Academics

Robert Vivian

Interests include the modern and contemporary novel, American short fiction, modern American poetry, theology, Turkish literature.

Title

Associate Professor of English

Discipline

English

Educational Background

  • B.A., Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha (1990)
  • M.A., Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha (1994)
  • Ph.D., Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln (2001)

I am...

An inveterate lover of the written and spoken word, especially those spoken from the white hot center of a poet’s heart. I am blown away, sustained, and renewed by the poems of Rumi, Hafiz, Osip Mandelstam, Mary Ruefle, and too many others to name here. I agree utterly with Mandelstam when he wrote that “Words are sheer pleasure, a cure for anguish”–and I believe literature is the ongoing hope of the world because only it speaks for the entire array of humanity in both its particularity (you, me, a neighbor next door or in Asia) and universality. Univocity of being, the throat swollen with praise and wonder, a moan, a whisper, a tender phrase.

Rank

Associate Professor

My career at Alma began in

2001

I'm an expert in

creative writing

My expertise:

The novel is a poem and so is a play–and so is an essay, and so is a short story. Everything comes out of poetry. I write and have published in all these forms, but my home always was and always will be the lyric in its most mysterious and emotive form. When Rumi writes “Lovers, it is time for the taste for fire” he’s inviting every one who reads these words to stand up straight and lift our heads to the stars before we open our mouths to sing. If I can claim any expertise at all (I’m not sure I can), it’s the lifelong commitment to creative writing in all its forms and utterances, all the permutations it is capable of, which are as vast as the universe itself.

Signature course(s):

American Literature 261

Recent publications:

The dervish essay “Mother Forever” has been accepted for publication by Upstreet, a literary journal.

The dervish essay “Lead Me” has been accepted for publication by Iron Gall Press.

The dervish essay “Some Kind Of Holiness” has been accepted for publication by Stoneboat.


The dervish essay “Who Is The Spirit” has been accepted for publication by Gravel Literary Magazine.

The dervish essay “Inside A Whisper” has been accepted for publication by Scintilla Literary Magazine.


The dervish essay “Wake” has been accepted for publication by Pithead Chapel.


Dervish essay “More Moon, More Stars” has been accepted for publication by Compose: A Journal Of Simply Good Writing.

 

Dervish essays “Stay Awhile,” “Moon Snake Boogie,” and “Going To The Dentist With The Mantra Love And Devotion” have been accepted for publication by Clockhouse Magazine.

 

Dervish essay “Essay By The Black Sea” published by Small Portions, a literary journal.

Other recent accomplishments:

Dervish essay “Mystagogic Liftoff” nominated by Sundog Lit. for a 2013 Pushcart Prize.

“Always A River” listed as notable essay in Best American Essays of 2013.


Dervish essay “Come Again Good Rain” nominated for 2014 Pushcart Prize by Red Savina Review.