William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English Language & Literature and Chair of the Department
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Office hours spring 2016: T 3:00-4:00, W 3:00-4:00 & by appt.
Michael Thurston (Ph.D. University of Illinois) has taught at Smith since 2000. Currently the director of the American Studies Program, he teaches courses on twentieth-century poetry in English, modernism, American literature, and American Studies. His primary research interest is modern and contemporary poetry, and he is currently at work on two book projects in the field: Reading Postwar British and Irish Poetry (with Nigel Alderman) and a history of poetry in English after modernism. In addition, he is writing a book about Cape Cod, following Henry David Thoreau's path from Eastham to Provincetown. Essays on blindness and emasculation in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and on Robert McAlmon's Contact Editions are also under construction. In 2010, he was awarded the Sherrerd Award for Outstanding Teaching at Smith; it is the professional achievement of which he is most proud.
Michael has published numerous essays and reviews and two previous books: Making Something Happen: American Political Poetry between the World Wars (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) and The Underworld in Twentieth-Century Poetry: From Pound and Eliot to Heaney and Walcott (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He co-edited Modernism, Inc.: Body, Capital, Memory, with Jani Scandura (NYU Press, 2001).
Michael's short fiction has appeared in Confrontation, Cupboard, Fringe, Knock, Quick Fiction, and Southeast Review. With Andrea Stone, he published a poetry chapbook, The Tibetan for Bada Bing (2011). He edits fiction and nonfiction at the Massachusetts Review and writes regularly for the magazine's blog.
He also plays bass and sings with Merchant Bankers, and rarely speaks of himself in the third-person.