Syllabi for a number of my courses are available by clicking on the course title. Examples of student work from my courses at Georgia Tech are available here. I’ve written about my multimodal pedagogy and the use of poetry and archival research in the first-year writing classroom here, here, here, and here.
Spring 2018: students viewing "Meadow" (1997) by Alex Katz at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta
Summer 2019: Students present at the iGniTe Summer Showcase
Summer 2019: Students volunteering at Aluma Farm on BeltLine Westside Trail
Spring 2019: Students at our end-of-semester New York School Research Showcase
Spring 2017: students in Skype conversation with poet Anselm Berrigan
Scholarship & Research
My scholarship explores the interdisciplinary poetics of post-WWII innovative American literature with a particular focus on the "second generation" New York School poets, roughly 1960-present.
I am currently conducting research in the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library in Emory University's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. My research has been supported by a Short-Term Fellowship at the Rose Library in the summer of 2016. My past archival work includes research at Stanford University, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Essex.
I'm currently writing a critical book on the poetry of Ted Berrigan.
My interest in Berrigan can be traced back to my undergraduate thesis on Allen Ginsberg and the intersections of Cold War-era politics and poetics.
In 2014, I began researching Berrigan's out-of-print novel Clear the Range, a cut-up, transformed Western that stands out in Berrigan's oeuvre not only as his only published work of extended prose but as an unmapped formal accompaniment to his seminal work The Sonnets. Clear the Range is currently in the process of being republished with the guidance of the Estate of Ted Berrigan.
An excerpt from Clear the Range:
“Ten years ago Cole Younger first came into the mountains. Ten years ago, The Sleeper could eat venison and sell beets. There’s nothing more pleasant than that. He was getting rich. Yes, he was getting rich. He was rich. Then Cole Younger came along and told The Sleeper that there wasn’t any room for any cows in the hills. The Sleeper laughed. So one day Cole Younger said to The Sleeper: “Clear the Range.”
The Sleeper laughed some more. Next day Cole Younger passed away.
We all expected that The Sleeper would kill himself. But he didn’t. No, his mind seemed to ‘cease fire.’ For ten years it has always been two months since then. And in the meantime the hills are covered with night. When you look for things, they seem hollow and you can see through them. But when the hills come up, they are red.
No harm in that.
You wonder, however, why? Well, I have heard that it is because strangers come to a strange country and they have passed their bounds.
“Yes,” said The Sleeper, “I remember that hazy something. I didn’t. I went on. Now I am here."
“Yes, how do you do?” said Cole Younger.
“No, that is not what I mean,” said The Sleeper. “It isn’t the dying man that runs from his dope.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Cole Younger.
“Perhaps you will see, before long,” said The Sleeper. “Tell me about this town. How old?”
“Old.” said Cole Younger.
“It is very old,” said The Sleeper.
“Well,” said Cole Younger, “it is this way. There is only one town. That is why they built it.”
“Are you sure?” said The Sleeper.
“There is only one way to be sure,” said Cole Younger.
“Well?” said The Sleeper, anxious to draw out more information.
“Get moving.” said Cole Younger. “When you get there, you’ll find a big wall. In the big wall, is a small door with a round top. Beside the small door with the round top in the big wall is a wire bell. When you pull the wire, you will ring the bell.”
“Ah so,” said The Sleeper.
“Then,” said Cole Younger, “Open the door. If the door is not opened at once, it never will be. Then you will never get inside. But if it is opened at once, go in, and someday you will know why. You go inside and you never come out.”
“What do you mean?” said The Sleeper.
“Senor,” said Cole Younger, “you are my friend. I have told you more than words.”
Sturm with poets Anne Waldman and Carrie Lorig at opening of exhibit "The Dream Machine: The Beat Generation & the Counterculture, 1940-1975" at Emory University
Crystal Setis a blog that traces and collects my research, archival work, and critical interests in innovative American poetries.
The "Crystal Set" series is a personal catalog that documents rare and out-of-print texts from the mimeograph era to the present. Work from the series has been featured at Locus Solus and Poetry Foundation.
The blog takes its name from a comment by Jack Spicer in his lecture, "Dictation and 'A Textbook of Poetry'" on June 13, 1965: "And I would think that we probably will always be crystal sets, at best." Spicer's "crystal set" is the poet as radio, a technology of the voice that links to another world, and also the poem itself, a magical arrangement. Since first reading Spicer's Vancouver lectures, I've adopted "crystal set" as a way to describe those wayward, necessary texts that constitute one's aesthetic and historical devotions. The spirit of the blog adapts Spicer's casual yet idiosyncratic idiom, re-reading wayward texts, charting archival research, and collecting the imperfect.
I edit TECHStyle, an online forum for multimodal pedagogy and research by the Brittain Fellows at Georgia Tech. With Aaron Colton and Kent Linthicum, the TECHStyle Committee functions as an editorial collective to publish and promote the writing, teaching, and research of current and former Brittain Fellows.
The Ivan Allen Digital Archive is a digital humanities project that collects the digitized mayoral records of Ivan Allen Jr., the 52nd mayor of Atlanta, from 1962 to 1970. The archive collects material from one of the most historic decades in Atlanta’s history. It functions as the primary archival resource for the history of Mayor Allen’s role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the history of race relations in 1960s Atlanta, the construction of the Atlanta Stadium, and the massive changes in desegregation, infrastructure, housing, and transportation overseen by Allen’s administration. Originally digitized by a team of researchers and students with the support of the Digital Integrated Liberal Arts Center (DILAC), this Omeka-based project continues to be developed as a pedagogical resource for use in the Writing and Communication Program at Georgia Tech.
In Summer 2019, Dr. Amanda Madden and I joined the project as pedagogical curators of the Ivan Allen Digital Archive. We have facilitated the use of the archive across the Writing and Communication Program by organizing the 10,000+ documents into curated digital exhibits and provided a detailed series of assignments and activities based on this material. We are continuing to develop this pedagogical framework for utilizing the archive and have applied for an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to further expand the project.
The Ivan Allen Digital Archive is composed of memos, draft notes, intra-administrative correspondence, local and national correspondence from citizens, business leaders, and politicians, minutes and announcements from civic committees and aldermanic meetings, photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, publications by civil rights organizations, television news reels, and oral histories.
My book of poetry, How We Light, was published in 2013 and reissued in 2018 by Big Lucks Books. I have also published a number of chapbooks, including Beautiful Out, A Basic Guide, What a Tremendous Time We're Having!, I Feel Yes, and the audio set Flowers and Money, as well as the collaborative chapbooks I Was Not Even Born, with Wendy Xu, and Nancy and the Dutch and Labor Day, with Carrie Lorig.
My manuscript-in-progress, Another Mona Bone Jakon, about family, music, gender, and pop culture, is forthcoming.
"Poem after poem of Nick Sturm’s is the embodiment of pure benevolence and joy. Filled with virtuosic surprises at every turn, this, my friends, is the poetry of the future." - Noelle Kocot
"Nick Sturm proclaims in the first poem of his collection, “I’m going to keep laughing until something gores me,” and proceeds to startle every page with his scaldingly funny, delightfully reckless linguistic breakdancing. How We Light is also a deeply moving book, a litany of heartbreaking assertions of what it means to be alive and mortal and surrounded and lonely and joyous and melancholy, at the same time, all the time. Sturm’s “basic guides” to autobiography, history, growing up, friendship, emergency, success, decision making, science, and truth will teach you more about how to be human than any self-help book. The instructions are that there are no instructions: “The pamphlet contains no information / regarding how little a bed can be or what / you are doing with those teacups.” Full of emotion and tenderness (and a kind of controlled anarchy), this is a book that will make the blood rush back into your brain." - Michael Dumanis
"The enthusiasm for Nick Sturm's "I Feel Yes" made me want to attempt a quasi-epic poem. My publishers should consider themselves warned." - Daniel Handler, editor of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 in SFWeekly
"Nick Sturm’s full-length poetry collection How We Light is an interesting foray into the mechanics of grief. At its heart, the majority of the poems concern a failed love affair. They ask questions of how and why we communicate even when that communication fails. While there are other minor themes replete throughout the volume, none of them surmount the near constant repetition of mouths, lips, faces, throats, and voices united in their inability to do what they were designed for. Referenced in almost every poem, they point to what becomes fetishism over loss, a sort of leitmotif for giving grief language." - Hannah Rodabaugh, review in Pank Magazine
"In Nick Sturm’s latest collection of poetry, How We Light, we awake in a field, strange with knowing. Or maybe we “climb into the machine and spend / two days thinking about lemonade”. This is not your standard conversation. We are not here to sit down feebly and speak in a quiet monotone. There is something much more vibrant at work here, something more avian and endless yes. Because of this, we are indoctrinated into Sturm’s unusual world almost immediately." - Dillon Welch, review in Heavy Feather Review
"Reading I FEEL YES is a small sadness in one way, in that its unabashed revelry makes apparent to me the myriad of little wrecks, tiny collapsings that have worked their way into me and people I love over the ensuing near-decade, how easy it was to get far removed from that precious internal space, because the ecstasy of it can seem distant. But it’s also an incredible joy, a lightning storm of wonderful news, in that one route back is so easily, poignantly available: a poem written and physically given to you by a friend." - Layne Ransom, review of chapbook I Feel Yes at Vouched Books.