John Lowney

Professor
Ph.D., 1991, Brown University, English and American LiteratureProfessor English Ph.D., 1991, Brown University, English and American Literature M.A., 1986, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, English and American LiteratureB.A., 1979, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, English and American Literature

John Lowney is a Professor at St. John’s.  Since joining the faculty of St. John’s in 1996, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in twentieth-century American and African American literary and cultural studies, including American poetry, modernism and postmodernism, American literature and culture of the 1930s, and the Harlem Renaissance.   He is the author of two books on twentieth-century American poetry: The American Avant-Garde Tradition: William Carlos Williams, Postmodern Poetryand the Politics of Cultural Memory (Bucknell University Press, 1997) and History, Memory, and the Literary Left: Modern American Poetry, 1935-1968 (University of Iowa Press, 2006).  Each of these books addresses the cultural politics of how modernism has been constructed in U.S. literary history.  He has also been the recipient of grants such as the Donald C. Gallup Fellowship in American Literature at the Beinecke Library (Yale University) and a National Endowment for the Humanities Study Grant.  He is currently pursuing research on jazz, internationalism, and African American modernism.

“Langston Hughes, Afro-Modernism, and the Cold War Politics of Jazz.” Langston Hughes Society Program: “Langston Hughes and Literary Radicalism.” American Literature Association Conference. San Francisco, May 2012.             

“Jazz Modernism and the Intercultural Politics of Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem.” Modernist Manhattan Conference.  New York Institute for Technology. New York City, March 2012.

“‘Do you sing for a living?’: The Popular Front, Jazz Fiction, and Ann Petry’s The Street.” American Literature Association Program: “Race, Labor, and Left Politics in Postwar U.S. Fiction.” Boston, May 2011.

“Jazz Internationalism: Langston Hughes, Jazz, and African American Literary Studies.” Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean at the City University of New York Conference: “The State of African American and African Diaspora Studies: Methodology, Pedagogy, and Research.” CUNY Graduate Center. New York City, Jan. 2011.

“Black Transnationalism and the Political Aesthetics of Langston Hughes’s Ask Your Mama.” Langston Hughes Society Program: “Langston Hughes and Transnational Liberation: Aesthetic Overtures.” Modern Language Association Conference. Philadelphia, Dec. 2009.

“‘A New Kind of Music’: Paule Marshall, Jazz Fiction, and the Dissonance of Diaspora.” New York Metro American Studies Association Conference: “A More Perfect Union?” St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus. New York City, Nov. 2009.

“‘Why Not Say What Happens’: Trauma, Memory, and Modernist Poetics in Lawrence Joseph's Into It.” Law & Literature Symposium: “Law, Narration, and the Poetry of Lawrence Joseph.” University of Cincinnati College of Law. Cincinnati, Feb. 2008. 

“Uncommon Ground.” Langston Hughes Society Program: “Langston Hughes’s Audiences.”
American Literature Association Conference. Boston, May 2007. 

“Gwendolyn Brooks and the Black Arts Movement: The Afrocentric Modernism of In the Mecca.” The African Presence and Influence on the Cultures of the Americas Conference. The City University of New York: Hostos Community College, Bronx, NY, Nov. 2006.

“Elizabeth Bishop’s Key West and the Locations of Modern Poetry.” Seminar Paper. Modernist Studies Association Conference: “Other Modernisms, Modernism’s Others.” Vancouver, Oct. 2004.

“William Carlos Williams and Third-Phase Objectivism.” Modern Language Association Conference. San Diego, Dec. 2003.

“Beyond Mecca: The Multiple Publics of Gwendolyn Brooks.” American Studies Association Conference. Washington, DC, Nov. 2001.

“Amnesiac Modernism: Kenneth Fearing and the Erasure of Memory.” Material Modernisms Conference. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, July 2001.

“‘A Metamorphic Palimpsest’: The Underground Memory of Thomas McGrath’s Letter to an Imaginary Friend.” National Poetry Foundation Conference: “The Opening of the Field: North American Poetry of the 1960s.” University of Maine, Orono, June 2000.

“‘Disc-tortions’ of a Dream Deferred: Langston Hughes, Bebop, and the Idea of Social Justice.” MELUS 2000 Conference: “Multi-ethnic Literatures and the Idea of Social Justice.” New Orleans, March 2000.

“Claude McKay, American Imperialism, and the Harlem Renaissance.” Modern Language Association Conference. Chicago, Dec. 1999.

“‘The Eagle and the Dollar’: Claude McKay and New World Imperialism.” American Studies Association Conference: “American Histories and the Question of Empire.” Seattle, Nov. 1998.

“Post-Americanist Williams.” William Carlos Williams Society. American Literature Association Conference. San Diego, May 1998.

“Immigration and the Harlem Renaissance.” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Baltimore, Apr. 1998.

“‘Dream within a dream’: Langston Hughes, Post-World War II Harlem, and Black Counterpublic Spheres.” American Studies Association Conference: “Going Public: Defining Public Cultures in the Americas.”  Washington, DC, Nov. 1997.

“‘Littered with Old Correspondences’: Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and the 1930s.” Elizabeth Bishop Conference.  Worcester, MA, Oct. 1997.

“The Diagnostic Practice of William Carlos Williams.” New York College English Association Conference: “The Healing Art of Literature.” St. John’s University, Queens, New York, Apr. 1997.

“Remapping Oppen’s “Return.’” National Poetry Foundation Conference: “American Poetry in the 1950s.” University of Maine, Orono, June 1996.

“‘A material collapse that is Construction”: Gwendolyn Brooks’s In the Mecca and the Poetics of Counter-Memory.” Modern Language Association Conference. Chicago, Dec. 1995.

“‘The janitor’s poems of every day’: Sites of Waste, Sites of Memory.” Canadian American Studies Association Conference: “TRASH: Class, Culture, and Waste in America, 1607 to the Present.” Vancouver, Oct. 1995.

“Objectivism, Feminism, and the Modernist Canon: Lorine Niedecker and the Poetics of Impropriety.” Modern Language Association Conference. San Diego, Dec. 1994.

“Utopian Space, Dystopian Place: History and Counter-Memory in Gwendolyn Brooks’s In the Mecca.” California American Studies Association Conference: “Cities on the Edge.” San Diego, May 1994.

“Vietnam, Historical Amnesia, and Joan Didion’s Democracy.” Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Conference. Chicago, Apr. 1994.

“Poetry, Property, and Propriety: Lorine Niedecker and the Legacy of the 1930s.” National Poetry Foundation Conference: “The First Postmodernists: American Poets of the 1930s Generation.” University of Maine, Orono, June 1993.

“Technologies of Memory: Recollecting the Vietnam War in Jayne Anne Phillips’ Machine Dreams and Bobbie Ann Mason’s In Country.” New England American Studies Association Conference: “The Cultures of Technology: Science, Media, and the Arts.” Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, May 1993.

“Rewriting the War: Teaching the Literature of the Vietnam War.” Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Conference. New Orleans, Apr. 1993.

“Another Usable Past: On Teaching the Multiculturalism Debate.” New England American Studies Association Conference: “Multiculturalism and the Americas.” University of Massachusetts, Boston, Apr. 1992.

“‘On the verge of vertigo’: George Oppen and Cold War American Culture.” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Buffalo, Apr. 1992.

“On the Margins of Modernism: William Carlos Williams and the American ‘Avant-Garde Tradition.’” Conference on “The Canon and Marginality.” State University of New York, Binghamton, May 1991.

“Cultural Nationalism, Immigrant Ethnicity, and the Avant-Garde Poetics of William Carlos Williams.” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Hartford, Apr. 1991.

“Re-interpreting ‘The War’: Frank O'Hara’s Revision of Williams’ Objectivist Poetics.”Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Toronto, Apr. 1990.

INVITED PRESENTATIONS

“US vs. Them” (with Dohra Ahmad): “Vietnam War Poetry.” Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) Series: “War: Poetry.” St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, Apr. 2007.

History, Memory and the Literary Left: Modern American Poetry, 1935-1968.” New York Metro American Studies Association Salon Talk. Hunter College, New York City. Mar. 2007.

“The Art of Crossing Boundaries: Langston Hughes and the Locations of Poetry.” Writing Center Series: “The Art of Digging.” St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, Mar. 2005.

“The Harlem Renaissance and Its Impact.” African Heritage Month Program: “The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: A Rebirth in the Spirit of Africa.” St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, Feb. 2002.

“Claude McKay and American Imperialism.” City College of New York, New York City, Apr. 2000.

“Segue to Bop: Langston Hughes and Post-World War II Harlem.” English Department Graduate Colloquium. St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, Apr. 1998.

“‘A material collapse that is construction’: Gwendolyn Brooks’s In the Mecca and the Poetics of Counter-Memory.” Arts and Humanities Division Faculty Colloquium. Illinois Benedictine College, Lisle, IL, Nov. 1995.

“Multiculturalism and Modernism: William Carlos Williams and the Subject of American Literature.” Roberts Lecture. Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, Mar. 1994.

Books:

History, Memory, and the Literary Left: Modern American Poetry, 1935-1968 .  Contemporary North American Poetry Series. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006.

The American Avant-Garde Tradition: William Carlos Williams, Postmodern Poetry, and the Politics of Cultural Memory . Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1997.

Articles:

“Jazz, Black Transnationalism, and the Political Aesthetics of Langston Hughes’s Ask Your Mama.” American Literature 84.3 (Sept. 2012): 563-87.

“Langston Hughes, Modernism, and Modernity.”  Langston HughesCritical Insights. Ed. R. Baxter Miller. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2012. 275-93.

“Langston Hughes’s Cold War Audiences: Black Internationalism, The Popular Front, andThe Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1949.” The Langston Hughes Review 23 (Fall 2009): 50-71.

“‘Why Not Say What Happens?’ Modernism, Traumatic Memory, and Lawrence Joseph’sInto It.” University of Cincinnati Law Review Law and Literature Symposium: “‘Some Sort of Chronicler I Am’: Narration and the Poetry of Lawrence Joseph.” University of Cincinnati Law Review 77.3 (Spring 2009): 843-61.

“‘The Air of Atrocity’: ‘Of Being Numerous’ and the Vietnam War.” Thinking Poetics: Essays on George Oppen. Ed.  Steven Shoemaker . Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009. 143-59.

“William Carlos Williams and Modern Poetry: From Modernism to Modernisms.” The William Carlos Williams Review 25.2 (Spring 2005): 39-54.

“Reading the Borders of ‘The Desert Music.’” The William Carlos Williams Review 24.2 (Fall 2004): 61-77.

“Haiti and Black Transnationalism: Remapping the Migrant Geography of Home to Harlem.”African American Review  34.3 (Fall 2000): 413-29.

“Langston Hughes and the ‘Nonsense’ of Bebop.” Unsettling Blackness. Ed. Houston A. Baker, Jr. Spec. issue of American Literature 72.2 (June 2000): 357-85.

“‘Littered with Old Correspondences’: Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and the 1930s.”Arizona Quarterly 55.2 (Summer 1999): 87-114.

“‘Truths of Outrage, Truths of Possibility’: Muriel Rukeyser’s ‘The Book of the Dead.’” “How Shall We Teach Each Other of the Poet?”: The Life and Writing of Muriel Rukeyser. Ed. Anne F. Herzog and Janet E. Kaufman. New York: St. Martin’s, 1999. 195-208.

“Poetry, Property, and Propriety: Lorine Niedecker and the Legacy of the Great Depression.”Sagetrieb 18.1 (Spring 1999): 29-40.

“‘A material collapse that is Construction’: Gwendolyn Brooks’s In the Mecca and the Poetics of Counter-Memory.” MELUS 23.3 (Fall 1998): 3-20.

“‘Homesick for those memories’: The Gendering of Historical Memory in Women’s Narratives of the Vietnam War.” Burning Down the House: Recycling Domesticity. Ed. Rosemary Marangoly George. Boulder, Colo.: Westview/HarperCollins, 1998. 257-78.

“The ‘Post-anti-esthetic’ Poetics of Frank O'Hara.” Contemporary Literature 32 (Summer 1991): 244-64.

“Thoreau’s Cape Cod: The Unsettling Art of the Wrecker.” American Literature 64 (June 1992): 239-54.

“‘A Plot of Ground’: The Problem of Cultural Identity in the Emergence of Williams’ Avant-Garde Stance.” Sagetrieb 9.3 (Winter 1990): 97-119.

with Audrey R. Duckert, “From the Linguistic Atlas Archives: The Hanley Disks.” Journal of English Linguistics 19 (October 1986): 206-21.

Reviews:

Untitled review essay on The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance, by James Smethurst. African American Review 45.1-2 (Spring/Summer 2012): 258-61.

Untitled review essay on Hog Butchers, Beggars, and Busboys: Poverty, Labor, and the Making of Modern American Poetry, by John Marsh. Journal of American Studies 46.3 (Aug. 2012): 775-76.

Untitled review essay on Remarkable Modernisms: Contemporary American Authors on Modern Art, by Daniel Morris. Studies in the Novel 36.1 (Spring 2004): 137-40.

Untitled review essay on Complete Poems, by Claude McKay. Ed. William J. Maxwell. St. John’s University Humanities Review 2.2 (Spring 2004): 56-61. 

Untitled review essay on Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall, by Heather Hathaway. Modern Fiction Studies 46.4 (Winter 2000): 1028-30.

Untitled review essay on American Literature and the Destruction of Knowledge, by Ronald E. Martin. American Studies International 31 (April 1993): 149-51.

Reprints:

“‘Why Not Say What Happens?’ Modernism, Traumatic Memory, and Lawrence Joseph’sInto It.” Lawrence Joseph: Poet with a Steady Job. Ed. Eric Selinger. Spec. issue of Jacket II, 9 Feb. 2012. Web.

“‘A material collapse that is Construction’: Gwendolyn Brooks’s In the Mecca and the Poetics of Counter-Memory.” Gwendolyn Brooks: Critical Insights. Ed. Mildred M. Merkle. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2010. 186-209.

The American Avant-Garde Tradition: William Carlos Williams, Postmodern Poetry, and the Politics of Cultural Memory . Excerpted in  Bloom’s Major Poets: William Carlos Williams . Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 2002. 35-38, 97-103.  

“The ‘Post-anti-esthetic’ Poetics of Frank O'Hara.” Excerpted in Modern American Literature, vol. 2. 5 th  ed. Ed. Joann Cerrito and Laurie DiMauro. Detroit: St. James, 1999.

“The ‘Post-anti-esthetic’ Poetics of Frank O'Hara.” Excerpted in Contemporary Literary Criticism, 78. Ed. James P. Draper. Detroit: Gale, 1994. 372-76.

Undergraduate Courses

American Ethnic Literatures
American Literature, 1870-Present
The Harlem Renaissance
Introduction to American Literature
Introduction to English Studies
Literature and the Other Arts: Jazz Literature
Literature in a Global Context
Modern Fiction
Modern Poetry
Postmodern Poetry
Senior Seminar: American Literature and Culture of the 1930s
Senior Seminar: The Civil Rights Movement and African American Literature
Senior Seminar: Jazz Age New York
The Study of American Literature
Twentieth-Century African American Literature
Writers of American Realism and Naturalism

Graduate Courses:

American Ethnic Literatures
The American Novel to 1914
Contemporary American Fiction
Contemporary American Poetry
The Harlem Renaissance
Jazz and Literature
Literature and the Related Arts: American Literature and Culture of the 1930s
Modern American Novel
Seminar in Modern American Literature: Jazz Age New York
Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature and Culture: Modernist New York 
Topics in Twentieth-Century African American Literature: Afro-Modernism
Twentieth-Century African American Literature