James Longenbach

James Longenbach

  • Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English
  • 1959-2022

PhD, Princeton University

Web Address

Research Overview

James Longenbach is a poet and critic whose most recent collection of poems, Earthling (Norton, 2017) is a meditation on the ways in which human beings inhabit their knowledge of impending mortality, ranging bemusement to panic.  His most recent critical work, Lyric Knowledge: How Poems Get Made (Norton, 2018) is an account of how English-language poems, ranging from the 8th to the 21st century, are constructed from the most basic elements of their medium (diction, syntax, rhythm, figuration, and so on).  He has also written widely about modern and postmodern poetry, sometimes emphasizing the historicity of poetic language (Wallace Stevens: The Plain Sense of Things) but also exploring the ways in which poems resist their historical location (The Resistance to Poetry).

Selected Publications

  • Lyric Knowledge, forthcoming from W.W. Norton 2018
  • Earthling, forthcoming from W.W. Norton 2017
  • The Virtues of Poetry, Graywolf 2013
  • The Iron Key, W. W. Norton 2010
  • The Art of the Poetic Line, Graywolf 2008
  • Draft of a Letter, Chicago 2007
  • The Resistance to Poetry, Chicago 200
  • La résistance à la poésie, trans. Claire Vajou, Éditions de Corlevour 2013
  • Fleet River, Chicago 2003
  • Threshold, Chicago 1998
  • Modern Poetry after Modernism, Oxford 1997
  • Wallace Stevens: The Plain Sense of Things, Oxford 1991
  • Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism, Oxford 1988
  • Modernist Poetics of History, Princeton 1987
  • Essays and reviews on (among others) Ashbery, Bidart, Bishop, Crane, Eliot, Glück, Graham, Lowell, Moore, Oppen, Pinsky, Pound, Stevens, Wright, Yeats
  • Poems published in The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Slate, and The Yale Review.


  • Courses in modern and contemporary American poetry, British and American modernism, James Joyce, Shakespeare, creative writing


  • Award in Literature, American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Mellon Fellowship
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellowship
  • Visiting Fellow, Worcester College, Oxford University
  • Bain-Swiggett Professor of Poetry, Princeton University
  • Nation/Discovery Award
  • Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Teaching
  • Student Association Professor of the Year, University of Rochester
  • Student Association Teaching Award, University of Rochester