Course: “Literature of the Sea and the American Environmental Movement”
Rich earned his PhD on an ORS scholarship from the University of St. Andrews. His research focuses on the connections between sea voyage narratives and natural history. He is the author of the interdisciplinary books Lobster, acclaimed by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History, named by Library Journal as one of the top five best science books of 2013 and short-listed for the Association for Literature and the Environment Creative Book Award. His memoir Meeting Tom Brady was released in 2015 and he is now at work on a natural history guide to Moby-Dick. Rich is the Series Editor for a forthcoming collection of books about America’s relationship with the sea published by the University Press of New England, and he has written numerous popular and scholarly articles, reviews, and interviews about literature of the sea. Rich is a Fellow of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at Connecticut College. He has been sailing on tall ships for over twenty years, traveling throughout the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as both a teacher and a sailor.
Rich incorporates creative writing and the visual and dramatic arts into the “Literature of the Sea” course at Williams-Mystic. He is a professional illustrator himself, creating ink and watercolor drawings for many of his articles and books. He has illustrated two children’s books on maritime topics, notably Women and the Sea—and Ruth!. Rich edits the Searchable Sea Literature website, which is designed and researched by Williams-Mystic students, and he manages the Williams-Mystic/Joseph Conrad Annual Essay Contest. He regularly hosts summer research students and encourages undergraduates in any major to contact him about literature of the sea.
Rich’s author page, as a member of the Author’s Guild
America and the Sea Call for Book Proposals 2016
“Literature of the Sea” Summer Research Assistants
Eleanore MacLean, Kenyon ’15 (WM F’13), funded by Williams-Mystic: “Searchable Sea Literature” website design and maintenance, book review of Sam Jefferson’s Sea Fever for a forthcoming issue of Sea History magazine. Eleanore’s film documentary on the history of American sail training at Kenyon, from her research at Williams-Mystic, earned her Honors and helped her win the Dalton Fellowship in American Studies.
Jane Jeong, Williams ’17 (WM S’15), funded by Williams College Class of ’57: editing work on a new edition of Walt Whitman’s sea poetry (forthcoming with UPNE, ed. Jeffrey Yang) and a new peer-reviewed biography of Jeffrey Yang on “Searchable Sea Literature.”
Hannah Smith, Williams ’15 (WM S’14), funded by the Williams Center for Environmental Studies: poetry and printmaking.
Alex McInturf, Williams ’15 (WM S’14): “Searchable Sea Literature” website, and a cover-story feature article, titled “Ishmael’s Plankton Net: Teaching Science aboard the Historic Whaleship Charles W. Morgan,” fall 2014 Wrack Lines (CT SeaGrant).
Taylor Nutting, Williams ’14 (WM S’12): “Searchable Sea Literature” website, and a feature article titled “‘I’m de end! I’m de start!’: Eugene O’Neill’s Fireman Character in The Hairy Ape,” published in the spring 2015 issue of Power Ships magazine. Taylor went on to a paid internship at Mother Earth News.
Eleanore MacLean, Kenyon ’15 (WM F’13), funded by Kenyon College and Williams-Mystic, “Searchable Sea Literature” website with peer-reviewed biographies of Joseph Mitchell and Exy Johnson, research for UPNE’s “America and the Sea” series, and wrote a feature article titled “He Couldn’t Have Done It Without Her–Exy Johnson’s Seafaring Legacy,” published in the fall 2015 issue of Sea History magazine. Eleanore conducted primary research at Mystic Seaport for her final American Studies/Education senior thesis.
Lani Willmar, Williams College ’15 (WM S’13), funded by Williams College Class of ’57: significant work with “Searchable Sea Literature” website.
Leah Feldman, Colgate University ’14 (WM S’13), funded by Williams-Mystic: “Searchable Sea Literature” website work, including peer-reviewed biography Richard Dey. Leah wrote a feature magazine article titled “Ocean Reveries” for fall 2014 issue of The Colgate Scene. The article won an award for graphic design.
Svati Narula, Dartmouth ’13 (WM F’11), editing work for The Devil’s Cormorant and co-authored a cover story article titled “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Cormorant” for the 2012 fall/winter issue of Wrack Lines (CT Sea Grant). Svati went on to get a paid fellowship with The Atlantic Monthly.
Leila Crawford, Williams College ’12 (WM S’11), funded by Williams College Class of ’57; Katy Day, graduate student at the University of St. Andrews ‘12; and Stephanie Trott, Bryn Mawr ’12 (WM S’11) all worked as “Team Sea Woolf” to conduct research on Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out, which lead to a 2012 article in Sea History and a 2015 scholarly article in The Nautilus by Elizabeth Wright, Richard King, and Christie Jackson (WM F’94). Leila and Katy went on to graduate school at Cambridge University in literature and Stephanie enrolled in an MFA program at UNC (Wilmington).
Gabrielle Joffe, Williams College ‘11 (WM S’10), funded by Williams-Mystic: “Searchable Sea Literature” website, wrote and illustrated a short article “Flying Fish” for Sea History magazine (2010), and designed and launched the website “The Afterlife of Sir Patrick Spens.”
Megan Holmes, Williams College ’11 (WM S’10), funded by Williams-Mystic: “Searchable Sea Literature” website, conducted research on Elizabeth Bishop for her senior thesis titled: “A Self-forgetful, Perfectly Useless Concentration:” Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of the Shore.”