Participant Bios

We are delighted to welcome the following participants for our symposium and seminar, Genres of the Anthropocene: On the Aesthetic Forms of Climate Change 

Anna Henchman is Associate Professor of English at Boston University. Her work focuses on Victorian literature, especially poetry and the novel. Her first book, The Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind in Victorian Literature, published by Oxford University Press in 2014, connects literary experiments in point of view with nineteenth-century astronomy. Her new work explores how we imagine the inner lives of tiny creatures (ants, snails, and worms) and how looking at alien minds throws everyday distinctions between inner and outer, conscious and unconscious, into relief. Before coming to BU, she spent three years at Harvard’s Society of Fellows.

Christopher Nealon is Associate Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University and teaches American literature, aesthetic theory, and the intellectual histories that bear on the history of poetry. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1997, and taught at UC Berkeley from 1996 to 2008.He is the author of The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century (Harvard, 2011), and Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke, 2001), as well as three books of poems, The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, 2004), Plummet (Edge Books, 2009) and Heteronomy (Edge Books, 2014).

Jennifer Chang is Assistant Professor of English at George Washington University. She earned her MFA and PhD from the University of Virginia. She is the author of two books of poetry, The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark. Her areas of scholarly interest include the history of poetry and poetics, race and space, Modernism, Pastoral Studies, and Asian American Studies. Her dissertation-in-progress uncovers how modernist American writers used the pastoral mode to interrogate social and racial exclusions while re-imagining American cultural identities and social spaces for the twentieth century. She co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization that supports Asian American literature.

Juliana Spahr, is Professor in the Department of English at Mills College. Her work moves between lyricism, explanatory prose, and theoretical discussion. Her most recent book, Well Then There Now (2011, Black Sparrow Books) mixes essay and poem. A book of prose, Army of Lovers, co-written with David Buuck, is forthcoming from City Lights. Previous to this, she has published three full-length collections of poems, a book of prose, and a book of literary scholarship. Her work has been called “a poetics of superinformation” in the New York Times and “innovative, incantatory, politically charged and decidedly accessible” in Publishers Weekly.

Mark McMorris, is professor of English at Georgetown University, and is a former director of Georgetown’s Lannan Literary Programs. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica and educated at Columbia University and Brown University. He is the author of numerous books of poetry including The Book of Landings (Wesleyan, 2016); Entrepôt (Coffee House Press, 2010); The Café at Light (Roof Books, 2004); and The Blaze of the Poui (2003), which was selected by C. D. Wright for the 2002 Contemporary Poetry Series and was also a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. His work has also appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as Ancestral House: The Black Short Story in the Americas and EuropeXcp: Cross-Cultural PoeticsThe Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial StudiesConjunctionsCallalooHamboneNew American Writing, and An Anthology of New (American) Poets.

Seth Perlow, is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses in American literature, poetry and poetics, new media studies, and gay and lesbian literature. His research interests include American poetry since 1945, media and information theory, postmodern fiction, and queer theory. His book project, The Poem Electric: Technologies of Uncritical Thinking in American Poetry, explores the intersections between poetry and electronic media. He recently prepared the corrected, centennial edition of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms (City Lights, 2014), which received a Seal of Approval from the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions. His writing about poetry, new media, and gender and sexuality has appeared or is forthcoming in CriticismPaideuma, Letteratura e LetteratureConvergenceThe Wallace Stevens Journal, and elsewhere. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and collections, including The Carolina QuarterlyThe Common, and TextSound. 

Sonya Posmentier is Assistant Professor of English at New York University. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Princeton University (2012), her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon (1999), and her B.A. in English from Yale University (1997). Her first book Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature was published in 2017 by Johns Hopkins University Press. This book argues that extreme environmental experiences such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes as well as the slower social disaster of enforced agricultural enslavement have shaped black modern literature and culture, and in particular poetic forms. Prof. Posmentier is at work on a new book, Black Reading, about the intersecting histories of black cultural studies and modern lyric theory. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewAmerican Literature, and the edited collections Race and Real Estate and the Blackwell Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, and she has published poems in GreyThe Seneca Review, and Perihelion.