Rob Halpern

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Associate Professor

English Language and Literature; Women's and Gender Studies

613F Pray-Harrold

[email protected]


  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Interests and Expertise

Common Place is Rob Halpern's most recent book of poetry (Ugly Duckling Presse 2015), preceded by Music for Porn (Nightboat, 2012), Snow Sensitive Skin (with Taylor Brady, Displaced Press, 2011), Disaster Suites (Palm Press, 2009) and Rumored Place (Krupskaya, 2004). [ —— ] Placeholder, a book-length selection of his poetry and prose, was recently published in the UK by Enitharmon Press (2015). Audio files of Rob's readings and talks are archived at PennSound.

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) and "Realism and Utopia: Writing, Sex, and Politics in New Narrative" (Journal of Narrative Theory) concerns the work of New Narrative writing. He has also written a critique of Conceptual Writing entitled "'Conceptual Writing' by Rethood Onroda," (The Claudius App) and a theorization of contemporary fiction and finance capital, "Narrating the Financialized Landscape" (Mediations). He is also 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.

At EMU, Halpern's writing workshops include:

  • Somatic Writing (body, language, text)
  • Documentary Poetry
  • The Poem in Prose
  • Poetry, Politics, Revolution
  • Queer Poetics, a class that is cross-listed in the Women's and Gender Studies Department where he is also a faculty member.

Rob also coordinates and facilitates an ongoing poetry writing workshop at the Women's Huron Valley 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 that is sought to initiate in the Creative Writing Program.