Dr. G. Kim Blank

Dr. G. Kim Blank
Office: CLE C354

MA (Wales), PhD (Southampton)

Area of expertise

English Romantic poetry; cultural studies; theories of influence; university writing

Released October 2023: a large site that examines what the 1910-1911 Encyclopædia Britannica has to say about the Romantic-era poets. Over thirty of today's leading scholars were enlisted to offer commentary: Then & Now: Romantic-Era Poets in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, 1910-1911. The local paper carried a story about the project, and a 2024 essay in The Fortnightly Review adds context for the site via T. S. Eliot’s obscure poem, Animula.

Recent research interest has been on John Keats's poetic development, launched via an evolving site that tackles the problem: Mapping Keats's Progress. With 159 chapters and about 220k words of literary, biographical, and contextual analysis, the site also houses a gallery, bibliography, the complete poetical works of Keats, and over 900 Keats-related images. What's new: an interactive social network: Keats's story at a glance

As a spin-off from recent research, I managed to prove that a much-loved and famous Keats literary landmark ("Keats Cottage") does not in fact exist, published in the venerated Fortnightly Review

Here, too, is a review essay on Keats's central theory of Negative Capability, since we all need to know about that, as well as a review covering the status of recent Keats studies.

Over the years I have also written about various odd topics; for example, "Good Poetry, Bad Poetry, and Good Poetry Read Badly", "Let Us Kill the Term Paper", "In Praise of an Older Word, Alas," "Reviewage: The Culture of Online Opinions," and "The Importance of Being Google." While in a bad mood, I once also editorialized on how universities may be "Dumbing Down for Dollars," which, oddly, still seems relevant. Here, too, is some recent fun with student email and a chat with ChatGPT.

Written and edited books include studies of William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, continuities in 19th-century poetry, and a couple of writing texts. 

Other stuff: the "Wordiness, Wordiness, Wordiness" site and The Close Reading of Poetry: A Practical Introduction and Guide to Explication, with Magdalena Kay.

I’ve also published a new novel, The Watchers’ Club with background information here, as well as how the novel’s background is tied to a long-ago murder on Vancouver Island.

A prequel is scheduled for 2024. And if you want to see how the world ends, try this recent short story

Further publications

ARTICLES, ESSAYS, & CHAPTERS: The Wordsworth Circle, Philological Quarterly, Logos, English Studies in Africa, American Notes and Queries, Neotestamentica, The Coleridge Bulletin, Dictionary of Literary Biography: Modern British Essayists, Approaches to Teaching Byron's Poetry, Antigonish Review, Journal of Popular Culture, ARC Poetry Review, Family Court Review, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, The New English Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

REVIEWS: The Wordsworth Circle, Comparative Literature Studies, University of Toronto Quarterly, Times Higher Educational Supplement, English Studies, Times Literary Supplement, English Studies in Canada, European Romantic Review, Rocky Mountain Review, Modern Language Review, Keats-Shelley Journal, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, American Notes and Queries, Romantic Circles Reviews.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS: Encyclopedia of American Counter Culture; Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780-1830; Britain in the Hanoverian Age, 1714-1837.

PROFESSIONAL & CREATIVE PIECES: Times Higher Educational Supplement, Victoria Times-Colonist, Victoria Regional News, Vancouver Sun, Cut-To Magazine, Dental Assistants Bulletin, Monday Magazine, Torch, Portal, The Ring, Cat World Magazine, Globe and Mail, The Susquehanna Review, PopPolitics, Dissident Voice, Edmonton Journal, Canadian Association of University Teachers Bulletin.


What You See is What You Write

Toronto: Nelson Education, 2013                                                                                            What You See is What You Write brings an innovative new approach to teaching writing to students.  The text recognizes that students will be motivated to write better if they are interested in what they are writing about.  Only through constant writing practice will students build confidence in their writing, and in the end become better writers.  To that end, the authors strive to leverage today's students's media and pop culture literacy to engage and inspire good writing.

Perspectives on Contemporary Issues

Thomson/Nelson, 2007
"A writing-across-the-curriculum reader for composition courses that combines instruction in critical reading/writing and research-based writing with high-interest, high-impact essays.  This text is designed to encourage critical thinking and academic writing by presenting a variety of perspectives on current issues."

The New Shelley: Later Twentieth-Century Views

Macmillan (London) & St. Martin's (New York), 1991
"A collection of original essays by leading international scholars of Romantic literature which aims to situate Shelley for our own age, not only by contextualizing him within the scene of contemporary critical practice, but also by within his own scene of poetic production."

Wordsworth and Feeling: The Poetry of an Adult Child

Associated University Presses & Fairleigh University Press, 1995
Fear, anxiety, loss, endurance, sorrow, grief, and guilt: these are what you often find in Wordsworth's most engaging poetry. Sometimes these subjects are poetically managed in stark and enigmatic ways; less often, and especially in his early poetry, they are transformed into restorative thought. So what's up with our beloved "Poet of Nature"? Bottom line: Wordsworth was, at least until his early thirties, pretty messed up, and his poetry reflects his various attempts to work it all out.

Influence and Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Poetry

Macmillan (London) & St. Martins (New York), 1993
With Margot K. Louis. A collection of original essays by leading international scholars that circles around the historical and literary continuities and discontinuities in British poetry of the nineteenth century. How strong or clear is the Romantic/Victorian demarcation?

Wordsworth's Influence on Shelley: A Study of Poetry Authority

Macmillan (London) & St. Martin's (New York), 1988.
William Wordsworth is viewed as the single most important and problematical influence on the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley almost always wrote with one eye on Wordsworth's accomplishment. To simplify things (and hell, why not?), Shelley had a love/hate relationship with what Wordsworth represented. Just read Shelley's sonnet "To Wordsworth" and you'll get the idea.

Being Frank

TheatreOne & Trafford, 2007
From the publisher. "This remarkable play captures the charisma and complexity of one of Canada's most famous and controversial community figures: Frank Ney, better known as 'Black Frank' for his pirate and bathtub-racing persona. While celebrating his remarkable outward character and his irresistibly unique public persona, the play also explores an inward Frank. His creative energies momentarily sink as he wakes up to the possibility of change and loss in his business fortunes, political future, and private life." From a reviewer: ". . . Many of the scenes are brilliantly conceived and presented." [The book is based on the play produced at the Port Theatre, April 2007.]


Umberto Press, 2002
Doug Beardsley on Rant: "Who else could transform a 21st century 'rant' into a rapper hymn? Everybody knocked off by September 11th is here . . . The geeks may giggle, but Blank's book of Revelation documents our 'eclipse of the soul.' Yeats's beast trembles in his den. Even he could never have imagined such a 'rant'." Emerging as cult favorite. Reader discretion advised.

The University of Victoria Writer's Guide

Pearson Publishing, 2006
"The University of Victoria Writer's Guide packs a writer's survival kit fit for college students or workplace professionals into 137 spiral-bound pages. It presents an enormous amount of material in concise form, from grammar, punctuation, and usage to organizing paragraphs and essays and developing an argument. The last quarter of the book distills the basic elements of documentation found in the major style guides. Full of useful tips, interesting facts, and inspiring or amusing quotations from sources ranging from The Simpsons to Thoreau."

Descriptions of courses taught

English 382: The Romantic Period I

The Blind Beggar

Image by Jules Bastien Lepage

English 382 focuses on two of the greatest and most influential English poets, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who, in the most formative point in their writing careers, also happened to be very close friends and collaborators. In short, in this course we get to know these two poets pretty well in this period of close friendship. Significant time is also spent discussing the language, style, and themes of the two poets, and in the case of Wordsworth, his “use” of subjects from the lower classes. The idea that Romantic poetry merely celebrates lively flowers, lovely rainbows, and rustic ideals is dispelled, while the philosophical depths and political dimensions of the poetry are opened up. A sampling of other topics covered: the usefulness (or not!) of the term “Romanticism”; 
the importance of Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy; idealism, associationism, pantheism, republicanism, radicalism, the sublime; the French Revolution and its impact on Romantic poems; 
human rights (e.g., abolition, women’s rights, child labor laws);
literacy rates, publishing practices; 
the movement toward an industrial economy and the shift in population to urban centers.

English 383: The Romantic Period II

The Peterloo Massacre, Manchester, 16 August 1819.

Image of The Peterloo Massacre, Manchester, 16 August 1819. 

English 383 focuses on three important and influential English poets: Lord Bryon, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. During the term you will get to know these extraordinary second-generation Romantic poets very well.

The course preamble deals with the history of defining the term “Romanticism,” and then a fair amount of historical and cultural background is provided. At the same time, close reading classes will examine the language, style, and themes of the poets. The idea that Romantic poetry celebrates lively flowers and high-flying birds is dispelled, while the philosophical depths and political dimensions of the poetry are opened up—further, we will find that the personal and intriguing interconnections between the poets are irresistible. A sampling of other topics covered: imagination, idealism, associationism, pantheism, republicanism, radicalism, reform, the sublime, the French Revolution and its impact on Romantic thought and poetry, human rights (e.g., abolition, women’s rights, child labor laws), literacy rates, publishing practices, the movement toward an industrial economy and the shift in population to urban centers, and the Cockney school of poetry.

The course is taught more or less chronologically, beginning with Byron’s “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers” and the Byronic hero and ending with selections from the last cantos of Don Juan.