Brandon Menke

Assistant Professor, English

Assistant Professor, English
206 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Areas of study

  • African and African American
  • American
  • Environmental
  • Gender and Sexuality


Ph.D., M.Phil, M.A., English Language and Literature, Yale University
MFA, Creative Writing (Poetry), New York University
A.B., summa cum laude, English Literature, Washington University in St. Louis


Brandon Menke is a poet and a postdoctoral scholar in English Literature at the University of Notre Dame. He teaches and researches American literatures and visual art of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, with a particular focus on poetry and poetics, LGBTQ* studies and queer theory, visual culture, and transmediation.

His current book project, Slow Tyrannies: Queer Lyricism, Visual Regionalism, and the Transfigured World, examines lyric form, regionalist aesthetics, and networks of queer intimacy in American literature and visual art from the 1920s to the 1970s. The book uncovers and traces the development of a reparative and regenerative queer lyricism distinguished by its commitments to intermediality, homoerotic desire, past time, and originary place. Based on how poets and artists such as Hart Crane, Marsden Hartley, Langston Hughes, Federico García Lorca, Grant Wood, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashbery bridge image and text, the project deviates from normative schematizations of verbal-visual relations, which have tended to present poetry and painting as embattled camps vying for cultural authority. Slow Tyrannies considers how media are syncretized through novel approaches to signification and aesthetic space that resist stigmatization and affirm queer forms of being.

Dr. Menke received his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from Yale University and his MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from New York University. While at Yale, he co-coordinated American Literature in the World with Wai Chee Dimock and co-organized the Graduate Poets Reading Series, among other initiatives. He has served as an assistant editor of The Yale Review, poetry editor and editor-in-chief of Palimpsest: Yale Graduate Literary and Arts Magazine, and poetry editor of Washington Square Review. He is a visual artist and designer and has been a Guest Critic in the Yale School of Art.

As part of his creative writing practice, Dr. Menke is currently at work on a manuscript with fellow poet Jahan Khajavi that mines the deep cultural archive of homoerotic imagery in the Wild West; their poems metabolize and celebrate the iconography of the gay cowboy while undercutting such mythopoetics with an awareness of the real, contested space of the American frontier and the violent erasure of its Native peoples and ecologies.

Dr. Menke’s work appears or is forthcoming in The Yale Review, Court Green, Modernism/modernity Print Plus, Post45: Contemporaries, bæst: a journal of queer forms & affects, Columbia Journal, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Representative publications

“Resisting Annihilation: The AIDS Anthology Poem and Collective Melancholia.” Elegy Today: Revisions, Rejections, Re-mappings (Brill), eds. Jonathan Culler, Adele Bardazzi, and Roberto Binetti. Forthcoming.

“Rueful Proximities: Lorine Niedecker and Queer Affection.” Post45: Contemporaries, Locating Lorine Niedecker Cluster, eds. Sarah Dimick and Brandon Menke. Forthcoming.

Passagens Estranhas: Translating the Obscene with Hilda Hilst and John Keene.” Post45: Contemporaries, John Keene Cluster, ed. Brittney Edmonds. Forthcoming.

“Souvenirs,” “Leopard-Skin Cache-Sexe,” and “Bisque Head.” Court Green, Spring 2022.

Interview with Wayne Koestenbaum: “The Polymath on His Creative Process.” The Yale Review. April 2022.

“High Chaparral” and “Mossy Horn Smiles,” with Jahan Khajavi. bæst: a journal of queer forms & affects. Fall 2021.

“Above One’s Bend,” with Jahan Khajavi. Columbia Journal. Fall 2020.

“Devil’s Garden,” “Not by a Longshot,” “Sunstroke,” and “Pando at the Du Kum Inn,” with Jahan Khajavi. Denver Quarterly. Fall 2020.