Theresa Welford

Theresa Malphrus Welford, who grew up in a small, working-class town near Savannah, Georgia, received a PhD in English Literature from the University of Essex in 2006. A two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Theresa has published poetry, creative nonfiction, book chapters, and scholarly articles, as well as two edited collections of poetry: The Paradelle and The Cento (both published by Red Hen Press). She is currently working on two textbooks and a number of picture-book manuscripts. Theresa and her husband, Mark Welford, happily share their home in Statesboro, Georgia, with countless rescued animals (cats and dogs).

All Books

Transatlantic Connections

Theresa Welford

Publication Date: June 20, 2019

$16.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-58654-054-8


In the 1950s, a group of brash young British writers coalesced into a controversial poetic and critical movement known simply as the Movement. In the 1980s, a group of brash young American writers coalesced into an equally controversial poetic and critical movement known as New Formalism. Especially since the British coalition known as The Movement was short-lived, surviving less than a decade, few people could have predicted that it would have an impact that was both far-reaching and long-lasting. This groundbreaking new study shows that the Movement lives on, in a very real way, in New Formalist poetics and poetry.


“In her new book, Theresa Malphrus Welford offers a cogent study of poets separated by an ocean yet connected by sensibility. Through meticulous research, as well as interviews conducted especially for her project, she convincingly demonstrates the Movement’s profound influence on the first wave of New Formalists. Welford navigates the currents of literary history with admirable grace: we learn of Donald Davie’s mentorship of Dana Gioia, Timothy Steele’s early embrace of Thom Gunn, Mark Jarman’s subtle homages to Philip Larkin, and much more. In reconstructing the influence of both movements on poets writing today, Welford has produced an essential critical work that illuminates the productive kinship of two distinct generations and traditions.”—Ned Balbo, author of Galileo’s Banquet

“In Transatlantic Connections, Theresa Malphrus Welford explores the complex, sometimes fraught influence of the Movement on America’s New Formalism—on not just its aesthetics but also its sense of the poet’s ideal role in society. Once marginalized—even reviled—New Formalism has, four decades on, seeped into and transformed American poetry, sparking a renewed interest in meter, rhyme, narrative and received forms, even among primarily free verse poets. Welford persuasively and meticulously demonstrates how a loose affiliation of critically unfashionable British poets left an imprint on contemporary American poetry.”—April Lindner, author of Skin, recipient of the Walt McDonald First Book Prize

“Most laudable in this study of the ties between Britain’s the Movement and America’s New Formalism is Theresa Welford’s sensitivity to the complexity of poetic influence. She convincingly questions the legitimacy of airtight “schools” of poetry then shows how the boundaries between them are more porous than what was commonly thought. This critical study will send readers back to some of their favorite modern and contemporary poets with new eyes.”—Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States (2001–2003) and author of eleven books of poetry, including The Rain in PortugalAimless Love: New and Selected PoemsThe Trouble with Poetry, and Picnic, Lightning

“This remarkable book offers a series of insights into a significant—and, until now, largely neglected—transatlantic poetic connection. Theresa Welford offers a convincing demonstration of just how much the New Formalist poets owe to their predecessors in the Movement—and just how intricate and influential were the personal and textual exchanges between them. Her argument is finely nuanced, acknowledging both the similarities and the differences between the American and British groups. Her analyses of individual poems are subtle, sensitive and rigorous; and her argument places the texts and poets she discusses in exactly the right historical and cultural contexts. This is a groundbreaking book about an international poetic dialogue; it will be a vital and indispensable resource for anyone interested in the recent past, present and future of poetry.”—Richard J. Gray, University of Essex Emeritus Professor and author of critical books including A History of American LiteratureAmerican Poetry of the Twentieth CenturyA Web of Words: The Great Dialogue of Southern Literature,  and After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11.

The Cento: A Collection of Collage Poems

Theresa Welford

Publication Date: October 1, 2011

$24.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-132-9


As Gertrude Stein might have put it, a cento is a collage is a mix tape is a video montage.

This hypothetical description is fitting in a number of ways. Although the cento form is ancient – in existence since at least the days of Virgil and Homer – it was also used to striking effect in the Modern era: consider, for example, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Ezra Pound’s Cantos.

More recent centos include John Ashbery’s “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” Peter Gizzi’s “Ode: Salute to The New York School 1950-1970” (a libretto), Connie Hershey’s “Ecstatic Permutations,” and the “Split This Rock Poetry Festival – Cento, March 23, 2008” (a collaborative protest poem delivered in front of the White House).

The Cento: A Collection of Collage Poems, edited by Theresa Malphrus Welford and with an introduction by David Lehman, features an extensive sampling of centos, collage poems, and patchwork poems written by Nicole Andonov, Lorna Blake, Alex Cigale, Allan Douglass Coleman, Philip Dacey, Sharon Dolin, Annie Finch, Jack Foley, Kate Gale, Dana Gioia, Sam Gwynn, H. L. Hix, David Lehman, Eric Nelson, Catherine Tufariello, and many others.

The Paradelle

Theresa Welford

Publication Date: January 1, 2006

$15.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-59709-023-9


“A few years ago, I wrote a poem that I titled Paradelle for Susan. It was the only paradelle ever to have been written because I invented the form in order to write the poem. What I set out to do was write an intentionally bad formal poem. Auden said there was nothing funnier than bad poetry, and I thought a horribly mangled attempt at a formal poem might have humorous results. I considered using an already existing form, but I figured enough bad sonnets and bad sestinas are already being written these days without me adding to the pile. . . . The paradelle invites you in with its offer of nursery-rhyme repetition, then suddenly confronts you with an extreme verbal challenge. It lurches from the comfort of repetition to the crossword-puzzle anxiety of fitting a specific vocabulary into a tightly bounded space. While the level of difficulty in most verse forms remains fairly consistent throughout, the paradelle accelerates from kindergarten to college and back to kindergarten several times and ends in a think-tank called the Institute for Advanced Word Play. Thus the jumpy double nature of the paradelle, so unsteady, so schizo, so right for our times. . . .”—Billy Collins, from the Introduction