Department of English

Katherine E. Preston

B.A. English and Political Science, Williams College, 2016.
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 414
Office hours: Thursdays 1:00-2:30 and by appointment
Research Interests African American Studies and the Black Atlantic, American Literature and Culture, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Literary and Cultural Theory, Poetry and Poetics, Race and Ethnicity, 20th-Century and Contemporary


I am broadly interested in the relationship between the categories 'poetic' and 'political.’ My dissertation, “Contemporary American Poetics of Response," explores contemporary American poetry that both engages and resists the political demand for representations of subjectivity. In recognizing a persistent American socio-political expectation that poetry written by gendered and racialized authors represent the authors' identities and function as additive instances of an otherwise nonidentitarian (or white) form, I question the implicit expectation in this mode of reading that poetry answer to political demands primarily or only through the form of representation, and ask: How does poetry respond differently or indirectly? If there is subjectivity in a poem, (how) can we understand that subjectivity? Problematizing the identifications that representation facilitates, I explore modes of engagement offered or modeled by forms of address, conjunctions, irony, abstraction, appropriation, deictics, and other formal features in contemporary American poetry. 

Courses Taught:

Critical Reading and Writing I: The Academic Essay
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Poetry and the Politics of Representation
How Poetry Matters: Reading Experimental Poetry in the Pandemic Era (Summer 2022)


Review: The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez, MAKE Literary Magazine, Published online October 13, 2021.

Review: Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine, MAKE Literary Magazine, Published online April 12, 2021.

Review: God Was Right by Diana Hamilton, MAKE Literary Magazine, Published online November 10, 2020.

Review: Spectra by Ashley Toliver, MAKE Literary Magazine, Published online July 25, 2019.


Pembroke Center Graduate Fellowship, Brown University, Fall 2022-Spring 2023