Lukas Moe

Visiting Lecturer in the Writing Program


Modern poetry, poetics, and the avant-garde; radical cultures and social movements; literary institutions; the literary history of labor and class

My research focuses on the formal imagination and cultural work of poetry in the twentieth-century United States. I'm interested in how poems circulate in contexts of social struggle, class identity, and racial formation. This historical dimension of my research overlaps with my curiosity about literature's capacity to fire our passions, to sustain our commitments, and to inspire us to feel and think beyond our habitual ways of being and talking about ourselves, our communities, and institutions.

In my book in progress, I argue that modernist concepts of autonomy and medium helped to shape the radical cultural politics and multiethnic pluralism of postwar American poetry.

I teach a first-year writing course on "the gift," which covers a range of topics from creativity and debt to philanthropy and effective altruism, and another on "building a better world," which explores the utopian ideals and practical strategies of human rights, feminism, socialism, decarbonization, among other worldmaking projects. I see writing as a practice, one that we improve as we do more of it. But it can feel daunting and frustrating, too. In my class we'll look to a variety of models and writing styles, not expecting ourselves to be perfect and celebrating the improvements we make. I encourage my students to undertake independent research, find topics that matter to them, and to write in genres and styles that feel energizing and urgent.

Besides my scholarly interests, I enjoy writing for public audiences in venues including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Social Text, and Chicago Review.