Joan Wry Honors Program Director/Professor of English

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B.A. Saint Michael’s College
M.A. University of Virginia
Ph.D. McGill University


Areas of Expertise:

Nineteenth Century American Literature; Antebellum women’s writing; Vermont Writers


Courses I Teach:

First-Year Seminar: Snow: the Art and Science of Alpine Crystals

Literary Studies: Vermont Writers

American Literature I

American Nature Writing

American Renaissance

Major American Writers

Senior Seminar: The Sublime



Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Shakespeare, Shelley, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Fuller, and Lydia Sigourney



My Saint Michael’s:

I love having the opportunity to introduce new students to the wonder of Vermont—both in my First-Year Seminar on Snow and in my Literary Studies course on Vermont Writers.  This is a special setting for the liberal arts experience, and the sense of place in the valley between the Green Mountains and the glittering expanse of Lake Champlain has a powerful and inevitable draw for the students who study here. I served for eight years as the Associate Dean of the College at Saint Michael’s from 2005 to 2013, and working closely with students on improving their academic performance was one of the most rewarding roles I’ve had in my professional life.  Academic success can be encouraged and celebrated on many levels, and I am once again looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with students as a guide and mentor—this time as the Director of the Honors Program.

Recent News

Joan Wry, professor of English and director of the Honors Program, presented papers at three academic conferences during the spring 2019 semester: “Nineteenth-Century Gift Books as Aesthetic Material Objects,” a paper presented in March at the College English Association Conference in New Orleans, LA; “Skimeister Trains and the Material Culture of Weekend Ski Travel, ” a paper presented in March at the Deerfield-Wellesley Symposium in Deerfield, MA; and “Portals of Transformation in Margaret Fuller’s 1844 Poems,” a paper presented in May at the American Literature Association Conference in Boston, MA. Joan also received the third annual Northeast-10 Conference Dr. Dave Landers Faculty Mentor Award on Monday during the NE10’s year-end banquet at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
(posted June 2019)

Joan Wry, instructor of English was presented the annual major faculty award for teaching, named for Joanne Rathgeb, during this year’s annual Academic Convocation in McCarthy Arts Center on September 21, 2018.
(posted January 2019)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, had a book chapter published: “A Sense of the Material Object: Lydia Sigourney’s Fabric Poems,” in Reconsidering Lydia Sigourney: Critical Essays and Cultural Views. (Amherst: U of Massachusetts Press, May, 2018. 48-67). She also presented a paper in April 2018 at the College English Association Conference in St. Petersburg, FL:  “Whitman’s Bridge into the Future:  ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’ as an Enacted Rite of Passage.”
(posted June 2018)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, taught 19th century American Literature as a visiting scholar for the Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, a grant-funded education program hosted at the New York Ticonderoga Museum. This summer the series focused on James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans and additional prose and poetry selections by Cooper’s contemporaries. Joan also had an article published, “’Then Quiver down, with tufts of Tune’ —Emily Dickinson’s Palpable Soundscapes,” in Dickinson Electronic Archives: Emily Dickinson’s Lyrical Ecologies, ed. Marta Werner and Eliza Richards, DEA 2: October 2017.
(posted December 2017)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, presented a paper, “Landscapes and Mindscapes: Deep Mapping in Edward Hitchcock’s Geology and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry,” at the January 2017 MLA Conference in Philadelphia, PA.  An expanded version of that paper has been accepted for 2018 publication in the biannual peer-reviewed journal, Textual Cultures. She also had a book chapter, “Margaret Fuller’s ‘Raphael’s Deposition from the Cross’ and the Tribune Letters: the Mater Dolorosa’s Tripartite Rites of Passage,” published in Transatlantic.
(posted June 2017)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, presented a paper, “’Quiver down, with tufts of tune’: Emily Dickinson’s Palpable Soundscapes,” at the MLA Convention in Austin, TX in January 2016.  Wry recently had a second paper, “Landscapes and Mindscapes:  Deep Mapping in Edward Hitchcock’s Geology and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry,” accepted for the 2017 MLA Convention to be held next January in Philadelphia.
(posted June 2016)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, presented a paper, “Lydia Sigourney’s Fabric Poems and the New England Marketplace,” at the PCA/ACA American Culture Association Conference in New Orleans on April 3, 2015.  She also served as Chair of the New England Studies panel for the conference.
(posted April 2015)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, presented a paper, “Prohibition Bootleggers and 21st Century Drug Dealers: Past and Present Smuggling in the Green Mountain State,” at the April 2014 National Popular Culture Association Conference in Chicago, IL. A second paper, “’That Granitic Base’: Emily Dickinson and the Hitchcocks of Amherst,” was presented in August 2014 at The Dickinson Institute at Amherst College.
(posted August 2014)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English, was named as one of 20 participants for the “Dickinson Institute” to be held in August 2014 at Amherst College. Individuals from Great Britain, Japan, and sixteen American colleges and universities will participate in panel presentations and an exchange of research and scholarship on “Emily Dickinson and other New England Writers.” Wry also has an essay on Margaret Fuller forthcoming in a collection for the second volume of Transatlantic Women Writers to be published in 2015:“Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers in Italy.”  (posted March 2014)

Joan Wry, associate professor of English and former associate dean of the college, presented at two international conferences this summer: In June she presented “Margaret Fuller’s ‘Raphael’s Deposition’ and the Tribune Letters: the Mater Dolorosa’s Creative and Revolutionary Rites of Passage,” a paper presented at the Transatlantic Women II: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers Abroad conference in Florence, Italy. In August she presented “‘In Lands I Never Saw’: Emily Dickinson’s Alpine Requirements,” a paper presented at the Emily Dickinson International Conference in College Park, MD.

Joan Wry, associate dean of the college, has a paper in the current issue of The Explicator: “Perception, Representation, and the ‘property in the horizon’: Thoreau’s and Emerson’s Differing Versions of a Liminal Aesthetic” (70:4, 264-267). Another article, “Emerson, the Genius Tradition, and the Aspirant Poems of Margaret Fuller,” was published in The CEA Critic 73.2, 21-33. Joan will be presenting two papers at conferences this spring, the first at the College English Association conference in Savannah, GA, on April 4-7, and the second at the Transatlantic Women Writers II international conference in Florence, Italy on June 6-9.