English Header

Graduate Program Faculty

« Return to list of Faculty

Joseph Harrington


3001-C Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (California, Berkeley)

Areas of Research

US literatures, particularly post-1900; poetry and poetics; cultural studies; political philosophy; mixed-genre writing; documentary poetry; experimental nonfiction.

Selected Publications


Things Come On (an amneoir). Wesleyan Poetry Series. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 2011.

Earth Day Suite (poetry e-chapbook). Chicago: Beard of Bees Press, 2010.

Poetry and the Public: The Social Form of Modern U.S. Poetics. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 2002.

Excerpts, Articles, and Poems

Excerpt from No Soap. The Collagist 14 (2010).

Excerpt from Poetry and the Public. Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader, Ed. Maria Damon and Ira Livingston. Urbana, Ill.: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2009. 266-284.

Excerpt from Things Come On (an amneoir). Hotel Amerika 7:2 (2009). 125-137.

Excerpt from Things Come On (an amneoir). Cricket Online Review V:1 (2009). http://www.cricketonlinereview.com/vol5no1/harrington1.php

“Is Hegemony Leadership?” Who’s the Boss?: Leadership and Democratic Culture. Ed. Wil Verhoeven and Hans Krabbendam. Amsterdam: Vrie Universiteit Press, 2007. 17-26.

“Why American Poetry Is Not American Literature.” American Literary History 8:3 (1996): 496-515.

“Wallace Stevens and the Poetics of National Insurance.” American Literature 67:1 (1995): 95114.

Poems in First Intensity, Tarpaulin Sky, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of forms, Otoliths, ISLE, and other periodicals.

Selected Awards and Honors

- Pushcart Prize Nominee, 2011
- Hall Center for the Humanities Creative Work Fellow, Univ. of Kansas, 2010
- Finalist, Howard Foundation Fellowship, 2010
- Walt Whitman Chair in American Culture Studies, Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2005
- Hall Center for the Humanities Research Fellow, Univ. of Kansas, 2000
- Mayers Fellow, Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif., 1999
- Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award, Univ. of Kansas, 1998

Faculty Profile

When someone tells me two things don’t (or shouldn’t) go together, I immediately want to put them together and see what happens. So I combine poetics and cultural studies; political theory and literary criticism; and, most recently, poetry, prose, dramatic dialogue, and pictures, all in the same book. And I combine the roles of poet and critic.

My work as a literary historian has explored the way that a particular genre of literature (poetry) exists in the world – how writers and readers depict it, how they use it, what role it plays in their lives, and how it embodies their fears and desires. My first book, Poetry and the Public, examines these issues as they play out in the twentieth-century US, via debates in magazines, in essays about poetics, and in workshops and slams, as well as in the texts of poems. My current critical interest is “docupoetry” – a poetry that attempts (or purports) to depict – and inflect – historical events.

My creative work “mashes up” verse, prose narration, lists, historical documents, photographs, and art work, most recently in a multi-volume, multi-genre project about my mother’s life and times. The first volume to be published, Things Come On, combines an account of my mother’s dying with discourse surrounding the Watergate scandal, which was unfolding at the same time. The rest of this project will combine research and creative writing to tell the story of her life and historical milieu: the work of women artists in the 1930s and 40s; Capitol Hill in the 1950s; the emotional division of labor in postwar families; the experience of being an older parent in the 1960s.

I am also the writer of lyric poems in a variety of different forms, including the twenty-first-century nature poem Earth Day Suite, issued as a free e-chapbook by Beard of Bees Press.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and is the University’s Title IX Coordinator: the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.