Isaac Cates received his Ph.D. from Yale in 2002, where he studied how twentieth-century poets use ideas from the natural sciences. He also holds a Master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University in creative writing.

He has published articles and reviews on Modernist and contemporary poetry and poetics, and has written widely on comics and the graphic novel. He also has decades of editorial experience. He currently edits, publishes, and contributes to an award-winning all-ages comics series called Cartozia Tales.


Research and/or Creative Works

Essays on Louise Glück, Robinson Jeffers, Daniel Clowes (www.indyworld.com), etc.; numerous reviews of contemporary poetry (www.smartishpace.com - Unmentionables & www.smartishpace.com - Bucolics) and graphic novels. Poems in 32 Poems, Southern Poetry Review, Southwest Review, Hayden's Ferry Review (haydensferryreview.com), Unsplendid (www.unsplendid.com), etc.

Selected Poems

“Fidelity and the Dead Singer.”The American Scholar 28 February 2016.
“Topical Sonnets” (with Elizabeth Fenton) and “Legerdemain.”In The WRUV Reader, ed.
Chris Evans. 2012.
“Fallow Field” and “Ars Lapidarii.”Hayden’s Ferry Review 43 (Fall/Winter 2008-2009)

Selected Comics

Cartozia Tales(contributor, editor, and publisher). Nine issues, 2013–2016
“Draw Two Panels.”Okey-Pankey, October 2015.
“I Was Not This Guy”(with Mike Wenthe). I Saw You...: Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections, ed. Julia Wertz (Three Rivers Press, 2008).




cover of Daniel Clowes: Conversations Edited by Ken Parille and Isaac Cates

Daniel Cloves: Conversations. Ed. Ken  Parille and Isaac Cates. University Press of Mississippi, 2010.

Selected Articles

“Memory, Signal and Noise in the Collaborations of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.”Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art, ed. Jane Tolmie. University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
“On the Literary Use of Superheroes; or, Batman and Superman Fistfight in Heaven.”American Literature 83 (December 2011)
“The Inhumanist Poetics of Robinson Jeffers.”Raritan 30.3 (Winter 2011).


Awards and Recognition

Paul C. Gignilliat Dissertation Fellowship (1999)
Mellon Fellowship for Summer Study (1996)
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (1994)
Yale Academy of American Poets Prize (1995, 2001)
Albert Stanburrough Cook Prize in Poetry (2001, 2002)
Tennessee Williams Scholarship (Sewanee Writers’ Conference, 2000)

Associations and Affiliations

Association of Literary Scholars and Critics
Modern Language Association
Modernist Studies Association

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Modern and contemporary poetry, nature poetry and nature writing, the interaction between science and poetry, and time in poetry; Modernism and the difficulty of the modernist avant-garde; the graphic novel, comics as a literary medium, and autobiographical comics; poetic form, formal constraints, and oulipo / oubapo. 


  • Ph.D. Yale University, 2002


Office Location:

423 Old Mill

Office Hours:

By appointment

Courses Taught

  • The Graphic Novel
  • Writing Comedy and Satire
  • Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Twentieth-Century Irish Poetry
  • Expository Writing
  • Popular Literature of the Early Twentieth Century
  • Introductory Seminar
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • Topics in Modernism
  • Pursuit of Knowledge