Bonnie Costello

Bonniewebsmall 6.13.13


AB, Bennington College
PhD, Cornell University

Room 322
For CV click here

My field is modern and contemporary poetry, and I have taken a variety of approaches to this field, but have been especially interested in visual thinking and intersections between literature visual arts. My books on Marianne Moore (1981) and Elizabeth Bishop (1991) were among the first full critical studies of these poets and my edition of The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore opened up a new window into the history of modernism. Other poets I have often written about include: Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, John Ashbery, Charles Wright, A. R. Ammons. In my recent books I have explored landscape and environmental poetry (Shifting Ground [2003]), and the interplay of private and public spheres in still life motifs (Planets on Tables [2008]).  Having explored places and things, I am now completing a kind of trilogy with Pronoun Trouble: Auden and Others in the First Person Plural.  In addition to my academic books and articles, I have occasionally published literary essays on art, travel and memory, and I dabble in translation of Italian poetry. Besides teaching introductory courses and surveys in modern and contemporary poetry, I have offered seminars on a variety of subjects–theories of modern lyric, poetry and the environment, modern poetry and the visual arts, poets and their letters, modernist poetics and the social pressures of the 30s.

Selected Publications
  • Planets on Tables: Poetry, Still Life and the Turning World (2008)
  • Shifting Ground: Reinventing Landscape in Modern American Poetry (2003)
  • General Editor, The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore (1997)
  • Elizabeth Bishop: Questions of Mastery (1991)
  • Marianne Moore: Imaginary Possessions (1981)
  • “Outside In and Upside Down: The World of Abelardo Morell,” Yale Review (2008)
  • “Fresh Woods: Elegy and Ecology Among the Ruins,” The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy (2010)
  • “Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore,” Cambridge Companion to Modern Poetry (2008)
  • “Lyric and the First Person Plural,” Transatlantic Poetry (2008)
  • “Wallace Stevens and Painting,” Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens (2007)
  • “Elizabeth Bishop’s Impersonal Personal,” American Literary History (2003)
  • “A Whole Climate of Opinion: Auden’s Influence on Bishop” Literary Imagination 5.1 (2003)
  • “Charles Wright, Giorgio Morandi and the Metaphysics of the Line,”Mosaic (2002)
  • “‘What to Make of a Diminished Thing’: Modern Nature and the Poetic Response,” American Literary History 10.4 (1998)
  • “John Ashbery’s Landscapes,” The Tribe of John (1995)
  • “Nomad Exquisite,” and Editor, Verse, special issue on Amy Clampitt (1993)
  • “Jorie Graham: Art and Erosion,” Contemporary Literature 33 (1992)
  • “Effects of an Analogy: Stevens and Painting,” Wallace Stevens: The Poetics of Modernism (1986)
  • “John Ashbery and the Idea of the Reader,” Contemporary Literature (1982)
  • Translations of Umberto Saba and Salvatore Quasimodo,  (Literary Imagination, 2008)
Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; United Methodist Teacher/Scholar Award (2004)
  • Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching (1994)
  • Guggenheim Fellow (1990–1)
  • NEH Summer Stipend (1990, 1978)
  • Rockefeller Humanities Fellow (1983–4)
  • Mellon Fellow, Harvard (1979–80)
Other Professional Activities
  • Jury, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1995, 1998, 2000)
  • Jury, Bollingen (2001)
  • Director, NEH Summer Seminars for School Teachers (1986, 1988)
  • Teachers as Scholars Program (1996–2001)
  • Seminars at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1996–9)
Reading Boston
On the Page and On Foot

English Class Animates City’s Literary and Cultural Geography

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Making Sense
of Ethnicity

Featured Graduate Student
Emily Donaldson Field

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Faculty Member

Bonnie Costello, Professor of English

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