Brett Foster, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English
On Faculty since 2005

Office: Blanchard Hall 310


Ph.D., Yale University, 2005

Wallace Stegner Fellow, Stanford University, 1997-1999

M.A., Boston University, 1996

B.J., University of Missouri, 1995

A.B., University of Missouri, 1995

About Brett Foster

Dr. Foster's interests include Creative Writing, Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Traditions of Lyric Poetry, Translation & Imitation, Poetics, Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century English Literature, Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, Religion and Literature, Early Modern Travel Literature, Italian Renaissance Literature, Anglo-Italian Texts, and Classical Influence in the Renaissance and in Modern Poetry.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Creative Writing [Engw 213]
  • Classical and Early British Literature [Engl 215]
  • Creative Nonfiction [Engw 330]
  • Poetry Writing and Criticism [Engw 433]
  • English Renaissance [Engl 336]
  • John Donne [Engl 348]
  • Spenser [Engl 348]
  • Modern British Literature [Engl 364]
  • Shakespeare [Engl 384]
  • Shakespearience [Engl 390] [cross-listed with theater]
  • Poetry and Place [Engw 433]
  • Poetry Workshop by Renaissance Principles [Engw 444]
  • Writing Lyric Poetry: Imitation and Invention [Engw 444]
  • Dante [Orv 360] [for Gordon College's Semester-in-Orvieto program] 




Fall Run Road (Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2012).

  • winner of the 2011 Open Chapbook Prize

Shakespeare’s Life. “Backgrounds to Shakespeare” reference series (New York: Chelsea House, 2012).

The Garbage Eater (Evanston: Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2011).

  • finalist for 2012 Drake University Emerging Writer Award
  • selected for "Debut Poets" feature in Poets & Writers 

Shakespeare Through the Ages: The Sonnets (New York: Infobase, 2009) – edited volume for a reference series that summarizes Shakespeare’s works, contextualizes by century their critical reception, and reprints influential criticism [editor].

Shakespeare Through the Ages: Hamlet (New York: Infobase, 2008) [editor].

Rome. "Literary Places" series (New York: Infobase, 2005) [co-author].


Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Anglican Theological Review, Antler, Arion, Ascent, Assisi, Beacon Street Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Books & Culture, Bostonia, California Quarterly, Catapult, Cellpoems, The Christian Century, Christianity and Literature, The City, Columbia, Comment, The Common, Comstock Review, Confrontation, Crab Orchard Review, The Cresset, Curator, Dogwood, Everyday Poems, Fare Forward, First Things, 4Humanities, Hudson Review, IMAGE, Iron Horse Literary Review, Levure litteraire, Literary Imagination, Literature and Belief, Liturgical Credo, Marco Polo, Mars Hill Review, Measure, Midwestern Gothic, The New Criterion, New Madrid, The Other Journal, Pleiades, PNReview, Poet Lore, Poetry Daily, Poetry East, Poetry International, Radix, Raritan, Relief, RHINO, Rock & Sling, Ruminate, Saint Ann’s Review, Saint Katherine Review, Salamander, Santa Clara Review, Seattle Review, Second Nature, Sewanee Theological Review, Shenandoah, Sin Fronteras - Writers Without Borders, Southwest Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stonework, Subtropics, Technoculture, Tenth Muse, Terrain, Theodate, Trajectory, Water~Stone Review, Windhover, Wunderkammer, Verbatim, Vineyards, Yale Review, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies And What Rough Beast: Poems at the End of the Century, American Religious Poems (Library of America), Best New Poets, Imago Dei, Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (Yale University Press), The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast, and St. Peter's B-List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints.

Translations of poetry have appeared in Arion, Atlanta Review, Dappled Things, Eleven Eleven, Evansville Review, Green Mountains Review, Hampden-Sidney Poetry Review, Italian Poetry Review, Journal of Italian Translation, Literary Matters, Metamorphoses, Palimpsest, Partisan Review, Poems Bewitched and Haunted, Relief, RHINO, Saint Ann’s Review, Smartish Pace, Unsplendid, Yale Italian Poetry, and other journals. 

Scholarly Articles

“'Types and Shadows': Uses of Moses in the Renaissance,” article in Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance [Brill, forthcoming].

“Harry’s Peregrinations: An Italianate Defense of Henry VIII,” Henry VIII in History, ed. Thomas Betteridge and Thomas S. Freeman (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), 23-50. 

“Hell is Discovered: The Roman Destination of Doctor Faustus,” Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman: Lives, Stage, and Page, ed. M. L. Stapleton and Sarah K. Scott (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 179-97.

“Cecco Angiolieri and Comic-Realistic Sonnets,” Literary Imagination 12, no. 3 (2010): 266-74. 

“‘Each Letter In the Letter’: Textual Testimonies in Shakespeare,” Word and Rite: The Bible and Ceremony in Selected Shakespearean Works, ed. Beatrice Batson (Cambridge Scholars, 2010), 113-52.

“The Goodliest Place In This World: Early Tudor Reactions to Papal Rome,” in The Sacred and Profane in English Renaissance Literature, ed. Mary A. Papazian (Newark: University of Delaware Press 2008), 27-56. “Gregory Martin’s ‘Holy Latinate Jerusalem’: Roman English, Romanist Values, and the Rheims New Testament (1582),” Prose Studies 28, no. 2 (2006): 130-49.

“Infinite Commodities: William Thomas’s ‘Edifying’ Encounter with Renaissance Rome,” genre 24 (2004):10-38.

Literary Essays

“How Turns Came Early: On a Surprising Poem by Theognis,” Voltage Poetry [forthcoming].

“The Severe Sensualist: An Obituarial Essay on Jack Gilbert,” Books & Culture [forthcoming].

Week of Popes: On Assisi, Francis I, and His Namesake,” The Huffington Post (October 2013).

On Bookstores, Books, and Reading” [epistolary essay written with Wes Hill], Books & Culture online (June 2013).

The New Seminary Co-op” [epistolary essay written with Wes Hill], Books & Culture online (June 2013). 

Curiosity About Papal Elections, 500 Years Earlier,” The Huffington Post (April 2013).

“The Mediator Is the Message: Some Retrospective Readings of Thomas Lynch’s The Sin-Eater: A Breviary,” The Cresset  76, no. 1 (2012): 18-27.

“England's Green & Pleasant Land: Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem," Books & Culture 18, no. 4 (2012): 35-37.

Hobbit Headquarters in Chicagoland,” The Huffington Post (December 2012).

Bob Hicok and Jamaal May: Spoken Words Worth the Trip,” Books & Culture online (December 2012).

481 Laurel Avenue: Fitzgerald's Birthplace and the Man Who Lovingly Restored It," Books & Culture online (October 2012).

E-Mail Nirvana: Getting to Zero," The Chronicle Review (September 2012).

Poetry Classroom: ‘Hard Road’ by Li Bai” (with students), Tweetspeak Poetry (September 2012).

The Creative Writer's Big Show: a Report from the 2012 AWP Conference," Books & Culture online (March 2012). 

Contemporary Poetry: A Renewed Medium for Social Consciousness?," Capital Commentary (January 2012).

“A Refreshingly Marlowe Summer,” The Marlowe Society of America Newsletter (31, no. 1 (2011): 4-5.

Letter from HelmsleyBooks & Culture online (August 2011).

“Introducing Two Poems by Owen Barfield,” Seven 27 (2010): 61-66.

“Crying Giant: On Rilke’s Poetry,” The Common Review 9, no. 2 (2010): 49-51.

“Bright Stamps: John Keats’ Letters to Fanny Brawne,” Books & Culture 16, no. 5 (2010): 36-40.

London Letters” [epistolary essays exchanged with Alan Jacobs], Books & Culture online (May 2010).

“Reading Marlowe Again," Kenyon Review 31, no. 4 (fall 2009): 179-83.

“The Continuing Reign of Queen Elizabeth,” The Common Review 7, no. 2 (2008): 32-41.

“Walking in Rome: Lyrical Disillusion and Revisitation,” Valley Voices: A Literary Review 8, no. 1 (2008): 1-5.

“Sympathy for the Devil: The Lives & Afterlives of Christopher Marlowe,” The Common Review 5, no. 4 (2007): 6-16.

“A Biography of James Joyce,” in James Joyce (Chelsea House, 2003), 3-72.

“Miklós Radnóti,” Poetry International 3 (1999): 99-102. 

“The State of Their Art: A Look at Current Poetry,” The Missouri Review 21, no. 3 (1998): 210-15.

Additional articles, essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in AGNI, Antler, Books & Culture, Boston Review, The Christian Century, Christianity & Literature, The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Tech Therapy" podcast, The Common Review, Englewood Review of Books, genre, The Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Huffington Post, The Humanist Lens, Inside Higher Ed, Journal of British Studies, Missouri Review, Modern Philology, Religion and Literature, Renaissance Quarterly, Shakespeare Bulletin, Sixteenth Century Journal, and other journals.

Poetry Readings

I have given poetry readings or talks at Yale Divinity School ("Literature and Spirituality" series), Printers' Row LitFest (Chicago), RHINO Writers' Forum (Evanston), Malone University, Lee University, College of DuPage, Gordon College, University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Colorado Christian University, Oklahoma Christian University, Northampton Community College, and at the Poetry Foundation, the Illinois Poetry Society, West Chester Poetry Conference, Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing, the Chicago Calling festival, Yale University's Beinecke Library, Stanford University's bookstore, Common Good Books (St. Paul), Prairie Lights Books (Iowa City), Harold Washington Library (Chicago), Il Festival Internazionale d'Arte e Fede (Orvieto), University of Missouri's Writing-in-Greece program (Thassos), Laity Lodge (Texas Hill Country), and other venues.

Lectures & Talks

I have given lectures or talks at the Chicago Renaissance Seminar at the University of Chicago, Yale University (for a “Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics” symposium), Southern Connecticut State University, Trinity Western University (for a "Christian humanism" lecture series), Lee University, the Green Scholars lecture series, and elsewhere, and I regularly present work at annual conferences such as MLA, AWP, Sixteenth-Century Society and Conference, Renaissance Society of America, Shakespeare Association of America, George Herbert Society, and the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers. I have delivered papers at recent international conferences devoted to Shakespeare, Marlowe and Spenser, and I also give regular talks as a Pre-Amble Scholar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW)
  • Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC)
  • Renaissance Society of America (RSA)
  • Shakespeare Association of America (SAA)
  • Marlowe Society of America
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature
  • George Herbert Society
  • Tyndale Society

Work in Progress

Pre-publication or in-progress book projects include a recently completed full-length collection of poetry entitled "Extravagant Rescues"; "The Metropolis of Popery: English Encounters with Renaissance Rome," a scholarly monograph currently at the final-revision stage; "Great Love Poems of the English Renaissance," an anthology with commentary essays, featuring poems and poets ranging from "Western Wind" to the earl of Rochester; "Elemental Rebel: The Rime of Cecco Angiolieri," a selected volume of translated sonnets by Cecco Angiolieri, a rival of Dante's; and various articles, essays, and reviews, including an article on the influence of Edmund Spenser on contemporary poets and "Excavating the Dark: Guilt and Healing in the Plays of Conor McPherson."

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