“Give Me Both Burdens”: An Interview with Stephen Cushman About the Place of the “Poet-Scholar”

Stephen Cushman is a man who wears many hats: poet, literary scholar, historian, and teacher. His oeuvre reflects this diversity; he has published six collections of poetry, two books of literary criticism, and two books about the Civil War, and is the general editor of the fourth edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. He is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia and the 2019-20 recipient of the Rogers Distinguished Fellow in 19th-Century American History from the Huntington Library, among other honors. I spoke with him over Zoom about some of these various pursuits and about his forthcoming work, a book of history titled The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today and a book of poetry titled Keep the Feast.