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Lucy Maddux Alford


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20th century philosophy
20th century poetics
human rights

Lucy Maddux Alford

Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature

Center for the Study of the Novel, Graduate Coordinator

Poetics Focal Group and Workshop, Graduate Coodinator 

Lucy Alford is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary poetry and poetics, and the crossings between ethics and aesthetic experience. She works in English, French, German and Arabic. Before coming to Stanford, she earned her BA in English Literature, Political & Social Thought, and Creative Writing from the University of Virginia, taught literature and social studies in Egypt, and completed a PhD in Modern Thought at the University of Aberdeen. Her poems have been published in the US and the UK. 


COMPLIT 162 American Poetry and Secular Prayer

This course will explore the practice of "secular prayer" in early- and mid-20th Century North American poetry. We will look at diverse poetic examples of meditation, contemplation, exegesis and revelation in order to consider how and why poetry has maintained a particular relation to the sacred, even amidst a secular cultural and intellectual context. We'll also consider how this question has played out in several key strands of 20th century literary theory, with particular emphasis on New Criticism and Eco-Criticism. Primary readings will include the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Audre Lorde, George Oppen, Robert Bly, Mary Oliver, Charles Wright and Jan Zwicky.

COMPLIT 121 Poems, Poetry, Worlds

What is poetry? How does it speak in many voices to questions of history, society, and personal experience? Why does it matter? The reading and interpretation of poetry in crosscultural comparison as experience, invention, form, sound, knowledge, and part of the world. Readings include: classical Chinese poetry, English Romantic poetry, and modern Arabic, American, Brazilian, Japanese, German, Spanish poetry, with specific attention to landscape, terrain, the environment, and the role of the poet.