Charles Cantalupo

Distinguished Professor, English, Comparative Literature, and African Studies
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Biography

Charles Cantalupo is Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and African Studies. Born in Orange, New Jersey, he grew up in West Orange, where he attended Catholic and public schools. He received his B.A. from Washington University (St. Louis), and he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He returned to New Jersey and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University (New Brunswick).

Charles Cantalupo has three book-length collections of poetry: Where War Was (Mkuki na Nyota, 2016), Light the Lights (Red Sea Press, 2004), Anima/l Woman and Other Spirits (Spectacular Diseases, 1996), and a fourth in progress, Minor Heroics. His latest book is Non-Native Speaker: Selected and Sundry Essays (Africa World Press, 2018) and includes work spanning twenty-five years. His memoir, Joining Africa – From Anthills to Asmara (Michigan State University Press, 2012), a story of poets and poetry in Africa, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award in 2012.

Cantalupo's translations include three books of poetry from Eritrea: We Have Our Voice: Selected Poetry of Reesom Haile (Red Sea Press, 2000), We Invented the Wheel (Red Sea Press, 2002), and Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic (Hdri Publishers, 2006). His monograph, War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry (Mkuki na Nyota, 2009) analyzes the poetry in Who Needs a Story? His poetry, translations, and essays appear in a wide range of print and online journals.

With funding from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and The World Bank, he co-chaired the seven-day conference and festival, Against All Odds: African Languages and Literatures into the 21st Century in Asmara, Eritrea, in January 2000. Writer and director of the documentary, Against All Odds (2007), which chronicles the event, he is a co-author of the historic “Asmara Declaration on African Languages and Literatures." He is also the author of The World of Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Texts and Contexts (Africa World Press, 1995), and his first book was A Literary Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes’s Masterpiece of Language (Bucknell University Press, 1991).

The father of four children, he is married to the eminent Edgar Allan Poe scholar, Barbara Cantalupo, and they live in Bethlehem, PA, one hundred yards north of the grave of the poet, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Other works in progress include The Living Monastery: Poetry of Tesfamariam Woldemariam and Untold Massacres of Eritreans: Making Peace with Memory.


Grants and Awards

  • 2017 Penn State Schuylkill Faculty Research and Creative Accomplishments Award.
  • 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Joining Africa – from Anthills to Asmara, best memoir.
  • Penn State Schuylkill Faculty Research and Creative Accomplishments Award.
  • 2008 Penn State Schuylkill Faculty Research and Creative Accomplishments Award.
  • 2003 New York Public Library, “Books for the Teen Age,” We Invented the Wheel: Poems by Reesom Haile. Bilingual. Translator, afterword.
  • 2001 African Students Association, Penn State University, Faculty Achievement Award.
  • 1996 Penn State Schuylkill Faculty Research and Creative Accomplishments Award.
  • 1991 Penn State Schuylkill Faculty Research and Creative Accomplishments Award.
  • 1989 American College Theater Festival, Meritorious Achievement, Anima/l: Experimental Performance in Ten Movements.
  • 1987 Penn State Schuylkill, Student Government Association Teaching Award.
  • 1986 Penn State Schuylkill, Faculty Organization Teaching Award.
Research Interests

American and British poetry

Literary criticism and scholarship

Nonfiction prose

Poetry of Eritrea

Renaissance literature

Translation

Publications

2017 Non-Native Speaker: Selected and Sundry Essays (Trenton: Africa World Press). 239 pp.

2016 Where War Was – Poems and Translations of Poems from Eritrea (Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers). 86 pp.

2012 Joining Africa – from Anthills to Asmara (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press). 270 pp.

2009 War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry (Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers). 160 pp.

2005 Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic (Asmara: Hdri Publishers; London and East Lansing: African Books Collective). Trilingual. Translator, editor, introduction. With Ghirmai Negash. 139 pp.

2004 Light the Lights. Poems (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press). 96 pp.

2002 We Invented the Wheel: Poems by Reesom Haile (Lawrenceville and Asmara: The Red Sea Press, Inc.). Bilingual. Translator, afterword. 244pp.

2000 We Have Our Voice (Lawrenceville and Asmara: The Red Sea Press, Inc.). Second edition; We Have Our Voice (Asmara: The Red Sea Press, Inc). Bilingual. Translator, introduction. 127 pp.

1996 Anima/l Wo/man and Other Spirits (Peterborough, UK: Spectacular Diseases). Poems. 63 pp.

1995 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: Texts and Contexts (Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press). Editor, introduction, poetry. 379 pp.

Poetry, Mysticism, and Feminism: from th' nave to the chops (Peterborough, UK: Spectacular Diseases). 28 pp.

The World of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press). Editor, introduction, interview. 248 pp.

1991 A Literary Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes's Masterpiece of Language (Lewisburg, London and Toronto: Bucknell University Press). 279 pp.

1983 The Art of Hope (Notre Dame: Erasmus Books of Notre Dame). Poems. 55 pp.

Education

Ph.D. (1980), Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

M.A. (1978), Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

B.A. (1973), English, Washington University (St. Louis, MO)

University of Kent at Canterbury (UK) 1972