Rachel Galvin

Associate Professor, Department of English
Walker 511
Office Hours: By Appointment
PhD, Princeton University, 2010
Teaching at UChicago since 2015

I specialize in twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry and poetics in English, Spanish, and French. My primary research interests include comparative poetics, U.S. Latino/a poetry, poetry of the Americas, Hemispheric Studies, poetics and politics, literature and war, comparative modernism, multilingual poetics, Oulipo and formal constraint, and translation.
In my first book manuscript, Poetry and the Press in Wartime (1936-1945), I explore the crisis of conscience that César Vallejo, W.H. Auden, Wallace Stevens, Raymond Queneau, Gertrude Stein, and Marianne Moore experienced between the Spanish Civil War and World War II. These poets regularly wrote prose for periodicals, in addition to poems inspired by press coverage of war. Yet, as civilians, they felt they lacked the authority to write of war because of their distance from it; the lapses, uncertainties, and abstractions in news reports were keen reminders of that distance. I argue that the dilemma of how to write a modern poem that acknowledges the civilian’s mediated relationship to war spurred these poets to develop poetic strategies that have links to newspaper journalism. An essay related to this project, on Wallace Stevens’ wartime poetry, won the John N. Serio Award for best article to appear in the Wallace Stevens Journal in 2013.
I am interested in concepts of authority, authenticity, originality, and inspiration in poetic making, and the socio-political forces that help determine these concepts. In my second book project, Hemispheric Poetics, I am exploring how ideas of identity and belonging are constructed through and around literary texts, and how poets theorize literary relationality as a part of political critique. My study moves through the twentieth century into the present and across languages spoken throughout the American hemisphere, with a core emphasis on U.S. Latino/a poets. I’m examining strategies such as cultural recycling, transculturation, and appropriation; the epic as it rearticulated in sequences, series, and lyric cycles; genre-bending in the prose poem; the use of code-switching, nation language, the vernacular, and Spanglish; and exchange and collaboration across the hemisphere through translation and mistranslation.
Before joining the faculty, I was an NEH/Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Newberry Library and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Humanities Center of Johns Hopkins University, where I was affiliated with the interdisciplinary “Concepts of Diaspora” research cluster.  
I’m also a poet and literary translator. My poems and translations appear in journals including Boston Review, Chicago Review, Colorado Review, Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast, Make, McSweeney’s, Octopus, Poetry International, PN Review, Poetry, and The New Yorker. I am the author of a book of poems, Pulleys & Locomotion, and a chapbook, Zoetrope. My translation of Raymond Queneau’s Hitting the Streets won the 2014 Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation and was named one of the best poetry books of the year by the Boston Globe. Most recently, I completed a translation of Argentine Oliverio Girondo’s first two books of avant-garde poetry with a co-translator, Harris Feinsod. I enjoy giving poetry readings, and am a founding member of the OuTransPo, an international creative translation collective.

I am an Associate Literature Editor for ASAP/Journal, the journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. 

Selected Publications



  • “Gertrude Stein, Pétain, and the Politics of Translation.” ELH, forthcoming in 2016.
  • “Cannibalizing Modern Poetry in the Americas,” Modernism/modernity, forthcoming in 2016.
  • “Poetry Is Theft,” Comparative Literature Studies, 51.1 (February 2014) 18-54.
  • “Stevens, Auden: Whose Age Was It Anyway—and Why Do We Care?” Wallace Stevens 
    Journal 37.2 (Fall 2013) 155-166.
  • “‘Less Neatly Measured Common Places’: Stevens’ Wartime Poetics,” Wallace Stevens Journal
    37.1 (Spring 2013) 24-48.


  • “Race,” Wallace Stevens in Context, ed. Glen MacLeod, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2016.
  • “'This Song Is For My Foe': Olive Senior and Terrance Hayes Rewrite Wallace Stevens,” in Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens, ed. Bart Eeckhout and Lisa Goldfarb, Bloomsbury, forthcoming in 2016.
  • “Auden’s 1939 Journal: A Wartime Writer at Work,” Auden at Work. Ed. Bonnie Costello and Rachel Galvin. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 24-48.
  • “Brassage, bilinguisime, stéréoscopie: Les voyages américains de Paul Fournel,” Paul Fournel: 
    Liberté sous contrainte. Ed. Camille Bloomfield, Alain Romestaing, Alain Schaffner. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2014, 135-141.
  • “The Guilt of the Noncombatant and W.H. Auden’s ‘Journal of an Airman,’” War and Literature. Ed. Laura Ashe and Ian Patterson. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2014, 205-227.
  • “Poetic Innovation and Appropriative Translation in the Americas,” The Blackwell Companion 
    to Translation Studies. Ed. Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, March 2014, 362-374.
  • “El ‘Gran Silencio’ de Alejandra Pizarnik,” Mujeres que escriben en América Latina, ed. Sara
    Beatriz Guardia. Lima, Peru: CEMHAL, 2007, 365-371.

Other Essays


Poetry Books and Chapbooks

  • Hitting the Streets, translation of Courir les rues, poems by Raymond Queneau. Manchester, UK:
    Carcanet Press, 2013.
  • Pulleys & Locomotion. Black Lawrence Press: New York, NY, 2009. 2nd edition, 2010.
  • Zoetrope, chapbook. Ediciones Chätaro: Lima, Peru, August 2006.
Recent Courses in RLL
  • SPAN 21008 Introduction to Latinx Literature (Winter 2021)
  • SPAN 42103 Hemispheric Studies (Autumn 2020)
Affiliated Departments and Centers: Center for Latin American Studies, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, Committee on Creative Writing, Department of English, Katz Center for Mexican Studies