When I consider any strategy in teaching, I ask myself: How does this help a student get in touch with that energy each one has that longs to know things? I see the classroom as a creative space in which I get to mix my energy with the students' longing after the world. Literature provides us not only the excuse to pursue this enterprise but also a rich source of formal beauty, art that engages the complications of what it is to be alive. Teaching and learning are as inseparable as the dancer and the dance; when one is going well the other is also going well. Part of my job each class is to take the teaching (the highest learning position in the room) and distribute it to the learners so that they experience full engagement in the business of discovering what there is to know and then connecting to other things they know. And so, my classroom strategies always have to do with somehow working out this formula and trusting the idea that students delight in learning.
Nineteenth-Century Literature, especially Transcendentalism; Literature and the Environment; Modern American Novel; Theory and Practice of Autobiography; Poetry; Non-Fiction and Fiction Writing.