ABOUT ANN E. WALLACE

Ann E. Wallace, PhD, writes of life with illness, motherhood, and other everyday realities of life in America. Most recently, her attention turned to the pandemic, as she lives through longhaul COVID, sick since March 2020. She has made public her journey through COVID from the beginning, when her teenage daughter Molly fell ill and was not able to get tested. Ass Molly recovered, Wallace became very sick, but kept writing. As her energy and focus flagged in the early most critical months of her illness, she turned to poetry, writing a poem a day through the worst of it. The short, fragmented form of poetry, along with its appeal to rhythm and the senses, were well suited for capturing a disease marked by breathlessness, foggy-headedness, and life on the verge of consciousness. Wallace's writing allowed her both to process and give language to her illness, and to create a record of its most terrifying moments. As her mental stamina improved, Wallace turned to personal essays (while continuing to write poems), in an effort to raise awareness of longhaul COVID. Since fall 2020, Wallace has spoken regularly about writing through COVID.

 

Poems from Wallace's collection, Counting by Sevens, (Main Street Rag, 2019) on living through ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis, along with more recent COVID-inspired pieces, will be staged as a full-length theatrical production by Speranza Theatre Company in the 2021-22 season. Watch for more information here on the production, which will bring voice and movement to the too-often silenced experience of women's illness.

 

Wallace's has published poems and prose pieces in a variety of literary journals, including Coffin Bell Journal, Halfway Down the Stairs, Crack the SpineWordgathering, Snapdragon, The Literary Nest, Literary Mama, and Rogue Agent.  Her work has also been included in recent collections on sexual assault and women's writing.

In her academic scholarship, Wallace specializes in illness narratives, the rhetoric of health and medicine, traumatic memory and community formation, as well as composition theory -- including the overlaps between teaching college writing and inviting students to bear witness to the world around them. She has essays forthcoming in On_Culture (summer 2021) on COVID narratives and in the edited collection, Emergent Teaching and Teaching through Emergencies, on teaching through COVID. Her work has also appeared in Women’s Health Advocacy: Rhetorical Ingenuity for the 21st Century (Routledge, 2019); Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy; Come Weep with Me: Loss and Mourning in the Writings of Caribbean Women Writers (Cambridge, 2007The Fiction Of Toni Morrison: Reading and Writing on Race, Culture, and Identity (NCTE, 2007).

 

Wallace grew up in a large family in a waterfront town in Massachusetts, and then migrated to New Jersey to study art in college and never left. She completed a Masters in Women's Studies at Rutgers University and her doctorate in English at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She currently lives in Jersey City, NJ where she is raising her teenage daughters and is an English professor at New Jersey City University. 

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