Catherine Taylor

Catherine Taylor

Associate Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Graduate Study in Image Text

Specialty:Nonfiction Writing
Phone:(607) 274-3138
Office:421 Smiddy Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850

Catherine Taylor is a writer and editor who works in a wide range of nonfiction forms–from documentary and literary journalism to lyric essays, hybrid-genre writing, and poetics. She is the author of You, Me, and the Violence (21st-Century Essays / Mad Creek Books) a book on drones, power, and feelings of powerlessness; APART, a hybrid-genre memoir and political history of South Africa (Ugly Duckling Presse); and of Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam) winner of the Lamaze International Birth Advocate Award. 

Professor Taylor worked as a producer, writer, and researcher on a number of documentary film projects in New York City including The Exiles, which won an Emmy award for historical programming, and she was a Co-founder and Producer of The Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Taylor is also a Founding Editor of Essay Press, an independent press dedicated to publishing innovative essays in book form, and is Co-Foudning Editor of Image Text Ithaca Press, whose most recent books both made list of TIME Magazine Top 25 Photobooks of the year . Taylor studied ancient Greek literature and history at Somerville College, Oxford; Classics and Literature at Cornell University; and American Literature, Critical Theory, and Emerging Media at Duke University.

Taylor's essays, poetry, reviews and video essays have appeared in many literary journals including The Believer, Verse, Seneca ReviewThe Colorado Review, Jacket2, ActionYes, The Laurel Review, Xantippe, Postmodern CultureHotel Amerika, and Witness. Her work has been supported by fellowships and residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Millay Colony, The Emily Harvey Foundation, The Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Arteles Creative Center in Finland. She is currently Co-Director of the new Image Text Ithaca MFA, a graduate program that brings together writers and photographers.


  • Nonfiction Writing
  • The Essay
  • Cultural and Political Studies
  • Documentary 
  • Image Text Studies and The Photobook


  • Ph.D. English, Duke University
  • B.A. College Scholar in Literature and Classics, Cornell University

Selected Publications


  • You, Me, and the Violence (21st Century Essays / OSU Press, 2017)
  • Apart (Ugly Duckling Presse Dossier Series, 2012).
  • Giving Birth: a Journey into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam, 2002).

Essays, Articles, etc.

  • "Saetas," The Believer (online), December 2018.
  • “Inanimate Subjects,” (a portfolio of new work excerpted from my book, You, Me, and the Violence.) Verse. (Volume 33, Numbers 
    1-3). December 2016.
  • "the atmosphere is a chaotic system" (video essay), Seneca Review. Spring 2014
  • "Inanimate Subjects," Seneca Review. Fall 2013.
  • "Take Your Time: The Ethics of the Event in Rachel Blau DuPlessis' 'Drafts'," Jacket2. Winter 2012.
  • "Protest," "Arboretum," and "It Begins With a Glance," (Nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Hotel Amerika. 2010.
  • “Duffer’s Drift,” Witness. Winter 2008. 
  • “Robben Island,” The Laurel Review. Fall 2008.
  • “Bad Family,” ActionYes. Winter 2008.

Selected Presentations and Readings

  • New York University. Invited Lecture. April 2018.
  • University of Rochester. Reading. March 2018.
  • Association of Writers and Writing Programs  (AWP) Offsite Reading. Tampa FL. March 2018.
  • The Poetry Center. Siglufjördur, Iceland. June 2017.
  • Ugly Duckling Presse. Reading. Brooklyn. 2017.
  • “Inanimate Subjects.” Reading. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) PS1. September 2016.
  • “Image Text Ithaca” Event. International Center of Photography (ICP) Museum. New York NY. September 2016.
  • “The Poetics of the Caption.” Cabinet Magazine launch of Wayne Koestenbaum’s book Notes on Glaze. The Whitney Museum of Art. New York NY. May 2016.
  • The University of Toronto, Jackman Humanities Institute. Invited Workshop on “Teaching Creative Non-
    Fiction to Academics. Participants admitted through a competitive application process. May 2016.
  • The University of Georgia, Athens. March 2016.
  • “Racial Politics and Hybrid Genres in James Baldwin and Claudia Rankine: from Epic to Lyric Essays,” 
    International James Baldwin Conference, American University of Paris, Forthcoming Spring 2016.
  • “Teaching Nonfiction Research,” AWP, Los Angeles, Spring 2016.    
  • ACUD Kunsthaus, Berlin, Germany, December, 2014.
  • University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom, November, 2014.
  • “Distance Vision; Drone Warfare as Tourism,” International Association of Word Image Studies, Dundee, 
    Scotland, August 2014.
  • "Research and Innovative Writing: A Conversation on History, Archives, and Documentary Aesthetics." The University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014.
  •  Temple University. Philadelphia PA, February, 2014.
  • “War and the Weather,” Video Work and Introductory Comments. Conference on Ecopoetics, University of California, Berkeley, 2013.
  • “Reveries of a Solitary Walker; The Poetics of Digression,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Toronto, 2013.
  • "Between Art and Politics: Ficto-Criticism and Suspended Genres.” Columbia University, 2012.
  • "Faculty Conversation: Innovative Writing and International Relations.” Vassar College, 2012.
  • "The Drafts of Rachel Blau DuPlessis." ACLA, Vancouver, 2011.
  • "The Pleasures of Research." NonfictionNow. The University of Iowa, 2010.
  • “Mock Docs, Fakes, and Hoaxes.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), Denver, 2010.
  • “Protest Memoirs.” AWP Conference, Chicago, 2009. 
  • "Independent Literary Presses.” Brown University. Providence RI, 2009
  • “Women Essayists.” AWP Conference, New York, 2008.
  • "Recitative and Reprise: Contemporary Returns to Reznikoff's Testimony." MLA, Chicago, 2007. 
  • “Beyond A Degraded Realism: Documentary Innovations.” MLA, Chicago, 2007.  
  • “Transgeneric Nonfiction and the Rhetoric of the Gap.” ACLA, Puebla, Mexico, 2007.
  • “Mapping Creative Non-Fiction.” MLA, Philadelphia, 2006. 
  • “Fragments of the Truth: Rhetorics of Genocide.” MLA, Philadelphia, December, 2006.
  • “Mixing Memoir and Political History: Identity, Race, and Nation,” Invited Lecture. All Africa House Lecture Series, The University of Cape Town, 2006.
  • “Doing Documentary Work with Diverse Communities.”  Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. Durham, NC 2005.


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