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David LeBlanc

David LeBlanc

English Graduate Assistant

202 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

State College , PA 16802

Office Hours:

  • Spring 2020:
  • By appointment only

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV


  1. B.A. Keene State College, 2008. English, Writing. Magna Cum Laude.
  2. M.F.A. University of Southern Maine, 2015. Creative Writing: Poetry.
  3. M.A. Pennsylvania State University, 2018. English.

Professional Bio


I am a second-year PhD student studying British Romanticism, Ecocriticism, and Aesthetics in the Anthropocene. My research focuses primarily on the poetry of the British Romantic tradition. I have recently presented at NASSR on Charlotte Smith, and much of my current research is concerned with Smith’s poetry. Smith, often better known for her novels, wrote a series of elegiac sonnets and two long poems, The Emigrants and Beachy Head. I am particularly interested in how the latter employs multiple genres—the pastoral, epic, chronicle, georgic, and elegy—to craft a unique narrative space that scrutinizes and ultimately reconfigures Romantic conventions of nature, politics, and economics in the Anthropocene.

As the above example suggests, my interests tend to lie at the intersection of ecocritical concerns and the history of aesthetics. My research seeks to illuminate how issues and features of ecology were aestheticized by British Romantic poets, and how this aesthetic process in turn helped shape the cultural, and ultimately political, ecological reckonings of their era. Ultimately, I hope to contemporize these topics as I delineate how the aestheticized ecologies of the Romantics persist in the ecocritical conversations of today.

Digital Beaumont & Fletcher Project (1647)

As graduate assistant for the PSU Digital Beaumont & Fletcher Project, I work in collaboration with University Library departments to combine conventional bibliographical analysis with Digital Humanities methods as I help create an open-access, student-edited digital edition of PSU’s 1647 folio of Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher’s Comedies and Tragedies. Apart from being a rare book, the PSU folio is unique in that it contains three plays marked up for performance in an Early Modern hand. My work as graduate assistant includes encoding the folio in XML following TEI guidelines, using bibliographical and paleographical methods to research the folio’s provenance, acting as general editor for the play The Sea Voyage, and helping maintain the public-facing initiative to promote the project online and at events and conferences.

Rhodian Poems

I am currently working on my first book of poems which I hope to have ready for publication by Spring of 2020. Set in ancient Rhodes, the poems leverage the texts, cultures, and practices of antiquity in an effort to better understand contemporary cultural landscapes and problems. Issues of migrant crises, the shifting power dynamics of modern democracy, and problematic wealth disparity are all central to the book. These poems take an ancient Rhodian lyric fragment of a children’s ritual begging song as their wellspring. At its heart the book asks: “What does it mean to beg for food in a society that has built the Colossus?”


I enjoy teaching introductory rhetoric and composition courses that deal with the complex rhetorical situations one encounters when analyzing and producing purposeful language. I challenge my students to better understand the rhetorical landscapes they inhabit. I find their own work and ideas often animates and informs my own. I encourage students to discover new and creative ways of using language effectively, and have taught several who have gone on to publish with Penn State’s university press.

When teaching more advanced courses in Writing for the Social Sciences and Technical Writing, I help students balance abstract theory with practical knowledge. Students in my courses approach the complex communication in their own fields with a rhetorical frame of mind. Students also engage with the kinds of professional documents they will likely encounter after they graduate. Students learn the nuances and conventions of their fields and produce writing that will ultimately help them in their professional lives.