Dr Kimberly Campanello


I am a poet and writer with an academic background in Literature in English and French, 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 School of English in 2018 after holding a Lecturership in Creative Writing at York St John University from 2015-2018. 

My poems have appeared most recently in The London Magazine, 3:AM’s Poem Brut series, Poem Atlas’s Escapisms, Blackbox ManifoldTentacular, Bath Magg, Banshee and Poetry Wales. I am featured in the Irish poetry section of Poetry International Web. New poems are forthcoming in The White Review and Poetry Ireland Review. My work has appeared in anthologies published by Laudanum, Bloodaxe, the Enemies Project, EBL-Ciel Abierto, Boiler House, and most recently in Writing Utopia 2020 (Hesterglock).

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. 

I was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introduction Series in 2011 and frequently perform in the UK, Ireland and abroad, including at the Palau Maricel (Spain), the National Concert Hall of Ireland, Dublin Book Festival, Barrow River Arts Festival, Prague Microfestival, Ilkley Literature Festival, Belfast Book Festival, and the International Literature Festival Dublin. In March 2020, I represented the UK in Munich at Klang Farben Text: Visual Poetry for the 21st Century, a three-day visual poetry festival inspired by the international concrete poetry movement of the 1950s and 60s organised by the British Council.

I was awarded a 2019 Markievicz Award by Ireland's Arts Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for (S)worn State(s), a poetry collaboration with Dimitra Xidous and Annemarie Ní Churreáin. I have also been awarded residencies at the Fundación Valparaíso, the Heinrich Böll Cottage, The Studios of Key West and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.


  • 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: 

  • My most recent project is MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page poetry-object and reader’s edition book comprising conceptual and visual poetry released by 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 limited-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 at the University of Leeds. It has been exhibited as part of Radical Landscapes: Innovation in Landscape and Language Art at the Plough Arts Centre (Devon), Poetry by Design (Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds), and the Festival de Libro de Artista: "Proposiciones a realizar" (la Galería Casa Uno, Campus Creativo de la Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile). 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. The performance has also been filmed in its entirety for University College Dublin’s Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

  • 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/experimental Irish poetry with Professor John Goodby (Sheffield Hallam University). I am also working on the (S)worn State(s) collaboration, a new collection of poems, and an ‘autofictional’ novel set in Brittany in the 1990’s which is ‘writing through’ of Margurite Duras’s L’Amant and L’amant de la Chine du Nord

<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 and MA students and postgraduate researchers to realise their creative aims. I am Programme Leader for the BA English Literature with Creative Writing and contribute to the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate literature and Creative Writing modules across the School.


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>