Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor of English
I grew up as one of four kids raised by a single mom who often worried about getting food on the table and keeping the lights on. At Middlebury College, I majored in English. I was scared of the library, so I did my work-study shifts in the dining hall cleaning tables and dishes—and dealing with rude classmates. After working as a technical writer, an educational consultant, and a management consultant to pay off student loans, I missed talking about books with people my own age, so I went to Yale University for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature.
I’ve taught courses on Romantic literature, food novels, the short story, poetry and fiction workshops, and workshops that connect creative writing with environmental topics. I’m fascinated by the different ways people learn, and I’m always working to adapt class material to student needs and interests. I’ve also been lucky enough to be a Fulbright scholar twice, once in Morocco and once in Bhutan (Fulbright is a US government educational exchange program and a form of public diplomacy.) Writing has opened up so many opportunities for me.
Much of my work now aims to contribute to a re-grounding of human life and values at this time of rising temperatures and rising tensions. By re-grounding, I mean both re-establishing cultural values on a more solid footing and also literally reconnecting with the earth through storytelling, listening, agro-ecology, and other strategies. For more background, check out my profile at betsydotgallery.wordpress.com.