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University of Oregon

English Department Welcomes New Head

Professor Karen J. Ford has recently taken the reins of the Department as the new Department Head.  An accomplished and awarded scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry and poetics, Professor Ford’s scholarship focuses on the politics of literary form–how writers employ poetic forms for social and political purposes.  Her first book, Gender and the Poetics of Excess, explores the extravagant writing styles of some women poets who simultaneously parody the stereotype of the gabby female and demand a place for their words in a literary tradition that is inhospitable to women writers.  Her second book, Split-Gut Song: Jean Toomer and the Poetics of Modernity, investigates how Toomer and other modernist writers equated certain poetic forms with specific racial or national identities.  She is currently at work on a book about race and poetic form, trying to understand the processes by which some forms–the sonnet, ballad, haiku, or free verse, for instance–are “racialized,” given a racial content or asked to do racial work in the literary culture.  Professor Ford is an award winning teacher, who teaches a wide range of courses in poetry and poetics.  She has previously served as the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies and as the Head of UO’s Creative Writing Program.  Please join us in welcoming Professor Ford as the English Department’s new Head.