Commercial and Literary Production in the 20th-century Southwestern United States

I am interested in the ways modernist editorial practices positioned the American Southwest as the conceptual and geographical center of poetic innovation. Using southwestern Indian tribes as both symbol and resource, modernist editors and poets created a new vocabulary to describe modern alienation and to prescribe its redemption. These editorial practices were developed alongside the early twentieth-century advertising strategies of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. Working together, poets and railway executives published and circulated their shared vision of the Southwest, one premised on cultural nationalism and manifested in a carefully curated regional aesthetic that positioned the American Indian as proof of Anglo American exceptionalism. This project highlights the overlooked publication venues of literary modernism, including railway promotional materials and regional presses, to reveal the ways modernist poets traversed regional boundaries and conceptual binaries by using Indian art and culture to reinvigorate modernist poetry.

My manuscript, Southwestern Poetry and the Business of Modernist Publishing, is currently under preparation for submission to to the University of Massachusetts Press for consideration in the Print Culture and History of the Book series.

I have forthcoming articles on this topic in the forthcoming “Poetry Networks” special issue of College Literature and in the forthcoming special digital humanities issue of Amerikastudien.

The Amerikastudien article analyzes my own practices when digitizing the railway’s advertising materials and writing metadata for the Fred Harvey Company Materials Digital Collection, which is featured in Southern Methodist University’s U.S. West Collection.

The archival silences of Native American voices in the southwestern commercial project has led me to embark on a digital humanities project in which I collect data and metadata from southwestern archives to visualize representation and resistance among Indigenous people who were represented in railway advertisements, modernist art, and who often collaborated with both commercial and artistic interests in the Southwest.