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 are a critical study tentatively titled Amateur Hour: American Poetry at the Margins, 1820-1920; an anthology, co-edited with Karen Kilcup, titled Over the River and Through the Woods: Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Poetry, forthcoming from JHUP; and new poems. I've also recently completed chapters for the Cambridge History of American Poetry, the Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson, and the Blackwell Companion to Popular Culture. In the past I’ve published a critical study, Schoolroom Poets (UPNE, 2005), and two collections of poetry: Distance Learning (New Issues, 1998) and Bird Skin Coat (Wisconsin, 2009).
- American Literature
- Creative Writing (Poetry)
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- Rhetoric and Composition 1
- American Poetry
- Popular Culture
- Children's Literature
- 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.
- Published Poems
- 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.