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Visiting Scholars

Dr. Thomas Travisano

Dr. Thomas Travisano is Professor of English at Hartwick College. He is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Her Artistic Development (1988) and Midcentury Quartet: Bishop, Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman and the Making of a Postmodern Aesthetic (1999). He served as principal editor of Word in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008), and as co-editor of Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and Their Readers (1996), Elizabeth Bishop in the Twenty-First Century: Reading the New Editions (2011), and the three-volume New Anthology of American Poetry. He is the founding president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society and Senior Advisor to the Robert Lowell Society. He is currently completing a new critical biography of Bishop for Penguin / Random House for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013. Dr. Travisano will provide invaluable insight into how he is integrating newly discovered documentary evidence into his biography.

Book: Words in Air


Alice Quinn

Alice Quinn is Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America and teaches at Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts. She is the editor of Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), and she is currently working on an edition of Elizabeth Bishop’s journals and notebooks. From 1987-2007, she was poetry editor of The New Yorker, where for many years she was also a senior editor in the fiction department and an editor of memoirs, profiles, book reviews, and a variety of critics’ pieces. She has lectured on poetry and given talks on publishing at many colleges and cultural institutions. Her articles on and interviews with poets and artists have appeared in Artforum, The Forward, Poetry Ireland, The Canadian National Post, The New Yorker, and The New Yorker Online. Quinn’s expertise will help us examine the role of editors and publishers in shaping a writer’s career both when she is alive as well as posthumously.

Book: Edgar Allan Poe


Dr. Ronald Patkus

Dr. Ronald Patkus is Head of Special Collections in the Vassar College Libraries and adjunct professor of history. He has organized two major exhibitions and a conference related to the Bishop collection (in 2011 and 2004). Click here for highlights on “From the Archive: Discovering Elizabeth Bishop.” His research interests focus on the history of books and printing. He has produced and edited a number of books and articles, including most recently bibliographies of the Thornwillow Press, and Shirley Jones and the Red Hen Press. He is currently engaged in a study of private press bibles. He has received grants for foreign study from the British Council, the Rotary Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He co-teaches courses on The Book as Medium (Media Studies) and Detectives in the Archives: Reading Medieval and Renaissance Texts (Medieval and Renaissance Studies), and previously co-taught The Reformation Era and The Bible as Book (History).  He also regularly offers classes on primary sources in the library to students in a variety of other courses. Dr. Patkus will serve as a lecturer as well as on-site coordinator at Vassar, introducing summer scholars to archival materials throughout the course of the three-week seminar and contributing to our discussions of how archivists and historians approach the archive and consider materials and their uses. His wealth of teaching experience centered on integrating archival research into the undergraduate classroom will help us develop new strategies for teaching with archival documents.