Dr Nisha Ramayya, BA, MA, DPhil (RHUL)
Lecturer In Creative Writing
I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, making annual trips to Hyderabad, India, and moved down south to study a BA in English and an MA in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. I returned to Glasgow for a few wonderfully warm and profoundly formative years working at Glasgow Women’s Library, after which I moved to London (where I remain!) for a Practice-Based Research PhD at RHUL. My doctoral research focussed on experimental feminist poetics, surveying a historically and formally wide range of writers and artists, and I experimented with Sanskrit, Tantra, and British-Indian history, identity, and experience in the process. I love to think about poetry in an ever-expanding sense, to include a multitude of theoretical, disciplinary, and formal approaches.
- Creative Writing 1
- Creative Writing (Poetry) 2
- Poetry at Work
- Contemporary and Experimental Poetry and Poetics
- Critical Race Theory and Black Study
- Feminist and Queer Theory
- Visual, Sound, and Video Poetry, and Performance
Recent and On-Going Research
I am committed to interdisciplinary and practice-based research, and my work includes poetry, creative-critical writing, essays, reviews, and scholarly articles, as well as teaching and organising events within and beyond the university.
My current poetry project, States of the Body Produced by Love, is a series of responses to states of being British-Indian in relation to the colonial and postcolonial states of Britain and India. The series is structured according to 19th century lexicographer Sir Monier Monier-Williams’s entry for the Sanskrit word smaradaśā (which might be translated as ‘love-state’), which defines ten states proceeding from ‘joy of the eyes’ to ‘death’. I think about gender, race, class, and caste in terms of ritual, inheritance, distance, and translation. (See ‘Publications’ to read about some of the ‘states’ online!)
With Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil, I co-authored the creative-critical pamphlet Threads (published by clinic press). In this pamphlet, I present my theorisation of Tantric poetics, in which I weave together ideas, people, categories and contexts of poetry, especially categories that centre poets of colour and contexts that decentre white and Western histories and philosophical traditions. I began this project during my PhD and am currently expanding my theorisation of Tantric poetics to form a ‘rackety bridge’ with Black Study, as theorised by Fred Moten.
My recent scholarly articles focus on poetry by writers of colour in the UK and Black British writers, critical race theory, and racialized histories of literary production and criticism, especially within British contexts. Related to this, I am a member of the ‘Race & Poetry & Poetics in the UK’ research group (www.rapapuk.com). Together, we have organised a poetry reading, a symposium, and a public event at the National Poetry Library; we are currently organising a conference on ‘Legacies of Colonialism’ at the University of Cambridge.
I am a member of Generative Constraints (www.generativeconstraints.com), with whom I collaborate creatively, critically, and on event organisation. Our current project, Break Up Variations, which we have performed in London and in Belgrade, considers the generative possibilities of the break up as a form of relation, perhaps as constitutive of the relationship itself.
1.1 Poetry Collections
States of the Body Produced by Love (in preparation)
Threads, co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil (Clinic Press, 2018)
Correspondences (Norfolk: Oystercatcher Press, 2016)
Notes on Sanskrit (Norfolk: Oystercatcher Press, 2015)
1.2. Poetry in Journals and Magazines
From States of the Body Produced by Love, ‘Nectar Feed Broadside Series’, ed. by Lee Ann Brown and Ian Heames (Cambridge: Tender Buttons and Face Press, 2018)
‘Death’, States of the Body Produced by Love, Oxford Poetry, ‘Crossings’, ed. by Nancy Campbell, Mary Jean Chan, and Theophilus Kwek (Winter 2017-2018)
From ‘Abandonment of Shame’, States of the Body Produced by Love, Blackbox Manifold, ed. by Alex Houen and Adam Piette (Winter 2017)
‘Infatuation’, States of the Body Produced by Love, The Believer, ed. by Sophie Robinson (November 2017)
From ‘Thirteen Days After Death’, Poetry London, ed. by Sarah Howe (Autumn 2017)
From States of the Body Produced by Love, The White Review (June 2017)
‘Supramaterial Ascension of the Transducing Systems’, Sure Hope, ed. by Joseph Persad (May 2017)
‘Responses to a Question about Citation’, Zarf, ‘The Prose Poetry Issue’, ed. by Calum Gardner (February 2017)
‘Secretions or Obstructions’, Litmus Magazine, ‘The Diagnostics Issue’, ed. by Dorothy Lehane, Elinor Cleghorn, Sarah Crewe, and Theodoros Chiotis (November 2016)
- ‘Secretions or Obstructions’ was Highly Commended by the Forward Prizes for Poetry and is published in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018 (London 2017).
‘A Story of Mātaṅgī’, Lighthouse: A Journal of New Writing, ‘Poetry into Prose’, ed. by Jeremy Noel-Tod (Spring 2016)
‘Awkward Bumping in the Theory District’, Ambit (Spring 2016)
‘Responses to a Tantric Poetics’, Datableed, ed. by Eleanor Perry and Juha Virtanen (October 2015)
‘Stupid, A Kind of Bracelet’, Jungftak: A Journal for Prose-Poetry, ed. by Eley Williams (April 2015)
‘Une enquête onomatopéique’ and ‘Documents relatifs à l’enquête’, Récupérer, ed. by Vincent Broqua (Paris: Les Petits Matins, 2015)
‘Kamala’, Quaderna: A Multilingual and Transdisciplinary Journal, ed. by Vincent Broqua and Olivier Brossard, Volume 2: Multilingualism (May 2014)
‘Containing Passages From Dictionaries; Along With The Shell Or Husk; Along With The Membrane’, Visual Verse, ed. by Preti Taneja (November 2013)
1.3. Poetry in Anthologies
‘Death’, States of the Body Produced by Love, Wretched Strangers, ed. by Ágnes Lehóczky and J. T. Welsch (Norwich: Boiler House Press, 2018)
‘Fainting Away’, States of the Body Produced by Love, Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature, ed. by Isabel Waidner (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018)
From ‘Abandonment of Shame’, States of the Body Produced by Love, Free Poetry, ‘Contemporary Scottish Poetry’, ed. by Martin Corless-Smith and Peter Manson (Idaho: Boise State University, May 2017)
2.1. Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
‘Falling, Breaking, Blackness: Fred Moten and a Poetics of Love’ (in preparation)
‘Decolonising Translation: Audre Lorde, Harryette Mullen, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Don Mee Choi, Gloria Anzaldúa, Heriberto Yépez’ (in preparation)
‘“Losing / remains a black verb”: D. S. Marriott, E. A. Markham, Maud Sulter, and John La Rose’, Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, ‘Race’, ed. by Sandeep Parmar (forthcoming)
‘Secreting Blackness in the Poetry of D. S. Marriott’, Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, ‘Secret Poetry’, ed. by Jo Lindsay Walton and Ed Luker (2018)
From ‘Crossing the Rackety Bridge between Tantric Poetics and Black Study’, Poetry Wales, ‘Ritual’, ed. by Nia Davies (Summer 2018)
‘Threads’, Poetry London, ed. by Sam Buchan-Watts (Spring 2018)
Biography and Critical Perspective on Kayo Chingonyi, British Council Literature (2018)
Biography and Critical Perspective on Vahni Capildeo, British Council Literature (2018)
Review of Hannah Black’s Some Context, MAP, ed. by Daisy Lafarge (October 2017)
Review of Eley Williams’ Frit, Zarf, ed. by Calum Gardner (August 2017)
Review of Currently and Emotion: Translations (ed. Sophie Collins), Poetry London, ed. by Sam Buchan-Watts (Autumn 2017)
Review of Jessica Johannesson Gaitan’s Foam, Hix Eros: Poetry Review, ed. by Jo Lindsay Walton and Joe Luna (August 2016)
Review of Kayo Chingonyi’s The Color of James Brown’s Scream, Ambit Magazine (7 March 2016)
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.