Dr. Sean Bonney

Sean Bonney


Lansstr. 7-9
Raum 202
14195 Berlin

Academic Education and Employment


Postdoctoral Research Fellow                                                             since 10 / 2015

John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

Project title: Diane di Primas Revolutionary Letters: The Poet as Activist

Seminar: Post-Crisis Poetics


Associate Research Fellow                                                             10 / 2013 - 09 / 2015

Birkbeck College, University of London

Seminar: Contemporary British Poetry (M.A.)


Doctorate                                                                                          09/ 2009 - 03 / 2013

Birkbeck College, University of London                                            

Tensions Between Aesthetic and Political Commitment in the work of Amiri Baraka

Supervisors: Professor William Rowe, Professor Carol Watts

Publications and Presentations

Books (Poetry)

Cartas Contra O Firmamento (Lisbon: Douda Correria, 2016 - translation of Letters Against the Firmament into Portugese by Miguel Cardoso)

Letters Against The Firmament (London: Enitharmon Press, 2015)

Happiness: Poems After Rimbaud (London: Unkant, 2011)

The Commons (London: Openned, 2011)

Document: Poems, Diagrams, Manifestos (Brighton: Barque Press, 2009)

Baudelaire in English (London: Veer Books, 2008)

Blade Pitch Control Unit (Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2005)


Chapbooks (Poetry)

Cancer: Poems After Katerina Gogou (Berlin: A Firm Nigh Holistic Press, 2016)

Letters On Harmony (Brighton: Iodine, 2013)

Four Letters, Four Comments (Scarborough, MA, USA: Punch Press 2012)

For the Administration (London: Crater, 2010)

Five Poems After Rimbaud (Brighton: Grasp Press, 2010)

From “Baudelaire in English” (Calgary, Canada: No Press, 2007)

Black Water (London: yt communication, 2006)

Document: Hexprogress (London: yt communication, 2006)

Poisons, Their Antidotes (Sheffield: West House Books, 2003)

Notes on Heresy (London: Writers Forum, 2002)



“Insurrectionary Imagination in Exile: The Prison Writings of Louis-Auguste                        Blanqui” (Mute, 2014)

“This is Why I Do Not Conform”: The Poetry of Anna Mendelssohn (The Poetry Project      Newsletter, New York, 2011)

“What the Tourists Never See”: The Social Poetics of Geraldine Monk (The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, 2007)

Notes on Ulli Freer (Readings, London, 2005)


Selected Conference Papers, Colloquia and Readings

Our Death: Poetry Reading (John F Kennedy Institue, Freie Universität Berlin, January 2017)

On Riot and Resistance (Liverpool Biennale, Tate Gallery, July 2016)

Letters Against the Firmament (Festival Silêncio, Lisbon, June 2016)

Poetics as Self Defence: Amiri Baraka at the End of the World (Framing Violence Conference, John F Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, June 2016)

The Problem of the Police: Notes on Diane di Prima (Interdisciplinary Forum, John F Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, November 2015)

Time Negatives of Variable Universe: On Sun Ra and Amiri Baraka (Marxism in Culture Seminar, University of London, March 2015)

Get Your Cut Throat of my Knife: Diane di Prima’s Revolutionary Letters (Innovative Poetics Seminar, University of London, Feb 2015)

Queen Mob and King Mab (Politik der Lyrik, Babelsprech, Berlin, Oct 2014)

The Destruction of America: Amiri Baraka and the Newark Rebellions (Amiri Baraka: A Retrospective, ICA, London, 2014)

In Memory of Radio: Notes on Amiri Baraka (Critical Poetics Seminar, University of Sussex, 2014)

Militant Poetics Manifesto (Poetry and/or Revolution, UC Berkeley, 2013)

Rimbaud, Fanon: The Negation of Imperialist Time (keynote paper, Matters of Time, Cambridge, 2013)

Enraged Sociologies: Amiri Baraka’s Interpetation of John Coltrane (seminar for the music department, University of Newcastle, 2013)

Further Notes on Militant Poetics (Historical Materialism, SOAS, London, 2012)

Od Dhamballah / And Engels: Revolutionary Weirdness in 1960s Jazz (Marxism in Culture Seminar, University of London, 2012)

Notes on Militant Poetics (Poetry and Revolution, Birkbeck College, 2012)

Content Exceeds Phrase (keynote paper, Conversify, University of Edinburgh, 2011): this paper was also presented at the University of Sussex and the University of Bangor, both in 2011.


Selected Secondary Literature (articles about my work by others)

David Nowell Smith: “An Interrupter, a collective: Sean Bonney’s Lyric Outrage”, Etudes Britanniques Contemporaines 45 (2013)

Dan Eltringham: “its 11:58 in London: Sean Bonney’s Urban Commons”, The Occupied Times of London (2013)

Sophie Robinson: entry in The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English (2013)

Kathy-Ann Tan: “London Calling: The Poetics of Disruption and Social Resistance in the work of Sean Bonney and Stephen Mooney”, Contemporary Political Poetry in Britain and Ireland (Heidelberg: Vinter Werlag, 2013)

Esther Leslie: Bouleversed Baudelairizing: On Poetics and Terror (London: Veer Books, 2011)

Richard Owens, “On Blogging and The Commons via Thom Donovan and Sean Bonney”, The Poetry Project Newsletter (2010)



Letters Against the Firmament was noted as a book of the year for 2016 on the website of the London literary journal Granta, and as a book of the year for 2015 on the website of the British publisher Verso.