Bonnie Costello

Professor Emeritus

  • Title Professor Emeritus
  • Education AB, Bennington College
    PhD, Cornell University

For CV click here

My field is modern and contemporary poetry, and I have taken a variety of approaches to this work, but have been especially interested in visual thinking and intersections between literature and 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, W.H. Auden, John Ashbery, Charles Wright, A. R. Ammons, Amy Clampitt and Jorie Graham. 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]). My new book, The Plural of Us: Poetry and Community in Auden and Others, will be published by Princeton in 2017.  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. Below is a sampling of my publications. For the full record please see my attached c.v.

Selected Publications
  • The Plural of Us: Poetry and Community in Auden and Others (forthcoming 2017)
  • Auden at Work (edited volume with Rachel Galvin) (2015)
  • 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)
  • “Elizabeth Bishop and Poetic Tradition” in Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop (2014)
  • “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)
  • “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)
  • “John Ashbery and the Idea of the Reader,” Contemporary Literature (1982)

Selected Essays on Visual Art:

  • “Contesting Modernity at the Kitchen Table: Still Life in the 1920s” in Before the Fall: American Painting in the Twenties (2011)
  • Morandi, with and without words” in Yale Review (2010)
  • “Outside In and Upside Down: The World of Abelardo Morell,” Yale Review (2008)

Selected Creative Non-Fiction:

  • “A Walk Round Hutton Square” in The Gettysburg Review (2016)
  • “The English Speaking Union” in The Southern Review (2016)
  • “Inventory: Encounter with a Father’s Memory of War” in War, Literature and the Arts (2012)
  • “Buenos Aires: City of Statues” in The Yale Review (2012)

Selected Translations:

  • Six poems by J. Rodolfo Wilcock in Chicago Quarterly Review
  • Translations of Guido Gozzano in Literary Imagination (2010, 2012) and Journal of Italian Translation (2009)
  • Translations of Umberto Saba and Salvatore Quasimodo,  (Literary Imagination, 2008)
Selected Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor (2017)
  • NEH Research Fellow (2014-2015)
  • ACLS/Cullman Fellow (2011-2012)
  • Bogliasco Fellow, Liguria Research Center (2005)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004-)
  • United Methodist Teacher/Scholar Award (2004)
  • Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching (1994)
  • Guggenheim Fellow (1990–1)
Other Professional Activities
  • Jury, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1995, 1998, 2000, 2014)
  • Jury, Bollingen Prize for Poetry (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)

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