Stephen Fredman

Professor Emeritus, English

Professor Emeritus, English
233 Decio Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556


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), examines 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), maps out 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 next 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. American Poetry as Transactional Art (University of Alabama Press, 2021) looks at poetry’s relationships with its historical time, with spirituality, with the other arts, and with prose. In 2022, he published Pass Through: A Book of Memory Pieces (Dos Madres Press). 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). He edited for the University of New Mexico Press How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems of David Antin (2014) and Robert Creeley’s Presences: A Text for Marisol, A Critical Edition (2018). 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 Honors and Awards

Delivered the Tenth Annual Charles Olson Lecture, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA, October 26, 2019
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)


Representative publications

“Between Dante and Whitman: Robert Duncan’s ‘Dante Études.’” Zygmunt Baranski and Theodore Cachey, eds. Dante in America. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming.

“After Poet’s Prose: Postgeneric Writing in the Ongoing Crisis of Verse.” The Edinburgh Companion to the Prose Poem. Eds. Mary Ann Caws and Michel Delville. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021. 295-309.

“Form and Experience: Dewey, Objectivism, and the Origins of American Postmodernism.” Daniel Morris and Paul Cappucci eds. William Carlos Review, 32.1-2 (2015): 33-52.