Professor Stafford studies Romantic poetry. Her research interests include Ossian, Austen, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, the Shelleys, Byron, Heaney, Carson, literature of the Romantic period, the literature of place, nature writing (old and new), Scottish poetry after 1700, dialogues between English, Irish and Scottish literature, literature and the visual arts, and contemporary poetry.
Her most recent book, the acclaimed The Long, Long Life of Trees (2016), is a tribute to the diversity of trees in 17 chapters – each of which is dedicated to a common British tree – drawing on material from fields including folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate each tree’s central place in western civilisation.
- English literature
- Scottish and Irish literature, especially poetry
- The novel, especially Jane Austen
- Literature and the visual arts
- National and regional identity in literature
Professor Stafford has considerable experience of working with media and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio. She has presented series for BBC Radio 3 on the symbolism, importance and meaning of trees and flowers. She has also contributed to the literary magazine, Archipelago.