Department Chair:
Jeffrey Pence

Administrative Assistant:
Sue Elkevizth

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8570
Fax: (440) 775-8684

Rice Hall 130
10 North Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

DeSales Harrison

DeSales Harrison

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information


Rice Hall 107
(440) 775-8549

Personal Office Hours:
By appointment

DeSales Harrison

DeSales Harrison

Educational Background

  • B.A., Yale University, 1990
  • M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1991
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 2002

My teaching centers around Lyric Poetry, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary work. Among the courses I regularly teach are an introductory course called "100 Poems," a midlevel course on poetry of the last century or so, and upper-level courses focusing on smaller groupings of writers. I also offer, from time to time, a senior seminar on poetry and poetics, and have recently developed a first-year seminar called "Beyond Disbelief" which looks into what we mean when we say that artworks are true, real, authoritative, or convincing.

I have published a book entitled The End of the Mind: The Edge of the Intelligible in Hardy, Stevens, Larkin, Plath, and Glück and a number of articles on modern and contemporary poetry. Presently, I am finishing a book called This is Mortality: First Things and Last in Lyric Poetry which is about (in addition to poetry and mortality) how poems frame concepts and elaborate ideas, in short, how poems think. I am also at work on a book entitled Psyche's Lover: Eros and the Modern Lyric about some modes of love (sexual, fraternal, filial, intellectual, and divine) and the different kinds of poetic speech they have occasioned.
I am an associate editor of FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and I serve on the Library Committee and the Mack Lecture Committee.