Janet McAdams is Kenyon's first Robert P. Hubbard Professor of Poetry. She teaches courses in creative writing and Indigenous American literature. Her books include The Island of Lost Luggage (University of Arizona Press, 2000), which won the American Book Award, Feral (Salt Modern Poets, UK, 2007), Red Weather (University of Arizona, 2012), and a chapbook of prose poems, Seven Boxes for the Country After (Kent State University Press, 2016). With Geary Hobson and Kathryn Walkiewicz, she edited the anthology The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing after Removal (University of Oklahoma, 2009).
Areas of Expertise
Poetry and poetics; Indigenous American literatures; gender and sexuality in Indigenous American cultures.
1996 — Doctor of Philosophy from Emory University
1987 — Master of Fine Arts from Univ Alabama Tuscaloosa
1983 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ Alabama Tuscaloosa
Courses Recently Taught
Each section of these first-year seminars approaches the study of literature through the exploration of a single theme in texts drawn from a variety of literary genres (such as tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, epic, novel, short story, film and autobiography) and historical periods. Classes are small, offering intensive discussion and close attention to each student's writing. Students in each section are asked to work intensively on composition as part of a rigorous introduction to reading, thinking, speaking and writing about literary texts. During the semester, instructors will assign frequent essays and may also require oral presentations, quizzes, examinations and research projects. This course is not open to juniors and seniors without permission of the department chair. Offered every year.
This course sets out to trouble your assumptions — both conscious and unrecognized — about poetry: writing it, reading it, responding to it; its purpose, its nature, its public and private selves. We will explore revision in the fullest senses of the word, aiming not only toward compression and economy but toward expansion and explosion, toward breaking down the boundaries between what constitutes — for you as writer and reader — poem and not-poem. We will reverse the usual order of things: Our workshopping will focus on canonized poems, and you should expect to engage fully in your role as poet-critic when you respond to classmates' work, approaching it as you approach texts in the literature classroom. We will explore poetry's technologized face through blogs and webzines, even as, Luddite-like, we hand write, cut, paste, find and memorize poetry. This class requires intensive reading (and attendant thoughtful response) in poetry and poetics, enthusiastic engagement with exercises in critique, revision and poem-making, and a final project, demonstrating your advancement as both critic and poet during the course of the semester. Texts will likely include several volumes of contemporary poetry, selected critical essays, manifestoes, writings on process and readings by visiting writers. This counts toward the emphasis in Creative Writing and as an elective for the major. Prerequisite: ENGL 201 or 205, submission of a writing sample and permission of instructor. Check with the English department administrative assistant for submission deadlines. Offered every year.
This course posits that gender and sexuality do not merely intersect with Native American indigenous cultures but are produced by and through them. In the course, we will explore the complex relationships among gender, sexuality and tribal sovereignty, beginning with such questions as: How did European invasion of the Americas affect the traditionally high status of Native women in their own communities? And, what is the relationship between the imposition of European gender binaries and sovereign self-definition? We will focus on the ways Native women and Two Spirit writers represent their cultures in novels, poetry, memoir and film. Texts for the course will likely include Ella Deloria's "Waterlily," Louise Erdrich's "Tracks," Deborah Miranda's "Bad Indians," the anthology Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature," and the films "Soft Things," "Hard Things" and "Two Spirit." Critical readings will focus on such topics as Indigenous literary nationalism, trauma and queer indigeneity. This counts toward the approaches to literary study or the post-1900 requirements for the major and the women's and gender studies concentration. Prerequisite: junior standing or ENGL 210-291 or permission of instructor.
This seminar is required for English majors pursuing an emphasis in creative writing. The course will involve critical work on a topic chosen by the instructor (such as "Reliable and Unreliable: Investigating Narrative Voice," "Beginnings and Endings," "The Little Magazine in America" and "Documentary Poetics") to provide context and structure for students' creative work. Students should check online listings for the specific focus of each section. Although not primarily a workshop, this seminar will require students to work on a substantial creative project (fiction, nonfiction or poetry). Senior English majors pursuing an emphasis in literature are required to take ENGL 410 instead. Students pursuing honors will take ENGL 497 rather than the Senior Seminar. Prerequisite: senior standing and English major. Offered every year.
Individual study in English is a privilege reserved for senior majors who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a writing project on a topic not regularly offered in the curriculum. Because individual study is one option in a rich and varied English curriculum, it is intended to supplement, not take the place of, coursework, and it cannot normally be used to fulfill requirements for the major. An IS will earn the student 0.5 units of credit, although in special cases it may be designed to earn 0.25 units. To qualify to enroll in an individual study, a student must identify a member of the English department willing to direct the project. In consultation with that faculty member, the student must write a one-to two page proposal for the IS that the department chair must approve before the IS can go forward. The chair’s approval is required to ensure that no single faculty member becomes overburdened by directing too many IS courses. In the proposal, the student should provide a preliminary bibliography (and/or set of specific problems, goals and tasks) for the course, outline a specific schedule of reading and/or writing assignments, and describe in some detail the methods of assessment (e.g., a short story to be submitted for evaluation biweekly; a thirty-page research paper submitted at course’s end, with rough drafts due at given intervals). Students should also briefly describe any prior coursework that particularly qualifies them for their proposed individual studies. The department expects IS students to meet regularly with their instructors for at least one hour per week, or the equivalent, at the discretion of the instructor. The amount of work submitted for a grade in an IS should approximate at least that required, on average, in 400-level English courses. In the case of group individual studies, a single proposal may be submitted, assuming that all group members will follow the same protocols. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of their proposed individual study well in advance, preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the established deadline.