Poetry Reading

Kevin Holden is a poet, scholar, and translator. He is currently a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He is the author of six books and chapbooks of poetry, including Solar, which won the 2014 Fence Modern Poets Prize, and Birch, which won the 2014 Ahsahta Chapbook Award. He studied at Harvard University (AB), the University of Cambridge (MPhil), the University of Iowa (MFA), and Yale University (PhD). At the Writers’ Workshop he was an Iowa Arts Fellow and then taught as a Provost Postgraduate Fellow. His dissertation in comparative literature concerns nonparaphrasability in poetry and its relations to alterity. He works also on ontology, modern art, and queer theory. He has taught as a visiting lecturer at Bard College several times and is currently the poet-in-residence of Kirkland House at Harvard. He is also an activist and cares a great deal about trees.


Bernard Linsky is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta. He is the author of The Evolution of Principia Mathematica: Bertrand Russell’s Manuscripts and Notes for the Second Edition (Cambridge, 2011) and most recently an edited collection Acquaintance, Knowledge, and Logic: New Essays on Bertrand Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy (CSLI, 2015). For the last five years he has been editing notes on Bertrand Russell’s lectures from 1910 to 1914 at Cambridge University and Harvard. Now he finds himself as pledged to contribute to the forthcoming Collected Prose of T.S. Eliot project and he needs your help to find out what sort of commentary and notes readers will find informative.

Andrea Henderson is Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Romantic Identities: Varieties of Subjectivity, 1774-1830 (Cambridge, 1996) and Romanticism and the Painful Pleasures of Modern Life (Cambridge, 2008). Her forthcoming book, Algebraic Art, is a study of the influence of Victorian mathematical formalism on literature and photography.

Guest Talk

Persi Diaconis is the Mary V. Sunseri Professor of Statistics and Mathematics at Stanford University


David Bates is Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research and teaching revolves around the relationship between technology, cognition, and the shifting nature of the political in the digital age. He is currently finishing a book entitled An Artificial History of Natural Intelligence, a long history of Artificial Intelligence, neurophysiology, and theories of human cognition. A recent publication is a volume co-edited with Nima Bassiri, Plasticity and Pathology: On the Formation of Neural Subjects (Fordham, 2015).

Kristin Boyce is Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Shackouls Honors College Faculty Fellow at Mississippi State University. She has been an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and was the recipient of a Josephine de Karman dissertation fellowship. Her work is published in The Journal of Philosophical Research, The Henry James Review, Wittgenstein and Literary Modernism (Chicago, 2016), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature (2015), and Thinking Through Dance (Dance Books, 2013). She has articles forthcoming in The Oxford Companion to Hedda Gabler, Ethics and the Limits of Sense: Essays on Wittgenstein and Value, The Palgrave Handbook for the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures, and The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Painting and Sculpture.  

Heather Brink-Roby is an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University. Her essays have appeared in ELH and Victorian Studies, and her book in process is titled Reason’s Stories: Type, Paradigm, Example.

Taylor Cowdery is Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His current book project argues that evolving notions of matter and form in medieval philosophical and scientific discourses shaped changing ideas of how poems worked, and what they were made of, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. His most recent article appears in the 2016 issue of Studies in the Age of Chaucer.

Aden Evens is Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College. Beginning with a bachelors degree in mathematics and philosophy, Aden has pursued in his research and teaching questions around the ways in which formal and technical systems bear on human thought and action. His extradisciplinary work draws from twentieth-century European theory to examine issues in sound and music, computing and software, and mathematics and literature. His most recent book is Logic of the Digital (Bloomsbury, Academic, 2015).

John Gibson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville, where he directs the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society. He works on  topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of literature, and he is especially concerned with connections between these areas and central issues in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of the self. He is the author of Fiction and the Weave of Life (Oxford, 2008) and is currently writing book titled Poetry, Metaphor & Nonsense: An Essay on Meaning, also for Oxford University Press.

Matthew L. Jones is the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University. He is the author of The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (Chicago, 2006), and Reckoning with Matter: Calculating Machines, Improvement, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage (Chicago, 2016). He is writing on book on computing and state surveillance of communications, and is working on Data Mining: The Critique of Artificial Reason, 1963-2005, a historical and ethnographic account of “big data,” its relation to statistics and machine learning, and its growth as a fundamental new form of technical expertise in business and scientific research.

Anna Kornbluh is Associate Professor and Associate Head of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Realizing Capital (Fordham, 2014) and is currently completing a manuscript on literary, mathematical, and political formalism entitled The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space. Her essays have appeared in ELH, Novel, Henry James Review, Theory & Event, Mediations, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, and elsewhere. Two scholarly cooperatives, InterCcECT (the Inter Chicago Circle for Experimental Critical Theory) and the V21 Collective (Victorian studies for the 21st century) keep her in good company.

Michael LeMahieu is Associate Professor of English at Clemson University. He is the author of Fictions of Fact and Value: The Erasure of Logical Positivism in American Literature, 1945-1975 (Oxford, 2013) and co-editor, with Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé, of Wittgenstein and Modernism (Chicago, 2016). LeMahieu is co-editor of the journal Contemporary Literature.

Megan Quigley is Associate Professor of English at Villanova University, focusing on British and Irish Modernism. Her book, Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language (Cambridge, 2015) investigates the intertwined history of philosophy and literature in the modern British novel. Her work has appeared in The Cambridge Companion to European Modernism, the James Joyce Quarterly, The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (U.K.), Modernism / modernity, and Philosophy and Literature. She is currently at work on a project investigating T. S. Eliot’s relationship to fiction and fictionality.

Anna Christina Ribeiro is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University, specializes in aesthetics. She has been a Woodrow Wilson/Mellon Fellow (2009-10) and a National Humanities Center Fellow (2013-14). She has published widely in the philosophy of poetry and is currently writing a book entitled Beautiful Speech: The Nature, Origins and Powers of Poetry for Oxford University Press.

Jessica Rosenfeld is Associate Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of Ethics and Enjoyment in Late Medieval Poetry: Love after Aristotle (Cambridge, 2011) and is co-editing a collection of essays titled Chaucer and the Subversion of Form (under contract with Cambridge). She has published essays on Margery Kempe, Chaucer, and Gower, and is currently at work on a book about envy in medieval literature and beyond.

D. Vance Smith is Professor of English at Princeton University.  He works primarily at the nexus of anthropology and philosophy in medieval literature. He has finished a study on the medieval literature of dying, Arts of Dying, the third book in a series examining the medieval limit experience. The others are The Book of the Incipit: Beginnings in the Fourteenth Century (Minnesota, 2001) and Arts of Possession: The Middle English Household Imaginary (Minnesota, 2003). He is editor of The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory (with Andrew Cole; Duke, 2010), Medieval Literature: Criticism and Debates (with Holly Crocker; Routledge, 2014), and Readings in Medieval Textuality (with Cristina Maria Cervone; D. S. Brewer, 2016).

Johanna Winant is Assistant Professor of English at West Virginia University, where she teaches courses on modernism, poetry and poetics, and American literature, and is a faculty associate of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Her essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in JML: Journal of Modern Literature, Paideuma, James Joyce Quarterly, and Modernism/Modernity. She is currently completing a book project entitled Lyric Logic: American Modernism and the Problem of Induction, which argues that modern American poetry transforms the epistemological problem of induction into a poetic strategy.

Daniel Wright is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where he specializes in nineteenth-century British literature, gender and sexuality, philosophy and literature, and the novel. His first book, Bad Logic: Reasoning about Desire in the Victorian Novel, is forthcoming in 2018 from Johns Hopkins University Press. Portions of this project have appeared in ELH and Victorian Studies.


Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, teacher, and translator. Her academic work is addressed principally to modernist, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and poetics, with a particular interest in avant-garde movements and the social practices they entail. Her most recent book is The Unfollowing (Omnidawn, 2016). Belladonna will bring out her prose work, Positions of the Sun, in 2017. Other volumes include The Book of a Thousand Eyes (Omnidawn, 2012) and The Wide Road, written in collaboration with Carla Harryman (Belladonna, 2010). In fall 2013 Wesleyan republished her best-known book, My Life, in an edition that includes her related work, My Life in the Nineties. Wesleyan is also the publisher of A Guide to Poetics Journal: Writing in the Expanded Field 1982-1998, and the related Poetics Journal Digital Archive, both co-edited by Hejinian and Barrett Watten. She is currently the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets, and the co-editor (with Jane Gregory and Claire Marie Stancek) of Nion Editions, a chapbook press. She is the John F. Hotchkis Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and is part of the UC Berkeley Humanities Activism Coalition, formed immediately after November 8, 2016.

Maura Nolan is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She works on late medieval English literature, with a special focus on the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the vexed relationship between the “medieval” and the “Renaissance.”  She is especially interested in defining and articulating the role of the aesthetic in late medieval vernacular literature, particularly in relation to variable cultural understandings of sensation and cognition. She is the author of John Lydgate and the Making of Public Culture (Cambridge, 2005), and editor of The Text in the Community: Essays on Medieval Works, Manuscripts, Authors, and Readers (with Jill Mann; Notre Dame, 2006), and Medieval Latin and Middle English Literature: Essays in Honour of Jill Mann (with Christopher Cannon; D. S. Brewer, 2011).

Marjorie Perloff is the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities Emerita at Stanford University & the Florence Scott Professor of English Emerita at the University of Southern California. She is the author of many books on 20th- and 21st-century poetry and poetics, both English and Comparative, including The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (1981), The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (1986), Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary (1996), and Unoriginal Genius (2014).  Her most recent book is Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire (Chicago, 2016). In Spring 2016 she was the first Wittgenstein Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Daniel Williams is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. His articles on aspects of Victorian literature, science, and aesthetics have appeared in Novel, ELH, Victorian Poetry, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, and Genre. He has also published on 20th- and 21st-century British and South African literature. He is currently working on a book about uncertainty in the 19th-century British novel, in connection with developments in science, philosophy, and the law.

Nasser Zakariya is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests concern science, narrative and documentary; topics in the history and philosophy of mathematics and physics; and science, law and race. His current book manuscript centers on the emergence of the so-called “scientific epic” as one among a set of possible frames or genres for synthesizing branches of knowledge according to a narrative, historical structure.

Dora Zhang is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently at work on a book about problems of description in modernist novels, and her essays have appeared in Representations and New Literary History.