Research

This page contains information about my ongoing research projects and activities.

CURRENT PROJECT:

TROUBLING THE LINEAGE: WOMEN, INNOVATION, AND THE AMERICAN LONG POEM IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND BEYOND

Troubling the Lineage addresses two persistent gaps in scholarship pertaining to the long poem in the twentieth century: the omission of works by women and the pervasive characterization of the long poem as a “masculine” form. As a result, the interplay between gender and genre at the heart of the long poem has been obscured and the powerful female-authored precedents that shape contemporary poetic texts have been overlooked. To this end, my study provides new critical vocabularies that give us the tools to re-conceptualize the way we think about women poets’ negotiation of the long poem and its modernist legacy. In contrast to canonical models of poetic affiliation, this study places modernist and contemporary women poets—including Gertrude Stein, H.D., Mina Loy, Bernadette Mayer, Claudia Rankine, Harryette Mullen, and Susan Howe—in conversation with one another, arguing that such conversations constitute an unfinished project of twentieth century literary history.

In a series of chapters that bring these poets together, I demonstrate that contemporary women poets often turn to the overlooked long poems of female modernism and rework, critique, and extend those projects for a host of fascinating reasons. This conversation constitutes a crucial chapter that has gone missing from the stories we tell about the long poem and the evolution of poetry by women, especially as manifested within a tradition of innovative feminist poetics. In order to rethink how the long poem has been gendered by and beyond our current critical narratives, I also argue that the social pressures brought about by the cultural marginality of these female poets are manifested at the level of genre. For example, my first chapter focuses on three poems—Mina Loy’s Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose (1923-25), Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day (1978), and Claudia Rankine’s Plot (2001)—that use “private” psychological and physical experiences as the scaffold on which the long poem is built. In doing so, these poets trouble generic distinctions by grafting the traditionally public form of the long poem onto the “unspeakable” aspects of women’s embodied experience. Ultimately, this project argues for three new, interconnected narratives: a revision of the relation between genre and gender in the long poem, a re-valuing of modernist women poets’ contributions to the twentieth century long poem, and a reframing of later women poets’ relationship to the legacy of literary modernism and its female practitioners.

PUBLICATIONS, PRESENTATIONS, AND AWARDS AFFILIATED WITH THIS PROJECT:

“Casting a Shadow from Flesh to Canvas: Claudia Rankine’s Plot and the Gendered Textual Body. ” Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture. 47.3 (2014). Print.

Dissertation Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Florida State University, 2014.

Panel Presenter, “Re-Inventing the ‘Mathematics’ of the Mother and the Poet: Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association Annual Convention. Atlanta, GA. November 2011.

FUTURE PROJECT:

EXPERIMENTAL MOTHERS: THE SOCIO-POETICS OF AMERICAN MOTHERHOOD

This project investigates the complex ways in which twentieth century innovative American poets approach the issue of motherhood. This interdisciplinary project combines a cultural study of the norms and narratives of mothering that predominated at various points throughout the twentieth century with a literary analysis of the way in which women poets incorporate, revise, and challenge a variety of (often competing) maternal narratives in order to consider how the fraught nexus of “parenting” and “poetics” intersects with evolving conceptions of motherhood in twentieth-century American culture.

 

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