Joshua Kotin is an associate professor in the Department of English. He is also an affiliated faculty member in the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES); and an associated faculty member at the University Center for Human Values (UCHV). His research and teaching focus on modernism, poetry and poetics, and American literature. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. From 2005 to 2008, he was editor of Chicago Review.
Kotin’s first book, Utopias of One (Princeton University Press, 2018), examines the relationship between aesthetic and personal autonomy in the work (and lives) of Henry David Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois, Osip and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam, Anna Akhmatova, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, J.H. Prynne, and Emily Dickinson. A key concern is how utopianism survives the failure of utopia. Articles from the book have appeared in PMLA (on Stevens), Modernism/modernity (on the Mandel’shtams), and News from Afar: Ezra Pound and Contemporary British Poetries (2014).
Kotin is now writing two books. The first, Rejection Letters, is about negative judgments of value and their importance to aesthetics. It uses an array of sources—from editorial correspondence to work in value and decision theory—to investigate how we value literature and each other. The second book is a study of the avant-garde. It examines the connection between the desire for radical new forms of social life and radical new forms of art from the midnineteenth century to the present. Currently, research for the book focuses on Amiri Baraka.
In addition to his critical writing, Kotin directs the Shakespeare and Company Project, a digital humanities initiative that uses the Sylvia Beach Papers to explore the world of the Lost Generation. Recently, he has co-edited two special journal issues: one for the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies on digital archives and avant-garde periodicals and one for Post45 on contemporary literature and culture, How to Be Now. For the last five years, he has been working with Special Collections at Princeton’s Firestone Library to build collections of postwar poetry and concrete and visual poetry.
Kotin teaches a range of courses at Princeton. Recent undergraduate courses include “Contemporary Poetry,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” “Melville and His Readers,” and “American Literary History.” Recent graduate courses include “Paris, Modern,” “Postwar New York,” “The Avant-Garde,” and “Ezra Pound and Modern Poetry.”
“Shakespeare and Company: Publisher.” Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry, ed. Lise Jaillant (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019), 109–134.
[with Sarah Chihaya and Kinohi Nishikawa]. “Introduction: How to Be Now.” Post45 2 (2019).
“Digital Archives, Avant-Garde Periodicals: An Introduction.” Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 8.2 (2019), v–viii.
“The Fuck You Press Cantos: A Census.” RealityStudio (Sept. 2018).
[with Michael Kindellan]. “The Cantos and Pedagogy.” Modernist Cultures 12.3 (2017): 345–390, published with critical responses from Charles Altieri, Michael Coyle and Steven Yao, Alan Golding, and Marjorie Perloff.
“Osip and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam and Soviet Utopianism.” Modernism/modernity 24.1 (2017): 161–183.
“Stevens v. Frost.” The Wallace Stevens Journal 41.1 (2017): 81–89.
“On Reading and Rereading Contemporary Poetry.” Chicago Review 60:2 (2016): 194–199.
[with Sarah Chihaya and Kinohi Nishikawa]. “‘The Contemporary’ by the Numbers.” Post45: Contemporaries (2016).
“Wallace Stevens’s Point of View.” PMLA 130.1 (2015): 54–68.
“The Archives of A. Walton Litz.” Make It New: The Ezra Pound Society Magazine 1.3 (2014): 55–58.
“Helen Vendler’s On Extended Wings Today.” The Wallace Stevens Journal 38.2 (Fall 2014): 153–157.
“Blood-Stained Battle-Flags: Ezra Pound, J.H. Prynne, and Classical Chinese Poetry.” News from Afar: Ezra Pound and Contemporary British Poetry, ed. Richard Parker. Bristol: Shearsman, 2014, 133–141.
“Philip Lamantia’s Practical Politics.” Colloquium 1 (2012).
“Oral History Initiative: Interview with Anne Waldman.” March 14, 2018, Harvard University.
[with Jeff Dolven]. “The Art of Poetry No. 101: J.H. Prynne.” Paris Review 218 (2016): 174–207.
[with Michael Kindellan and V. Joshua Adams]. “An Interview with Stephen Rodefer.” Chicago Review 54.3 (2009): 8–28.
Review of Poetical Works: 1999–2015, by Keston Sutherland (London: Enitharmon Press, 2015), The Cambridge Humanities Review 15 (2017): 13–14.
Review of Wallace Stevens Among Others: Diva-Dames, Deleuze, and American Culture, by David R. Jarraway (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015) ESC: English Studies in Canada (43.1 (2017): 116–118.
Review of Concepts and Conception in Poetry, by J.H. Prynne (Cambridge: Critical Documents, 2014). The Wallace Stevens Journal 39.1 (2015): 128–130.
Review of In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987–2011, by Peter Gizzi (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2014). Chicago Review 58:3/4 (2014): 336–340.
Review of Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism, ed. Lisa Goldfarb and Bart Eeckhout (New York: Routledge, 2012). Modernism/modernity, 21.1 (2014): 381–383.
“The Authentic Hemingway.” Review of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Vol. 2: 1923–1925, ed. Sandra Spanier et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Los Angeles Review of Books (January 1, 2014).
Review of Writing against Time, by Michael Clune (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013). nonsite.org 10 (2013).