Barry Spurr is an Aularian Professor of Poetry.
He matriculated from the Hall in 1974 and wrote a BLitt thesis under the supervision of Professor Dame Helen Gardner on T.S. Eliot’s Christianity which, over time, grew into what has become the standard study of the subject, Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T.S. Eliot and Christianity (Lutterworth, Cambridge, 2010). He has written numerous other books – including a study of representations of the Virgin Mary in English poetry, an account of Lytton Strachey’s prose, a critique of modern liturgical language revision and the textbook, Studying Poetry (now in its second edition). He has published widely on poetry of the Early Modern period (especially John Donne), as well as the Modernists and contemporary Australian poetry.
His academic career was spent entirely at the University of Sydney, where he was on the academic staff for forty years, retiring in 2015. In 2011, he was appointed to a Personal Chair as Australia’s first professor of Poetry and Poetics. He taught English at the Hall for Graham Midgley in the last term of his BLitt and, again, for Reggie Alton, when he was on his first sabbatical in 1983 and was an honorary member of the Hall SCR. A Festschrift, The Free Mind, in his honour, has been published was published (2016) and contains essays and poems from scholars and poets from around the world, including several Oxonians.