James Engelhardt received his Ph.D. in poetry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010. During his time as a Ph.D. candidate, he focused on place studies and ecopoetry, and also served as managing editor of the Prairie Schooner. Currently, he is an acquisitions editor for the University of Alaska Press. His ecopoetry manifesto can be found at octopusmagazine.com.
What prompted your interest in the Place Studies program?
I became interested in Place Studies during my last semester of coursework. I was taking Tom Lynch's ecocriticism class and thinking about what I wanted to do for the comprehensive exams. The readings--both highly theoretical and grounded (sometimes both at once)--appealed to me. As I finished the course and turned to the exams, I began to realize that I could use the insights and arguments I was encountering to frame the creative work of my dissertation. So my book of poems, "Boomtown," was born.
What have you accomplished with your focus in Place Studies?
The creative and critical work I have developed has been published in many place. My ecopoetry manifesto can be found at octopusmagazine.com. A critical essay appeared in the Journal of the Midwest Modern Languages Association. Many literary journals have been kind enough to publish my work, including: North American Review, Isotope, Hawk and Handsaw, Terrain.org, Painted Bride Quarterly, the Laurel Review, and others.