Professor of English
Office location: Neville Hall 229
Office phone: 864.833.8373
BA, University of Montevallo
MA, PhD, University of Tennessee
Joined PC in 1987
Survey of American Literature II, Introduction to World Cinema, Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction, Film and American Culture, Holocaust Literature, Southern Jewish Literature, The Modern British and American Novel, Media and Society
Alternative Graphic Novels; Rock, Soul, and Country Music; Independent Film; any novel by Zadie Smith, David Joy, Philip Roth; Live Music (Wilco, Orville Peck, Willie Nelson, Amanda Shires Neil Young); Writing; Jewish Culture; Cooking (Cajun especially!!!); watching cool TV like Only Murders in the Building, Schitt’s Creek, Fleabag, and Somebody, Somewhere; my wife, daughters, my granddaughter Pippa, and my Carolina Wild Dog, Max!
My teaching philosophy is, and has always been, to persuade and give opportunities to students to see their world from as many perspectives as possible. I believe it is important to challenge the pre-existing views of students, to help them form their world views, and to encourage them to use literature in this process, as it is a true window to the world and into their hearts, minds, and souls.
In the past few years, particularly in my American Literature courses, I have asked students to participate in the ongoing American narrative which means, in my view, that we must examine the stories, the mythos, that America has been writing about, and which it has come to believe about itself. In doing so, we must examine closely the issues of race, culture, gender, and religion in America and try to determine if our country has been fulfilling its promise and living up to its own expectations. So as we read works by Faulkner, Capote, Margaret Atwood and others, or examine the reality of African-American American South, or see how America responded (or didn’t respond) to the gathering storm clouds of the Holocaust, or how multi-racial Americans are still coming to terms with their pasts and legacies, we attempt to answer questions about ourselves, our views, biases, and prejudices. And in this process, both my students and I continue to grow and re-evaluate ourselves and what it means to be an American.
In my Creative Nonfiction classes, we explore the deepest secrets of our lives, and I model this writing by using writers like Joan Didion and selections from my own four books, especially my last two: Secrets I’m Dying To Tell You and The American Crisis Playlist. I write regularly on Medium about literature, music, and current events.