Voices and Ideas

Linda Gregerson at the University of Iowa

Linda Gregerson, Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is co-editor of Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic and author of The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic, as well as six books of poetry and a volume of essays on the contemporary American lyric. She is also one of ΦBK’s 15 2019-2020 Visiting Scholars. 

In October, the ΦBK chapter at the University of Iowa hosted Gregerson on its campus for a two-day visit, where she gave a poetry reading, participated in classes, met with students, and held a public lecture titled, “Can We Talk to One Another? Poetry in an Era of Social Division.” In this lecture, which was introduced by Blaine Greteman of the English Department, she focused on recent American poems that she felt suggested new possibilities for fostering both critical and compassionate engagement among people of differing backgrounds and viewpoints. 

“Professor Gregerson’s public talk was a powerful, scholarly, and very emotionally moving discussion of American racial politics as reflected in the sonnet form,” said Roland Racevskis, professor of French and president of Iowa’s ΦBK chapter. “Her groundbreaking work gives historical depth to new and innovative uses of poetry by contemporary writers. Students and faculty got to interact with Professor Gregerson to deepen their understanding of poetry and its social and political significance in the world of today.” 

Racevskis added, “Her visit was truly an inspiration for the University of Iowa community and a very real manifestation of what it means at Iowa to be ‘the writing university.’”

Gregerson’s other visits this year include Hollins University, University of Mary Washington, UC-Santa Barbara, Birmingham-Southern College, Western Michigan University, and Texas A&M University. 


Learn more about ΦBK’s Visiting Scholars at www.pbk.org/VisitingScholars. The 2020-2021 Visiting Scholars will be announced in February.


(Posted on 12/2/2019 )