Katie Knippler '22
Summer Plans: Research Associate
Hometown: Hanover, NH
Major: English, German minor
I’m spending this summer exploring the concept of home in the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, an American poet born in Worcester. I’m interested in pursuing this topic because Bishop lived in various countries and cities and wrote about her relationship to these places in her poetry. I’m curious to learn about which of these places Bishop considered home.
I’m enhancing my understanding of home by interviewing Mary Fell—a Worcester poet who won the National Poetry Series Award for a book of poems mostly set in Worcester—about her understanding of the concept of home. I found it interesting to learn about Fell’s perspective of home as an emotional connection to a place, rather than a physical location.
I am a Research Associate for Professor Susan Sweeney, and I have been helping her develop the “Mapping Worcester in Poetry Project,” which is a project that aims to identify, document and mark sites in Worcester that are either associated with major Worcester poets or described in their poetry. I was prepared for this larger project because of all the opportunities I had at Holy Cross to learn about the topic in different ways—I had spent most of the fall semester studying Bishop, reading a biography on her, and attending readings on Bishop’s poems and a lecture by a Bishop scholar. By working on this project, I gained a deeper understanding of Bishop’s life and her poetry.
This summer research experience has influenced both my short- and long-term plans. I was accepted into the College Honors Program this past year, and I am considering writing my senior thesis on the meaning of home as it is expressed in transnational poetry. This opportunity also helped me to sharpen many skills that I think are beneficial to a potential career in law or academia.
Click to read more student summer profiles: Paulina Martin ’21, Ramses Taveras ’22, Elizabeth Larkin ’21, Charlie Millard ’22, Mandusu Sidibay ’21, Christopher Smith ’22, Christina Casey ’22, Billy Fitzpatrick ’20 and Tatiana Thompson ’22.
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