Graduate Student Directory | Department of English | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Graduate Student Directory
Graduate Student Directory
Photo of Jamaica Baldwin

Jamaica Baldwin

Jamaica Baldwin is a Ph.D. student in creative writing. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, the Jack Straw Anthology, Third Coast Review, Hayden's Ferry, Prairie Schooner and the Seattle Review of Books where she was the March 2017 poet in residence. Jamaica has received nominations for Pushcart and Sundress Best of Net and is the recipient of a Hedgebrook residency. She received her B.A. from Smith College and her M.F.A. from Pacific University Oregon. Before coming to Nebraska she was a teaching artist in Seattle, WA.

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Sydney Baty

Sydney Baty is a first year M.A. student in Literature Studies. She focuses on 20th and 21st Century Literature and interactive media and how those mediums interact in our Digital Age. Sydney has worked as a writing consultant, journalist, and reading tutor. Currently, Sydney is a research assistant on campus. She earned her B.A. from Simpson College in Iowa with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.

Jonathan Cheng

Jonathan Cheng is a direct-admit doctoral student specializing in digital humanities and new media studies. He came to UNL after majoring in English with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. Jonathan has worked on several text-analysis projects including “Mapping Mutable Genre in Structurally Complex Volumes”. Currently, he works at the Walt Whitman Archive and writes about computer/videogames in terms of literary theory.

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Adrienne Christian

Adrienne Christian is the author of two poetry collections, 12023 Woodmont Avenue (Willow Lit 2013), and A Proper Lover (Main Street Rag 2017). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including the Los Angeles Review as The Editor’s Choice. She was a finalist for The 2016 Rita Dove International Award for Poetry. She was also awarded the 2016 Parent Recognition Award, for her outstanding contribution to students. Adrienne is also the new Assistant Poetry Editor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's literary journal, Prairie Schooner. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at

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Rachel Cochran

312 Andrews Hall

Rachel is a Ph.D. student in creative writing (specializing in fiction and creative nonfiction) and 19th-century studies. She studies Victorian and neo-Victorian writing, focusing on the Gothic and crime genres, and is particularly interested in postcolonial, feminist, and queer responses to and reworkings of Victorian history. She has taught classes in composition, creative writing, children's literature, and women's literature.

Short stories and essays by Rachel have appeared in New Ohio Review, Deep South Magazine, Glassworks, Literary Orphans, and others, and have won the Margaret McKinney, George Mahan, and Virginia Grabill awards in fiction and the New Ohio Review nonfiction contest. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Creative Writing, co-advisor to Laurus, UNL's undergraduate literary journal, and the coordinator of the No Name Reading Series. Before coming to Nebraska, she received her B.F.A. from the University of Evansville in 2012 and her M.A. from the University of Missouri in 2014.

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Saddiq Dzukogi

Saddiq Dzukogi is a doctoral student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln creative writing program, where he is a recipient of the Othmer Fellowship. He is the author of Inside the Flower Room, selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His recent poems are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, African American Review, Transition, DIAGRAM, Spillway, Crab Orchard Review, Volta and elsewhere, while others have appeared in Prairie Schooner, New Orleans Review, South Dakota Review, Best American Experimental Writing Series, and Verse Daily. Saddiq is an Editorial assistant at Prairie Schooner and also a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. 

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Ángel García

350 Andrews Hall

Ángel García is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, which will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the Fall of 2018. Currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Ángel has earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Redlands and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Riverside. His work has been published in the  American Poetry Review, Miramar, McSweeney’s, Huizache, and The Good Men Project, among others. He has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers-Squaw Valley and Vermont Studio Center. In addition to his creative work, Ángel is also the cofounder of a non-profit organization, Gente Organizada, that works to educate, empower, and engage communities through grassroots organizing.

Linda Garcia Merchant

Linda Garcia Merchant is a doctoral student concentrating in U.S. Latina and Chicana Literatures, and Digital Humanities. Linda focuses on the restoration and reconstruction of the counter narrative as an aid in rehabilitating the discourse of resistance and social movement.

As the co-founder of the Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Memory Collective, Linda and Dr. Maria Cotera of the University of Michigan have produced over 125 filmed oral history interviews and collected more than 7,000 documents and ephemera from iconic figures of the Chicana and Feminist movements. In April 2012 Linda, coordinating an effort with Dr. Andrea “Tess” Arenas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin State Historical Society began the Somos Latinas Oral History Project to collect and archive the historical narrative of Wisconsin Latina activism. In January 2014, Linda partnered with Dr. Elena Gutierrez of the University of Illinois Chicago to launch the Chicana Chicago/MABPW Collection project, collecting the histories of Latina leadership in Chicago.

An award winning Chicana filmmaker, her films Las Mujeres de La Caucus Chicana (The Women of the Chicana Caucus), Palabras Dulces, Palabras Amargas (Sweet Words, Bitter Words), Yo Soy Eva, and Thresholds are shown in courses on women of color feminism, global feminisms, queer and social movement both nationally and internationally. In 2014, Palabras was featured in Dr. Bill Johnson González’s article, “The Limits of Desire: On the Downlow and Queer Chicago Film” for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Linda is currently working on An Evening with La Tess, an experimental documentary on the life of award winning Chicana poet, activist and scholar Andrea “Tess” Arenas.

In 2017 Linda, as a Digital Scholar Incubator Fellow through the UNL Center for Research in the Digital Humanities, created the Scalar and Omeka research site, Chicana Diasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled, a media rich, literary exploration of the political-ideological journey of the women of the Chicana Caucus of the National Women’s Political Caucus, 1973-1979. “Chicana Feminism Virtually Remixed,” the abstract on this research project, has been selected for publication in the Fall 2018 American Quarterly special edition on Digital Humanities.

Linda continues to write, guest lecture, and present on Chicana Feminism, Chicana Filmmaking, community archiving, visual historiography, and short form filmmaking. She has written articles and blogposts in Dialogo, Mujeres Talk, The Chicago Reporter, Viva La Feminista and La Bloga.

Gretchen Geer

Gretchen Geer is a first year M.A. student. She holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in English and Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She also has an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut. Gretchen studies angelology, demonology, and magic in medieval and early modern literature and theology.

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Nora Harris

Nora Harris is a first year M.A. student studying Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests include writing center theory, writing and language pedagogy, and second-language writing. She holds a B.A. in Literature and Culture Studies, with a minor in Psychology, from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has also worked as a writing center consultant and as an ESL teaching assistant in Murcia, Spain.

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Hannah Kanninen

333 Andrews Hall

Hannah Kanninen is a first year M.A. student in Literary Studies, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Her interests include going to Renaissance fairs, reading science fiction, and studying British Literature. She graduated with honors from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota with a B.A. in English Literature and minors in Classical Studies and German. She currently works for the Western American Literature journal as an Editorial Fellow.

MacKayla Kelsey

MacKayla is currently a first year Master of Arts in English student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also received her Bachelor of Arts in English, and currently works as a Project Coordinator for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Academically, her current interests include narratives of displacement/resettlement in relation to place, immigrant/refugee literature, global education, pedagogies in developing nations surrounding literacy comprehension, literature, and creative writing, as well as human rights and humanitarian affairs. Professionally, her interests and experiences surround community outreach, public policy creation, international relations, transnational literature, human rights, and education. Personally, she enjoys devoting her time to the creative development within local communities by volunteering.

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Gina Keplinger

Gina Keplinger is a first year M.A. student who studies the relationships among composition studies, incarceration, place, and restorative justice programming. Her poetry and essays have appeared, or are slated to appear, in Young Scholars In Writing, Leopardskin & Limes, Shot Glass Journal, and Black Heart Magazine. Once a nationally competitive performance poet, Gina now uses her creative writing in service to her composition work, blending the lyrical with the rhetorical, blurring the lines of genre distinction. Her work with Writers’ Block, a non-profit program offering the arts to inmates, has allowed her to facilitate creative writing workshops in Nebraska jails and juvenile detention centers. She holds a B.A. in English with minors in Psychology and Communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

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Charlotte Kupsh

Charlotte Kupsh is a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric. Her interests include writing centers, first-year composition, rural identities, place studies, and creative nonfiction. She is the prose editor of Barstow and Grand, a Midwestern literary magazine, and has published short stories and book reviews in The Madison Review, Pleiades, and The Los Angeles Review. Most recently, she wrote for the serial radio drama Bend in the River. She holds an MA in English-Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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Erika Luckert

Erika Luckert is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric. A poet, writer, and educator, her research interests lie at the intersection of creative writing, composition studies, and pedagogy. Originally from Edmonton, Canada, Erika earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta before moving to New York City. There, she completed an M.F.A. in Poetry at Columbia University, and spent several years teaching creative and critical writing at Hunter College and in New York City public schools through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Erika's poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, CALYX, Room Magazine, Tampa Review, F(r)iction, Entropy, Boston Review, and elsewhere. In 2017, she was a winner of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. 

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Katie Marya

337E Andrews Hall

Katie grew up in Atlanta, GA and Las Vegas, NV. She earned her BA in Spanish from Westmont College and an MFA in poetry from Bennington College. Her work has appeared in The Rio ReviewNorth American ReviewSouthern Indiana ReviewPrairie Schooner, and Five Points as the recipient of the 2018 James Dickey Prize for Poetry. She was awarded a fellowship from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and her first full length poetry collection has been a finalist for the Noemi Press Poetry Prize and the Autumn House Rising Writer Book Prize. 

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Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad is a fiction writer and book critic, with work published in The New Yorker, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Joyland FictionStoryQuarterly, and many more. She's the founder and host of The Other Stories, a podcast featuring new, emerging, and established fiction writers.

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Keshia Mcclantoc

Keshia Mcclantoc is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric. She currently holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Montevallo and a master's degree in English and certification in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her areas of interest include rural and community literacies, especially of women and queer peoples in those spaces. Additionally, she is interested in digital rhetorics and popular culture; her current research focuses on the ways digital communities interact with marginalized identities in rural spaces. Keshia has held positions on the EGSA Executive Board (2017-2019) and within the UNL Writing Center (2017-2019). Currently, she is on the Watershed Executive Board and is a Coordinator for the Writing Lincoln Initiative.

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Molly McConnell

Molly McConnell is an M.A. student in Composition and Rhetoric. Prior to this, she was the Gregory Maguire Writing Fellow at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece for two years after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in English and minors in Creative Writing and American Studies. She also worked as a writing coach at the UNC Writing Center. Her work in creative nonfiction can be found in various publications including EntropyRoads and Kingdoms, and Sidereal.

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Teo Mungaray

321 Andrews Hall

Teo Mungaray is a queer, chronically ill, latinx poet. He holds an M.F.A. from Pacific University of Oregon and is pursuing his doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a co-founder and co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph. His poems can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Prelude Magazine and The Bellevue Literary Review. He has a cat named Lysistrata.

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Xavier Navarro

Andrews 302

Xavier Navarro Aquino was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His fiction is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and has appeared in Guernica, The Literary Review, and Day One. He has published poetry in The Caribbean Writer and is forthcoming in an anthology that will be realized by Peekash Press. He was a work-study scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2014 and received a travel scholarship to Ghana, Spain, and Morocco in 2014 from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras where he earned an M.A. in English Caribbean Studies. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Linda J. Pawlenty

Linda J. Pawlenty is a doctoral student in English Literary and Cultural Studies, focusing on American working-class women writers of the early twentieth century, with a specialization in Ethnic Studies. A former truck driver, she is interested in the ways women function doing "men's work" and the ways in which labor is represented in literature and popular culture. Linda's research interests also include transportation, travel writing, and the language of locomotion.

Linda holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and UNO's Advanced Writing Certificate in Creative Nonfiction. Outside the university, she volunteers for organizations in Lincoln and Omaha, teaching adult literacy and English to non-native speakers. Before joining UNL, she taught undergraduate classes in composition, technical writing, writing for criminal justice, and truck driving. She currently teaches first-year writing at Lincoln.

Katherine Pierson

Katherine Pierson is a first-year M.A. student in 19th-century studies. She has worked as a writing center consultant, a developmental English instructor, and an LPS student mentor. She is a volunteer with Lincoln Literacy Council and is married with two young children.

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Jessica Poli

Jessica Poli is the author of four chapbooks: Canyons (BatCat Press, 2018), Alexia (Sixth Finch, 2015), Glassland (JMWW, 2014), and The Egg Mistress (Gold Line Press, 2013). She earned her M.F.A from Syracuse University, and is a first-year student studying poetry in the M.A. program at UNL. She is the founder and editor of the online journal Birdfeast, and also served as Editor-in-Chief of Salt Hill Journal. Originally from Pennsylvania, she also spent several years working on farms in Central New York. 

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Lydia Presley

Lydia Presley is a Ph.D. student studying English Literature and Cultures. Lydia's research is on Native American literatures and boarding school narratives. Her current projects are working with the gossip columns in the Genoa Indian School's newspaper, The Pipe of Peace, and the creation of a digital humanities project that will allow for the preservation and accessibility of stories told by the students at the Genoa Indian School.

Lydia is both an Othmer Fellow and a Great Plains fellow. She received her B.A. in English Literature and Music Performance from Eureka College and her M.A in English Literature with specializations in Great Plains Studies and Ethnic Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also completing her specialization in Digital Humanities and her Certificate in the Teaching of Writing.

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Susannah Rand

Susannah Rand is a first year M.A. student in creative writing, specializing in speculative, queer, and magical fiction of the long and short form variety. Her work investigates gender, trauma, and mental illness through the fantastical. Her general interests include never finishing a painting, killing her plants, and watching her two cats chirp at birds. She graduated with honors from New York University with a B.A. in History and Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

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Emily J. Rau

322 Love Library South

Emily J. Rau is a doctoral student in the English Department and a Graduate Fellow in the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She works full-time in the library as the Assistant Editor of the Willa Cather Archive, and also serves as an editorial assistant for Western American Literature. She has published an article in two parts in the Summer 2016 and the Fall/Winter 2016 issues of the Willa Cather Newsletter and Review, and a co-written piece with Gabi Kirilloff in the collection In the Country of Lost Borders: New Critical Essays on My Ántonia, published in 2017 in France. Emily's research focuses on American literature of the long nineteenth century, interweaving those texts with the work of contemporary ecocritics and spatial theorists. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities from UNL and an M.A. in English from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

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Joshua Renner

Joshua Renner is a first year M.A. studying Composition & Rhetoric. He is interested in the fields of procedural rhetoric, new media theory, and writing center pedagogy. In particular, he is focused on choice-driven narratives, which is where his passion for visual novels comes from. Outside of academics, Joshua is a freelance editor for many major visual novel publishers, and even moonlights as a writer for 月Ware, a company that develops adult visual novels. He received his B.A. in English (Writing) with a minor in Sociology from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, where he also worked as a writing center consultant.

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Shawn Rubenfeld

Andrews Hall 323

Shawn Rubenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing-Fiction. A native New Yorker, he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Idaho, where he received a Writing in the Wild Fellowship and the university-wide 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. His fiction appears in such journals as Columbia Journal, Portland Review, REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, Thin Air Magazine, and Pine Hills Review. He has an essay in the journal Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture. Outside of writing, his research interests include composition and creative writing pedagogy, Jewish-American literature, and graphic literature.

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Zainab Saleh

Zainab Saleh is a first year M.A. student in Literary Studies, interested in Ethnic Literature and Women's Literature. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in English and double minors in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies. Her academic interests include women's writers, specifically Arab/Arab-American women writers, film, popular culture, and 20th and 21st century literature. She will be a research assistant this year.

Stevie K. Seibert Desjarlais

Stevie K. Seibert Desjarlais holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century American literature, women writers, film and popular culture. Stevie has held departmental positions on the English Graduate Student Association's executive board (2014-2017), Watershed's executive board (2016-2017), the Graduate Committee (2016-2017), the Chair's Advisory Committee (2017-2018), and also served as Co-Coordinator of Composition (2017). Stevie uses the lens of Critical Media Literacy when teaching first-year composition courses (ENGL 150 & 151). She has also taught cross listed courses with Women's and Gender Studies (ENGL/WMNS 215 Intro to Women's Lit and ENGL/WMNS 315B Women and Pop Culture).

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Cameron Steele

ANDR 334

Cameron Steele is a writer, teacher, and doctoral student in Creative Writing with a focus on Women's & Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her nonfiction and poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Entropy, The Fix, Bluestem Magazine, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Wherewithal, and Ivy Hall Review. She has won several state journalism awards for her former work as investigative crime reporter at The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina and The Anniston Star in Alabama.

Rosamond Thalken

Rosamond Thalken is a first year M.A. student interested in digital humanities, postcolonial studies, gender studies, and new media theory. She specifically focuses on the usage of digital literary analysis techniques, such as text mining, as well as the ethics behind such a methodology. Rosamond is also passionate about supporting community literacy, as she serves as the Malone Community Center site coordinator for the Writing Lincoln Initiative. She is the research assistant on an ongoing project analyzing reading and affect with fMRI technology. Rosamond received her B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with majors in English and Film Studies, as well as a minor in Digital Humanities.

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Michelle Trantham

Michelle Trantham is a first year M.A. student in Literature, specializing in 19th Century Studies. Her academic interests include British Romanticism, Victorian Studies, women poets, and memory. She earned her B.A. in English, with minors in Music and History, with Honors at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

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Matt Whitaker

Matt Whitaker is a doctoral student in Composition and Rhetoric and a graduate fellow with the Center for Great Plains Studies. His work explores environmental activist rhetoric in the Great Plains, focusing specifically on the interrelationships between discourse and space. Matt’s research pulls from a broad range of disciplines and subdisciplines, including critical geography, spatial theory, ecocriticism, animal studies, and material rhetorics. His teaching practices are informed by his commitment to public affairs and community engagement. He contributed to the Husker Writers Project in 2018 and serves as a counselor with the Missouri State Public Affairs Academy. Matt was a recipient of the Robert L. Hough Teaching Award in 2018, as well as the Husker Writer Teaching Award. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Master’s degree in Writing at Missouri State University.

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Cory G. Willard

337A Andrews Hall

Cory Willard is a Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies where he focuses on ecocriticism and North American nature writing with a particular interest in the literatures of fly fishing. Before coming to Nebraska, Cory received his B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Calgary in his native Alberta, Canada and his M.A. in English Rhetoric and Communication Design from the University of Waterloo. He is a past President of the Sport Literature Association and is currently a Graduate Fellow with the Center for Great Plains Studies as well as a Graduate Editorial Assistant for the journal Western American Literature.

Cory has had book reviews and essays published in such places as The Goose, Western American Literature, Great Plains Quarterly, and Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature. His most recent publication is the essay “Glaciers, Embodiment, and the Sublime: An Ecocritical Approach to Thomas Wharton’s Icefields” in Writing the Body in Motion: A Critical Anthology on Canadian Sport Literature from Athabasca University press.

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David Winter

337A Andrews Hall

David Winter is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing specializing in poetry. He wrote the chapbook Safe House (Thrush Press, 2013), and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The BafflerGristMeridianMuzzleNew Poetry From the MidwestNinth Letter, and Poetry International, among others. David received his M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and a 2016-18 Stadler Fellowship from Bucknell University.