William Harmon

Email:   harmonw@live.unc.edu


James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor Emeritus


William Harmon, who has degrees from the University of Chicago, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University of Cincinnati, is the James Gordon Hanes Professor Emeritus in the Humanities. After coming to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1970 he taught more than thirty-five different undergraduate and graduate courses in literature, composition, and creative writing. His specialties were modern literature in particular and poetry in general. He has published five books of original poetry, including winners of the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets (Treasury Holiday, 1970) and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America (Mutatis Mutandis, 1985). He is the editor of The Oxford Book of American Light Verse and a number of anthologies, CD ROMs, and online projects sponsored by Columbia University Press, including The Classic Hundred Poems, The Top 500 Poems, and Classic Writings on Poetry. Since 1984 he has been the editor of A Handbook to Literature (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th editions; 13th forthcoming). With his UNC CH colleagues Louis Rubin and Lee Smith he produced a parody magazine called Uneeda Review (1984). He has published scholarly articles in many journals, including PMLA and The American Anthropologist; as well as poems, notes, essays, and reviews. In 1977 he was given a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship for study in literature and social science. In 1999 and 2008 he received the Robert B. Heilman Award given by The Sewanee Review for excellence in book-reviewing. In 2004-06 he was the vice-president of the T. S. Eliot Society and editor of the society’s Newsletter; in 2007 he began a three-year term as president of the Society. Between 2010 and 2012 he finished his service to the Society as Supervisor of Elections and then resumed his place among the mere members. He is also a member of the Board of Literary Management of the Estate of the Late Laura (Riding) Jackson. He has finished a book about the relations between the English writer Charles Montagu Doughty and the American writers Laura (Riding) Jackson and Schuyler B. Jackson (contracted). In 2012 Wiley-Blackwell published his Poetry Toolkit for Readers and Writers. He and his wife, Dr. Anne Harmon (a researcher in Public Health), are Wilson Library Fellows and members of the Chancellor’s Club. They now live in Oxford, NC, where he writes an occasional column in the local newspaper.