University of Mississippi

Megan Abbott Selected as Grisham Writer-in-Residence

-1Crime fiction author Megan Abbott has been selected as the 2013-2014 Grisham Writer-in-Residence.  Click HERE for the full story.

Middlebrow Queer

415DVyRgB9L._AA160_by Jaime Harker

How could one write about gay life for the mainstream public in Cold War America? Many midcentury gay American writers, hampered by external and internal censors, never managed to do it. But Christopher Isherwood did, and what makes his accomplishment more remarkable is that while he was negotiating his identity as a gay writer, he was reinventing himself as an American one. Jaime Harker shows that Isherwood refashioned himself as an American writer following his emigration from England by immersing himself in the gay reading, writing, and publishing communities in Cold War America.

Drawing extensively on Isherwood’s archives, including manuscript drafts and unpublished correspondence with readers, publishers, and other writers, Middlebrow Queer demonstrates how Isherwood mainstreamed gay content for heterosexual readers in his postwar novels while also covertly writing for gay audiences and encouraging a symbiotic relationship between writer and reader. The result—in such novels as The World in the Evening, Down There on a Visit, A Single Man, and A Meeting by the River—was a complex, layered form of writing that Harker calls “middlebrow camp,” a mode that extended the boundaries of both gay and middlebrow fiction.

Weaving together biography, history, and literary criticism, Middlebrow Queer traces the continuous evolution of Isherwood’s simultaneously queer and American postwar authorial identity. In doing so, the book illuminates many aspects of Cold War America’s gay print cultures, from gay protest novels to “out” pulp fiction.

Dave Smith


  • Ph.D, English, Ohio University (1976)
  • M.A., English, Southern Illinois University (1969)
  • B.A., English, University of Virginia (1965)

Teaching and Research Interests

  • 19th and 20th Century American and British Poetry
  • Poetry Writing
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism and Non-Fiction

Selected Publications

  • Hawks on Wires: Poems Poems 2005-2010 (poems). Louisiana State University Press, 2011.
  • Afield: Writers on Bird Dogs (essays, ed. with Robert DeMott). Skyhorse, 2010.
  • Hunting Men: Reflections on a Life in American Poetry (essays). Louisiana State University Press, 2006.
  • Little Boats, Unsalvaged (poems). Louisiana State University Press, 2005.
  • The Wick of Memory: new and Selected Poems 1970-2000 (poems). Louisiana State University Press, 2000.
  • Floating on Solitude: Three Books of Poems (poems). University of Illinois Press, 1997.
  • Fate’s Kite: Poems 1991-1995 (poems). Louisiana State University Press, 1995.
  • Cuba Night (poems). William Morrow & Co., 1990.
  • Local Assays: On Contemporary American Poetry (essays). University of Illinois Press, 1985.
  • The Roundhouse Voices: Selected and New Poems (poems). Harper & Row, 1985.
  • In the House of the Judge (poems). Harper & Row, 1983.
  • Homage to Edgar Allan Poe (poems). Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
  • Dream Flights (poems). University of Illinois Press, 1981.
  • Goshawk, Antelope (poems). University of Illinois Press, 1981.
  • Onliness (novel). Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
  • Cumberland Station (poems). University of Illinois Press, 1979.

W205A Bondurant Hall
djsmith4 at

Chiyuma Elliott

photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Chiyuma Elliott is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University (2011-13) and a Visiting Scholar in English at the University of California, Berkeley. Her poems have appeared in the African American ReviewCallalooThe Collagist, the Langston Hughes ReviewMARGIE, theNotre Dame Review, and Torch, and her poem cycle on Satchel Paige has been performed by the Word for Word Performing Arts Company. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, and the Mellon Foundation. In 2012, she won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the University of Texas at Austin for Blackness and Rural Modernity in the 1920s. Chiyuma is currently at work on two poetry chapbooks: a collection on Faulkner and African American poetry (co-edited with Derrick Harriell), and a collaboration with photographer Sara Gamble titled Here It Is.


Ph.D. in American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin (2011)

M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Warren Wilson College (2010)

B.A. in English, Stanford University (1996)

Teaching and Research Interests

  • African American Literature
  • The Harlem Renaissance/New Negro Movement
  • 20th Century American Literature
  • Poetry and Poetics
  • Modernism
  • American Intellectual History

Selected Publications

“African American Literature” (forthcoming). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Vol. 23: Race. Thomas C. Holt and Laurie Green, eds. (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2013).

“Still Life With Hands, Wishes and Plate,” and “Things I Know Like the Back of My Hands” (forthcoming). White Space Poetry Anthology (2013).

“Lilies.”  Another and Another: An Anthology from The Grind Daily Writing Series, Matthew Olzmann and Ross White, eds. (Durham, NC: Bull City P, 2012).

“California Winter League.” Cave Canem Anthology XII. (Detroit: Willow Books, 2012).

C218 Bondurant Hall
celliott at 

Poet Dave Smith Joins UM English Department

We are pleased to announce that renowned poet Dave Smith will be joining the UM English Department this fall.  Get the full story HERE.

The Frances Bell McCool Lecture in Faulkner Studies Presents: “The Man from Mottstown” on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Phillip “Pip” Gordon  will deliver his lecture, “The Man from Mottstown: Hubert Creekmore’s Debt to and Influence on William Faulkner” on Monday, November 12 at 7:30 P.M.  in Peabody 206.

Phillip is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department.  His lecute is based on a chapter from his in-progress dissertation, “Gay Faulkner: Uncovering a Homosexual Presence in Yoknapatawpha and Beyond.”

The Frances Bell McCool lecture is sponsored by the Department of English.  The Frances Bell McCool Dissertation Fellowship in Faulkner studies is funded by a generous endowment from the McCool Family.

This event is free and open to the public.

Special Screening of HBO’s TREME, episode 6, hosted by the author of the screenplay, Chris Offutt on October 30 at 7p.m. in Bishop 209

Please join author Chris Offutt and the Ole Miss community for a screening of the episode of Treme that Offutt scripted for HBO.  Treme, the award-winning HBO series, is set in a post-Katrina New Orleans and features musicians, chefs, and artists as compelling characters.  The series has been celebrated for its lively, authentic writing and Offutt, a Guggenheim recipient, was invited to write the sixth episode of the season.

Before screenwriting, Offutt was an award-winning author of five books that received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He has also written and produced for True Blood, Weeds, and wrote two commissioned pilots for Lions Gate and CBS.  His short film “The Trapper” was produced in 2010.  He is currently working on a novel and a screenplay.

The viewing will be followed by a Q and A with Offutt in which he will discuss writing for TV in general and HBO in particular.  What are the challenges of writing a script for a series, and how is this kind of writing diffferent than writing novels or short stories?  How can one learn more about writing for TV?

Click Here to check out a recent story about Offutt and Treme in the Washington Post.

Internationally Acclaimed Poet and Classicist, Anne Carson to Perform at the Ford Center on October 23, at 7p.m.

The internationally acclaimed poet and classicist Anne Carson and her partner Robert Currie will come to the University of Mississippi soon. On Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m., they will perform two experimental, collaborative pieces that involve Carson’s poetry along with dance and film. The titles of the pieces are “Cassandra Float Can” and “Possessive Used as a Drink (Me): A Lecture on Pronouns in the Form of 15 Sonnets.” These pieces will also feature several students from the English and Theatre Departments at the University of Mississippi. The performance will be held at the Rehearsal Hall Space (the small theatre) at the Ford Center. It is free and open to the public but as seating is limited it would be a good idea to come early.

This performance is made possible by the generosity of the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series, the English Department, the Theatre Department, and the Ford Center.

Toril Moi to deliver the 52nd annual Christopher Longest Lecture September 27 at 6 p.m.

Duke University professor, Toril Moi, will deliver the 2012 Christopher Longest Lecture.  For more information, click Here.


Becoming The Gentleman

The question of what it meant to be a gentleman haunted Britons throughout the long eighteenth centruy.  This period saw the gentleman emerge as the dominant persona of essayists, critics, and male conduct book writers as well as the ideal husband imagined by the authors of heroine-centered domestic fiction.  In Becoming the Gentleman, Jason D. Solinger explains why this masculine ideal became a cultural obsession.  What was at stake in the definition of the gentleman, he argues, was nothing less than a new kind of ruling-class male: a modern man whose knowledge of the world fit him for London parlors and imperial boardrooms.  Examining such authors as John Locke, Alexander Pope, Frances Burney, Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott, Solinger’s account will appeal to literary historians as well as to readers interested in the role nostalgia plays in forging the present.