Dr. Angela Sorby

Angela Sorby
Dr. Angela SorbyMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 115A/210

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-7263
Curriculum Vitae



My area of specialization is American poetry: reading it, interpreting it, and writing it. I am especially interested in how poetry engages with readers beyond the academy. Current projects include “Chapter and Verse,” for the Cambridge History of Children’s Literature; a study of Viking artifacts in nineteenth-century poetry for a volume titled From Iceland to the Americas; and a new edited collection (with Sandra Lee Kleppe) on poetry and sustainability in higher education.  

Past books include Distance Learning (New Issues/Western Michigan UP, 1998); Schoolroom Poets: Poetry, Pedagogy, and Daily Life in America (UPNE 2005, a Children’s Literature Association Honor Book); Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Poetry, co-edited with Karen Kilcup (Johns Hopkins UP 2013, a Choice Outstanding Academic Book);  Bird Skin Coat: Poems (U of Wisconsin P 2009, winner of the Brittingham Prize and the Midwest Book Award), The Sleeve Waves: Poems (U of Wisconsin P 2014, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize); and a collection co-edited with Sandra Kleppe, Poetry and Pedagogy Across the Lifespan (Palgrave 2018).

Courses Taught

  • American Literature
  • Creative Writing (Poetry)

Research Interests

  • American Poetry
  • Children's Literature
  • Creative Writing Pedagogy


Books, Editions, Collections

  • 2018    Poetry and Pedagogy Across the Lifespan, co-edited with Sandra Lee Kleppe. 
                Palgrave UK.

  • 2014    The Sleeve Waves (poems).  Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

  • 2013    Over the River and Through the Wood:  An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century        
                American Children’s Poetry
    , co-edited with Karen Kilcup. Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • 2009    Bird Skin Coat (poems).  Madison, WI:  University of Wisconsin Press.

  • 2005   Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865-1917.             Becoming Modern series. Hanover, NH:  University of New Hampshire/University Press of               New England.   

  • 1998    Distance Learning (poems)Kalamazoo, MI:  New Issues                                                                  Press/Western Michigan University.

Scholarly articles and book chapters (selected):

  • 2018    “Baby to Baby: Lydia Sigourney and the Origins of Cuteness,” in Elizabeth Petrino and                      Mary Louise Kete, eds. Lydia Sigourney: Critical Essays and Cultural  Views.  Amherst:                    University of Massachusetts Press.

  • 2018    “The Chemistry of Poetry: Transfer Across Disciplines,” with Tracy Thompson, in Sandra                  Kleppe and Angela Sorby, eds., Poetry and Pedagogy Across the Lifespan (London:                        Palgrave UK, 2018) 19-36.  

  • 2017    "’A Dimple in the Tomb": Cuteness in Emily Dickinson.’" ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-                      Century American Literature and Culture, 63: 2 (2017) 297-328.

  • 2017    “Conjuring Readers: Antebellum African-American Children’s Poetry,” a chapter in Anna                    Mae Duane and Kate Capshaw Smith, eds., Who Writes for Black Children? African-                        American Children’s Literature Before 1900.  University of Minnesota Press.

  • 2016    “Women Poets, Child Readers,” in Jennifer Putzi and Alexandra Socarides, eds., A History              of American Women’s Poetry.  Cambridge University Press.

  • 2016    “Children’s Culture,” in Gary Burns, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Popular Culture. New               York: Blackwell.

  • 2015    At Home in the Stranger’s House: Poetic Revision and Spiritual Practice,” in Anne M.                      Pasero and John Pustejovsky, “And have you changed your life?” The Challenge of                          Listening to the Spiritual in Contemporary Poetry.  Marquette University Press.  

  • 2014    “Disciplined Play:  Children’s Poetry to 1920,” a chapter in Alfred Bendixen and Stephen                  Burt, eds., The Cambridge History of American Poetry. Cambridge University Press.

  • 2013    “Education,” in Eliza Richards, ed., Emily Dickinson In Context.  Cambridge University                      Press, 36-45.

  • 2013    “Pretty New Moons: Contact Zones in Nineteenth-Century American Children’s                                  Poetry,” with Karen Kilcup.  Introduction to Over the River and Through the Wood. Johns                  Hopkins UP.

  • 2012    “Recitation” and “Fireside Poets,” entries in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and                      Poetics, Princeton UP, 2012.

  • 2011    “Who Wrote “Rock Me to Sleep?: Elizabeth Akers Allen and the Profession of Poetry’” in                    MLQ:  A Journal of Literary History.

  • 2011    “The Poetics of Bird-Defense, 1860-1918” in Mike Chasar and Heidi Bean, eds., Poetry                   After Cultural Studies. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

  • 2011    “The Golden Age,” in Philip Nel and Lissa Paul, eds., Keywords for Children’s  Literature,                 NY: New York University Press, 96-99.

  • 2010    “Animal Poems and Children's Rights in America, 1820-1890,” in Morag Styles, et. al., eds.,              Poetry and Childhood.  Stoke-on-Kent, UK: Trentham Books.

  • 2010    “Longfellow’s Ghost: Writing Popular Poetry,” in Blas Falconer, ed., Mentor and                                  Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

  • 2009    “The Milwaukee School of Fleshly Poetry:  Ella Wheeler Wilcox and Popular                                      Aestheticism,” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers.

  • 2008    “Raymond Carver’s Poetry and the Temperance Tradition,” Raymond Carver Review.

  • 2007    “Symmetrical Womanhood:  Poetry in the Woman’s Building Library,” Libraries and Culture.

  • 2007    "Approaches to Teaching the Schoolroom Poets," in Paula Bennett and Karen Kilcup,                        Approaches to Teaching Nineteenth-Century American Poetry. NY: Modern Language                      Association Press.

  • 1999    “Performing Class:  James Whitcomb Riley’s Poetry of Distinction,” MLQ: A Journal of                      Literary History.

  • 1998    “St. Nicholas Magazine and the Poetics of Peer Culture, 1872-1900,” American Studies.

Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction Publications (selected)

  • 2019    "Big Rig," in New Ohio Review 25. Poetry 
  • 2018    “Limn,” in Feminist Studies. Poetry.

  • 2017    “The Boring Side of the Family,” in Tina Schumann, ed., Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters
                and Sons of Immigrant Parents.  Los Angeles: Red Hen P. Poetry.

  • 2017    “Exercise,” Poetry Northwest. Poetry.

  • 2017    “No One Knows Where the Ladder Goes,” The First Line. Fiction. Finalist, Best Small                        Fictions 2017.

  • 2016    “Code Violations: Chicago Review in the 1990s,” in Chicago Review.  Creative nonfiction.

  • 2014    “Stranger Danger,” Journal of the West 53 (4): 56-59Creative nonfiction.

  • 2014    “Memo from the Center for Teaching and Learning,” The Chronicle of Higher
                Education.  Creative nonfiction.

  • 2013    “Paradise, Wisconsin,” Barrow Street.  Poetry.

  • 2013    “Sivka-Burka,” “Interstate,” “A is for Air,” “Notes from a Northern State,  Prairie                                    Schooner Poetry.

  • 2013    "A Walk Across the Ice," "Golden Spike," "Ink.” Mesa, AZ: Superstition Review, 2013.                        Poetry.

  • 2011    “Creating a Cone of Silence in China,” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Creative                          nonfiction.

  • 2011    “Snapshots of a Semester in China,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2011.                      Creative nonfiction.

  • 2009    “Looking Backward: 2020,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2009.  Creative                      nonfiction.

  • 2012    “Fallout,” “Wide Boulevard, Tiny Apartment,” Zone 3. Poetry.

  • 2012    “Stopping At the Joyce Kilmer Rest Area On a Snowy Evening,” North American                                Review. Poetry.

  • 2011    “Thrifting,” Massachusetts Review. Poetry.  

  • 2011    “Pengyou,” read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Weekend All Things Considered                          (NPR), April 2011.  Fiction.

  • 2010    “Spill,” Poets for Living Waters. Poetry.

  • 2009    “The Suburban Mysteries,” Jacket 38.

  • 2009    “Letter to Hugo from the Land of the Living,” Babel Fruit. Poetry.

  • 2009    “Flyover State,” Shepherd Express. Reprint.

  • 2008    “Six Degrees of Separation,” Willow Springs. Poetry.

  • 2008    “Nostalgia for the Present,” “Two Toyotas Crash,” and “Breathing Out Smoke,” Southern                    Review. Poetry.

  • 2004    “Empire Builder” in John Burnside, ed. Wild Reckoning:  An Anthology Provoked by Rachel              Carson’s ‘Silent Spring.’ Gulbenkian Foundation (UK), 2004. Reprint. Poetry.

  • 2004    “Catch and Release,” Pinyon (2004): 18. Special issue on Norwegian poetry; in English,                    and translated into Norwegian (as “Slip og Fang”) by Sandra Lee Kleppe. Poetry.

  • 2003    “Glossolalia” in Diane Boller, et. al., eds.  Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World’s Most                  Popular Website.  Sourcebooks, 2003. Reprint; also appeared on the Poetry Daily website.              Poetry.

  • 2001    “Really Barely There,” Born: Art and Literature Collaboration (2001): n.p.  Art by Karen                      Ingram.

  • 2000    “Insomnia” and “The Attic of the Attic,” Portland Review. Poetry.

  • 2000    “Land of Lincoln” and “The Man Without a Middle,” in America Poetry: The Next                                Generation.  Jim Daniels and Gerald Constanzo, eds., Carnegie-Mellon University Press,                  2000.  Reprint. Poetry.

  • 1998    “Land of Lincoln,” “Really Barely There,” and “Kate Fox,” Third Coast. Poetry.

  • 1996    “Weather at Ten,” North American Review.  Poetry.

  • 1995    “Museum Piece,” in Richard Howard, ed., Best American Poetry 1995, Simon & Schuster,                1995.  Reprint. Poetry.

  • 1994    “Museum Piece,” The Nation. Poetry.


Reviews and Review Essays:

  • 2019   Review of Patricia Crane, Reading Children: LIteracy, Property, and the Dilemmas of                        Childhood in Nineteenth-Century America in American Literary History Review Series XX.
  • 2017    Review of Denise Duhamel, Scald, in Chicago Review 60:4 (2017), 3 pp.

  • 2016    Review of Donelle Ruwe, British Children's Poetry in the Romantic Era: Verse, Riddle, and                Rhyme in Children's Literature Association Quarterly  40: 1 (Winter 2016), 420-422.

  • 2015    Review of Claudia Stokes, The Altar at Home:  Sentimental Literature and Nineteenth-                      Century American Religion. Modern Philology 113, 2 (November 2015): E112-E114

  • 2015    Review of Mary Robson, Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem.                                MLQ 76: 1 (March 2015): 212-214.

  • 2014    Roundtable review (with Monika Elbert) of Anna Mae Duane, Suffering Childhood:                            Violence, Race, and the Making of the Child Victim.  Journal of American Studies 48:1                      (February 2014): 1-9.

  • 2010    “It's (Not) All Small Stuff: The Lion and the Unicorn Award for Children’s Poetry,” with                        Michael Heyman and Joseph T. Thomas, in The Lion and the Unicorn 34 (September                        2010): 354-363. 

  • 2009    Lively Rigor:  the 2009 Lion and the Unicorn Award for Children’s Poetry,” with Michael                      Heyman and Joseph T. Thomas, in The Lion and the Unicorn 33: 3 (September 2009):

  • 2008    Review of Joseph T. Thomas, Poetry’s Playground, in Children’s Literature 36: (2008):

  • 2008    “‘from the brain all the way to the heart’: the 2008 Lion and the Unicorn Award for
                Children’s Poetry,” with Richard Flynn and Joseph T. Thomas, in The Lion and the Unicorn                32: 3 (September 2008): 344-356.

  • 2008    Featured essay review of Joan Shelley Rubin, Songs of Ourselves, American                                    Historical Review 113 (April 2008): 449-451.

  • 2007    “Message in a Bottle:  the 2007 Lion and the Unicorn Award for Children’s Poetry,” with                    Richard Flynn and Joseph T. Thomas, The Lion and the Unicorn 31 (2007): 264-281.

  • 2007    Review of Christopher Irmscher, Longfellow Redux, in New England Quarterly, 80:1 (March              2007): 40-41.

  • 2006    Review of Joel Scott and Matthew Pace, eds., Wordsworth in American Literary Culture, in              European Romantic Review 11:4 (2006): 502-507.

  • 2004    Review of James Guthrie, Above Time:  Emerson’s and Thoreau’s  Temporal Revolutions,                in M/MLA Journal 37:1 (Spring 2004): 117-118.

  • 2001    Review of J.D. McClatchy, Twenty Questions:  Posed by Poems, in M/MLA Journal  34: 3                  (Autumn, 2001): 89-91

  • 1999    Review of Elizabeth Arnold, The Reef,  in Chicago Review 49: 2 (1999): 137-139.

  • 1996    Review of Lynne Crosbie, VillainElle, in Chicago Review, 42:2 (1996): 117-119.

  • 1996    Review of Fatima Lim-Wilson, Crossing the Snow Bridge, in Chicago Review,42:1 (1996):                88-89.

  • 1995    Review of Lawrence Graver, An Obsession with Anne Frank:  Meyer  Levin and the Diary,
                in Chicago Review 41:4 (1995): 142-144.

  • 1995    Review of Natasha Sajé, Red Under the Skin, in Chicago Review 41:1 (1995): 97-98.

Honors and Awards

  • Won Outstanding Achievement in Poetry award (for The Sleeve Waves), Wisconsin Library Association, 2015
  • Won the 2013 Felix Pollak book prize for poetry from the University of Wisconsin Press, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Book forthcoming March 2014.
  • NEH grant (in collaboration with Sarah Wadsworth) from the American Library Association for an outreach project titled Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women. 2011.
  • Brittingham Prize for poetry manuscript Bird Skin Coat, 2008.
  • Honor Book Prize, Children’s Literature Association, 2007
  • Summer Faculty Fellowship, Marquette University, 2006.
  • Schlesinger Library Fellowship, Harvard University, 2005.
  • Vivian Pollak Scholar-in-Amherst Award, Emily Dickinson International Society, 2003
  • Urban Studies Institute Course Development Grant, Marquette University,2003.
  • Summer Faculty Fellowship, Marquette University, 2002.
  • Korzenik Fellowship, Longfellow Friends, 2002.
  • Marquette University PT-3 Grant, 2001.
  • Linfield College Faculty Fellowship, 1998.
  • Stuart Tave Fellowship, University of Chicago, 1996.
  • Discovery/The Nation (writing) Prize, The Nation and the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street “Y,” 1994.
  • Brauer Grant, “Educating Emily Dickinson,” University of Chicago, 1994.
  • John Fiske Poetry (writing) Prize, University of Chicago, 1993.

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

  • Tues 11:00-12:30 (in person)
  • Thurs 11:00-12:30 (virtual)

Teaching Schedule

Spring 2024

  • 4260/101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Johnston Hall 338
    • Creative Writing: Poetry
  • 4932/101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Johnston Hall 338
    • Topics in Writing

Faculty & Staff Directory


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(414) 288-7179

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