Poetry Center Director
Matt Donovan is the author of the collection of essays A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity University Press 2016) as well as two collections of poetry – Vellum (Mariner 2007) and Rapture & the Big Bam (Tupelo Press 2017). His poems have published in journals such as AGNI, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Threepenny Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Donovan is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Rome Prize in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, a Creative Capital Grant, and an NEA Fellowship in Literature.
Born in Hong Kong, Floyd Cheung grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Cheung enjoyed a liberal arts education at Whittier College and earned his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature at Tulane University. At Smith he teaches courses in American literature, American studies, and Asian American literature and culture. In each of these fields, Cheung has published articles in academic journals. He is particularly interested in the recovery of early Asian American texts. His edited volumes include Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature, Sadakichi Hartmann: Collected Poems, 1886-1944, and two novels by 1930s author H. T. Tsiang, And China Has Hands and The Hanging on Union Square. Cheung also writes poetry. His chapbook is entitled Jazz at Manzanar. Other poems can be found at New Verse News, qarrtsiluni, and Canopic Jar.
“I write poetry because ‘the language and methods of poetry,’ according to Fred Wah, ‘push at the boundaries of thinking.’ I read poetry, as Nisha Ramayya explains, ‘to drink with my imaginary friends.'”
East Asian Languages & Literature
Jessica Moyer grew up in Old Town, Maine. She studied classics at Kenyon College, taught English at Qinghai Normal University in northwestern China, and got her master’s and doctorate in Chinese literature at Yale University. At Smith, she teaches traditional Chinese literature and classical and modern Chinese. Her research interests include genre theory, cultural history, literary constructions of gender, and spatial practice. Her other interests include hiking, running, cooking and karaoke.
“I love the way reading a poem centers me in a moment that belongs fully neither to the author’s time nor my own space, but opens up a deep well of focus and attention – whether for quietness or intensity.”
Ellen Doré Watson
Conkling Visting Writer, Lecturer in English
Ellen Doré Watson is the author of five books of poems, including We Live in Bodies and Ladder Music, winner of the New England/New York award from Alice James Books, This Sharpening, Dogged Hearts, and, most recently, pray me stay eager. She has published individual poems widely in literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Her awards and honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, the Rona Jaffe Writers Award, Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. Watson has translated a dozen books from the Brazilian Portuguese, including The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado, and has co-translated contemporary Arabic language poetry with Saadi Simawe. A former long-time director of the Poetry Center (from 1999-2018), she also leads writing workshops in the community, serves as Poetry and Translation Editor of The Massachusetts Review, and teaches in the Drew University Low-Res MFA Program in Poetry and Translation.
“I’ve never forgotten reading about a little girl who said that the pictures in the radio were so much more beautiful than the pictures on TV. Yes! Poems are radio in an age of TV. Reading poems on the page, listening to poems out loud, we are the place their meaning is made, their sound is heard, their intentions are imagined–and their beauty and terror come into our bodies. Poetry is good food.”
Maria Estela Harretche
Spanish & Portuguese
María Estela Harretche offers courses on Transatlantic Studies, theater as a form of cultural resistance, poetry in exile, women’s activism and social justice in Latin America through art, and performance studies. Her research focuses on questions of representation at the intersection of cultural production and transnational junctions through the genres of poetry and theater. She serves on the advisory boards of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program and the Poetry Concentration. Her book on Federico García Lorca, Análisis de una revolución teatral, explores the aesthetic changes in the poet’s writing during his visit to New York, Vermont and Cuba. Her chapter in Historia del Teatro Español follows the itinerary of Lorca’s theatrical production from his early work through works discovered only after his death. The critical edition of Juan Ramón Jimenéz’s Leyenda brings to light the symphonic dimension of this poetic masterpiece. Harretche has also published articles on twentieth-century Spanish poetry in exile, a project that is to culminate in a book tentatively titled Orillas en tensión: Puente de unaescritura dislocada (Shores in Tension: The Bridge of “Dislocated Writing”). More recently, she has been working on examining theatrical representations of Spanish and Argentine society in the aftermath of dictatorship.
“I have always loved the poetic word for saying what it says but even more, for bringing out the invisible, as in a magic trick. ‘Roots and wings,’—as Juan Ramón Jiménez said in one of his aphorisms—‘yet if only the wings could take root and the roots fly, in continuous metamorphosis.’”
Past Committee Members
Joan Larkin, Conkling Poet-in-Residence 2012-2015
Annie Boutelle, Founder, Conkling Poet-in-Residence 2009-2011
Rosetta Cohen, Education & Child Study
Peter Gregory, Religion
Thalia Pandiri, Classics
Cornelia Pearsall, English
Kevin Quashie, Afro-American Studies
Michael Thurston, English
Susan Van Dyne, Study of Women and Gender
Sujane Wu, East Asian Languages & Literature
Robert Averitt, Economics
Margaret Bruzelius, Class Dean, Comparative Literature
Sharon Seelig, English