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Profile: Linda Gregerson

Title: Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English
Ph.D., Stanford  1987

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LINDA GREGERSON 's fourth book of poems, Magnetic North, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award and is about to appear in paperback (fall 2008). Her earlier books include Waterborne  (2002), The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (1996) and Fire in the Conservatory (1982), as well as two books of criticism, Negative Capability (2001) and The Reformation of the Subject (1995). Her awards include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine, the Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, grants and fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Mellon, Rockefeller and Bogliasco Foundations. Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Michigan.

Linda Gregerson on the Workshop

Our aim in workshop is at once very simple and very complex: we make it our business to become an adaptable and rigorous critical readership for one another's work-in-progress. We use the workshop as an occasion to broaden formal and thematic range, to refine editorial skills, to share questions, enthusiasms, and generous skepticism. Our primary focus is on the current work submitted by members of the class, but we also read selected work by other poets, generally contemporaries in mid-career.

This term, I asked each member of the workshop to teach a single 45-60 minute session on poetry that was neither her own nor that of another member of the workshop. Workshop members chose groups of poems or individual volumes of poems that raised questions or issues of urgency for us in our own writing. We tended to focus on work we admired, but we also considered poetry that seemed to us to fail in some major way, or to cheat, to take admirable risks with mixed results, or to explore unpredictable intersections of voice and form and subject matter. We also found this an invaluable opportunity to consider questions of structure and sequencing in book-length collections of poetry, questions of immediate relevance to those who are now assembling the MFA thesis.

A sample from Linda Gregerson's work:

From The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, "Fish Dying on the Third Floor at Barneys," published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Research Interests

Primary Interests

Creative Writing, literature and culture of the English Renaissance; historical subject formation; the politics of Reformation and early modern nationalism; Petrarchan lyric; Elizabethan and Stuart drama; contemporary American poetry.

Secondary Interests

History and theory of performance


Prodigal: New and Selected Poems (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt 2015); The Selvage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012); Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic (edited with Susan Juster, University of Pennsylvania Press 2010); Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin, 2007); Waterborne (Houghton Mifflin, 2002; Negative Capability: Contemporary American Poetry (University of Michigan, 2001); The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (Houghton Mifflin, 1996); The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Fire in the Conservatory (Dragon Gate Press, 1982); Essays in ELH, Criticism, Prose Studies, Milton Studies, The Kenyon Review and numerous anthologies; poems, reviews, review-essays in The New Yorker, Raritan, Granta, Poetry, The Atlantic, Partisan Review, Grand Street, Parnassus, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Yale Review, The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Triquarterly, and elsewhere.
  • Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976 to 2014
  • The Selvage: Poems
  • Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic
  • Magnetic North

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