Major Publications

Plastiglomerate (Penned in the Margins, 2020)


Tania Kovats

Poetry is there when we are broken; it charts and maps the damage. And lifts us from the mud or dirty beaches because of its honesty, brilliance and insight. This is a beautiful collection of interior thoughts processing what we don’t want to know about the state of our damaged world. Cresswell is a traveller who takes us with him and points at what he has seen in a complexity of poetic voices that whisper in your ear, standing close by. With urgency and intimacy our climate crisis is there in our conscious and unconscious minds – and finds a powerful poetic witness in these works.

Jean Sprackland

Engaging and unsettling poems that tell it like it is, looking unflinchingly at environmental beauty and disaster. There are redemptions here too, in the warmth of human relationships – while this is indeed a world of ‘ruin and plunder’, it is also a place ‘full of love and sap’. A powerful and memorable collection.

Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place (University of Chicago Press 2019)

Chicago Tribune

“Erudite. . . The rewards are plentiful as Cresswell goes about answering what appears a simple question, ‘How to write about a place?’, in 200-some provocative pages.”

Social and Cultural Geography

“[A] kaleidoscopic history of Chicago’s iconic Maxwell Street. . . . Scholars of geography and related disciplines will find much to admire in this book, and its accessible clarity makes it ideal for undergraduates as well. As always, Cresswell writes about place with deep intelligence, enthusiasm, and style.”
Cultural Geographies
“Cresswell’s wide-ranging, Benjamin-esque discussion of Maxwell Street, its history, its sights, sounds and smells, and of our discipline’s approach to writing and thinking about the concept and the reality of place is fascinating to read. His technique of illustrating the duality of place, as both experiential and socially constructed, by simply moving subheadings to the side of the page, allowing the text with its ideas, its quotations and its images, to flow through one sitting, is superb and provides (what seems to me, at least) a genuinely new approach to using the space of a page to tell a story.”

Gary T. Johnson, president, Chicago History Museum

“Cresswell offers kaleidoscopes for understanding what ‘place’ can mean. With its richly archived and colorful past, Maxwell Street is the perfect choice for wandering with this geographer, poet, and philosopher. This tour de force may inspire you to begin your own explorations using his techniques.”


Matthew Gandy, University of Cambridge

“Through an extremely interesting set of sources, traces, and ideas, Cresswell generates a series of highly stimulating and imaginative juxtapositions. A fascinating addition to the current literature on Chicago, cultural history, and urban writing, Maxwell Street will appeal to diverse academic and public readerships.”


Winifred Curran, DePaul University

“This book is a meditation on writing, Maxwell Street, and the practices through which places are represented and performed. Drawing on methods such as montage and assemblage, Cresswell offers us an evocative consideration of the importance of Maxwell Street while providing a wholly new way to consider the possibilities of place that goes far beyond any one urban neighborhood.”

Joseph Heathcott, The New School

“A renowned geographer and theorist of place, Cresswell has written a must-read book that not only draws together decades of thinking about space and place, but does so in an evocative and provocative way.”

Fence (Penned in the Margins 2015)



Poetry Book Society Bulletin
Experimental yet elemental poems.

Philip Hoare
Tim Cresswell creates a conceptual wilderness of words, held at the outer edge of experience, where natural and human history meet.

Srikanth Reddy
Postmodernist, postcolonial, poststructuralist, post-human, take your pick – there’s no turning back.

Robert Macfarlane
Fence is a strange and spectral volume, zigzag and jigsaw in its textures, strabismic in the sense of eerie slant that it gives to both landscape and language, born as it is of a fence that separates nowhere from the now and here, deep in the high Arctic. Moving through its poems, one experiences something of the doubling dissimulation of northen light: a fierce clarity of vision, combined with an awareness of things being uncannily off-scale and out of kilter.

Place: An Introduction (Blackwell 2014)

A new edition of the 2004 book – but no longer really short – 50% longer!


Michael Brown, University of Washington
For geographers it’s tough to have a key concept like place be so common-yet-ineffable. Here Tim Cresswell does a masterful job of clarifying and explicating it in such a thorough and readable fashion. This book is impressive in its breadth and depth, its disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity, as well as its focus on both the historical and contemporary debates on place.

Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick
Place is one of the essential moments in any account of geography but it is also one of the most difficult to articulate. In this new edition of a book which has become the standard account of what place is and how it moves us Tim Cresswell provides a user’s guide to place which is, at the same time, a considered theoretical account. There is no better means of navigating a notion which is both utterly obvious and yet surprisingly difficult to come to terms with. The book isn’t just a highly recommended journey through the thickets of literature on place, it is a genuine starting point for students and scholars alike.

Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction (Blackwell 2013)

Geographic Thought

Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield

“Cresswell’s introduction to Geographic Thought is everything such a book should be: open and honest, wise and witty, accessible and engaging. Offering an intelligent guide to the history of geographical theory, Cresswell’s thinking is consistently clear, concise and critical. Bold in its conception and sure of its grasp of this rich and contested intellectual terrain, the book shows the value of geographical ideas in coming to terms with our common humanity and examining our place in the world.”

Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick

“Geographic thinking has become a many-splendoured thing, unable to be captured by conventional bounds. But Tim Cresswell does the best job of anybody so far in giving it shape and direction. Publishers always write that this or that book is indispensable but this one really is.”

Soil (Penned in the Margins, 2013)


Philip Gross, Winner of TS Eliot Prize 2009
If this poetry was a geological formation, it would be layered and folded, with scientific knowledge and a quick linguistic wit, with echoes of folk song, unsentimental ecological awareness, word games and a sharp but not unkind eye on the everyday – all this, but metamorphic too, fused  by human warmth into a memorable voice.’

Jo Shapcott, Winner of Costa Prize 2010
‘Tim Cresswell’s poems unsettle.  They cause us to relocate ourselves poem by poem as we encounter contemporary landscapes, airports, city streets, domestic interiors, layered in Cresswell’s unique geological, poetic timeframe, and all made strange and testing by his brilliant and spare language. The central, major title sequence ‘Soil’ works through rhythms of space and light which stretch time so that the experience of reading these poems is utterly transforming.  A distinctive, important new voice is announced in this debut collection.’

Martyn Crucefix, Poetry London
‘It’s the liminal borderland that stirs the best from Cresswell … He plays the connoisseur of the street, of urban language … this is an enjoyable book with an unusual take on the urban world, suggesting that our cities ought to be seen as ‘unlike melancholy”

Northeastern Magazine
Often startling, the poems offer thoughtful explorations of the world and our place in it.’

Sarah James
‘This is poetry that is in turns, thought-provoking, evocative, moving, light-hearted in places, and so real that I could feel the soil under my fingernails – and not the dirty soil of wastelands but the earth soil from which beautiful things grow.’

On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (Routledge, 2006)

Cresswell - On the Move

Stephen Kern – author of The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1918
“By rigorously contrasting meaningful mobility with abstract movement, Tim Cresswell has enriched the study of this activity just as the scholarship on place did in contrast to space. His book is both pioneering and synthetic, a magisterial survey of the geography and history of mobility based on activities that define the modern period such as urbanism, capitalism, and imperialism as well as those which sought to regulate mobility on bus lines, at airports, and at immigration centers”

Shompa Lahiri – cultural geographies
It is difficult to do justice to the empirical richness and theoretical innovation which characterises this excellent book …. I would urge readers across the humanities and social sciences to read this study and benefit from its many insights and wider theoretical applications.

Place: A Short Introduction (Blackwell, 2004)


Michael Brown, University of Washington

“This is a truly wonderful book. It is short but not trite or superficial. It is in depth without being dense. It is timely without ignoring classic issues and debates. There is a clear pedagogy here, which is often missing in texts, and it is well written by an outstanding geographer, and so I predict this book will sell very well indeed.”

Paul Cloke, Bristol University

“The idea of place lies at the heart of most significant geographical issues, yet place can often be a difficult and highly contested notion. There is no more authoritative writer on place than Tim Cresswell, and here he presents a formidable multifaceted introduction…which should be read by every student of human geography.”


The Tramp in America (Reaktion, 2001)


“This is an effective, and sometimes touching, account of how a social phenomenon was created, classified and reclassified. The quality of the writing, the excellent illustrations and the high production standards give this reasonably-priced hardback a chance of appealing to a general audience . . . an important contribution to American studies, providing new perspectives on the significance of mobility and rootlessness at an important time in the development of the nation. Cresswell successfully illuminates the history of a disadvantaged and marginal group, while providing a lens by which to focus on the thinking and practices of the mainstream culture with which they dealt. As such, this book represents a considerable achievement.”—Cultural Geographies

“An important book. Cresswell has made an important contribution to a homelessness literature still lacking a more sophisticated theoretical edge. Clearly written, beautifully illustrated and with a strong argument throughout, the book deserves to be widely read by students and practitioners alike.”—Progress in Human Geography

In Place/Out of Place: Geography, Ideology and Transgression (University of Minnesota Press, 1996)


Once in a great while, a book comes along that is theoretically sophisticated, highly original, analytically compelling, and a pleasure to read. This is one such book. Drawing in a range of contemporary literature and social theorists as well as three case studies, Tim Cresswell persuasively demonstrates that the ideologies that define appropriate and inappropriate behaviour are innately geographical.

Byron Miller Annals of the Association of American Geographers


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