Ellen has an MA in English from Cambridge University and a PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry and Poetics) from St Andrews, where her supervisor was Don Paterson. She also holds a Masters in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

She has taught English Literature on the undergraduate course at St Andrew’s University, Creative Writing at City University, London and given a Masterclass in metaphor at University College London. She has designed and run numerous courses at the Poetry School, London. Recent teaching posts include Associate Lecturer at Bath Spa University and Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Hull where she ran the poetry modules. She currently teaches Masterclass and Advanced poetry at the City Lit Institute London.


Thesis And Conference Papers

PhD  – ‘The Metaphor Imperative: A Study of Metaphor’s Assuaging Role in Poetic Composition from Ovid to Alice Oswald’
Awarded by the University of St Andrews, June 2014
Supervisor – Don Paterson
Examiners – John Burnside and Michael Symmons Roberts


PhD Abstract

This thesis considers the nature and function of metaphor in the articulation of poetic themes and poetic self. It draws on original interviews I conducted with Alice Oswald, Glyn Maxwell and Andrew Motion and on close analysis of texts by Ovid, Shakespeare, George Herbert and a number of contemporary poets. Using metaphor theory, literary criticism and cognitive poetic criticism, it argues for the fundamental assuaging role of metaphor at critical junctures of poetic composition.


Conference Papers

“And Hector died like everyone else”. No one dies like anybody else in Memorial: simile redefined in Alice Oswald’s excavation of The Iliad.’
Paper given at the British-Irish Contemporary Poetry Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, July 2013.


Masterclass, University College London

Simile and metaphor: contemporary models in the poetry of Alice Oswald.
Masterclass for MA students of English Literature and Creative Writing, May 2012.