Melissa A. Goldthwaite, Ph.D.

Specialization: Writing Studies
Office: Merion Hall 137
Phone: (610) 660-3396

Melissa A. Goldthwaite, Professor of English, teaches rhetorical theory, composition, and creative writing. Her books include Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal (with Jennifer Cognard-Black), The Little Norton Reader: 50 Essays From the First 50 Years, The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing (with Cheryl Glenn), The Norton Reader (with Peterson, Brereton, Bizup, and Fernald), Surveying the Literary Landscapes of Terry Tempest Williams (with Katherine Chandler), and The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students. Her work has appeared in College English, Writing on the Edge, Reader, and in numerous books.


  • B.A., Messiah College, 1993
  • M.F.A. The Ohio State University, 1997
  • Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2001

Professional Experience

General Fields of Professional Interest

rhetoric and composition


creative nonfiction--essays and memoir

literature and the environment/nature writing

literatures of food and food writing

Pedagogical Style

My courses in rhetoric and composition, creative writing, and literature all emphasize the connections between rhetoric and poetics and the capacity of words to evoke actions, emotions, and change. I utilize a variety of classroom activities to help students better understand and appreciate their relationship to language and to audience. My teaching includes craft talks and short lectures on the material, detailed written comments on student work, and one-on-one conversations in conferences. We learn collaboratively through peer response groups, full-class workshops, small group work, and class discussion. And students in my classes demonstrate their own knowledge and hard work through in-class writing, response papers, more formal writing assignments, and creative projects.


Courses Taught

  • The Craft of Language
  • Creative Writing: Introductory Workshop
  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Creative Nonfiction Workshop
  • The Essay
  • Literary Forms and Themes: Books that Cook
  • Seminar in Rhetorical Theory
  • Texts and Contexts
  • Rhetoric Then and Now (Graduate Course)
  • Nature Writing in America (Writing-Intensive)
  • The Poet’s Voice
  • Style (Graduate Course)
  • Sophomore Seminar: Critical Approaches
  • The Writing Teacher Writing (Graduate Course)
  • Rhetorics of Silence: Communication and Contemplative Practice (Graduate Course)
  • The Art of Correspondence: Epistolary Writing
  • Writing and Reading Animals (Writing-Intensive)



The Little Norton Reader: 50 Essays From the First 50 Years. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal (with Jennifer Cognard-Black.) New York: New York University Press, 2014.

St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing, 7th edition. (with Cheryl Glenn) New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s P, 2013. (6th edition, 2007; 5th edition, 2003)

The Norton Reader, fourteenth edition. (Edited with Linda Peterson, John Brereton, Anne Fernald, and Joe Bizup) New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016. (13th edition, 2012).

The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Surveying the Literary Landscapes of Terry Tempest Williams. (Ed. with Katherine Chandler) Salt Lake City: U of Utah P, 2003.

Journal Articles

“Books that Cook: Teaching Food and Food Literature in the English Classroom.” (with Jennifer Cognard-Black) College English 70.4 (March 2008): 421-435.

“Out of and Back Into the Box: Redefining Essays and Options.” Writing on the Edge 14.1 (Fall 2003): 69-88.

“Confessionals.” College English 66.1 (September 2003): 55-73.

“Reading, Teaching, and Writing (at) Disciplinary Intersections: Oars, Wars, and a Place to Stand.” Reader 47 (Fall 2002): 38-60.

Book Chapters

“Body, Camera, Self.” From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines. Eds. Joyce Dyer, Jennifer Cognard-Black, and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2016. 214-27. 

“Rhetorics of Silence: A Pedagogy of Contemplation, Empathy, and Action.” Becoming Beholders: Cultivating Sacramental Imagination and Actions in College Classrooms. Eds. Karen Eifler and Thomas Landy. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2014.

“Playing with Echo: Strategies for Teaching Repetition in the Writing Classroom.” Refiguring Prose Style. Eds. Thomas Pace and T.R. Johnson. Utah State UP, 2005. 119-29.

“On Seeking Fullness in Academic Places.” (with Wendy Bishop) A Delicate Balance: Teaching, Scholarship, and Service in the Twenty-First Century English Department. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen P, 2004.

“From Correct to Effect: Revising Alternate Styles.” Acts of Revising. Ed. Wendy Bishop. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook/Heinemann, 2004. 51-60.

“Rhetoric + Feminism = Williams’s Poetic Means: Transforming Triptychs of Body, Form, and Faith in Leap.” Surveying the Literary Landscapes of Terry Tempest Williams. Salt Lake City: U of Utah P, 2003. 123-51.

“This, Too, Is Research.” The Subject is Research. Eds. Wendy Bishop and Pavel Zemliansky. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook/Heinemann, 2001. 193-201. (Reprinted in On Writing: A Process Reader. Ed. Wendy Bishop. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. 431-39)

Essays and Poetry in Journals and Books

Poem: "Summer Salad." In Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal. Eds. Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa Goldthwaite. New York: NYUP, 2014. 240-241.

Essay: “Contemplating a Life.” The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Newsletter 7 (Fall 2010).

Poem: “A Try.” Collegium News 2.4 (Fall 2008): 9.

Poem: “Wildflower Composition.” In Praise of Pedagogy. Eds. Wendy Bishop and David Starkey. Calendar Islands Publishers, 2000. 129.

Poem: “In Remembrance.” OE Journal. (January 1996): 17.

Essay: “Places in the Mind.” OE Journal. (Autumn 1994): 35.

Poem: “Saturday on the Millpond.” OE Journal. (Autumn 1994): 19.

Poem: “The Wedding Ring.” Christian Century 111 (January 26, 1994): 68.