College of the Rockies University Studies instructor publishes her first book

Caley Ehnes provides a unique exploration of Victorian poetry

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Caley Ehnes, an instructor at College of the Rockies, has published her first book.

Entitled Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical and published by Edinburgh University Press (EUC), the work began simply as a requirement for the completion of her Ph.D, but soon morphed into a passion project.

“I began to write it for me,” Ehnes said. “While I truly believe it is an important piece of scholarship in my field, it also represents the final chapter of a significant period in my life and I wanted to have something tangible to show for over a decade of work.”

Ehnes first became fascinated with nineteenth-century periodical (magazine) culture through a series of essays after being introduced to them in the second year of her Bachelor of Arts degree.

Though she branched out to explore other literary pursuits, she always returned to periodicals, and the idea for her future Ph.D. dissertation was born.

Twelve years later, after years of research, Ehnes successfully defended her dissertation in 2014, earning her Ph.D. She then sought out a university press to begin the process of publication. Once EUC signed on, she began revising, heavily editing most of the original text, and completely rewriting two chapters. Though the original manuscript was obviously successful, earning her a Ph.D., she feels her book benefited from the editing process.

“It reminded me of something I tell my students all the time – writing is a process,” Ehnes said. “It takes time and there is almost always room for improvement. My book is much better for the time I spent revising my previous work.”

Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical is an exploration of the role of popular, commercial poetry in the development of mid-Victorian periodical culture and poetry. Ehnes makes the argument that periodical poems should matter as much to all those interested in Victorian poetry as those written by Elizabeth Barret Browning or Alfred Tennyson.

Acknowledging the subject matter of her book is very niche, Ehnes doesn’t utilize her book in her classroom, but does incorporate some of the lessons she learned through her research.

“I like to teach popular literature in my English classes as much as possible, so I frequently reference the ideas developed during the course of writing my book,” Ehnes said.

Though Ehnes currently has no plans to write further books, she continues to write regular journal articles, often with a focus on how women’s writing is produced and received.

Learn more about College of the Rockies’ University Studies Arts program at: cotr.ca/university

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