Profile for Thomas Jesse

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Thomas Jesse

Pronouns: he/him/his
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

20 & 21c American Literature, Secondary English Education, Poetry and Poetics, Rhetorical Approaches to Literature

Brief biography

Dr. Tom Jesse is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse whose research areas include 20th/21st c. American poetry and critical pedagogy in English Language Arts classrooms (grades 6-12).

His scholarly writing has previously appeared in KB Journal (2013), Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Literature (U of Mississippi, 2020), and Pacific Coast Philology (2021). His essay on teaching the poetry of 9/11 will appear in the forthcoming collection, Teaching 9/11 and its Aftermaths (MLA "Options for Teaching" Series), and he is currently at work on a scholarly monograph focusing on some of the lesser-known works from American poet John Ashbery's lengthy career. Dr. Jesse has also presented research at regional and national conferences in multiple disciplines — including NeMLA, PAMLA, and ALA (literature), RSA and the Kenneth Burke Society (rhetoric), and NCTE (education).

In addition to general education classes in first-year writing and American literature, he regularly teaches upper-level courses in early American literature, young adult literature, and secondary English methods. He also supervises student teachers throughout the greater La Crosse area each semester.

Current courses at UWL

ENG 110: College Writing
ENG 351: Workshop in Classroom Management
ENG 355: English in the Middle Grades
EDS 492: Student Teaching Seminar


Ph.D., Texas Christian University (2015)
Dissertation: "Rhetoricizing the Avant-Garde: The Illegible as Argument"

M.A., University of Central Florida (2005)
Secondary English Language Arts

B.A., University of Miami, FL (2003)
English and Philosophy


Teaching history

ENG 110: College Writing
ENG 112: College Writing AP
ENG 200: Literature and Human Experience ("Bestsellers in American Literature")
ENG 201: American Literature I
ENG 202: American Literature II
ENG 200 / ENG 210 / ERS 210: Literature of Black America
ENG 210 / RGS 210: Literature of Black America
ENG 301: Foundations of Literary Studies
ENG 341: Pedagogical Approaches to Adolescent Literature
ENG 370: Early American Literature
ENG 380: Literature of American Ethnic and Minority Cultures
ENG 403: Individual Project
ENG 405: Teaching and Learning English in the Secondary School
ENG 411: English Education Capstone
ENG 451: Curriculum & Assessment Seminar
ENG 455: Teaching and Learning English in the Secondary Classroom
ENG 470: Seminar in American Literature ("Poetry and/as Politics")
EDS 492: Student Teaching Seminar

Professional history

Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (2021-Present)
Assistant Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (2015-21)
Doctoral Teaching Fellow, Texas Christian University (2014-15)
Graduate Instructor, Texas Christian University (2011-14)
High School English Teacher, Seminole County Public Schools (2005-10)

Research and publishing


"John Ashbery's Unexceptional Politics" -- LINK
Pacific Coast Philology (Vol. 55, No. 2, 2021)

"Manufacturing Manhood: Young Adult Fiction and Masculinity(ies) in the 21st Century"
Chapter in Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Young Adult Literature (2020, University Press of Mississippi) -- LINK
[Co-authored with Dr. Heidi Jones]

Review of Bryan Crable's Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke (KB Journal, Fall 2013) -- LINK
[Co-authored with Dr. Tyler Branson, Dr. Sharon Harris, and Dr. Joel Overall]


"Kenneth Goldsmith's Capital and the Poetics of Everything" (2021 PAMLA Conference in Las Vegas, NV)

"Humor as 'Unexceptional Politics' in John Ashbery's The Tennis Court Oath" (2019 PAMLA Conference in San Diego, CA)

“Raising (Critical) Voices: Preparing Teachers for Critical Pedagogies in the ELA Classroom” (2018 NCTE Conference in Houston, TX)

“Tell It Slant: Dickinson, Wittgenstein, and the Poetics of Truth” (2018 PAMLA Conference in Bellingham, WA)

"Voices of Advocacy in Imaginary Worlds: Teaching Speculative Fiction with Critical Literacy, Feminist, and Queer Theory Perspectives" (2016 NCTE Conference in Atlanta, GA)

"Curating Capitalism: Walter Benjamin, Kenneth Goldsmith, and the 21st Century Archive" (2016 PAMLA Conference in Pasadena, CA)

"Pedagogies of Poetry: The Transformational Rhetorics of Lyn Hejinian and Susanne Langer" (2016 Rhetoric Society of America Conference in Atlanta, GA)