Poetry Center Committee


Ellen Doré Watson
Director of the Poetry Center & Poetry Concentration, 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, and, most recently, Dogged Hearts. 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. In addition to directing the Poetry Center, she 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.”


Floyd Cheung

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, 1886-1944and two novels by 1930s author H. T. Tsiang, And China Has Hands and The Hanging on Union SquareCheung 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.'”


Jessica Moyer
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.”


Maria Estela Harretche
Spanish & Portuguese








Judith Gordon







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