Academics Heather Clark - Literature
"I am interested in the social dynamics of creativity," says Heather Clark. As a scholar who spends much time exploring collaborations among poets and other writers, Heather is ideally equipped to work with Marlboro students exploring literature and writing. She completed her Ph.D. in English at Oxford University, focusing on the poetic collaborations of Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, James Simmons and others in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and '70s. Her other literary interests include romanticism, modernism and British and Irish poetry after 1950.
Heather feels that her role is to prompt students to come to their own conclusions. "I have come to agree with Socrates’ feeling in the Meno that students have a reservoir of knowledge waiting to be tapped—it is our job, as teachers, to release that knowledge, and to challenge students to build upon it," she says. Heather is happy to work with students interested in poetry, post-1800 British or Irish literature, post-colonial literature and the literature of war. She sponsors a lot of Plans of Concentration on James Joyce or T.S. Elliot.
Student Plans and Collaborations
- A comparative study of James Joyce's Ulysses and the classical epic. Lindsay O'Rourke '10, literature and writing.
- An exploration of how systems of gender and racial privilege are defined and enacted through identity formation and social interaction. Sara Fielding '09, literature/American studies.
- A study of language, meaning and faith in the work of Cormac McCarthy and T.S. Elliot, including a paper on epistemic themes in Elliot's "Four Quartets." Seth Sempare '09, literature/writing.
Heather is the author of The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast 1962-1972 (Oxford 2006), for which she received the Donald Murphy Prize for distinguished first book and the Robert Rhodes Prize for books on literature, awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies. She was awarded a 2006-2007 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which she used to work on her second book, The Grief of Influence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes (Oxford University Press, 2011). She is now writing a literary biography of Sylvia Plath, to be published by Knopf. Heather has been awarded two Emory University Robert W. Woodruff Library fellowships in modern languages, and has published widely, including academic reviews, poetry, fiction and scholarly articles in several publications.
- "Rough fields: the early 1970s," in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry. Fran Brearton and Alan Gillis (eds.). Oxford University Press, 2010.
- "Eavan Boland's muse mothers," in The Blackwell Companion to Irish Literature. Julia Wright (ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Press, 2010.
- "'Recalling Aran': Islands in the Protestant imagination." Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 35.2 (Fall 2009).
- "'Wilful revisionism': Rivalry and remaking in the early work of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes." Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, 9.2 (October 2005): 175-191.
- "Tracking the thought-fox: Sylvia Plath's revision of Ted Hughes." Journal of Modern Literature, 28.2 (Winter 2005): 100-112.
Selected Conference Papers
- "Apollo in transit: Paul Muldoon's recent verse." International Association for the Study of Irish Literature annual conference, Maynooth, Ireland, July 2010.
- "'So this is America'" Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and the colonial marriage." American Literature Association annual conference, San Francisco, May 2010.
- "Befitting emblems: Irish poetry in the early 1970s." American Conference for Irish Studies, State College, Pennsylvania, May 2010.
- "Eavan Boland's muse mothers." American Conference for Irish Studies, New England regional meeting, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, November 2009.
- "Assimilations of influence in The New North." American Conference for Irish Studies, New England regional meeting, Boston University, November 2009.
- "Plath and Hughes redivivus: 'Venus in the seventh.'" Smith College Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium, April 2008.
B.A. Harvard University, 1996; M.Phil, Trinity College Dublin, 1997; Ph.D., Lincoln College, Oxford University, 2002; Marlboro College, 2002 –