Professional Bio

Education
  • Ph.D., The University of Texas-Austin
  • M.A., The University of Texas at Austin
  • B.A., University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In a marvelous 10th century codex known as the “Exeter Book” one finds a miniature riddle about a moth that eats songs. The text concludes, stælgiest ne wæs / wihte þy gleawra / þe he þam wordum swealg: “the thief-guest was no wiser for having swallowed words.” I am a medievalist, linguist, and interloper in the literatures of later periods who studies how swallowing words can make us wise. I was drawn to medieval literature for its inspiring range, risk, and durability but also for its panic attacks about unusual sunsets and lamentations on migraine headaches and surly chickens. My research aims to recover and recontextualize the achievements of 11th and 15th century poets by modeling how cognitive bias can lead to the invention of new literary forms and, in particular, how this creativity, rooted in subcortical motor regions of the brain, can offer a more complete history of English prosody and a roadmap for the clinical rehabilitation of motor disorders.

Select Courses Taught

  • Chaucer
  • Literature Matters
  • Writing Analytically

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Research & Scholarship

Select publications:

“The ‘Not-So-Blank Verse’ of Wallace Stevens: A Cognitive and Linguistic Analysis” (with Natalie Gerber), forthcoming in The Wallace Stevens Journal.

“ “A Constraint-Based Framework for Lydgate’s Five Metrical Types,” forthcoming in Texas Studies in Literature and Language.

Select conference presentations:

“ “Chaucer’s Pentameter: Import, Imposter, or Improvisation?” New Chaucer Society 2014 Congress, Reykjavík, Iceland. July 2014.

“ “The Neuroscience Revolution in Rhythm Studies,” 20th Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference, West Chester, Pennsylvania. June 2014.

“ “Priming the Metrical Mind: A Cognitive Approach to the Prosody of Wallace Stevens” (with Natalie Gerber), ALA, Washington, D.C. May 2014.

“ “Translating Chaucer into English: Metrical Competition in the Fifteenth-Century in England,” ACLA, NYU. March 2014.

“ “Old English Free Verse? The Problem of the Peterborough Chronicle Poems,” SCMLA, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 2013.

“ “John Lydgate’s Memory Machine: a Study of Reading Habits,” 19th Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference, West Chester, Pennsylvania. June 2013.

“ “Uses of Creole in Derek Walcott’s ‘The Schooner Flight,’” Second Occasional Workshop in Linguistics and Literature, Austin, Texas. April 2007.

“ “Problems in Contemporary Academic Prose,” Second Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference, Austin, Texas. October 2005.

“ “Baudrillard and the Critique of Natural Languages,” First Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference, Austin, Texas. October 2004.

Select editorial work:

Co-editor, special issue, The Wallace Stevens Journal (in progress)

Co-editor, special issue, Texas Studies in Literature and Language (in progress)

Assistant Editor, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 2012

Awards & Recognition

  • New Chaucer Society Donald Howard Scholarship, 2014
  • Michael H. Granof Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2013
  • 19th Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference Scholarship, 2013
  • Continuing Dissertation Fellowship, The University of Texas at Austin, 2010-11
  • Editorial Fellowships, The University of Texas at Austin, 2010, 2012
  • Livingston Award for Excellence in Teaching, English Department Winner, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007
  • Preemptive Recruitment Fellowship, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004-5
  • Robert C. Maxson Phi Kappa Graduate Scholarshp, 2004