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This is the result of many years of hard work, but to a large degree, I owe this success to decades of support from friends, family, teachers, mentors, and colleagues. The people I would like to thank are too numerous to name individually, and I fear I would leave someone out if I attempted doing so, as so many have done so many things to help me achieve this lifelong goal. But I would like to thank, first of all, my wonderful students and current and former colleagues in and out of the Department of English at Hartwick College, all those who took the time out of their day to visit my classes, all those who wrote letters of support, including my external reviewers and students, and all those who talked with me about the process, providing crucial advice. I would also like to thank my colleagues up the road at SUNY Oneonta, my amazing students, teachers, mentors, fellow graduate students, and other colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, and my students and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks to all the anonymous reviewers over the years, the sometimes unseen/unheard but not unacknowledged people who have suggested my name for peer review or to contribute to a journal, and the many editors and publishers who have supported my work, with particular gratitude going to the editors and publishers of boundary 2, Blue Sketch Press, and Salò Press. And I have the deepest abiding gratitude and appreciation for my family and their endless patience listening to me talk about the job market and the tenure process. Most importantly, my partner and spouse: Racheal, I simply could not have done this without everything you bring to our family’s life and your oh-so-keen eye for errata. Your support has meant everything. And if I have somehow overlooked you amongst those mentioned above: thank you thank you thank you.
The start to this academic year is again unconventional, but feeling much closer to normal, especially owing to Hartwick College’s reopening plans. I’m again teaching two frequently taught creative writing courses and revisiting Poetry and Technology. The syllabi:
I’m delighted to have “c o n t e m p o r a n e i t y,” “Silence,” and “Blason IV,” poems from my current project, Postrock, in the first issue of Version (9) (Summer 2021), a magazine exploring theory in contemporary poetry.
I am particularly proud of this essay, as I wrote it predominantly during the summer of 2020–the height of lockdown–and during which we had no childcare and I couldn’t access the library nor my campus office, including its books. Lots of people to thank, consequently, but particularly Racheal Fest, Courtney Jacobs and James Zeigler for their hard work putting this together during an incredibly difficult year, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, and Dawn Baker, Hartwick’s interlibrary loan librarian. (There are more acknowledgments on the first page of my essay.) This essay is also the second published chapter from my work in progress, Too Big to Read: The Megatext in the Twenty-First-Century. For other related work on megatexts and hyperarchivalism, see:
In the twenty-first century, digital technologies have made it possible for writers and artists to create massively unreadable works through computational and collaborative composition, what the author has elsewhere called megatexts. The ubiquity of texts appearing across media that are quite literally too big to read—from experimental novels to television, film, and video games—signals that the megatext is an emergent form native to the era of neoliberalism. But what happens to other long forms, such as the twentieth-century long poem, when written in an era of megatextuality? Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s work, including Drafts (1987–2013) and Traces, with Days (2017–), readily suggests itself as a case study for thinking through a megatextual impulse in the twenty-first-century long poem. Though her work is plainly indebted to its modernist precursors (H.D., Pound, Williams, etc.) while disavowing at every level of its composition a patriarchal will toward totality, DuPlessis’s various experiments in the long poem are also thoroughly contemporary and respond to the economic, military, political, and environmental transformations of the neoliberal era by drawing upon and producing fragmentary, megatextual debris. This essay positions DuPlessis’s work amidst a larger twenty-first-century media ecology, which includes both the megatext and the big, ambitious novel, and argues that rather than simply (and futilely) resist the neoliberal cultural logic of accumulation without end, DuPlessis hypertrophically uses the megatext’s phallogocentric form against itself in order to interrogate more broadly what it means—socially, culturally, economically—to write a long poem in the age of hyperarchival accumulation.
During another unconventional spring, I’m revisiting an introductory course I taught frequently at the University of Pittsburgh (ENGLIT 0500 Introduction to Critical Reading) and reprising two creative writing courses. The syllabi: