Wesleyan portrait of Lisa  Cohen

Lisa Cohen

Associate Professor of English

285 Court Street, r. 307

Associate Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

285 Court Street, r. 307


BA Brown University
MPHIL Yale University
PHD Yale University

Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen is the author of the critically acclaimed All We Know: Three Lives (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle, PEN/Bograd Weld, Lambda Literary, and other awards. At once a series of intimate portraits and a profound investigation of style, sexuality, and the genre of biography itself, the book explores hidden histories of modernism and troubles questions about archival searches for ephemeral lives. It does so while paying tribute to three complex queer figures—Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland—who existed vividly yet often invisibly in the transatlantic twentieth century. All We Know was a New York Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice of 2012; Publishers Weekly named it one Top 10 Best Books of that year and described it as an “exquisite triptych biography.”

Cohen’s memoirs, poems, and edited interviews, and many essays on books, film, clothes, and contemporary art, have appeared in numerous magazines, literary journals, and anthologies, including: The London Review of Books, The Paris Review, Fashion Theory, Bookforum, Women in Clothes, Queer 13, BOMB, The New York Times’ T Magazine, GLQ, Adult Contemporary, The Yale Journal of Criticism, Vogue, and Ploughshares.

Her current projects include a book on friendship, grief, questions of evidence, and Enlightenment legacies in the long history of HIV/AIDS; a series of essays on lived experiences of clothing/fashion; and a collection of lyric prose.

Professor Cohen is a writer who joined the English Department’s creative writing faculty in 2007; from 2015 to 2020 she held the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Chair; in 2018, she joined the core faculty of Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She co-founded and -designed the Creative Writing Concentration in the English Department and for many years co-directed the Concentration and the university reading series, bringing upward of 40 essayists, poets, and fiction writers to campus to read and meet with students. With FGSS, she has organized the Fall Symposium, the Dianne Weiss Memorial lecture, and brought other visiting artists and activists to campus.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Student Hours Spring 2024

Monday 4:15-5:15, Tuesday 4:15-5:15, and by appointment

Contact me by email for a zoom link.