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Olivia McCannon

Olivia McCannon

Doctoral Student in Creative Writing.



Sinéad Morrissey, Tara Bergin and Pauline Henry-Tierney

Research project

How else to see the sky? The renewable materials of poetry and translation: remaking language, remaking world.

What might the language of an ‘archaeology of the future’ look and sound like? How can translated language transform relationships between words and worlds in the present? What future is there for the ‘poetry of the past’? My research approaches these questions from three directions. I am writing a long poem made of the future remains of human and nonhuman life and technology. I am translating Quèbecoise poet Louky Bersianik (1930–2011), who (in L’archéologie du futur), wrote of wanting to “break the sequence’ of the archaeological past and to ‘slide into the fissure the beginning (the renewing) of a viable world.” Finally, I am writing a series of essays exploring the inventive regeneration and world(re)making potential of poetry translation.

Research interests

  • the “Anthropocene”
  • 1970s feminist and environmental activism in poetry
  • translation and Science Fiction
  • contemporary poetry in French and English
  • translating women

Research activities


  • “Où est le centre du monde?” An ‘otherworldly conversation’ with Marie Darrieussecq’s Tristes PontiquesL’Esprit Créateur, Johns Hopkins U.P. (autumn 2020)

Awards and funding

  • Northern Bridge studentship


  • chair, NCLA translation duel, National Poetry Day, October 2018
  • tutor for NCLA Spring School April 2019. Strange Meeting: Poetry’s encounters with the world around us 
  • reader at the Idea of Europe symposium, Kings College London, November 2019
  • paper at Language Acts and Worldmaking Conference: Languages Future, Kings College London, April 2020 (postponed)

Research groups

Outreach projects

  • co-judge, Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, 2017–19

Academic background

  • MA Arts and Cultural Leadership, Paris III, La Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • BA Joint Honours, French/German, The Queen’s College, Oxford