Staff Directory


Mary Ann Davis (pronouns she/her) is a poet, lyrical theorist, and scholar with varied interests across the disciplines of literary, feminist, sexuality, and queer studies. She earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Michigan – where she was awarded a prestigious Hopwood Award – before completing a Ph.D. in English Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.

Her scholarship explores literary, cultural, and theoretical engagements with erotic power in Great Britain and the United States from the mid-nineteenth century through the present, especially in the forms of sadomasochism, kink, and BDSM. Her monograph in-progress, The Flesh and the Fell: An Erotics of Form, is a hybrid work of lyric theory. Offering a genealogy of sadomasochism that moves beyond stereotypes of extremity, focusing rather on the banal and the everyday, The Flesh and the Fell engages a range of texts: literature and art (Charlotte Brontë, Swinburne, Sacher-Masoch, Rice, Flanagan and Rose); culture and subculture (50 Shades, Samois, Society of Janus, BDSM handbooks); and theorists and practitioners (Deleuze, Foucault, MacKendrick, Rubin, Barthes, contemporary BDSM players), alongside the author’s reflections on her experiences in queer BDSM and leather subcultures.

Mary Ann’s poems have appeared in In Posse Review and Crab Orchard Review, and won the 2011 Prism ReviewPoetry Prize and the 2016 Robin Becker Chapbook competition for Portrait of a Voice. An essay published in OCHO: A Journal of Queer Arts explores her interest in bridging the divide between critical and lyrical thinking, especially as a process of healing. A poetry manuscript in-progress, Valedictions, returns to metaphysical questions and forms to sing through queer erotic intimacy and pain.

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she also considers herself to be a Californian at heart. When not teaching or writing, she is reading long fantasy novels, practicing kundalini yoga, traveling in search of sublime crema (espresso), building queer and kink community, and ruminating on erotic ethics.



  • Ph.D. in English Literature and Gender Studies, University of Southern California, 2012
  • M.F.A. in Poetry Writing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2003
  • B.A. in English and Creative Writing, Denison University, 2000


  • Literature 250, Intermediate Creative Writing: Lyric Poetry and Lyric Essays
  • Literature 331, Literary Moments and Movements after 1850: Literature Under Totalitarianism
  • Literature 325, Literature and Power: Women Write the Erotic
  • Literature 350, Advanced Creative Writing: Serial Poems and Story Cycles
  • Literature 370, Special Topics: Queer Reading
  • Humanities 494, Senior Seminar in the Humanities
  • Humanities 495, Senior Project in the Humanities




  • The Flesh and the Fell: An Erotics of Form. Hybrid work of lyric theory.
  • Valedictions: Poems. Full-length poetry manuscript.


  • “Mundane Pain.” Rated RX: Sheree Rose with and after Bob Flanagan. Ed. Yetta Howard. Under contract with Ohio State University Press. Forthcoming in 2019.
  • “The Erotic in Visual Narrative, 1900-Present.” Guest Editor with Alex Wescott. Special issue of Papers on Language and Literature. Forthcoming in 2019.
  • “‘On the Extreme Brink’ with Charlotte Brontë: Revisiting Jane Eyre’s Erotics of Power.” Papers on Language and Literature 52.2 (Spring 2016): 115-148. Print.
  • “A Certain Simultaneity: On Lyricism, Criticism, and Healing Divides Between and Within.” OCHO: A Journal of Queer Arts. Issue 33 (Sept. 2014): 78-82. Print.
  • “‘New Elemental Force’: The Necessity of an Engaged Poetry.” Denison Journal of Religion. Volume I (2001). Print.



  • 2018: Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for Faculty, Coretta Scott King Center, Antioch College
  • 2017: Research Award, Antioch College Faculty Fund, Antioch College
  • 2016: Winner of Robin Becker Poetry series, Seven Kitchens Press
  • 2015: LGBTQ Faculty Award for Leadership and Mentoring, The Claremont Colleges