Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Zoe Brigley
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Zoe Brigley

Zoë Brigley, originally from Wales, now lives in Ohio USA. Zoë’s maternal family is from the Llynfi Valley near Bridgend in South Wales, while the paternal side is from Bristol, England. Celtic mythology and tradition play an important role in her writing, as does the role of colonialism, conquest and trade as represented by British seaports like Bristol.

Zoë completed a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Gender and Literature at Warwick University, followed by a Ph.D. on three Welsh poets: Gwyneth Lewis, Pascale Petit and Deryn Rees-Jones. She has taught at Warwick University, University of Northampton, and now at the Ohio State University where she is visiting assistant professor.


Conquest (Bloodaxe 2012). PBS recommendation.

The Secret (Bloodaxe 2007). PBS recommendation.

Featured poet in Seren Selections (Seren 2006)

Heaventree New Writers: Vol 1 (2004)



Finalist, Autumn House Poetry Prize, 2016.

Short-listed, Arvon Poetry Prize, 2010.

Long-listed, Dylan Thomas Award, 2008.

English Association’s Poetry Fellows’s Award, 2006.

Academi Bursary Award Winner, 2005.

Eric Gregory Award, 2003.



Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, England.

Marlborough College, England.

Publications in Other Genres

Feminism, Literature and Rape Narratives (Routledge, 2010) edited with Sorcha Gunne.

Bluebeard’s Wives (Heaventree, 2007) edited with Julie Boden.



“With a writer like Brigley who is uncompromisingly inventive in following her own intertextual course (a parallel might be Medbh McGuckian), the reader has to decide in the end whether or not they believe in the work on first principles. In The Secret, there is enough excitement and fascination to make that act of faith.”Bernard O’ Donoghue, Poetry London

“[The Secret] is a first collection of ambition and originality, filled with engaging experiment, and, for the reader, the continual delighted surprise of success. It is divided into three sections which explore and replay familiar and less familiar mythic structures – the tarot meets the Mabinogion, the self is explored through the frame of the Aztec calendar, and Bluebeard’s story metamorphoses into Cortes’ adventures in the New World. Drawing on a broad variety of belief systems, it gradually envelops the reader in the complimentary pleasure of engaging with the immediate text while referring to an overarching structure.

“The poems display a precise control of sound, image and refrain at the same time as they embody powerfully feminine sensibility, asserting its fluency with myth, cultural theory and the metaphysical. Zoe Brigley creates a large, busy canvas, but constantly foregrounds details of precise and sometimes shocking intimacy, particularly in a touching yet troubled set of family portraits.

“The collection is rich with references to Welsh writing (and the occasional echo of Auden, and it sometimes calls to mind the Canadian poet Anne Carson, in its juxtaposition of knowledge and the passions, and its capacity to draw both into an artistic unity. Brigley’s use of Welsh is especially exciting, plaiting it through English to give her lines an intricate musicality. This culturally-charged gesture forcefully reminds us how proximate the unfamiliar can be, while the exoticism of the Mexican setting is skillfully grounded in this poet’s distinctive field of concerns. The radical reconsideration of the apparently strange (and of what we assume to be customary) is one of poetry’s necessary tasks, and it is essayed here with some aplomb.”
Poetry Book Society Bulletin



Zoë Brigley’s Website

Zoë Brigley’s Blog

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