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Al Filreis

Kelly Family Professor of English; Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing; Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House

Kelly Writers House 301

Office Hours

By appointment only.

Alan Filreis has published books on the literary politics of modern poetry, a new edition of the radical 1943 novel Tucker's People by Ira Wolfert (Illinois, 1998) an edition of Wallace Stevens's correspondence with Jose Rodriguez Feo (Secretaries of the Moon, 1986), and many articles on modern poetry and painting, and the literary and cultural politics of the 1950s. Stevens and the Actual World, a literary biography of Wallace Stevens, was published by Princeton University Press. Another book, Modernism from Right to Left, was published by Cambridge University Press. His most recent book is Counter-revolution of the Word: The Conservative Attack on Modern Poetry, 1945-1960 (University of North Carolina Press).

Filreis has won nearly every teaching award Penn gives, including the Lindback Award and the Ira Abrams Award. He was also named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year in 2000 by the Carnegie Foundation. Aside from teaching modern American poetry, he has offered a series of courses on twentieth-century American decades, and another on the literature of the Holocaust.

He is Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, which in 2003 brought together all of Penn's writing programs. He is  founder and Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House at 3805 Locust Walk. With Charles Bernstein, he co-founded and co-directs PennSound, the world's largest archive of recordings of poets performing their work. He is the Publisher of Jacket2 magazine. He is a member of several boards, including that of the Wallace Stevens Journal and the Writers Center at SUNY Purchase, and is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of Frost Valley ( He served for many years as the Chairman of the Board of XPN (88.5 FM; and as Chair of the Residential Faculty Council at Penn.

He frequently lectures on humanities computing, digital poetics, and teaching with technology. Students are invited to follow him through Facebook, Google Plus, twitter, Yelp, and by daily RSS feeds from Jacket2. Subscribe to his commentary at .

ongoing commentary (blog):
twitter feed: @afilreis
links to publications:
1950s web site:
Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing:
Kelly Writers House:
Jacket2 magazine:
RSS feed:


News & Events


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Gregory Wolmart "Styles of Anarchic Will in Cold War American Literature"


Victor R. Tulli "Indecent Reading, Literature, Obscenity Law, and U.S. Culture, 1952-1966"


Sam Choi "Machines of Metaphor: Myths and Materials of Computer Culture"


Timothy F. Waples "'A Harrowing State to Maintain': Individualism and Identity in the Cold War Careers of Ralph Ellison, Mary McCarthy, and Frank O'Hara"

Courses Taught

fall 2024

fall 2023

spring 2023

fall 2022

spring 2022

fall 2021

spring 2021

fall 2020

fall 2019

spring 2019

fall 2018

spring 2018

fall 2017

spring 2017

fall 2016

spring 2016

fall 2015

fall 2014

spring 2014

fall 2013

spring 2013

fall 2012

spring 2012

fall 2011

spring 2011

fall 2010

ENGL 088.001 Modern American Poetry  

spring 2010

fall 2009

spring 2009

fall 2008

spring 2008

spring 2007

fall 2006

spring 2006

spring 2005

fall 2004

spring 2004

spring 2003

fall 2002

spring 2002

fall 2001

ENGL 299.301 Inde  
ENGL 589.301 Modern and Contemporary American Poetry canceled  

spring 2001

fall 2000

ENGL 199.303 Independent Study  
ENGL 288.301 Contemporary Experimental Poetry canceled  

summer 2000

ENGL 088.935 Modern American Poetry  

spring 2000

ENGL 088.001 American Poetry  
ENGL 199.301 Advanced Poetry Writing  
ENGL 299.304 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.306 Independent Study  

spring 1999

ENGL 199.313 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.309 Independent Study  

fall 1998

ENGL 199.310 Independent Study  
ENGL 199.314 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.307 Holocaust  

spring 1998

ENGL 199.314 Independent Study  

fall 1997

ENGL 199.311 Independent Study  
ENGL 592.301 The American 1950's  

spring 1997

ENGL 199.303 Independent Study  
ENGL 199.304 Independent Study  

fall 1996

ENGL 088.401 Modern American Poetry  

spring 1996

ENGL 299.320 Recalibrating the Core  

fall 1995

ENGL 285.401 The American 1950s  

spring 1995

ENGL 088.401 Modern American Poetry  
ENGL 299.318 Female Romantic Poets  
ENGL 299.322 Asian American Literature