May 9, 2013

Graduate award in poetry honors Alan Young-Bryant

Alan Young-Bryant
Young-Bryant

A new endowed fund and an annual award for Ph.D. students researching dissertations on poetry have been established in memory of a recent Cornell alumnus and poetry scholar.

The Alan Young-Bryant Ph.D. ’11 Memorial Fund, endowed by Young-Bryant’s friends, family and colleagues, and the Alan Young-Bryant Memorial Graduate Award in Poetry will provide support for Ph.D. students studying lyric poetry.

Jane E. Kim, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in English language and literature, has been selected to receive the inaugural award.

Young-Bryant, M.A. ’07, Ph.D. ’11, died in December at age 32. He was remembered as a “brilliant” scholar and teacher by his advisers, colleagues and students. He studied works by poets including Gerard Manley Hopkins and Algernon Charles Swinburne for his dissertation, “Perverse Form and Victorian Lyric.”

The award in his name will provide a summer stipend each year for one or two graduate students completing a dissertation on poetry. The competitive award supports ongoing research after the completion of a fifth year of graduate study.

Jane Kim
Kim

Ph.D. students typically receive five years of guaranteed support, including four summers. The additional support for those finishing their dissertations is “considered as an essential bridge between graduate study and embarking [on a] career as a literary scholar,” said Marianne Marsh, Department of English administrative director.

Kim’s research interests include 19th-century British literature, Romantic poetry and drama, allegory, and the Bible and literature. Her dissertation examines the influence of Dante as a poet-theologian on Romantic conceptions of the poet and poetry.

“Though Alan worked primarily on Victorian poetry and Jane’s dissertation focuses on Romantic poetry, she shares his acute appreciation for the formal, stylistic and metaphorical richness of poetic language,” said Roger Gilbert, Department of English chair and member of Kim’s dissertation committee.

Kim has taught three first-year writing seminars at Cornell – Beginnings and Endings: Stories of Creation and Apocalypse; The Private Life: The Ordering of Inner Thoughts in Devotional Literature; and Great Books: Exploring the Literary Tradition – and served as a teaching assistant in the Department of English. She has published articles on Romantic poetry and drama in journals including SEL: Studies in English Literature and European Romantic Review.

“Jane Kim is one of the brightest graduate students I’ve taught and supervised in the last decade,” said Professor Emeritus A. Reeve Parker, who chairs Kim’s dissertation committee. “[She] has a remarkable ear for intertextual resonances, especially among Biblical and medieval texts and British Romantic poems and plays … [and a] deep interest in late 18th- and early 19th-century women writers … reflected in her successful freshman teaching at Cornell.”

Award recipients are selected by the director of graduate studies in English. The memorial fund is administered by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in consultation with the chair of the Department of English.

“Alan Young-Bryant was an immensely talented young critic of English poetry, and it is wonderfully appropriate that his family and friends have created this memorial in his honor,” said his former thesis adviser, Jonathan Culler, the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature.