Ohio Wesleyan English Professor Earns Second Fulbright Scholarship

David Caplan, Ph.D., Selected to Spend a Semester Teaching at Belgium’s University of Liège

David Caplan

DELAWARE, OHIO – David Caplan, Ph.D., an associate professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University, has been awarded his career second Fulbright Scholarship to teach courses at the University of Liège in Belgium.

Caplan earned a 2012-2013 lecturing award from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the largest U.S. international exchange program for students, scholars, and professionals worldwide. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Fulbright alumni have an impressive record of success in all fields. According to the State Department, 43 Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded Nobel Prizes, 28 are MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and 78 have earned Pulitzer Prizes. A total of 29 Fulbright alumni have served as heads of state or government.

At the University of Liège, Caplan will teach “Contemporary American Poetry: A New Poetics for a New Century,” examining the distinctive role that poetics plays in American literary culture.

“The subject inspires contentious debates, which interpret the techniques that poets employ in the context of literary and civic politics,” said Caplan, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2000. “In this class, we will examine the aesthetic and political implications of these arguments. … I want my students to see the study of literature as a vital activity, not an academic exercise, to understand that they participate in the wider culture’s considerations of the issues they study.”

Caplan earned his first Fulbright Scholarship in 2004, also enabling him to spend a semester teaching at the University of Liège, where today he is an affiliated researcher in the university’s Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée.

Of his 2004 experience, Caplan stated: “During my time at Liège, the experience of teaching Walt Whitman, America’s most patriotic canonical poet, was especially revealing. Whitman sounded different in Belgium than in Ohio; the opportunity to teach his work abroad clarified the poetry and my reaction to it. … Set in unfamiliar contexts, words gained different inflections as coincidences juxtaposed disparate events. This experience informed my subsequent teaching back in the States. At Ohio Wesleyan, I often have called my students’ attention to the different ways in which they read and discuss the assigned works than my students did in Liège.”

At Ohio Wesleyan, Caplan specializes in 20th and 21st century American literature. His scholarly interests include verse form and contemporary poetry. His latest book, “In the World He Created According to His Will,” is a collection of poetry reflecting the suffering history imposes on individual experiences in the world and the sacredness that underpins them. He also is the author of “Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form” and “Poetic Form: An Introduction.” In addition, Caplan serves as a contributing editor to the “Virginia Quarterly Review” and “Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.” He currently is working on his fourth book, “Rhyme’s Challenge,” which examines poetry, hip hop, and rhyme, as well as a new poetry collection.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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