William Jolliff


Photo of Bill

Bill currently teaches American literature, poetry writing, literary criticism, and first-year composition. His most passionate literary interests center around those countercultural writers who have occasionally appeared in the history of American literature, including Henry David Thoreau, John Greenleaf Whittier, and a handful of contemporary Appalachian authors.  

Published Work

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Bill edited The Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier: A Readers’ Edition (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 2000). His published essays include “The Economy of the Inward Life: John Woolman and Henry Thoreau” in Concord Saunterer (2007), and many articles on Harold Frederic and Walt McDonald.

His many poetry publications include the collection Twisted Shapes of Light, published by Cascade Books (2015), as well as the chapbook Whatever Was Ripe (Bright Hill Press, 1998), winner of the Bright Hill Press Annual Chapbook Competition. In addition, he has published several hundred individual poems in such literary journals as Northwest Review, Southern Humanities Review, Poet Lore, Center, Passages North, Appalachian Journal and Christian Century.


Bill earned his PhD in English from The Ohio State University with a focus on Nineteenth Century American Literature and Composition Pedagogy. He also holds an MA in religious studies from Ashland Theological Seminary.

Personal Interests

Bill enjoys music of all kinds, especially traditional Appalachian and Midwestern fiddle tunes and ballads. He also writes songs in the folk tradition and gives occasional workshops on songwriting. In 2005, his version of "Laughlin Boy" was recorded by folk star Tracy Grammer and received broad airplay. He and his wife Brenda have three grown children: Jacob, Rebecca, and Anna.