Tom Docherty


I was born in Glasgow in , and studied English Literature (MA) and Creative Writing (MLitt) at the University of Glasgow. Later I received an MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and then a doctorate in English from Pembroke College, Cambridge.

My first critical monograph, Geoffrey Hill and the Ends of Poetry, will be published in November 2024 by Manchester University Press. The book argues that Hill’s poems are characteristically ‘end-directed’. It looks at Hill’s attempts to arrive at ends and endings in his poetry, paying particular attention to puns, repeating figures, rhymes, syntaxes, and forms. Some of my articles have been published in Literary Imagination, Essays in Criticism, Victorian Poetry, Literature and Theology, and Christianity and Literature. Broadly, I’m interested in thinking about the semantic capacities of literature’s technical and formal characteristics.

My first collection of poems, If the Mute Timber, was published in 2022 by Shearsman Books. My poems have appeared in magazines including PN Review, The Dark Horse, and Magma. A selection was anthologised in Carcanet’s New Poetries VI (2015).

I live in Kirkintilloch with my wife and four children. I’m also an organist and choir director.

Tom Docherty: Literary Critic, Author, Poet



Geoffrey Hill and the Ends of Poetry

Manchester University Press ()

If the Mute Timber

Shearsman Books ()

Articles and Reviews

‘Music as Preternatural in Geoffrey Hill’s Poetry’

Literature and Theology, (accepted, forthcoming)

‘Geoffrey Hill’s Rhymes, Impossible and Inevitable’

Essays in Criticism, Vol. 72, Issue 1 (), pp. 77–93

'Hopkins and Hardy: Shipwreck, Knowing, and Not Knowing'

Victorian Poetry, 59.4 (Winter )

‘Re-membering the Body: Transferred Anamnesis in John Bunyan’s ‘Grace Abounding’’

Christianity & Literature (), pp. 113–122

‘Crying Out for a Companion: Hill’s and Lowell’s Unrhymed Sonnets’

Literary Imagination, Vol. 23, Issue 1 (), pp. 1–18

‘Geoffrey Hill’s Longing for the End of the Word’

The Glass, No. 29 (Spring )

Review of Stephen Sicari, Modernist Reformations

The Glass, 37 (), pp. 43-45

Review of Craig Raine, My Grandmother’s Glass Eye

Book 2.0, Vol. 6, Nos 1 and 2 ()

‘Justly Mad’, a review of Robert Fraser’s biography of the poet David Gascoyne

PN Review, 205 ()


‘Ode to Thomas Tallis’

One poem, The Dark Horse (Winter & Spring )

‘Glencoe’ and ‘An Engagement Present’

Two poems, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018 (pamphlet; )

‘Theory of Tuning Pianos’, ‘At the Grave of Ludwig Wittgenstein’, ‘On Gaudí’s Geometry’, ‘Vespertine Colloquium with a Soldier of the Holy Roman Empire’, ‘Poem After a Funeral’, ‘The Herbs of Scotland’, ‘Spes Scotorum’, ‘To My Twin in the Womb’, ‘The Last Point of Sight’, and ‘Centoum’

Ten poems, New Poetries VI (Manchester: Carcanet, )

‘Night Powm’ and ‘Berg’s ‘Lulu’ Understood at Last as the Interruption of Perfection’

Two poems, RAUM, 2 ()

‘Theory of Tuning Pianos’ and ‘At the Grave of Ludwig Wittgenstein’

Two poems, PN Review, 218 ()

‘The Herbs of Scotland’ and ‘The Divine Trumpet-Man’

Two poems, Magma, 58 (Spring )

‘Among Birds’ and ‘Centoum’

Two poems, PN Review, 214 ()


I can be contacted by email: