My area of specialization is American poetry: reading it, interpreting it, and writing it. I like to locate poems in their concrete cultural contexts; for instance, one recent article examines the relationship between nineteenth-century avian poetry, bird-watching, and environmental activism.
My current projects include a critical study of cuteness in nineteenth-century American literature and culture; chapters in the Cambridge History of American Poetry, the Cambridge History of American Women Poets, and the Blackwell Companion to Popular Culture; and new creative work. In the past I’ve published a critical study, Schoolroom Poets (UPNE, 2005),
an anthology co-edited with Karen Kilcup, Over the River and Through the Wood (Hopkins, 2013); and three collections of poetry: Distance Learning (New Issues, 1998), Bird Skin Coat (Wisconsin, 2009), and The Sleeve Waves (Wisconsin, 2014).
- American Literature
- Creative Writing (Poetry)
- American Poetry
- Popular Culture
- Children's Literature
- "At Home in the Stranger's House: Poetic Revision and Spiritual Practice," "And have you changed your life?" The Challenge of Listening to the Spiritual in Contemporary Poetry, eds. Anne M. Pasero and John Pustejovsky, Marquette Poetry Press, 2015
- Review of Donelle Ruwe, British Children’s Poetry in the Romantic Era: Verse, Riddle, and Rhyme. Children's Literature Association Quarterly 40.4 (2015): 420-422
- Review of Claudia Stokes, The Altar at Home: Sentimental Literature and Nineteenth-Century American Religion. Modern Philology 113, 2 (November 2015): E112-E114
- Review of Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem by Catherine Robson, MLQ 76:1, 112-114 (March 2015)
- The Sleeve Waves. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
- "Disciplined Play: Children's Poetry to 1920," Cambridge History of American Poetry, Alfred Bendixen, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2014, 425-444.
- Review (with Monika Elbert) of Suffering Childhood: Violence, Race, and the Making of the Child Victim by Anna Mae Duane. Journal of American Studies 48:1, 1-9 (February 2014).
- Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children's Poetry, co-edited with Karen Kilcup (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
- "Education," book chapter in Eliza Richards, ed., Emily Dickinson In Context (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
- “Recitation” and “Fireside Poets,” entries in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Princeton UP, 2012.
- Sivka-Burka,” “Interstate,” “A is for Air,” “Notes from a Northern State,” poems in Prairie Schooner (Fall 2012).
- “Stopping At the Joyce Kilmer Rest Area On a Snowy Evening,” poem in The North American Review (Winter 2012).
- “Who Wrote “Rock Me to Sleep?: Elizabeth Akers Allen and the Profession of Poetry’” in MLQ: A Journal of Literary History, 72: 3 (2011): 419-438.
- “The Poetics of Bird-Defense, 1860-1918” in Mike Chasar and Heidi Bean, eds., Poetry After Cultural Studies. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2011: 173-198.
“Teaching Raymond Carver Through Pacific Northwest Music,” in Paul Grant, ed., Carver Across the Curriculum. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011, 21-34.
“The Golden Age,” in Philip Nel and Lissa Paul, eds., Keywords for Children’s Literature, NY: New York University Press, 2011: 96-99.
“Animal Poems and Children's Rights in America, 1820-1890,” in Morag Styles, et. al., eds., Poetry and Childhood. Stoke-on-Kent, UK: Trentham Books, 2010: 179-186.
“Longfellow’s Ghost: Writing Popular Poetry,” in Blas Falconer, ed., Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010: 165-169.
- Bird Skin Coat (poems). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009.
- “The Milwaukee School of Fleshly Poetry: Ella Wheeler Wilcox and Popular Aestheticism,” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 26: 1 (2009): 69-91.
- “Raymond Carver’s Poetry and the Temperance Tradition,” Raymond Carver Review 1:1 (Winter 2008): 19-32.
- "Approaches to Teaching the Schoolroom Poets," in Paula Bennett and Karen Kilcup, Approaches to Teaching Nineteenth-Century American Poetry. NY: Modern Language Association Press (2007): 93-105.
- “Symmetrical Womanhood: Poetry in the Woman’s Building Library,” Libraries and Culture 41: 1 (Winter 2006): 5-34.
- Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865- 1917. Becoming Modern series. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2005.
- Distance Learning. Kalamazoo, MI: New Issues Press, 1998
- Published Poems
- Won Outstanding Achievement in Poetry award (for The Sleeve Waves), Wisconsin Library Association, 2015
- Won the 2013 Felix Pollak book prize for poetry from the University of Wisconsin Press, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Book forthcoming March 2014.
- NEH grant (in collaboration with Sarah Wadsworth) from the
American Library Association for an outreach project titled Louisa May Alcott:
The Woman Behind Little Women. 2011.
- Brittingham Prize for poetry manuscript Bird Skin Coat, 2008.
- Honor Book Prize, Children’s Literature Association, 2007
- Summer Faculty Fellowship, Marquette University, 2006.
- Schlesinger Library Fellowship, Harvard University, 2005.
- Vivian Pollak Scholar-in-Amherst Award, Emily Dickinson International Society, 2003
- Urban Studies Institute Course Development Grant, Marquette University,2003.
- Summer Faculty Fellowship, Marquette University, 2002.
- Korzenik Fellowship, Longfellow Friends, 2002.
- Marquette University PT-3 Grant, 2001.
- Linfield College Faculty Fellowship, 1998.
- Stuart Tave Fellowship, University of Chicago, 1996.
- Discovery/The Nation (writing) Prize, The Nation and the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street “Y,” 1994.
- Brauer Grant, “Educating Emily Dickinson,” University of Chicago, 1994.
- John Fiske Poetry (writing) Prize, University of Chicago, 1993.