During my doctoral and master’s training, I was an instructor-of-record for several undergraduate courses in literary studies and poetry writing. I believe in the value of the critical humanities and literary arts as a dedicated space for learning how to pause and critically reflect on what one reads, sees, thinks, and writes. I see courses and coursework as a place not to recite knowledge but rather to grapple with complexity, to explore and investigate diverse traditions, and to become more comfortable with the tensions that arise and exist in the works we read and the writing we create. I value the process of guiding learners through collaborative, question-based readings of a text and opening up works to multiple layers of reading and criticism. While my teaching style resonates with the method of Socratic questioning, my approach moves horizontally through moments in a given work itself rather than through a process of deductive reasoning or conceptual thought. In this way, I guide learner’s abilities in close reading—a careful attention to language that also translates to one’s written work.
Major Authors: “Reading Wilde: The Critic as Artist” This course introduces students to comparative and critical reading through a close engagement with the nineteenth century modern writer Oscar Wilde. Students will closely read a diversity of his writings—short stories, selections from his gothic novella The Picture of Dorian Gray, his play Lady Windermere’s Fan, his essay “The Critic as Artist,” and selections from his prison writings. In addition, students will read criticism on the idea of “art for art’s sake” by Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, and others. Through readings, discussions, and paper assignments, students will learn how to critically interpret what they read and how to analyze the pliability of language that is, as Wilde remarked of art, “at once surface and symbol.”
Major Modern Texts: “The (In)Human” In this course, students will read across national borders and across genres as they read, interpret, and write about major modern texts in their respective traditions. Readings include: Goethe’s Faust, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, and Alistair MacLeod’s Island. Students will be expected to produce three papers, including a close reading, a comparative paper, and a paper synthesizing readings and issues encountered in the course.
Creative Writing: “Introduction to Poetry Writing” Interpreting poems—our own and others—without a working knowledge of the various ideas that underpin poetry can impede our ability to help each other develop our own unique voices, styles, and purposes. Consequently, we organize our class with the guiding principle that to write, read, and critique poetry requires us to not only read and write poems but also to discuss the diverse ways in which poets, writers, and intellectuals conceptualize poetry. What is a poem? How should a poem be read? Critiqued? What role does poetry play in the world? We’ll organize class discussions around various theoretical essays and poems that evidently believe very strongly in poetry’s power and influence to shape, alter, and reflect authentic human experience.