding a Lecturership in Creative Writing at York St John University from 2015-2018.

My poems have appeared in magazines in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Ireland, including 3:AM Magazine, Abridged, BansheeThe Cream City Review, filling Station, The Honest UlstermanIrish Left Review, MsLexia, nthposition, PendulineTears in the Fence, Poetry Ireland ReviewThe Penny DreadfulThe Stinging Fly, and Poetry Wales. I am featured in the Irish poetry section of Poetry International Web.

My poetry pamphlets and collections include ConsentImagines and Strange Country (both on the sheela-na-gig stone carvings), Hymn to Kali (my version of the Karpuradi-stotra), and running commentary along the bottom of the tapestryMOTHERBABYHOME, a collection of 796 conceptual and visual poems on the St. Mary's Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway was published by zimZalla Avant Objects in April 2019. In 2017 a selection from MOTHERBABYHOME was published in Laudanum’s Chapbook Anthology Volume Two alongside work by Frances Lock and Abigail Parry.


  • Programme Leader for BA English Literature with Creative Writing

Research interests

My broad interests include poetry, the use of archival material in Creative Writing, ekphrasis, and auto-fiction. I am a member of the University of Leeds Poetry Centre.

Archival research formed the basis of my PhD on the sheela-na-gigs and my work in MOTHERBABYHOME. I am eager to delve into the Brotherton’s Special Collections to inspire new creative projects.

I am interested in innovative Irish poetry that troubles the prevalence of the lyric tradition by using ‘other’ poetic methods. 

My recent and forthcoming work includes poetry and writing for performance: 

  • MOTHERBABYHOME is a 796-page book of conceptual and visual poetry forthcoming with zimZalla Avant Objects in 2019. The St Mary's Mother and Baby Home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of the Irish State in order to house unmarried mothers and their children. Between 1926 and 1961 there were 796 infant and child deaths at the Home. The location of the graves of these children is unknown, though local knowledge, the research of local historian Catherine Corless, and recent excavations point to a field near the old site of the Home, as well as the likelihood that some children were illegally adopted. International media attention in 2014 led to the Irish government’s Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which is still underway. An excavation of voices, the poems are composed entirely of text taken from historical archives and contemporary sources related to the Home, including files given to me by Catherine Corless. The resulting 796 poems are printed on transparent vellum and held in a handmade wooden box. This lmited-edition poetry-object is held by University College Dublin Special Collections, Cardiff University Special Collections, the National Poetry Library (UK), and the Brotherton Special Collections here at the University of Leeds. MOTHERBABYHOME is also published as a Reader’s Edition book. I presented a durational reading of the work in its entirety at the Oonagh Young Gallery in Dublin in April 2019 and continue to perform the work in the UK and abroad.
  • In 2017, I wrote the script for the Simon Birch Dance production Prideaux Angels. Set in Cornwall at Christmastime 1941 and evoking the contemporary refugee crisis, this site-specific dance piece ran for two weeks at Prideaux Place in Cornwall. I wrote a children's book based on the show, which will be published by Valley Press in October 2018. I am currently working with Simon Birch Dance to adapt it for the stage.
  • The result of a collaboration between myself and composer and composer and researcher Jon Hughescases of sudden conversion combines field recordings with electronics, viola, and body percussion with my literary translations of Sanskrit tantric verse and newly-composed poems. It premiered in May 2016 in Krakow as the featured artistic event for the Modern Yoga Research Group’s conference Yoga darsana, yoga sadhana: traditions, transmissions, transformations.The poems were published in the pamphlet Hymn to Kali .  

I am currently editing an anthology of innovative Irish poetry with Professor John Goodby (Swansea University). I am also working on an autofictional novel set in France in the 1990’s which evokes themes of translation, memory and erotic autonomy.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Creative Writing, Middlesex University
  • MA in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Cincinnati
  • MFA in Creative Writing, University of Alabama
  • BA in English and French, summa cum laude, Butler University
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice

Professional memberships

  • National Association of Writers in Education
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Society of Authors

Student education

I am passionate about teaching Creative Writing and working with undergraduate students and postgraduate researchers to realise their creative aims. I lead the new English Literature with Creative Writing BA and contribute to the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate literature and Creative Writing across the School.

I would be delighted to hear from prospective PhD students focusing on Creative Writing (in any genre), poetry, Irish poetry, ekphrasis and using archival material in Creative Writing.


Research groups and institutes

  • Creative Writing at Leeds
  • Critical Life Research Group

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>