Dale Tracy

Dale Tracy
Dale Tracy
Adjunct Professor
(613) 541-6000 ext 6449
(613) 541-6405
Department of English
Royal Military College of Canada
PO Box 17000, Station Forces
Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
K7K 7B4

I completed my undergraduate education at Lakehead University in English and Psychology, my MA in English at Carleton University, and my PhD in English at Queen's University. I have taught contemporary Canadian literature and Life Writing at Queen’s. In my book, I consider global Anglophone witness poetry that rejects the idea that we should “put ourselves in another's shoes,” the idea that teaching this identification is literature’s purpose, and the related idea that the reader of lyric poetry takes the place of the speaking “I.” I argue that this poetry responding to atrocity and social suffering similarly demands an alternative to trauma theory’s approach to a contagious trauma transmitted through literature. For me, witness poetry models compassion: feeling with another, or feeling one's own feelings in response to signs of another's feelings. My interest in compassion has also led me to study what it means to speak in public. I’ve been wondering, whether in hip hop, stand-up, immersive theatre, or other cultural outlets, how and why speakers might form or perform compassionate relationships with audiences.

Areas of Research

poetry, performance, humour, autobiography, authorship, World Literatures, North American Literatures, Canadian Literatures

Selected Publications


  • Forthcoming. Guest Editor. “Metonymy, Poetics, Performance.” Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. Spring, 2018.
  • Forthcoming. “Cain and Culpability in Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul.” Modern Drama (2018): 30pp.
  • Forthcoming. “Sincerity, Selfishness, and Comedic Timing.” Mosaic: an interdisciplinary critical journal. 50.4 (2018): 25pp.
  • Forthcoming. “Witness, Signature, and the Handmade in Rahat Kurd’s Cosmophilia.” Canadian Literature 232 (2017): 23pp.
  • Blog post, “What We Make in the Humanities.” English Matters: The ACCUTE Blog, 2017. 
  • With the Witnesses: Poetry, Compassion, and Claimed Experience. McGill-Queen's UP. 2017.
  • “Assuming Niceness: Private and Public Relationships in Drake’s Nothing Was the Same.” Co-authored with Kris Singh. Popular Music. 34.1 (2015): 94-112
  • “Teaching as Storytelling.” The Teaching Professor. 28.9 (2014): 6
  • "Reading Metonymically in Dionne Brand's Inventory." MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. 14.1-2 (2013-14): 170-186
  • "Heirs, Apparently: Nation-Building in Isabella Valancy Crawford's Winona." English Studies in Canada. 37. 3-4 (2011): 107-121

Brief Teaching Philosophy

I incorporate play in learning. Since activities founded in social creativity emphasize relationships, play has the capacity to draw people’s attention to their individual roles and responsibilities in collaboration or learning in community.

Courses Taught

  • ENE100 Introduction to Literary Studies and University Writing Skills
  • ENE210 Reading in the Contemporary World: 1900 to the Present
  • ENE228 Critical Approaches to Literature and Culture
  • ENE353 Canadian Literature: 1960s to the Present
  • ENE383 Major Women Writers: 1900 to the Present
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