College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Dan Barden1

Author of John Wayne: A Novel and The Next Right Thing (2011), Dan Barden received his M.F.A. from Columbia University and has published fiction and essays in GQ, Details, and various literary magazines. Before coming to Butler he held the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore writer-in-residence at The George Washington University. In addition to teaching creative writing courses in fiction, poetry, and personal essay, Dan also writes plays. His wife owns Indianapolis' best independent bookstore, Big Hat Books. Dan grew up in California-was born, in fact, within sight of Disneyland, a fact which is precious to him.



y between rhetorical theories and popular culture, with a specific interest in horror literature and films. He has taught courses in The Culture of Fear, Haunted Spaces and People, The Frankenstein Myth, and is developing courses in Vampires and Vampirism and Zombie Literature and Film. His most current research considers the debates over tradition and revision in zombie films (think Night of the Living Dead vs. 28 Days Lat

Rocky Colavito

Joseph Rocky Colavito (BA, MA St. Bonaventure University, PhD University of Arizona) is trained as specialist in rhetorical theory and the teaching of writing, and much of his research considers the interplay between rhetorical theories and popular culture, with a specific interest in horror literature and films. He has taught courses in The Culture of Fear, Haunted Spaces and People, The Frankenstein Myth, and is developing courses in Vampires and Vampirism and Zombie Literature and Film. His most current research considers the debates over tradition and revision in zombie films (think Night of the Living Dead vs. 28 Days Later), the movie adaptation of the zombie novel Pontypool Changes Everything, and literary pastiche that thrusts zombie mayhem into classic works of literature (e.g. Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies). When not preoccupied with all things horror, Dr. Colavito is an avid follower of college sports and forever trying out new variations on recipes for chili and, as his late grandma used to call it, "sauce."

Dahlie Picture 2

Michael Dahlie's first novel, A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living, came out in 2008 with W.W. Norton and won the 2009 Pen/Hemingway Award.  He's also the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2010 Whiting Award.  His next novel, The Best of Youth, will be published with Norton in January 2013.  Michael Dahlie's short fiction has appeared in magazines and journals such as Harper's, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares.  He received a BA from Colorado College and an MFA from Washington University in St Louis.


H Flanzbaum

Sprung from a cage off highway nine, Hilene Flanzbaum earned her M.A. at Johns Hopkins and her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. She currently heads the department while teaching courses in American literature especially poetry, Holocaust Studies and creative writing. She has published numerous articles on American poetry and on Jewish Studies; her poetry and creative non-fiction has appeared in journals from Ploughshares to O Magazine; and she has edited two books, The Americanization of the Holocaust and Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology. Research for a memoir she is currently writing took her to Paris, where she fell in love with walking through the city. She also loves dogs (especially her bichon frise named Bella), poetry, crossword puzzles, a cat named Max, the beach and swimming - not necessarily in that order. Two teenage daughters keep her apprised of the latest trends in popular music and culture.

Chris Forhan

Inspired by the pop tunes of his youth and the gift of a cheap guitar, Chris Forhan began writing songs. During the grim period of puberty, he relied excessively on the E minor chord. As the years went by and his limited musical ability became embarrassingly apparent, he dropped the music, kept the words, and realized he'd been trying to write poetry all along. He kept at it, even during a brief first career as a television reporter, a life he abandoned in large part because it meant he had to keep his hair nice and work on Christmas. Three decades later, after earning graduate degrees from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Virginia, Forhan has published three books of poetry: Black Leapt In; The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars; and Forgive Us Our Happiness. His writing has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. At Butler, he teaches poetry writing and courses on modern and contemporary poetry. He is still fond of E minor.

Garver 101

Lee Garver, Assistant Professor.  B.A. Northwestern Universtiy; M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago.  Expertise: 20th Century British Literature, Modernism and the Historical Avant-Garde, Film.

J Goldsmith

After six years as a derivatives trader in New York, Jason Goldsmith returned to graduate school at the University of Virginia. When not exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains on his bicycle, he drew on his experience in finance to complete a dissertation on the celebrity branding and circulation of Romantic poets. A specialist in nineteenth-century poetry, media and culture, and critical theory, he has published essays on Robert Louis Stevenson, the Romantic poets John Clare and James Hogg, the Argentinean fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges, and existential phenomenology. He is currently working on a book entitled Cult Figures: The Spectacle of Romantic Nationalism, a portion of which appeared as the lead essay in Romanticism and Celebrity Culture. Jason offers classes in British Romanticism, poetry writing, mass-media celebrity, and drug culture. Since arriving at Butler, he has renewed a life-long interest in visual art and teaches a two-week class on art and nature in Britain's Lake District that allows him to share his passion for painting and photography with students. A solo exhibition of his work is scheduled for January 2011.

Andy Levy

Andrew Levy, current English Department Chair, Edna Cooper Professor, B.A. Brown University; M.A. Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania. Expertise: American Literature, American Studies, non-Fiction Writing.

Susan Neville

Susan Neville, Demia Butler Professor. B.A. DePauw University; M.F.A. Bowling Green State University. Expertise: Fiction and Creative non-Fiction Writing.

Reeves 101

The only former barrel racer-and the only Texan-in the department, Carol Reeves came to Butler after receiving her Ph.D. from Texas Christian University and has managed to live in Indiana for 20 years without losing her accent. Raised on a cattle farm, she brings practicality and iconoclasm to her research and her teaching. She is author of The Language of Science (1996) and has published articles about the language of AIDS, of mad cow disease, and the metaphors of the human genome. Carol offers classes on an array of interdisciplinary topics such as The Rhetoric of Science, literature and medicine; utopian and science fiction; communication and climate change; magazine writing and production; African-American literature; and AIDS and society. She is the former director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Science, Technology and Society program, which includes tracks in both Environmental and Health Studies.

Ania Spyra

A native of Upper Silesia Poland, where she earned her B.A. and her M.A., Ania Spyra completed her Ph.D. deep in the American heartland at the University of Iowa. An inveterate traveler, she has studied in Stockholm and Quebec, lived in England and Romania, and travelled extensively through Europe and the Americas, with shorter forays into Asia and Africa. Seasoned couch surfers, she, her husband, and their cat Kicha, regularly host international travelers in their broad ripple home. Ania has studied - "with various levels of success," she confesses - nine ("or ten if you include the two classes in Zulu") foreign languages. Combining these interests in her scholarship, she is currently working on a book on multilingual experiments in transnational literature. Her essays on cosmopolitanism and multilingualism as well as her creative non-fiction have appeared in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, World Literature Today and 91st Meridian. In the department, she teaches postcolonial and world literature classes focusing on the Caribbean, Ireland, India and Eastern Europe. When not exhorting her students to study abroad, she likes to practice yoga and fashion jewelry.

Brynnar Swenson

Brynnar Swenson received his Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society at The University of Minnesota in 2008. An interdisciplinary scholar, Brynnar teaches courses on American literature and culture focusing on economics as well as courses in cultural studies and critical theory. His research interests also include modern architecture, the development of consumer society, and the influence of the corporation on our private lives. Having spent twenty years in Minnesota, Brynnar is still getting used to living in the "south." When not reading books, he likes to brew beer, listen to jazz, and study French Cooking.

Walsh 101

Resident Shakespearean and department wit, William P. Walsh earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside. His research focuses primarily on performance issues in Renaissance and Restoration drama, and his most recent publications treat these issues in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet. Each summer he leads a group of students to the United Kingdom to see Shakespeare in Performance. He is quick to remind the rest of us that this is "a wicked task, but someone has to do it."  Bill has four children which means he does not have a life, but sometimes he makes furniture. He likes working with his hands and can cook at least four things besides hamburgers.

William Watts

Bill Watts, the department's medievalist, did his undergraduate degree at Carleton College and his Ph.D. at Boston University. He has published articles on Chaucer and other fourteenth-century poets, the medieval dream vision, and language and philosophy of the Middle Ages. His most recent article is on the intersection of language and philosophy in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. He offers courses on Chaucer, medieval literature, as well as Milton, The History of the English Language, and freshman-level writing courses. A devoted cyclist, he commutes to school by bicycle regardless of the weather, has commuted from Indianapolis to Kalamazoo, MI for the medievalist conference, and is training for the famed Paris-Brest-Paris ride in August 2011, which involves riding nearly 800 miles in four days. He and his wife are also interested in rediscovering healthy, home grown food-they live on an urban farm where they raise chickens, turkeys, sheep and keep a large garden.