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
- 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 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.