Faculty & Staff
David Baker is Professor of English and holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing. He is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently Never-Ending Birds (2009, W. W. Norton), which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize. His five prose books are Show Me Your Environment: Essays on Poetry, Poets, and Poems (forthcoming 2014), Talk Poetry: Poems and Interviews with Nine American Poets (2012), Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (2007, with Ann Townsend), Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry (2000) and Meter in English: A Critical Engagement (1996). Dr. Baker's poems and essays have appeared widely in such magazines as American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, The Yale Review, and more than a hundred others. For his work he has received fellowships and awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Society of America, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Society of Midland Authors.
At Denison Dr. Baker teaches classes in creative writing, poetry writing, American and modern literature, poetic theory, and others. He has taught previously at Kenyon College, the University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University, and occasionally serves on the faculty of the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College. Dr. Baker also is Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review. In 2012, 2006 and 2001 he served on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.
As a member of the English faculty and Director of the Writing Center, Brenda Boyle is interested in American literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a special focus on issues of rhetoric, race, gender, sexuality, and disability. Her research and publications extend from the study of American masculinity's formations in war, especially the Vietnam War, to representations of gender and sexuality through disability, to gender in The Gilmore Girls. She teaches classes in composition and rhetoric, British and American modernism, the contemporary novel, fiction and non-fiction war narratives, and academic writing.
Sylvia A.Brown earned her Ph.D. from Emory University, having specialized in Restoration and 18th-Century British Literature. She teaches and writes about 18th- and 19th-Century Literature, her specific interests including the origins of the novel, criminal narrative, Jane Austen, Disability Studies, and science fiction. She is currently working on a project exploring epistemology, the emergence of realist narrative, and conjuring in 18th- and 19th-century texts. Her recent essay, "Scripting Wholeness in Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face," appeared in the spring of 2008 in Criticism (Vol. 48).
Kirk Combe teaches literature, critical theory, and writing at Denison University. His specialty area is Restoration and 18th-Century British literature, with an emphasis on satire and stage comedy. He teaches upper-level courses in the poetry, prose, drama, and culture of the early modern period. He also teaches survey courses in early British literature. In addition to these literature courses, he teaches upper-level courses in critical and cultural theory as well as first-year composition. He won the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award, Denison University, 2011.
Combe has published A Martyr for Sin: Rochester’s Critique of Polity, Sexuality, and Society (University of Delaware Press, 1998) and co-edited Theorizing Satire: Essays in Literary Criticism (St. Martins Press, 1995). He has published as well numerous articles on satire, drama, literary history, popular culture, pedagogy, and aging in academic journals such as Modern Philology; Texas Studies in Literature and Language; Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700; The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation; Notes and Queries; Pretexts: Studies in Writing and Culture; Eighteen-Century Life; Journal of Aging and Identity; and The Journal of Popular Culture. Some of his essays have been anthologized. He has also edited Restoration drama in The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama (2001) and contributed a chapter entitled “The Sentimental and the Satirical” to The Blackwell Companion to Restoration Drama (2001). He regularly reviews scholarly books for academic journals such as Notes and Queries; Scriblerian; Restoration: Studies in English Literary culture, 1660-1700; and 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era. He’s also published short fiction in literary journals, and his first novel, entitled 2084, came out in 2009 from Mayhaven Publishing.
Combe received his B.A. from Davidson College (North Carolina) and his M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College (Vermont). He completed his D.Phil. in literature at Oxford University, England. He has taught at universities in both Europe and the United States. Prior to becoming a career egghead, he spent several years playing professional basketball in Switzerland and Germany.
Michael Croley was born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Corbin, Kentucky. A graduate of the creative writing programs at Florida State and the University of Memphis, his work has won awards from the Kentucky Arts Council, the Key West Literary Seminars and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. His stories have regularly appeared in Narrative where he was named to their list of "Best New Writers" in 2011. His other fiction and criticism has been published in The Paris Review Daily, Blackbird, The Louisville Review, The Southern Review, Fourth Genre, and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
James Davis has been teaching at Denison since 1985. The author of An Experimental Reading of Wordsworth's Prelude: The Poetics of Bimodal Consciousness (1995) and The Rowman & Littlefield Guide to Writing With Sources (fourth edition, 2011). He has published essays in Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Colby Quarterly, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and The Journal of American & Comparative Cultures.
With a Ph.D. in 19th-Century British literature from the University of Illinois, he teaches courses in British literature, Romantic poetry and prose, British and American fiction, 20th-century literature, Gothic literature, popular culture, film, and both advanced and beginning workshops in writing nonfiction.
Evelyn Frolking is an instructor teaching a First Year Seminar course. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s degree in English from the Ohio State University. She was head of school at The Welsh Hills School, a private preK – grade 8 day school for 15 years and has taught English and Journalism at the high school level. She writes freelance for newspapers and magazines and is a regular column writer for Broadway + Thresher, a new lifestyle magazine. Her first book, Homegrown: Stories from the Farm, published in February 2013, chronicles the lives of six local food farmers and producers as they enjoy new-found interest in a national movement to shop and eat local.
Peter Grandbois is the author of the novel The Gravedigger, selected by Barnes and Noble for its “Discover Great New Writers” program and Booklist as one of the best books of 2006, as well as The Arsenic Lobster: A Hybrid Memoir, chosen as one of the top five memoirs of 2009 by the Sacramento News and Review, and the novel, Nahoonkara, winner of the gold medal in literary fiction in ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Awards for 2011. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and been shortlisted for both the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays.
Peter is a graduate of the University of Denver (Ph.D. 2006) and Bennington College (M.F.A. 2003). Previously, he taught at California State University in Sacramento and is currently an Assistant Professor of creative writing and contemporary literature at Denison University.
Linda Krumholz is Associate Professor of English and Director of Black Studies. She teaches Twentieth and Twenty-first Century African American, Native American, and Ethnic American literature as well as literary theory and composition. She currently holds the Lorena Woodrow Burke Chair of English.
Krumholz is interested in the ways fiction can transform social representations and beliefs about race, history, economics, power, and cultural identities. Her research focuses on novels by contemporary African American and Native American authors such as Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, and Paule Marshall. In her recent work, she also considers how teaching can transform U.S. discourses and contemporary conversations about race. Her essays have appeared in Ariel, Contemporary Literature, African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, and various anthologies.
FYS 101: Autobiography and Identity; FYS 101: Contemporary Identities: Autobiography and Comics (with Ron Abram); FYS 101: Toni Morrison’s Novels
HONORS 167: Twentieth-Century Literary and Performing Arts: Roots in Blues and Jazz (with April Berry)
ENGLISH 202: Introduction to Literary Studies: Literary Theory and Critical Methods
ENGLISH/WOMEN’S STUDIES/QUEER STUDIES 225: Women in Literature
ENGLISH 237: Introduction to Creative Writing
ENGLISH/BLACK STUDIES 255: Ethnic Literature
BLACK STUDIES 235: Introduction to Black Studies
ENGLISH/BLACK STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES 325: African American Women’s Novels
ENGLISH 326: Contemporary Native American Literature
ENGLISH/BLACK STUDIES 355: The Harlem Renaissance
ENGLISH/BLACK STUDIES 356: Narratives of Slavery
ENGLISH 400: Toni Morrison and Black Feminist Theory; ENGLISH 400: Literary Criticism; ENGLISH 400: Race and the American Literary Imagination; ENGLISH 400: From Theory to Fiction: Literary Theory and the Novels of Louise Erdrich and Toni Morrison; ENGLISH 400: Rewriting America: Race, Gender, History, and Power in Toni Morrison’s Novels
Director of Black Studies (2013-present)
Lorena Woodrow Burke Chair of English (2010-2015)
Co-Chair of the Homestead Advisory Board (2013-present)
Chair of Homestead Advisory Board (2000-2005, 2008-2013)
Chair of the Faculty (2011-2012)
Chair of English (2007-2010)
Co-Chair of MLK Day of Learning Committee (2002-2004)
- “From Mysteries to Manidoos: Language and Transformation in Louise Erdrich’s The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.” Western American Literature, forthcoming.
- “Blackness and Art in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby.” Contemporary Literature 49.2 (Summer 2008): 262-291.
- “Tar is Art: Blackness and the Power of Fiction in Tar Baby.” The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching and Writing on Race, Identity, and Culture. Ed. Jami L. Carlacio. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2007. 77-84.
- “Reading and Insight in Toni Morrison’s Paradise.” African American Review 36 (2002): 21-34.
- “Native Designs: Silko’s Storyteller and the Reader’s Initiation.” Leslie Marmon Silko: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Louise K. Barnett and James L. Thorson. Albuquerque NM: U of NM Press, 1999. 63-86.
- “Reading in the Dark: Knowledge and Vision in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon.” Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Toni Morrison. Ed. Nellie Y. McKay and Kathryn Earle. New York: MLA, 1997. 106-112.
- “‘To Understand This World Differently’: Reading and Subversion in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller.” Critical Visions: Contemporary North American Native Writing. Ed. Jeanne Perreault and Joseph Bruchac. Ariel 25 (1994): 89-113.
- “Dead Teachers: Rituals of Manhood and Rituals of Reading in Song of Solomon.” Toni Morrison. Ed. Nancy J. Peterson. Modern Fiction Studies 39 (1993): 551-574.
- “The Ghosts of Slavery: Historical Recovery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.” African American Review 26 (1992): 395-408.
Jeehyun Lim received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania (2010). Her areas of research include U.S. ethnic literature, comparative race/ethnicity studies, and theories of race and ethnicity. She is currently working on a book manuscript which examines post-WW II changes to U.S. race relations and literary productions through Asian American and Latino writers' engagements with bilingualism. Her scholarly work has appeared in Biography, Women's Studies Quarterly, and MELUS.
Diana Adesola Mafe teaches postcolonial literatures with an emphasis on contemporary Anglophone African literatures. She also teaches African American literatures and courses in Women’s Studies. Her work tracks the literary and cinematic roles of and for women of color in African and American discourses. She has published articles in Research in African Literatures, American Drama, English Academy Review, Frontiers, Safundi, Camera Obscura, and African Women Writing Resistance. Her book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), examines the literary stereotype of the “tragic mulatto” from a transnational perspective.
Regina Martin earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida (2010). Her research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century British literature, the history and theory of the novel, and critical and literary theory. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines British modernism as a historical moment of financial crisis very much like our own. Her scholarly work has appeared in The Eighteenth-Century Novel, Twentieth-Century Literature, and Criticism.
Lisa McDonnell teaches courses in Renaissance literature (especially Shakespeare and Renaissance drama) and modern and contemporary drama. Her publications and conference presentations have been primarily in these fields and in feminist pedagogy; her current research focuses on shrew taming in Early Modern England. She is also completing work on interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner, and noted British and American playwrights, Arnold Wesker and Jeffrey Hatcher. Recently, she has served as Denison University's Exchange Fellow with Advanced Studies in England, affiliated with University College, Oxford.
While in England, she conducted research on shrew taming and taught a seminar on the drama of Shakespeare and Webster in three interesting venues: Hall's Croft (Shakespeare's daughter's house), Stratford-upon-Avon; Lord Nelson's house, Bath; and University College, Oxford. She has won a number of awards, including the Folger Institute Fellowship (she was one of five scholars chosen from the United States to study with members of England's Royal Shakespeare Company), a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Grant, a Mellon Foundation Grant for Teaching with Technology, and the Earl Hartsell Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Fred Porcheddu-Engel teaches courses on medieval and Early Modern British and European literature, including the Arthurian and Charlemagne legends, Chaucer, and pastoral poetry, as well as on fantasy and children’s literature and the history of the English Language. His essays on editorial practice, medieval manuscript collecting, and literary history have appeared in or are forthcoming in arts, humanities, and library journals including Art Documentation, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Manuscripta, Medium Aevum, and Philological Quarterly. He is currently collaborating with Dr. Patrick J. Murphy of Miami University on a book-length study of Cambridge medievalist and ghost story writer M.R. James; the first of their series of essays on James have appeared in Studies in Medievalism and English Literature in Transition. In 2012 he was named the inaugural holder of Denison’s Viola Kleindienst Professorship.
Dennis Read has been a faculty member at Denison since 1979. He teaches courses in nonfiction writing, English Romantic literature, the travel narrative, and literary biography. His Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has published close to three hundred essays, articles, and reviews in such journals as The American Scholar, Philological Quarterly, American Literature, and Modern Philology. He is the author of R.H. Cromek, Engraver, Editor, Entrepreneur (2011). He received the Best Newsmaker Profile award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists in 2012. His writing appears regularly in Columbus Monthly and Columbus CEO.
Sandy Runzo has been teaching at Denison since 1986. With a Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington, she teaches courses in American literature and culture, women writers, and modern and contemporary poetry and fiction. She has published essays on American women poets in American Literature, ESQ: Journal of the American Renaissance, The Emily Dickinson Journal, Genders, and Women’s Studies, and is working on a study of Emily Dickinson and 19th-century American popular culture. She has been a member of the editorial collective of the journal Feminist Teacher since 1984. She served as Department Chair from 2002 to 2007.
Jack Shuler is associate professor of English and teaches courses in early American literature and Black Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center – CUNY in 2007. His book Calling Out Liberty: The Stono Slave Rebellion and the Universal Struggle for Human Rights (Mississippi University Press, 2009) explores the development of human rights in early America repositioning the often-assumed sources of these important and often challenged ideals.
His second book, Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town (University of South Carolina Press, February 2012), examines the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre, the killing of three black students at a historically black college in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Shuler’s hometown. Part memoir, part history, the book explores how the community has and has not changed since 1968 in an effort to understand the challenges of racial reconciliation in the 21st century. Shuler’s criticism, interviews, reviews, and poems have appeared in the Columbia Journal of American Studies, Southern Studies, South Carolina Review, Fast Capitalism, Reconstructions: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Hanging Loose, The Brooklyn Review, Big City Lit, and Failbetter.
Before teaching at Denison, Shuler taught at Brooklyn College and worked as a project and development director for the Brooklyn College Community Partnership, an organization working to expose youth in under-served communities to the college experience.
Shuler teaches ENG 230 (American Literature before 1900), FYS 101 (Writing and Human Rights), and special topics courses on American literature and slavery.
Ann Townsend is the author of two collections of poetry: Dime Store Erotics (1998), and The Coronary Garden (2005), and is the editor of Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (2007), with David Baker. Her poetry, fiction and criticism appear in such magazines as Agni, Poetry, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Witness, and many others. In 2003-2004 she received an Individual Artist's Grant in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and also won the James Dickey Prize in Poetry, sponsored by Five Points magazine.
She has published three chapbooks: Modern Love (1995), Holding Katherine (1996), co-authored with David Baker, and The Braille Woods (1997), and has given public readings of her work at the Associated Writing Programs Conference, The Poets House, Kenyon College, Ohio State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Kent State University, Tulane University, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and many other workshops, universities, and bookstores around the country.
Her poems have been anthologized in: Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry By American Women (2001), American Poetry: The Next Generation (2000), Writing Poems (2000), The Bread Loaf Anthology of New American Poets (2000), Imperfect Paradise: New Young American Poets (2000), and The Pushcart Prize XX (1995)
At Denison, she teaches courses in creative writing, in twentieth century poetry and poetics, literary translation, and in the history of the lyric poem. She has also taught at the Antioch Writers Workshop, The Catskills Workshop, The Bread Loaf Writers Workshop, and is a member of the MFA faculty at Carlow University.
James Weaver received his BA (1998) in English from Allegheny College and earned his MA (2000) and PhD (2006) from Ohio State University, specializing in nineteenth-century American literature. He joined the Denison faculty as a visiting assistant professor in 2006 before becoming an assistant professor in 2011. Weaver's research focuses especially on the intersections of literature and the environment. He is currently working on several articles about American travel literature and nationalism in the 1850s-1880s, and will soon begin work on a project exploring social media and contemporary narratives of long-distance hiking. In addition to teaching courses in first-year writing and surveys and seminars in American literature, he often teaches literature courses cross-listed with Denison's environmental studies program.