Marlboro College

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.

Teaching Philosophy

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

Scholarly Activities

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.

Selected Publications
Selected Conference Papers

B.A. Harvard University, 1996; M.Phil, Trinity College Dublin, 1997; Ph.D., Lincoln College, Oxford University, 2002; Marlboro College, 2002 –

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