Elizabeth H. Sagaser

Associate Professor of English

Office: Miller Library 218 [ campus map ]
Box 5268

Phone: 207-859-5268
Fax: 207-859-5252
Mailing Address:
5268 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8852
Sagaser, Elizabeth H.


B.A. Brown University
Ph.D. Brandeis University

Areas of Expertise

  • poetry and poetics
  • early modern English language, literature and culture
  • Emily Dickinson and 19th-c. American culture and politics
  • cognitive science, neruophilosophy, intellectual and material history

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
EN115F AEnglish Composition
EN264 AComparative Studies: Emily Dickinson and English Poetry
EN314 A17th-Century Poetry
EN3XXC AReframing the Renaissance
EN3XXE AGender and Genre in Early English Writing by Women

Other Courses Taught

CourseCourse Title
EN493Lyric Self and Other (senior seminar)
EN264Emily Dickinson and English Poetry
EN31417th-century Poetry and Politics
EN313Renaissance Poetry
EN271Critical Theory
EN265British Literary History I (1580-1830)

Professional Information

Elizabeth Harris Sagaser's research and teaching encompass poetry and poetics, early modern culture, intellectual history, literary transmission (particularly 19th c. American engagements with early modern English poetry), and current work in cognitive science, particularly the ways literary studies and cognitive psychology can illuminate each other. She teaches and has published on Shakespeare's Sonnets, Spenser, Daniel, Mary Sidney Herbert, Milton's short poems, and Renaissance literary culture, including a critically acclaimed essay on teaching form and meter (see "Flirting with Eternity,"​ below). Her current courses and projects involve Emily Dickinson as cross-century reader/writer and intersections of poetry, cognitive studies and intellectual history. Her senior seminar, "Lyric Self and Other,"​ brings into conversation ideas from linguistics, philosophy, and psychology as well as poetics. Sagaser's publications include poems and personal essays as well as scholarship. The underlying concern of much of her research, teaching and writing is how people have used, and do use, literature--especially poetry-- to grapple with their knowledge of mortality and the failings of our species.

Current Research

transatlantic poetry, particularly Shakespeare in America and Dickinson's reading and poetics.


"The Renaissance, 1500-1660," article in "England, Poetry of." The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth ed., Roland Greene, et. al. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 414-420, 428.
"Pursuing the Subtle Thief: Teaching Time and Meter in Milton's Short Poems," Approaches to Teaching Milton's Shorter Poetry and Prose, Peter C. Herman, ed. (New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America; 2007), 88-96.

"Elegiac Intimacy: Pembroke's 'To the Angell Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney,'"
The Sidney Journal 23 (2005): 111-132.
"Flirting with Eternity: Teaching Form and Meter in a Renaissance Poetry Course,"Renaissance Literature and the Questions of Form, ed. Mark Rasmussen (New York: Palgrave at St. Martin's Press, 2002), 185-206.
"'Sporting the While': Carpe Diem and the Cruel Fair in Samuel Daniel's Delia and The Complaint of Rosamond," Exemplaria 10 (1998): 145-170.
"Shakespeare's Sweet Leaves: Mourning, Pleasure, and the Triumph of Thought in the Renaissance Love Lyric," ELH 61 (1994): 1-26.
"'Gathered in Time': Form, Meter (and Parentheses) in The Shepheardes Calender," Spenser Studies 10 (1992): 95-107.
"Poetry, the First Milk," The Chronicle of Higher Education (2/11/2011, Vol. 57 Issue 23): B11-B13
"Holding Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand," Tennis, (March 2007, Miller Sports Group LLC): 90-94.
"'No Proper Sphere' for Mum, but She Made One for Me," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sect.2, Aug.10, 2001, B5.
Double review: Pamela S. Hammons, Poetic Resistance: English Women Writers and the Early Modern Lyric (Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2002) and Sidney L. Sondergard, Sharpening Her Pen: Strategies of Rhetorical Violence by Early Modern English Women Writers (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna UP; London: Associated UP, 2002), Renaissance Quarterly 57.1 (2004): 339-341.
Helen Vendler, The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets (Harvard UP, 1997), Sixteenth Century Journal 29 (1998): 858-860.
Barbara Estrin, Laura: Uncovering Gender and Genre in Wyatt, Donne, and Marvell (Duke UP), Renaissance Quarterly 51 (1998): 310-311.
"Easter Bunny," The Southern Review 40 (2004): 478; "Sometimes" "I Will," The Southern Review 36 (2000): 534-536; "Eve of Conception (I)," "Eve of Conception (II)," Chicago Review 38 (1992): 65-6; "Love Without Poems,"Prairie Schooner 65 (1991): 115-116.


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