Photo of DeSales Harrison
  • Associate Professor of English
  • Director, Creative Writing Program


  • BA, Yale University, 1990
  • MA, Johns Hopkins University, 1991
  • PhD, Harvard University, 2002


My teaching centers around Lyric Poetry, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary work. Among the courses I regularly teach are an introductory course called "100 Poems," a midlevel course on poetry of the last century or so, and upper-level courses focusing on smaller groupings of writers. I also offer, from time to time, a senior seminar on poetry and poetics, and have recently developed a first-year seminar called "Beyond Disbelief" which looks into what we mean when we say that artworks are true, real, authoritative, or convincing.

I have published a book entitled The End of the Mind: The Edge of the Intelligible in Hardy, Stevens, Larkin, Plath, and Glück and a number of articles on modern and contemporary poetry. Presently, I am finishing a book called This is Mortality: First Things and Last in Lyric Poetry which is about (in addition to poetry and mortality) how poems frame concepts and elaborate ideas, in short, how poems think. I am also at work on a book entitled Psyche's Lover: Eros and the Modern Lyric about some modes of love (sexual, fraternal, filial, intellectual, and divine) and the different kinds of poetic speech they have occasioned.
I am an associate editor of FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and I serve on the Library Committee and the Mack Lecture Committee.