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 global 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 limits of 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 drawn from the book have been published in PMLA (on Stevens) and 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 is a study of the avant-garde. The book examines the connection between the desire for radical new forms of social life and the desire for radical new forms of art in literary communities from the midnineteenth century to the present. Currently, his research for the book focuses on Amiri Baraka. The second book is a study of rejection. It examines rejection letters and related archival material to address questions about value, justification, decision making, and canonization.
In addition to his critical writing, Kotin directs “The Shakespeare and Company Project,” a digital humanities initative that uses the Sylvia Beach Papers at Princeton’s Firestone Library to recreate the world of the Lost Generation. He has recently edited two special issues: one for the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies on digital archives and avant-garde periodicals, and one, still forthcoming, for Post45: Peer Reviewed on contemporary literature and culture. He also works with Rare Books and Special Collections at Firestone to develop collections of postwar poetry books, magazines, and ephemera, including a significant archive of concrete and visual poetry.
Kotin teaches a range of courses. Recent undergraduate courses include “Contemporary Poetry,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” and “Melville and His Readers.” Recent graduate courses include “Paris, Modern” (to be co-taught with Prof. Effie Rentzou in 2019), “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, forthcoming.
“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).