My principal occupation at Georgetown University, where I'm Professor of English, is to teach students to read poetry - an endeavour that is life-long.
My academic career began when I became a postdoctoral research fellow of the British Academy in Oxford in 1991. I went to Glasgow University as a Reader in 1995, became University Lecturer at Oxford in 2000, and a Professor at Georgetown University in 2008.
I drifted into the academic world from that of television where, once upon a time, I worked on arts documentaries. I presented and produced my own arts programme, Signals, for BBC Radio Oxford, and have occasionally spoken on radio programmes in the years since.
I live in north Virginia with my wife, Catherine Payling, MBE.