Stephen A. Fredman


Professor of English

Specialty: Twentieth-century American poetry

Degrees: BFA, California Institute of the Arts; MA, California State University, Sonoma; PhD, Stanford University

Stephen Fredman's field is twentieth- and twenty-first-century American poetry and poetics. His first book, Poet's Prose: The Crisis in American Verse (Cambridge University Press, 1983, 1990), is concerned with the theoretical and historical conditions that make contemporary poetry viable. His second study, The Grounding of American Poetry: Charles Olson and the Emersonian Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1993), examines the tradition of avant-garde writers in America. His third book, A Menorah for Athena: Charles Reznikoff and the Jewish Dilemmas of Objectivist Poetry (University of Chicago Press, 2001), discusses modern American poetry and Jewish identity. His latest study, Contextual Practice: Assemblage and the Erotic in Postwar Poetry and Art (Stanford University Press, 2010), looks at how poetry and art created new modes of living with the cultural detritus left by World War II. He is at work on Craving Experience: Poetry and Performance Art in the Wake of John Dewey. He has edited A Concise Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry (Blackwell, 2005)—with chapters outlining the various contexts that inform modern American poetry—and, with Steve McCaffery, the first book to consider Robert Creeley’s career as a whole, Form, Power, and Person in Robert Creeley’s Life and Work (University of Iowa Press, 2010). How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems of David Antin (University of New Mexico Press), which he edited and introduced, appeared in 2014. His research and teaching interests include modern poetry and poetics; prose poetry; Judaism & Modernism; California culture; poetry and performance art; collage theory; the question of tradition in American poetry; Indic thought and its impact upon American culture; poetry and pragmatism. He has been awarded NEH, ACLS, and Lilly fellowships.


Recent Articles

  • “Form and Experience: Dewey, Objectivism, and the Origins of American Postmodernism.” Daniel Morris and Paul Cappucci eds. William Carlos Review, forthcoming.
  • “Judaism as Loss in the Poetry of Michael Heller.” Jonathan Curley and Burt Kimmelman eds. The Poetry and Poetics of Michael Heller: A Nomad Memory. Madison, NJ: Roman and Littlefield/Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015. 121-30.
  • “The Contemporaries: A Reading of Charles Olson’s ‘The Lordly and Isolate Satyrs.’” “Charles Olson at the Century: A Projective and Archival Reconsideration,” ed. Steve McCaffery. Open Letter 15.2 (2013): 25-39. Reprinted in David Herd ed. Contemporary Olson. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2015. 181-94.
  • “San Francisco and the Beats.” The Cambridge History of American Poetry. Eds. Alfred Bendixen and Stephen Burt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 823-43.
  • “The Audio File Audiophile: Listening for Ambient Poetry.” Feedback (weblog of Open Humanities Press): 2013. 2000 words.
  • “Symposium of the Whole: Jerome Rothenberg and the Dream of ‘A Poetry of All Poetries.’” Reading Duncan Reading. Ed Stephen Collis and Graham Lyons. Contemporary North American Poetry Series. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2012. 151-71.


Recent Honors and Awards

  • Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, CSC Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2012)
  • Notre Dame Library Acquisitions Grant for purchasing a portion of the Robert Creeley Collection (2011; $125,000)
  • Notre Dame Faculty Research Program Award, 2008
  • David Gray Chair Library Fellow, SUNY Buffalo, May-June 2006


Contact Information
367 Decio Hall
(574) 631-7555

Postal address
Department of English
356 O’Shaughnessy
Notre Dame, IN 46556