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Sarah Ehlers

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Assistant Professor

Sarah Ehlers specializes in modern and contemporary American literature and poetry and poetics, with special interests in African American literature and literary radicalism. Her forthcoming book, Left of Poetry: Depression America and the Formation of Modern Poetics, draws on extensive archival research to excavate an alternative history of modern American poetry, portraying how radical writers experimented with a range of genres, formats, and media in order to imagine models of history, subjectivity, and political community suitable to new global realities. Her articles and reviews have appeared in or are forthcoming from Contemporary LiteratureModern Language QuarterlyMosaic, PaideumaComparative Literature, and Against the Current. She is currently at work on a second monograph, tentatively titled, Black Poets’ International: A Geography of Twentieth Century Social Poetics. Before arriving at UH, Dr. Ehlers was an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of South Dakota. 

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  • Ph.D., English, University of Michigan
  • M.A., English, University of Connecticut
  • B.A., English and Women’s Studies, Illinois State University

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Selected Publications


Left of Poetry: Depression America and the Formation of Modern Poetics (under contract, University of North Carolina Press)


Articles & Book Chapters:  

“Late Modernisms, Latent Realisms: The Politics of Literary Interpretation.” Accepted and forthcoming in American Literature in Transition, 1940-1950. Ed. Chris Vials. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 23-page ms.


“Jorie Graham’s Passion for the Reel: The Lyric Subject Encounters the Image.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 50.2 (Summer 2017): 29-46.

“Left of Lyric: Genevieve Taggard and the Invention of Song.” Lineages of the Literary Left. Ed. Howard Brick, Robbie Lieberman, and Paula Rabinowitz. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. 20-37.

“Mourning the Modernist Undead: Robert Duncan’s Company and the Felt Silence of the Lost Generation.” Contemporary Literature 55.1 (Spring 2014): 89-117.

“Making It Old: The Victorian/Modern Divide in Twentieth-Century American Poetry.” Modern Language Quarterly 73.1 (March 2012): 37-67.

“Ezra Pound’s Perverse Anthology.” Paideuma 39 (2012). 115-42.

“Robert Duncan’s Miltonic Persuasion: The Emergence of a Radical Poetic.” Reading Duncan Reading: Robert Duncan and the Poetics of Derivation. Ed. Stephen Collis and Graham Lyons. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2012. 3-24.


Courses Taught:

  • American Literature Since 1865
  • African American Poetry and Drama
  • Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Pre-seminar in Twentieth-Century American Literature
  • Houston Early Research Experience Seminar

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