Brad Leithauser, Program Chair

Brad Leithauser, a novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, and professor at The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, is the chair of the MA in Teaching Writing Program, the MA in Writing Program and the Science Writing Program in the Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins. As chair, Leithauser advises the programs and their leadership on academic issues and serves as liaison with the Writing Seminars, the full-time Hopkins faculty, and with university leadership.

Leithauser’s most recent poetry collection, The Oldest Word for Dawn (2013), and his latest novel, The Art Student’s War (2009) are his 13th and 14th book to be published by Knopf. His earlier books include five collections of poetry, five previous novels, and various volumes that fall out of the usual categories, such as the novel-in-verse Darlington’s Fall, as well as two volumes of light verse with illustrations by his brother Mark Leithauser, Lettered Creatures and Toad to a Nightingale (Godine).

A MacArthur Fellow from 1983 to 1988, Leithauser was inducted into the Order of the Falcon by the President of Iceland in 2005 for his service in promoting Icelandic literature. As a former drama critic for Time magazine, he has a special interest in American popular music and musical theater and writes frequently on these subjects and others for The New York Review of Books. He is also the author of Penchants and Places (essays), and the editor both of The Norton Book of Ghost Stories and No Other Book, a selection of Randall Jarrell’s prose.

Leithauser joined The Seminars faculty at Hopkins in 2008, having taught at Amherst College, the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and, for 21 years, Mount Holyoke College. His teaching interests include what he calls “modern alternatives to realism”—including such modes as science fiction and the supernatural. In addition to serving as chair of the Writing Program, Leithauser is Director of Graduate Studies at The Seminars.

Leithauser earned his BA from Harvard College in 1976 and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1980. He has been a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Iceland, a research fellow in law and culture in Japan, and has otherwise lectured or read in British Columbia, Kenya, and the Czech Republic. He also has lived in Italy and France. His essays, reporting, and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, American Scholar, and The New Republic. In addition to the MacArthur, his awards include: Two-time finalist in poetry for the National Book Critics Circle Award, New York Times Notable Book (five times) Peter I. B. Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and Ingram Merrill fellowship in poetry. His books are:

  • The Oldest Word for Dawn (poems, Knopf, 2013)
  • The Art Student’s War (novel, Knopf, 2009)
  • Toad to a Nightingale (light verse, David R. Godine; 2007)
  • Curves and Angles (poems, Knopf; 2006)
  • Lettered Creatures (light verse, David R. Godine; 2004)
  • Darlington’s Fall (novel in verse, Knopf; 2002)
  • A Few Corrections (novel, Knopf; 2001)
  • No Other Book: Selected Essays of Randall Jarrell (editor; Harper-Collins, 1999)
  • The Odd Last Thing She Did (poems; Knopf; 1998)
  • The Friends of Freeland (novel, Knopf; 1997)
  • Penchants and Places (essays, Knopf; 1995)
  • The Norton Book of Ghost Stories (editor; Norton; 1994)
  • Seaward (novel; Knopf; 1993)
  • The Mail from Anywhere (poems; Knopf; 1990)
  • Hence (novel; Knopf; 1989)
  • Cats of the Temple (poems; Knopf; 1986)
  • Equal Distance (novel; Knopf; 1985)
  • Hundreds of Fireflies (poems; Knopf; 1982)

In England:

  • Between Leaps: Poems 1972-1985 and The Mail from Anywhere (Oxford University Press)

Leithauser takes over as Writing Program Chair from John T. Irwin, the distinguished poet and scholar and Decker Professor in the Humanities at Hopkins. Irwin served as chair of the program for more than a decade and helped found its summer Hopkins Conference on Craft.

Brad-Leithauser_Biography