Charles Legere

Holloway Postdoctoral Fellow
478 Wheeler Hall

Professional Statement

I grew up in the library, where the hardest thing I could find to read was poetry. Since then, I have been preoccupied with what poets ask of their readers and why.

In my dissertation, Reading Close Reading (July 2011), I worked to give contemporary poetry credit for purposefully pushing back on critical reading. I argued that poets ask us to expressly link the concrete particulars of poems to their extra-poetic implications. In the process of writing, I came to believe the stakes of the poets' demand are intentional, agential, and political.

As hard as poetry is, I believe it aspires to broadly encompass. In my book-to-be (titled either A Voice / To Undo the Folded Lie or Disintimidations), I work to break down the feeling of intimidation that poetry’s would-be readers tend to have around it. My hypothesis is that contemporary poetry appropriates not only its criticism, but also the global context of its pedagogy.

I research and teach in the fields of 19th, 20th, and 21st-century global Anglophone poetry, poetry theory and criticism, neurobiology of reading, environmental rhetoric, globalization studies, and pedagogy.



Selected Publications and Papers Delivered


“Lyric’s Dream,” Open Letter, Spring 2011, a special Issue on Lisa Robertson, edited by Angela Carr and Heather Milne

“‘A Sense... Interfused’: Refiguring the Work of Ecopoetics,” Review of Black Nature(ed. Camille Dungy) and The Eco-Language Reader(ed. Brenda Iijima), Jacket2, Spring 2011 (


My Oakland, Chapbook, Published by Deep Oakland Editions, 2009 (

“Buffed,” Peacock Review, Spring 2011 (

“Some of the Poets I Know in 2010,” W+S#4, 2010 (The entire magazine as a PDF:

“Silver Bullet,” “Black Sites,” and “World of Hurt,” in Counterpath # 2, 2008

“My Oakland,” Vibrant Gray, 2007

“Silk Flowers,” Berkeley Poetry Review, Spring 2006

“Event Horizons,” in Ghosting Atoms: Poems and Reflections Sixty Years after the Bomb, UC Berkeley Consortium for the Arts, 2005


“The Well-Wrought Urn in the Mise en Abîme,” on a panel on “Reparative Reading” at the November 2010 Modernist Studies Association Conference in Victoria, BC

“From Reading Closely to Close Reading and Back” at SUNY Stony Brook English Graduate Conference, Manhattan, 2009

“From Reading Closely to Close Reading” at UC Berkeley English Graduate Colloquium, 2007

“The Savage Inside: The Double and Privative in Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son” at Berkeley-Stanford Conference, Spring 2004

Current Research

I am working to come to terms with two awkward feelings about poetry: the embarrassment that trained readers feel when we try to do close readings of contemporary poems, and the feeling of intimidation that poetry elicits in would-be readers. To this end, I renovate close reading, do close readings of poems, then re-connect the poems to their global pedagogical contexts.

Recent English Courses Taught

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