Samia Rahimtoola

Assistant Professor of English

Teaching this semester

ENGL 2000. Contemporary Literature

Intermediate Seminar. Examines "the contemporary" as both our current historical moment in the twenty-first century and an experience of coming to grips with the present. Questions how writers conceive of the now, and how their representations of the present can help in understanding emergent phenomena such as drone warfare, climate crisis, Black Lives Matter, and the function of art in the current century. To help assess what, if anything, might be new about contemporary life and literature, explores various critical and theoretical approaches to the present. Focuses on twenty-first-century American texts including poetry, prose, and a significant body of cross-genre works. Authors may include Margaret Atwood, Junot Diaz, Renee Gladman, Ben Lerner, Dawn Lundy Martin, Maggie Nelson, and Claudia Rankine.

ENGL 2553. Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Introduces students to major themes, genres, and innovations of modern and contemporary American poetry. By focusing on a small selection of poems by a wide range of poets, the course foregrounds the sprawling, heterogeneous landscape of American poetry. Along the way, we will attend to prominent themes, trends, and heated disputes that surface between poets as they debate what poetry is and why it matters. Key movements include Modernism, Imagism, Harlem Renaissance, Black Mountain, Black Arts, New York School, and others. Poets may include T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Adrienne Rich, Larry Eigner, and Alice Notley.

My research areas are 20th/21st-century American literature, with a special focus on poetry, the nonfiction essay, and literature of the environment. I also focus on globalization studies, ecocriticism, and critical theory.

I teach the American 20th-century quite broadly, and I also love to range outside of the century to teach environmental cultures going all the way back to early America. I enjoy teaching courses that open up to contemporary social, political, and environmental challenges, while also attending to the formal intricacies of language on the page.


  • B.A., Reed College; Portland. Oregon
  • Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley; Berkely, California