Thomas J. Travisano

Professor Travisano specializes in modern and contemporary American literature and in American poetry. He is particularly well known for his critical and editorial work on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), Robert Lowell (1917-1977), and the poets of their generation. In April 2013, Travisano became the first faculty member in Hartwick College history to be named a Guggenheim Fellow for a biography tentatively titled Love Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop, which will be published by a major trade publisher, Viking/Penguin. He served as Chair of the Department of English and Theatre Arts from 2009 to 2013.

Along with many articles, Professor Travisano has published such books as Elizabeth Bishop: Her Artistic Development (Virginia, 1988) and Midcentury Quartet: Bishop, Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman and the Making of a Postmodern Aesthetic (Virginia, 1999). He is co-editor of Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and Their Readers (Pennsylvania, 1996). Travisano is co-founder and first president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society. His most recent book publications include The New Anthology of American Poetry, volume 3: Postmodernisms and Elizabeth Bishop in the 21st Century: Reading the New Editions, both of which appeared in Spring 2012. Volume One of The New Anthology appeared in 2003 and was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice.  His most recent article, "Elizabeth Bishop and Biography," is the lead essay in The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop.

His plans to write Love Unknown have been supported by the award of a 2010 Summer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. During Bishop's 2011 centennial, he traveled the globe speaking to conferences and symposia on the poet, her work, and editing her posthumous work and letters.

Professor Travisano is also the editor, with Saskia Hamilton, of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008). The book has been reviewed with high praise in the print, broadcast, and electronic media (including National Public Radio, The NY Times Book Review, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah, and elsewhere). Writing in the Boston Globe, William H. Pritchard said, "The task of assembling and editing [these letters] has been filled in an exemplary manner by Thomas Travisano, author of an excellent critical study of Elizabeth Bishop[...]. Travisano and several Hartwick students worked for years to transcribe and order the letters, each of which is extensively annotated. Selections of the letters have been published in many journals, including Poetry (Chicago) and American Poetry Review.

Travisano frequently draws on this research in his teaching. In the current academic year he is teaching a First Year Seminar using The New Anthology and a senior seminar on the poetry and letters of Bishop and Lowell. He works closely with Hartwick students, who have served as editorial assistants on his various projects. Travisano also teaches surveys of American literature and expository writing courses, including an advanced course in Creative Non-Fiction.

Office: Clark 218
Phone: 607-431-4907