Alyson Miller

Staff member

Alyson Miller is a prize-winning prose poet and academic who teaches Writing and Literature as a senior lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her critical and creative work, which focuses on a literature of extremities, has appeared in both national and international publications, including three books of prose poetry, Dream Animals (2014), Pika-Don with Cassandra Atherton (2018), and Strange Creatures (2018), as well as the critical monograph Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts (2013), and The Unfinished Atomic Bomb: Shadows and Reflections, an edited collection with David Lowe and Cassandra Atherton (2017).

  • Research

    Alyson’s research is both critical and creative, contributing to the growing body of scholarship on scandal, the relationship between literature and extremity, and prose poetry. Recent publications include an edited collection with Professor David Lowe and Associate Professor Cassandra Atherton, titled The Unfinished Atomic Bomb Shadows and Reflections, which examines questions of atomic memorialisation and remembrance, as well as a prose-poetry graphic novel, Pika-Don, with Phil Day and Cassandra Atherton, which was the result of a Victorian Arts Council grant. Alyson’s research predominantly involves exploring the ways that literary texts polarise debate in the public sphere. A major focus of this work is in relation to ideas about the taboo nature of the abject, particularly as it relates to death, gender and sexuality, and instances of extreme or bizarre human behaviour, such as literary fakes. She does this via critical work on scandal and controversy, creative work in literary provocations, and applied research in ‘dangerous ideas’ in community spaces. Recent examples of these projects include: a full-length collection of docu-prose poetry, Strange Creatures, and critical research examining gendered violence in speculative texts; the representation of child-killers in contemporary fiction; plagiarism scandals in poetry; and a theorisation of ‘dark poetry’ by way of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a genre emerging from sites of thanatourism.

  • Publications

    2020. ‘“The Talented Mr. Mallory”: Literary Scammers, Pain-for-Profit, and Selves Made of Others’, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 1-16.

    2020. ‘“The Chernobyl Hibakusha”: Dark Poetry, The Ineffable, and Abject Realities’, TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses, 1-17.

    2020. ‘Ramshackle Girls and Sleuthing Gatekeepers: Plagiarism, Poetry, and the Critical Art of Theft’, Axon, 10.1.

    2020. ‘Reading Gender, Power and Violence in Naomi Alderman’s The Power’, College Literature, 47.2, 398-433.

    2019. Strange Creatures, Recent Work Press, Canberra, 2019.

    2019. ‘“Emissaries of Death and Destruction”: Reading the Child-as-Killer in We Need to Talk About Kevin and Sharp Objects’, Critique, 1-14.

    2019. ‘Poetry’s Beyoncé’: On Rupi Kaur and the Commodifying Effects of Instapoetics’, Axon 9.1.

    2018. ‘“Reopening the grave”: Reading Trauma and Abjection in Hibakusha Poetry’, arcadia, 53.2, 379-396.

    2017. ‘“words about words make sure self”: Ania Walwicz and A Politics of Prose Poetry’, TEXT Special Issue: Prose Poetry, 1-11.

    2018. ‘Atomic-Bomb Literature for Children: Kodama Tatsuharu’s The Lunch Box and Shin’s Tricycle’, in David Lowe, Cassandra Atherton & Alyson Miller (eds), The Unfinished Atomic Bomb: Shadows and Reflections, Rowman and Littlefield, New York (2018), 65-82.

    2017. Cassandra Atherton and Alyson Miller, ‘“Monster in the Sky”: Hibakusha Poetry and the Nuclear Sublime’, TEXT 41, 1-12.

  • Teaching

    Alyson has taught across the range of Deakin’s subjects in Literature and Writing, from Shakespeare and classical works, to modern and post-modern poetry and fiction, genre, writing craft, children’s literature, and popular contemporary texts. She is currently the unit chair of Creative and Critical Research Methods at both an Honours and Masters level. The unit is a foundational unit for students who are completing a thesis (either a traditional critical project, or a creative artefact + exegesis), and involves the development of key critical skills, such as locating and analysing research materials, formulating effective research questions, identifying suitable theories and methodologies, structuring a thesis, and articulating research findings. Alyson also chairs the complementary unit Project A, an online subject which assists Masters students in writing the first 5000 words of their thesis. Additionally, Alyson chairs the enormously popular undergraduate unit Classics and Trash, which examines both classic texts (Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and popular works (Ponyo, True Blood) in the context of Harold Bloom’s ideas about the Western canon.

  • Supervision

    Alyson supervises Honours, Masters, and PhD students in both Writing and Literature, and across a diverse range of topics. Her major interest is in a literature of extremities, focussing on scandal and censorship, for example, and specifically in relation to subjects concerning taboo, feminism/gender, abjection, literary fakes, and post-atomic memorialisation.



    Campbell Peter, First-Person Feeling: Violence and Experience Taking from Halo: Combat Evolved

    Jenna Killender, Perfect Playthings: The Evolution of Body Image from Perfection to Oppression

    Moira Sheppard, Representing the Voiceless: The Politics of Animal Otherness in Coetzee, Kafka, and Adams

    William Kent, Defining Fantasy: Differentiation, Ideology, Non-Human Characters, Magic, and World-Building

    Abbey Brandenburg, ‘You are about the begin reading’: Uncanny Effects of Second-Person Narration in Macabre, Short Fiction

    Heather Brown, Selling ‘Sexy’ Violence: Signification, Perpetuation and Manipulation in Dracula and Twilight

    Jarrod Hogan, Redefining Identity: Performance and Performativity in Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night

    Leizl Bermejo, Left for Broken: The Representation of Child Sexual Abuse in Literature

    Mairead Sweeney, Regressive Desires in Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi

    Candice Lazaro, Blood, Guts and Incest: The Abject in Game of Thrones

    Harriet Crawford, Fairy Tales and Fan Fiction: Tracing the Lineage of Digital Fan Fiction

    Kim Read, Confronting the Borders: Liminality and Landscape in Young Adult Magical Realist Fiction

    Robert Bennett, Creating Other Worlds in Science Fiction: Towards a New Perspective

    Sarah Randall, Modern Films, Old Ideas: Gender Representations in Contemporary Fairytale Adaptations

    Sophie Vrioni, The Function of Classical Myth in Percy Jackson & the Olympians

    Zoe Gallo, Through the Other Spectacles: The Green City and the White Dress

    Corissa Rieschieck, Representations of Feminised Power in Isobelle Carmody’s Fantasy Fiction

    Elizabeth Gloster, Violent Binaries: Disparate Representations of the Sexual Lives of Academics in Fiction

    Ellie Gardner-Leigh, The Literary Anti-Heroine: Balancing Villainy, Heroism & Patriarchy

    Helen Goodwin

    Kasey Scouller, Feminist Fiction: Subverting Gendered Representations of Power Through Animals and Acts of Consumption

    Lauren Parsons, Power in Presents, Pudding & Prayers: Representations of Christmas in Literature

    Nova Hunter, Nowhere to Hide: How Radical Female Bodies in Popular Fiction Subvert Mulvey’s Male Gaze

    Stephen Nicholls, The Uncanny and Absurd in Charles Bukowski’s Poetry

    Anne Erese, The Power of the Margins: How the Subversive Prose Poem Explores Racial and Gender Identity Construction

    Carli Lewicki, Informing Australia of the Plight of the “Other” through Contemporary Literature

    Greta March, The Heroines and the Villains: An Exploration of Roald Dahl’s Matilda and the Witches

    Kelly Shaw, The New Stage Irishman and the Silent Females: Portrayals of the Irish-American Experience in Modern Hollywood Cinema

    Mel Rowe, ‘When the glass slipper is forced to fit’: ‘Cinderella’ and the Fairy Tale’s Forgotten Quest for the Better Life

    Patrick Banfield, ‘Deceived with Ornament: Shifting Markers of Evil to Examine the Relationship Between Appearance and Reality’

    Robert Jenkins, ‘Other than Our Common Sanity’: The Blending of the Generic Elements of Speculative Fiction in the Short Stories of H.G. Wells

    Terri-Ann Varga, Beautiful Monsters: Epic Fantasy and Heroines Shapes by Violence and Abjection

    Tess Richardson, Breaking the Divide: An Environmental Fantasy & Exegesis

    Alicia Eddy, Finding ‘Home’: Representations of Trauma and Identity in Young Adult Dystopian Literature

    Cameron Wilson, Gender Relations and Politics in the Fiction of Cormac McCarthy

    Christian Hayes, Destabilising Hegemony through Modal Influence in O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim Series

    Lou Verga, Sesh Veterans/Staying Awake: Camp Aestheticism and Marginalised Identities in Trainspotting

    Rachel Carroll, Rape: A Metalanguage

    Taylor Rawson, Grim Company: An Exploration of Monstrosity in Gender

    Amy Grant, ‘But we tamed the wolves’: Anxiety, the Zombie, and the Other

    Carmen Tudor, Hungry Hearts: Domestic Dis-Order and Haunting in the Victorian House

    Elizabeth Ross, Shakespeare’s Sisters: An Exploration of Sisterhood in Shakespearean Comedy

    Molly Herd, Ābrar Morghūlis: ‘All Women Must Die’: Representations of Women in Game of Thrones

    Morgan Pinder, The Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things: Ecology in Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently Series



    Heather Brown, Interrogating Postfeminist Female Empowerment in Bestselling Post-Millennial Young Adult Literature

    David Ryan, Be a Good Sport: Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration

    Zozie Brown, Good Bot, Bad Bot: Malfunctioning Identities in Posthuman Young Adult Literature

    Ellie Gardner-Leigh, ‘The quintessence of difficult’: Examining the Disruptive Literary Antiheroine’

    Elizabeth Gloster, ‘A Top Bloke’: Examining (Toxic) Masculinity in Australian Literature

    Darren Cullinane, Internalised Homophobia in Life and Literature’

    Shokoofeh Azar, A Novel in Magical Realism: The Tuba Tree of Our Kitchen

    Melissa Howard, Instructions for the End of the World

    Mel O’Connor, Major Character Death: Grief and Lifelessness in Asexual Young Adult Literature

    Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan, The Spell to Break the Glass Ceiling

  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    • 2016 Wyndham Community Centre Grant
    • 2016 Victorian Arts Council Grant (with Cassandra Atherton and Phil Day)
    • 2015 Access and Equity Project Grant: Imagine Project          
    • 2013 Vice Chancellor’s Special Recognition Award
    • 2013 Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence
    • 2012 Pro-Vice Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
    • 2011 Commendation for Excellence in Teaching, Deakin University
    • 2011 Deakin University Teacher of the Month, Faculty of Arts and Education
    • 2010 Commendation for Excellence in Teaching, Deakin University

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