Denise Riley

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Denise Riley (born 1948, Carlisle) is an English poet and philosopher who began to be published in the 1970s. Her poetry is remarkable for its paradoxical interrogation of selfhood within the lyric mode.[1] Denise Riley is functioning across the full range of poetic life such as poet, essayist, teacher, editor, researcher and beyond, with her interests extending to politics, history, philosophy, feminist theory and visual art.[2] Her critical writings on motherhood, women in history, "identity", and philosophy of language, are recognized as an important contribution to feminism and contemporary philosophy. She was, until recently, Professor of Literature with Philosophy at the University of East Anglia and is currently A. D. White Professor-at-large at Cornell University.[3] Her visiting positions also included a writer in Residence at the Tate Gallery in London and visiting fellow at Birkbeck college in the university of London.[4] She was formerly a Writer in Residence at Tate Gallery London, and has held fellowships at Brown University and at Birkbeck, University of London. Riley's reading voice is unclouded and well projected, and that joy in the language entails that each word is cherished enough to be allowed its full resonance.[5] Among her poetry publications are Penguin Modern Poets 10, with Douglas Oliver and Iain Sinclair (1996).[6] She lives in London. Denise Riley's treasured Poetry Saying include: "I, too, dislike it. / Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in / it, after all, a place for the genuine. (from 'Poetry')" - Marianne Moore, Time Lived, Without Its Flow, Say Something Back.[7]

Her poetry collections include Marxism for Infants (1977); the volume No Fee (1979), with Wendy Mulford; Dry Air (1985); Stair Spirit (1992); Mop Georgette (1993); Selected Poems (2000); and Say Something Back (2016), which was nominated for a Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection. Riley’s non- fiction prose includes War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother (1983); 'Am I That Name?': Feminism and the Category of Women in History (1988); The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (2000); and Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (2005).[8]

Awards and honors[edit]



  • Marxism for Infants, Cambridge, UK: Street Editions, 1977.
  • No Fee, Cambridge, UK: Street Editions, 1978.
  • Dry Air, London: Virago: 1985, ISBN 0-86068-539-X.
  • Mop Mop Georgette: New and Selected Poems 1986-1993, London: Reality Street Editions, 1993, ISBN 1-874400-04-0.
  • Penguin Modern Poets 10 (with Douglas Oliver and Iain Sinclair), Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1996.
  • Denise Riley: Selected Poems, London: Reality Street, 2000.
  • Say Something Back, London: Picador, 2016.



  1. ^ Tony Lopez, Meaning Performance: Essays on Poetry, Cambridge, UK: Salt, 2006, 123-4; see also Christine Kennedy and David Kennedy, "'Expectant Contexts': Corporeal and desiring spaces in Denise Riley's Poetry," Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, 1, 1 (2009): 79-101.
  2. ^ "Denise Riley |". Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  3. ^ Birkbeck, University of London staff: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 August 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 17.10.2011.
  4. ^ "Denise Riley | Forward Arts Foundation". Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Denise Riley |". Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  6. ^ British Council Writers Directory: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 15.10.2011.
  7. ^ "Denise Riley |". Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  8. ^ Foundation, Poetry (8 May 2019). "Denise Riley". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  9. ^ Alison Flood (1 October 2012). "Jorie Graham takes 2012 Forward prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Denise Riley nominated for 2016 Forward prize".
  11. ^ "Denise Riley on 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist".

External links[edit]