What is lyric poetry? One of the world’s leading poetry scholars, Virginia Jackson traces the increasing capaciousness of the term “lyric” over the past few centuries, inviting us to contemplate the power and limits of this omnivorous generic category.
Virginia Jackson is UCI Endowed Chair of Rhetoric and Critical Theory in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at UC Irvine. She is the author of Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading (Princeton UP, 2005), which won the Christian Gauss Prize and the MLA Prize for a First Book. She is the editor of On Periodization: Selected Essays from the English Institute (ACLS E-Book, 2010; Meredith McGill, series editor) and, with Yopie Prins, the co-editor of The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014). Her next book, Before Modernism: The Invention of American Poetry is forthcoming from Princeton UP. Her essays in historical poetics have appeared in PMLA, MLQ, Victorian Poetry, Studies in Romanticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. In her current project, she is thinking about versions of nineteenth-century America in the work of a few contemporary black poets in the US. She is one of the founding members of the Historical Poetics working group (historicalpoetics.com).