Faculty at the School of Arts and Humanities

Frederick Turner

Professor (Retired)

Founders Professor (Retired)

Areas of Specialization:  Epic, Poetry, Shakespeare, Philosophy of Time, Aesthetics, Evolutionary Approaches to the Humanities

Office:  JO 5.522
Office Hours:  Tuesday: 4 to 6 p.m.
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2777

I am curious about everything, as a poet, as the son of anthropologists, as the brother of a physicist, as a science fiction writer, as a translator, as an arts essayist, and as a Shakespearean scholar from Oxford University. I have published over 30 books, including two epic poems, two books on Shakespeare, science fiction, and many collections of poetry, criticism, and poetry in translation. I've won several awards and prizes, including Hungary's highest literary honor and Poetry Magazine's highest prize, and have been nominated for the Nobel Prize internationally dozens of times. I love teaching, and like to combine Socratic discussion with deep investigation of the ideas and feelings at the heart of texts and works of art, as well as using ad hoc performance when appropriate.

I am basically a poet, but I follow those poets like Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, and Goethe who saw their work as expressing all the voices and dreams of their culture, including its sciences, its other arts, its commerce and customs and communities and loves—a kind of comprehensive interdisciplinary scholarship. My special areas of continued research are time, the biocultural evolution of the arts, the neuroscience of beauty, and linguistic and spiritual meaning. I use my classes partly as a way of doing research, which can generate a kind of excitement when a class realizes that they too are on the track of an idea and that we are pursuing it together.

My main effort in class is to make people think (including myself). And we think partly by feeling. I still get correspondence from students from decades past asking me about ideas that they could not forget and that have since come in useful even when only partly understood. My students have ended up with careers in such fields as literature and creative writing, teaching, editing, acting (including some film stars), Hollywood screen writing, blogging, game design, and other fields.

I am the Faculty Adviser of the UTD Karate Club (JKA) and, as a second degree black belt, help teach beginners.

I was home-schooled as a kid by my anthropologist parents while they were doing their research in Zambia, central Africa, hundreds of miles from the nearest school. Then I went to school in England, and studied at Oxford University for both my undergraduate and my graduate degrees (1962-67). Starting at the age of 23, I taught as an assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, then moved to Kenyon College in Ohio (1972-85), where I became editor of the Kenyon Review. In 1985 I came to UTD, where I have helped support various A&H projects such as ATEC, the Translation Center, the Holocaust Center, The Confucius Institute, and EODIAH.

Work Samples and Publications: 

Shakespeare and the Nature of Time. Oxford UP.
Between Two Lives. Wesleyan UP.
A Double Shadow. Berkeley/Putnam.
The New World: An Epic Poem. Princeton UP.
Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science. Paragon House.
Genesis: An Epic Poem. Saybrook/Norton.
Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education. SUNY Press.
Beauty: The Value of Values. UP of Virginia.
April Wind. UP of Virginia.
Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklos Radnoti (translation, with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth). Princeton UP.
The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit. The Free Press.
Shakespeare's Twenty-first Century Economics: The Morality of Love and Money. Oxford UP.
The Iron-Blue Vault: Selected Poems of Attila József (with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth). Bloodaxe Books
Paradise: Selected Poems, 1990-2003. David Robert Books.
Natural Religion. Transaction Publishers.
Two Ghost Poems. Turning Point Press.
Sung Across the Shoulder: Heroic Poems of Illyria. Translations of Albanian oral poetry (with Gjeke Marinaj). Mundus Artium.
Epic: Form, Content, and History. Transaction Publishers.
Firmament without roof cover (Bao troi kong mai che). Mai Van Phan: translated and Edited by Tran Nghi Hoang and Frederick Turner. Hanoi: Vietnam Writers Publishing House.
Light Within the Shade: Eight Hundred Years of Hungarian Poetry. Edited and translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Frederick Turner. Syracuse University Press.


B.Litt (PhD-level degree, now no longer given), English Language and Literature, Oxford University, 1967
MA, English Language and Literature, Oxford University, 1967
BA, English Language and Literature, Oxford University

Curriculum Vitae:  Frederick Turner's CV

Website(s):  Frederick Turner's Blog