Betsy Winakur Tontiplaphol, Ph.D.
- Professor , English
I was born and raised in San Antonio, and although I never expected to find myself living in my hometown as an adult, I'm so glad to be a part of Trinity, where I attended countless events and, believe it or not, I won my first debate tournament in 1992.
Since joining the faculty in 2005, I have studied the relationship between English poetry and nineteenth-century culture, especially material culture. My first book, Poetics of Luxury in the Nineteenth Century: Keats, Tennyson, and Hopkins, described the birth and development of what I term the luscious poem--a nineteenth-century lyric subgenre that represents, both formally and thematically, the marriage of luxury to enclosure. At present, I’m completing a book that examines the influence of nineteenth-century ballet and balletic culture on the themes and forms of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I'm a formalist at heart; I most enjoy studying poetic forms and structures, and I particularly enjoy "unpacking" poems with students. We live in language, and to practice careful, critical reading-- whether the text in question is a poem, a novel, a newspaper article, or an advertisement--is, I think, to become a stronger thinker, a better citizen, and a generally wiser human being.