Eastern Michigan University
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Rob Halpern

613F Pray-Harrold




PhD, University of California

Interests and Expertise

A poet, essayist, and translator, Rob Halpern is the author of several books of poems, including  Rumored Place  (Krupskaya 2004), which was nominated for a California Book Award;  Disaster Suites  (Palm Press 2009); and  Music for Porn  (Nightboat Books, 2012). His new project,  Common Placeis forthcoming in 2015 from Ugly Duckling Presse. With Taylor Brady, Halpern also co-authored the book length poem  Snow Sensitive Skin  (reissued by Displaced Press, 2011).

Taken as a sustained project, Halpern’s poetry aims to make palpable the relations between subjective embodiment and social crisis. [————] Placeholder, a selection that moves across the whole of his poetic work, will be published next year in the UK by Enitharmon.

In addition to writing poetry, Halpern is an essayist and a translator, as well as a scholar of modernist cultures and contemporary writing. Among his published essays, “Baudelaire’s ‘Dark Zone’” takes up Charles Baudelaire's prose poems and the commodity form ( Modernist Cultures ). Another, on the work of New Narrative, is called  “Realism and Utopia: Writing, Sex, and Politics in New Narrative”, which appears in Journal of Narrative Theory. He has also written a conceptual essay on Conceptual Writing entitled “’Conceptual Writing’ by Rethood Onroda,” (The Claudius App ); and his work on Bob Perelman’s poem “China”, Language Writing and community history is published at  Jacket Magazine . Other essays can be found in Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Coach House Books);  No Gender: The Work of kari edwards (Belladonna/Litmus Press, 2009); and  ON: Contemporary Practice . He’s currently completing a book length project on the poet George Oppen, a selection of which appears in

Currently, Halpern is editing a volume of selected writing by Bruce Boone, and also co-editing the poems of the late Frances Jaffer, together with Kathleen Fraser. In addition, he is translating the early essays of Georges Perec, the second of which, “Commitment or the Crisis of Language,” can be found in the  Review of Contemporary Fiction  with an essay of his own on Perec. 

Halperns poetry and narratives also appear in a wide range of reviews, anthologies, zines, and journals. Most recently these include:  The Poetic Front , The Swan’s Rag, Chicago Review, Bay Poetics, James White Review, Galatea ResurrectsAbraham Lincoln, P-Queue, Gam, Submodern FictionEOAGHWar and Peace, Switchback, Crayon, /norVanitasLittle Red Leaves, West Wind Review, Aufgabe, WheelhouseTry!, and New American Writing. Audio files of Rob’s readings and talks are archived at PennSound.

At EMU, Halpern’s teaching interests range from Somatic Writing (Body, Language, Text); Documentary Poetry; and Contemporary Forms; to Transgenre (Genre, Gender, Sex), a class that is cross-listed in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department where he is also a faculty member. Rob also teaches poetry at the Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility.

Rob Halpern received his Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2006), where he wrote a dissertation on the prehistory of literary modernism in nineteenth-century France. He’s held faculty positions at Bard College, San Francisco Art Institute, and University of San Francisco. He was a founding participant in the Nonsite Collective, whose commitment to self-organized pedagogy and collaboration across disciplines models some of the outreach and community work we seek to initiate in the Creative Writing Program.



Recent Publications and Presentations