Area of Interest:
20th and 21st Century American Poetry; Religion and Literature; Race and Literature; Racial identities and the literary imagination; Contemporary Poetics; Devotional poetry; Lyric Poetry as resistance\
Bethel University, BA
Yale Divinity School, Master of Arts in Religion
Spencer French is an incoming English Ph.D. student whose research centers on American literature of the 20th and 21st century, especially poetry—research that occurs at the intersections of literature, race, and religion. He investigates the ways that Judeo-Christian language has been used by American poets, both religious and not, as tools of subversion. Additionally, and more broadly, Spencer is fascinated by the ways American poets have invoked that same religious language to explore the unique challenges of modernity, to varying degrees of success.
He finds himself continually moved and excited by the works of Lucille Clifton, Marilynne Robinson, James Baldwin, Ross Gay, Toni Morrison, Christian Wiman, Tracy K. Smith, Wendell Berry, and Lisel Mueller, among many others.
Outside of the realm of scholarly inquiry, Spencer is a poet and writer of creative non-fiction, a sporadic runner, and a lover of the beautiful, complicated city of South Bend, IN.