City of the World: Poems of New York

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of English

Project academic: Dr Rona Cran

Project summary 

This project is compiling a new anthology of New York City poetry, entitled City of the World: Poems of New York. The anthology is under contract for publication by Fordham University Press, a publisher with an outstanding reputation for producing affordable, attractive, award-winning books focusing on the New York region. The anthology aims to offer readers a stimulating journey through the diverse and abundant poetry that has been written in and about the city from the 17th century to the present day.

New York is a city of poets, and holds a distinctive place in both American and literary mythology, but in spite of the wealth of poetry written in and about it, a fully comprehensive anthology of New York poetry has yet to be published. This anthology aims to change that, providing an indispensable reading experience to anyone who loves New York and its poetry.

What you will do 

  • Using a combination of library and web research, locate and transcribe poems that have been selected for inclusion in the anthology;
  • Locate and contact copyright holders requesting permission to include the poems in the anthology;
  • Update the anthology database with confirmed fee requests, clearances, credit lines, and requests for copies of the anthology;
  • Research and write brief poet biographies (50-100 words);
  • Offer the Project Proposer ideas and opinions as to what they think the anthology’s Introduction should include and/or address, based on the Scholarship holder’s existing knowledge of American poetry and/or experiences gained while working on the project.

Skills required

  • Excellent writing skills (both academic writing and communication via email);
  • Excellent attention to details in transcription, populating spreadsheets, and writing/responding to emails;
  • A creative and tenacious approach to research (some of the poems may be quite obscure and hard to find!);
  • Excellent organizational skills, skills of diplomacy, and an ability to work independently;
  • A demonstrable interest in American poetry; interests in modern/contemporary Anglophone poetry, canon formation, creative writing, and/or the literature and culture of New York City would be additionally welcome. 

How will the project benefit you?

  • Poet-editor Maureen Owen commented that through typing up poetry, she ‘became one with the poem in a way that doesn’t happen when one is just reading the work’: through the processes of transcription, the Scholar will gain a deep familiarity with hundreds of New York-inspired poems (and their authors), giving them an advantage as they progress into their final year and pursue either further academic study or work in the arts, publishing, editing, creative writing, or teaching;
  • The Scholar will have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the processes and methodologies of library-based and internet-based research, including visiting the British Library, which will be highly beneficial when writing their dissertation;
  • The Scholar will learn about (and be an integral part of) the processes involved in an editorial project, and have the opportunity to be credited for the contributions they make to the anthology’s shape and scope;
  • The Scholar will come into contact with numerous publishers, poets’ estates, and contemporary global poets, offering them the opportunity to network and build contacts with a wide range of influential creatives and professionals, which will be of benefit to students pursuing careers in academia, publishing, editing, arts events organisation, or creative writing;
  • The Scholar will gain experience of a range of transferable skills, which will be of value in numerous post-university contexts: communications etiquette and diplomacy; high stakes collaborative and independent working; use of Word, Excel, and Google docs; keeping meticulous, comprehensive records; writing concisely and illuminatingly.

Where now?


Professional Services