Category: teaching

  • Still at the Egg-life–

    I’m dormant these days, sometimes “chafing the shell,” as Dickinson wrote, but also conserving energy and trying to stay focused. Some hibernaculum thoughts: I clearly know nothing about words or publishing, because I posted my most popular tweet ever this week and it was about…boots. Success, if that’s what that is, isn’t always confidence-inspiring. I […]

  • Not with a whimper but a bang!

    Actually, that title sounds sexual–sorry. I MEAN to tell you how my year is ending, show off some cool student work, and wish you a happy solstitial impeachment frenzy. My happy news–honored above by a photo of Ursula ecstatic about catnip–is receiving a Katherine Bakeless Nason Scholarship to Breadloaf Environmental Writers Conference this June. This […]

  • Modernism in Native American Heritage Month

    Some terrific people at my university just organized our first ever Native American Heritage Month, involving two lectures, two documentaries, and a poetry reading with tastings of traditional foods. I made it to four out of five events, and every one was interesting, moving, and really fun–I’m so grateful to the organizers for their work. […]

  • In a Samhain state of mind

    Not to get too pagan on you, but this week I can feel wheels turning, for good and ill. On the good side: above is the cover of my first novel, to be released in June 2020. I’ve been so grateful for the excitement people have expressed about it. As I keep saying, this venture […]

  • Teaching US Poetry from 1900-1950

    I started teaching modernism as a graduate student, leading discussion sections for Walt Litz at Princeton in ’91. When I arrived at W&L in ’94, I resolved to teach much more diverse syllabi: I put the version of modernism I’d studied in conversation with the New Negro Renaissance and included many women writers (Walt’s syllabus […]

  • Work: 25 notions & reveries

    This is my twenty-fifth fall teaching poetry at my first real job, at a liberal arts college in Virginia. I never thought I would stay this long. When I arrived, I was twenty-six with a new PhD and limited experience. A bunch of publications and a bazillion classes later, I am a better teacher, scholar, […]

  • Dear poetry professor on submissions (plus dropped balls, tombstones, & “Hap”)

    The New York Times ran a “Working Woman’s Handbook” section in the print edition this Sunday, and I read it from cover to cover, even though it defeated the REASON I get the print edition on Sunday mornings, the whole indulgence-with-a-pot-of-tea-on-the-sofa vibe. The handbook made my adrenaline surge and muscles tighten: “Negotiating While Female,” “Ditch […]

  • A view from the masthead

    I read Beth Staples’ Editor’s Note to the new issue of Shenandoah aloud, in the car, from my phone. Chris and I were on our way to a poetry reading by Sara Robinson, Patsy Asuncion, and others at Ragged Branch Distillery–a gorgeous setting–while sun and clouds chased each other across the mountains. We had read […]

  • Errant in the Bewilderness

    If I told you I’m just screwing around this week, I’d be exaggerating. This is exam week after our twelve-week winter term, so there’s lots of grading, as well as chores involving grants, event programming, etc. Liberation from the rigors of my former schedule, though–during which I was trying to do much of the same […]

  • A mouth of purple crocus

    One of the first sonnets I wrote, as an undergraduate, contained the lines: “A mouth of purple crocus opens through/ the snow, wild to speak the store beneath. / It carries coin.” I don’t remember the rest, although the poem is probably in a bin in the attic somewhere. The lines have been running through […]