D.E. ST. John is a PhD candidate in the department of English at Georgia State University with a concentration in Postcolonial and Global Anglophone literature. His research interests include environmental humanities, new materialism, object-oriented ontology, subaltern studies, ecopoetics, Asian-American literature, and Taiwanese literature. His dissertation, in-progress, implicates neoliberal tenets of globalization as primary contributors to contemporary extensions of colonial subalternity in the Asia-Pacific region. He has taught classes that examine the intersections between Utopian/Dystopian literature and contemporary apocalyptic rhetoric, the historical significance of canonical Western Humanities texts within critical race studies, and the voices of U.S. – Mexico border writers in response to Trumpian politics. Since 2017, he has served as the Associate Director of the Writing Studio at Georgia State University. His poetry has been published in the journals Atlanta Review, B O D Y, Prairie Schooner, and Hunger Mountain.
MA, English Literature, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, 2014
About My Name:
My name is David Edward St. John. When I say it out loud, I suffer from a type of onomastic dysmorphia: an urgency to disassociate myself from it.
People tell me that it is a heavy name, cumbersome despite its regal intonations. People also tell me that it is a particularly white name. As a mixed race Chinese Caucasian American boy growing up in the southern United States, my name was a shield. In hindsight, I recognize that it was also a border that prevented me from being fully white or being fully Chinese, rendering me culturally transient.
In efforts to be professionally courteous, other poets tell me that my name has already been taken. I am constantly mistaken for the other David St. John, the one who has published numerous books, the one who teaches at Berkeley, the one who was close friends with Larry Levis, the one who would organize and orchestrate the publication of Levis’s posthumous collection The Wandering Trapeze. “You’re so much younger than I thought you would be.” Thank you kind stranger. I am sorry to not be who you expected.
I have now been writing under D.E. St. John for the better part of a decade, despite the fact that this too is somewhat awkward to say and even harder to effectively implement when signing up for things online or registering for conferences. As D.E., I am a poet, scholar, and writing center director. You can find me between stanzas and mid-caesuras in poems that approximate my lived experience with hybridity, grief, Asian-Americanness, and love. You can find me rifling through the pages of postcolonial and Asian-Pacific texts, trying to find the agencies, human and more than human, that have been overlooked. You can find me in the writing center, exploring ways to increase its visibility, accessibility, and inclusivity. That’s where D.E. is.
But I’m also still David. This is how my family, friends, advisers, colleagues, loved ones, and students know me. If you’re looking for David, you can find me in the classroom most likely. In the classroom, I emphasize collaboration and community, developing literacy while simultaneously cultivating individual interests and passions.
You can read more about my poetry, scholarship or teaching on their respective pages.
Whether or not you’re looking for D.E. or David, you can find me in Atlanta. Still in the South. I just like it too much to leave. It must be the people.