Williams College English Department

Please click here for this year’s guidelines to student poetry and fiction contests.

For more information about our events and zoom links please click here.

English majors study our many-sided attempts to come to grips with the world in language and story. To find out more click here.

For more information about the coming year, please see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Page.

*** Good news, alum edition! ** Amandu Su, a Williams English major from the class of 2014, has a prose poem out in the latest issue of the JOURNAL OF ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES (Vol. 24, No. 1, February 2021). The poem, entitled "Three Stories on the Problem of Consent" can be accessed online through the Williams College library system (use link in bio; Williams login will be required). The image reproduces just the opening lines. Check out the rest at the link!

One of the joys of teaching at Williams is how often our relationships with students extend long beyond the point of graduation (and indeed, deepen with time), and Amanda is one of those students I feel grateful to still be in touch with (this is Bernie, btw). As a former teacher and now friend, I'm thrilled to see Amanda's powerful words in print.

Other English Department alums, we would love to share your good news too! Please DM this account or email me at [email protected] with news you'd like to share with the Williams community. Sending warm wishes to all!

Here is the bio that accompanies Amanda's poem in the JAAS: "Amanda Su is a PhD candidate in English at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation, "Chinese Femininity and the Problem of the Human in the Transpacific 20th Century," investigates how the category of gender mediates the discourses of communism and liberalism during the long twentieth century, up through our contemporary moment. She is also working on a collection of short stories tentatively entitled A REPUTED NATIVE OF FORMOSA, about magic, misrecognition, and self-mythology."

Wow, what a reading! Here's a screenshot from the Rowan Ricardo Phillips event tonight. More than a reading, really a multimedia performance: with images, video, even music. Thanks to all who came and most of all to @rowanricardophillips for the moving and powerful performance. If you missed it, don't worry. We recorded it. But Rowan read a few poems that are yet to be published, so we need to wait on that. Once they're out in print (soon), we plan to post the video here. Stay tuned! ...

** Reminder! ** This Thursday, 7pm ET. Zoom link in bio. All are welcome!

Repost from @williamsenglishdept

You are warmly invited to an English Department sponsored reading by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Phillips, the Margaret Bundy Scott Professor of English for 2020-21, is an award-winning poet, author, screenwriter, academic, translator, and journalist, and he will read from both his poetry and prose at this event. The event will take place on Zoom (tap link in bio) Thursday March 4, 7-8pm ET. All are welcome!

About Phillips:

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a multi-award-winning poet, author, screenwriter, academic, translator, and journalist. His writing appears in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other national and international publications.

The author of three books of poetry, a book of literary criticism, a non-fiction book on tennis, and a book-length translation of fiction, Rowan Ricardo Phillips has been awarded the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Whiting Award, and the GLCA New Writers Award. He has also been a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the National Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Also an acclaimed sportswriter, Rowan's writing on basketball has been collected by The Library of America, his soccer writing has been acclaimed by BBC commentary and English soccer legend Gary Lineker, and his award-winning writing on tennis has achieved widespread international recognition.

Rowan has written the screenplay for Legendary’s biopic on baseball icon Roberto Clemente adapted from Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss' biography CLEMENTE: THE PASSION AND PRIDE OF BASEBALL'S LAST HERO, which will be directed by O. J.: Made in America creator Ezra Edelman and produced by John Lesher, Fuego Films’ Ben Silverman and Jay Weisleder, with Giselle Fernandez and Sandra Condito as executive producers.

A screenshot from tonight's wonderful book launch event featuring Profs. Anjuli Raza Kolb and Chris Pye, celebrating the publication of Prof. Raza Kolb's EPIDEMIC EMPIRE. Thanks to all the current and former students who came to this event! And thank you, Anjuli, for giving so generously of your time.

A video of this event will be available soon. Check back in a day or two.

Excited to announce that THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY AMERICAN POETRY, edited by Timothy Yu, has just been published and that it's concluding chapter is written by Professor and Chair of @williamsamericanstudies, Dorothy Wang.

Here's the abstract to Prof. Wang's chapter, entitled "The Future of Poetry Studies":

Poetry scholars frequently state that form and content are not separable. Yet they continue to read poetry by minority writers primarily as ethnographic reportage. While many avant-garde poets can deftly address language’s imbrication with capitalism and hold forth on issues of class (and, at times, gender), the issue of race and – horrors – racism has too often been deflected by such coded (or not so coded) putdowns as “identity politics,” “autobiographical writing,” or “expressivity.” The “New Formalism” occludes an entire tradition of black thought that has engaged with the problem of form and larger sociopolitical structures. This chapter maps out crucial tasks for twenty-first-century poetry scholars, including archival recovery work; decentering white poets; looking to alternative models of poetics; questioning “neutral” poetics; engaging in concrete acts of anti-racism; decolonizing and desegregating the field.