Tenney Nathanson

Professor, Emeritus

Tenney Nathanson (PhD, Columbia University) teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in contemporary  American poetry, modernist poetry and poetics, nineteenth century American poetry, American Buddhism and American poetry, and close reading. His critical book Whitman's Presence: Body, Voice, and Writing in Leaves of Grass was published by New York University Press in 1992 (and re-issued in 1994). A poet as well as a scholar, Tenney has also published Ghost Snow Falls Through the Void (Globalization) (Chax Press, 2010), Home on the Range (The Night Sky with Stars in My Mouth) (O Books, 2005), Erased Art (Chax Press, 2005), and One Block Over (Chax Press, 1998). His recent critical work focuses on contemporary American poetry, often in relation to the American Zen tradition. His articles on contemporary writing include “Private Language: Ashbery and Wittgenstein”; “Collage and Pulverization in Contemporary American Poetry: Charles Bernstein’s Controlling Interests”; “The Poetics of Non-Experience: Repetition, Simulation, and Anxiety in Leslie Scalapino’s Trilogy”; “On Beverly Dahlen”; “Topological Transformation in Olson’s Maximus”; “‘Everything is Sound’: Chan, Zen, and the American Poetics of Distraction," on Philip Whalen; and, most recently, “‘The birds swim through the air at top speed’: Kinetic Identification in Keats, Whitman, Stevens, and Dickinson (Notes toward a Poetics)” in the Winter 2016 issue of Critical InquiryTenney's recent poetry is online at EOAGH, and Chax Press will publish a collection of critical essays on (mostly contemporary) American poetry in 2020. Another booklength poem, "Ghost  Snow 2 (Unwinding)" is also in the works. Recent presentations include: “The Poet’s Presence in the Early Editions of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass," Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China, October 2019; "'Blocked. (Make a song out of that: concretely)': Dissonance as Discovery in William Carlos Williams’s Paterson," 8th International Conference of the Chinese/American Poetry and Poetics Association, Hangzhou, China, November 2019. Tenney is affiliate faculty with the Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Graduate Minor and a member of the university's Contemplative Pedagogy Faculty Working Group. A founding member of the Tucson poetry collective POG, Tenney is also the Resident Teacher for Desert Rain Zen, a local koan-based Zen group in the Pacific Zen / Open Source tradition.