Ronald Wallace

Co-Director of the Program in Creative Writing; Halls-Bascom Professor of English; Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry
6195H Helen C. White Hall
(608) 263-3705
E-mail Ronald Wallace
Creative Writing (poetry and fiction), Modern and Contemporary Literature, Humor

Degrees and Institutions

PhD, University of Michigan, 1971
BA, College of Wooster, 1967

Selected Publications 

  • For Dear Life (forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
  • You Can't Be Serious (forthcoming from Parallel Press, 2015)
  • For a Limited Time Only: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) 
  • Now You See It: Poems (Parallel Press 2005) 
  • Long For This World: New & Selected Poems (Pittsburgh, 2003) 
  • Quick Bright Things: Stories (Midlist, 2000) 
  • The Uses of Adversity: Poems (Pittsburgh, 1998) 
  • Time's Fancy: Poems (Pittsburgh, 1994) 
  • The Makings of Happiness (Pittsburgh,1991) 
  • People and Dog in the Sun (Pittsburgh, 1987) 
  • God Be With the Clown: Humor in American Poetry (Missouri, 1984) 
  • Tunes for Bears to Dance to: Poems (Pittsburgh 1983) 
  • Plums, Stones, Kisses & Hooks: Poems (Missouri, 1981) 
  • The Last Laugh: Form and Affirmation in the Contemporary American Comic Novel (Missouri, 1979) 
  • Henry James and the Comic Form (Michigan, 1975).


Personal Statement

Although I am interested in all modes of contemporary writing, and try to incorporate the full range of styles and modes in my teaching and research, I am particularly interested in contemporary poetry in traditional forms, the short-short story, and humor in recent poetry and fiction.


Recent Books

  • For a Limited Time Only: Poems

    Ron Wallace

    University of Pittsburgh Press


    Winner of the 2008 Posner Book-Length Poetry Award. Winner of the 2009 Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award.

    For a Limited Time Only explores issues of aging, illness, and mortality, and the philosophical and theological speculations that arise from personal tragedy, and invokes humor, hope, and consolation in the face of death and loss.

  • Now You See It: Poems

    Ron Wallace

    Parallel Press


    "He said, 'No thank you.'/Life wasn't going to jilt him now…" Part nervous laughter, part numb disbelief, part where-do-we-go-from-here, these poems try on catchy rejoinders to the "sick joke" of prostate cancer.

  • Long For This World

    Ron Wallace

    University of Pittsburgh Press


    Long for This World includes twenty-six new poems from this master of the sonnet and other traditional forms, along with selections from his six previous collections. This book exemplifies the comic sense, the synthesis of technical skill and strong emotion, and the sensory immediacy that have become Ronald Wallace’s hallmarks.

  • Quick Bright Things: Stories

    Ron Wallace



    Quick Bright Things is greater than the sum of its brilliant parts. The stories stand alone. Each of the twenty-one stories has individually appeared in prestigious journals, magazines, and anthologies. But this collection can also be read as a sequence of episodes from the lives of Peterson and Christine Kingsley and their daughters Jennifer and Phoebe.

  • The Uses of Adversity: Poems

    Ron Wallace

    University of Pittsburgh Press


    In this collection of one hundred sonnets, by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Ronald Wallace once again proves himself to be one of our most versatile and affirmative poets.

  • Time's Fancy: Poems

    Ron Wallace

    University of Pittsburgh Press


    Winner of the 1995 Banta Book Prize for a Wisconsin Author

    Ronald Wallace is best known for his wit and good humor, his synthesis of technical skill and strong emotion, his sensory immediacy, his accessibility, and charm. Now in Time's Fancy, his fifth collection, Wallace explores the tragic aspects of life more fully, fashioning a declarative poetry that is darker and deeper, more meditative and complex.