William Gleason

Although the bulk of my teaching and research focuses on prose, I have a strong interest in 19th-century American poetry, particularly anti-slavery poetry.  I recently published an essay on a long-lost poem about slave rebellion by Frederick Douglass that originally appeared in one of his newspapers—an excellent source for uncollected anti-slavery poetry, by the way.  See “Volcanoes and Meteors: Douglass, Melville, and the Poetics of Insurrection” in Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, eds. Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter (North Carolina, 2008), pp. 110-33.  I am also very interested in American children’s poetry, particularly the playful early variants of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, such as the counting rhyme printed below.

from Mother Goose’s Melody: or, Sonnets for the Cradle (1814):

Intry mintry cutry corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn,
Wire, brier, limber lock,
Five geese in a flock:
Set and sing by the spring,
O, U, T, out,
With an old rotten dish clout;
Over yonder steep hills,
Where my father dwells,
He hath jewels, rings,
Very many pretty things;
Strike Jack, lick Tom,
Blow the bellows, old man,
Ee, oo, black finger,
Out of the game.