Hello! I’m joining y’all at Tech from Eugene, Oregon. I just finished a two year postdoc at the University of Oregon, which is also where I received my PhD in English in 2009. Prior to that, I earned an MA in Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures from the University of Kentucky and earned a certificate from the Institute for Latin Studies, a program in which all coursework—from readings to lectures to assignments—is conducted in Latin. Ergo, non solum legere sed etiam loqui scibereque Latine possum. (If you can read that, you should get in touch with me!)
Because of my background in classics, I am frequently mistaken for a Medievalist. I am actually an Americanist, concentrating on the 20th century and on poetry in particular. The fact that people are surprised that I would study both classics and contemporary American literature is, in a way, the driving force behind my scholarship. I explore intertextual relationships between classical and American poetry, showing that the classical tradition is not only still alive but thriving in today’s literature. Classical influence pervades modern poetry: modernist writers were steeped in it, neo-formalists like Tim Steele experiment with classical meter, myths are taken up and reimagined (especially by feminist poets), and poets participate in the classical tradition by taking up genres and forms originating from the classical world.
My current book project examines the ways that contemporary American women have taken up the epic tradition and turned it toward progressive purposes. Literary scholars often regard the classical epic as a masculinist genre that celebrates war and reinforces the values of the dominant culture through its nationalistic aspirations. On the contrary, epics are often treat their subjects with ambivalence, critiquing rather than celebrating the violence of their cultures’ pasts. I argue that the classical epics of Homer and Virgil provided models for the feminist projects of twentieth century women poets. To demonstrate the depth and complexity of such intertextual engagements, I focus on works by four prominent poets who represent a range of literary and cultural contexts in the twentieth century and whose engagements with the epic tradition are especially complex. My readings of work by H.D., Gwendolyn Brooks, Louise Glück, and Anne Carson show that these poets recognized and responded to ambiguities in Homer’s and Virgil’s epics (and in related ancient lyric traditions), drawing on them to condemn sexism, racism, and heterocentrism in twentieth century culture.
The variety of subjects I’ve studied has given the chance to teach a variety of subjects: at the University of Kentucky, I taught elementary and intermediate level Latin; at the University of Oregon, I taught composition, introductory fiction and poetry classes, discussion sections for large survey courses for English majors, and an upper level class that focused on the ways that women have employed, manipulated, or rejected literary forms and conventions in protest literature. I also had to chance to serve as Assistant Direction of the Composition Program at the University of Oregon while I finished my dissertation.
Outside the world of academia, I enjoy playing no limit Texas Hold ‘Em and would love to find or start a regular game. I’m also an avid sports fan given to rhapsodizing about the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Rangers. I’ll rhapsodize about the Cowboys, too, as soon as they give me cause.
I’m excited to be here and am really looking forward to leaning more about digital pedagogy, something I haven’t had much previous experience with but have always wanted to utilize.