Dr. Jacob Riyeff

Jacob Riyeff
Dr. Jacob RiyeffMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 234

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-0211Personal Website

Teaching Associate Professor and Academic Integrity Director


I look for the long view of English literature and culture generally. It's important to know what independent poetry presses are doing this year, and it's important to know about the pathos of Gligamesh's mourning over Enkidu. And everything in between.

More specifically, my research focuses on the intersection of religious worldviews and verbal art, with particular attention given to the exegetical and contemplative aspects of monastic culture. In this vein, my books The St. Benedict Prayer Book, Poems and Counsels on Prayer and Contemplation (of Gertrude More), O Shining Light: Old English Meditations on Advent and Christmastide, In the Bosom of the Father: Collected Poems of a Benedictine Mystic (Swami Abhishiktananda), and The Old English Rule of St. Benedict all make more readily available poems, meditations, and prayers from the long Benedictine tradition, from the early medieval to the twentieth century. The centrality of the contemplative dimension of human life binds these works and worlds together in fascinating and beautiful ways.

While my interests as a teacher, translator, and poet maintain their secure rooting in monastic culture and contemplation, they also broaden to include a keen interest in other species and our relationships with them, ongoing critique of human separatism, and how medieval monastic views and practices can help us navigate the contemporary world.

The teaching of literature and writing allows a capacious playground for all these interests. My favorite part of teaching is encountering students as fellow living, breathing, limited creatures on this planet with special gifts of self-consciousness and interpretive powers. Contemplative pedagogy, intensive reading, and a dialogic classroom allow us to push learning beyond rote memorization and a determined focus on the conceptual to a whole-person and interpersonal way of learning.

As a poet, I'm particularly interested in making poems that rest in the long tradition of Anglophone letters but that articulate what it is to be a very particular person in a very particular place at a given, irretrievable moment. My second full collection is forthcoming from Fernwood Press in January 2024.

Thanks for stopping by.

See more details on my various projects at jacobriyeff.com.

Courses Taught

  • Honors First Year Seminar: Claiming Our Attention

  • Honors First Year Seminar: Humans and Other Natural Phenomena

  • Epic

  • Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies

  • Foundations in Rhetoric

Research Interests

  • Old English Language and Literature
  • Middle English Language and Literature
  • Poetics
  • Monastic Culture


  • The Saint Benedict Prayer Book. Edited by Jacob Riyeff. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2021.
  • O Shining Light: Old English Meditations for Advent and Christmastide. Leominster, Herefordshire: Gracewing: 2021.
  • "The Necessity of Long-Form Art." deep down things. dappledthings.org.June 9, 2020.
  • More, Dame Gertrude. The Poems and Counsels on Prayer and Contemplation. Edited by Jacob Riyeff. Leominster, Herefrdshire: Gracewing, 2020
  • De modo meditandi vel contemplandi: A Pedagogical Treatise for Novices from Bury St. Edmunds.” Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures 45.2 (2019): 139-82
  • Sunk in Your Shipwreck. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2018. (Poetry collection)

  • Swami Abhishiktananda. In the Bosom of the Father: The Collected Poems of a Benedictine Mystic. Translated by Jacob Riyeff. Resource Publications, 2018.
  • Saint Æthelwold of Winchester. The Old English Rule of St. Benedict: With Related Old English Texts. Translated by Jacob Riyeff. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 2017. Winner of Best Edition or Translation of an Anglo-Latin Text, awarded by the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, 2019.
  • "‘Tenlvmyne’ the Laetabundus: John Lydgate as Benedictine Poet.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology. 115.3 (2016): 370-93.
  • "Dualism in Old English Literature: The Body-and-Soul Theme and Vercelli Homily IV." Studies in Philology 112.3 (2015): 453-68.
  • "Homo Contemplans: The Order of the World, Gregorian Contemplative Anthropology, and Old English Poetics." Viator 46.1 (2015): 1-20.
  • "Lectio Divina and Cynewulf's Epilogues: The Poet in Community." American Benedictine Review 65.3 (2014): 271-90.

Additional Information

Office Hours

Fall 2024

  • Mon 9:00-11:00
  • Tues 10:00-11:00

Teaching Schedule

Fall 2024

  • 1001/135 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Gymnasium A102
    • Foundations in Rhetoric
  • 1001/136 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Gymnasium A102
    • Foundations in Rhetoric

Faculty & Staff Directory


Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7179

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