Wesleyan portrait of Ren  Ellis Neyra

Ren Ellis Neyra

Assistant Professor of English

Downey House, 294 High Street, 217

Assistant Professor, African American Studies


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BA Freed Hardeman College
PHD SUNY at Stony Brook

Ren Ellis Neyra

Professor Ren (née Rachel) Ellis Neyra is a poetic theorist working in the fields of Latinx, Black, and Caribbean Studies. Their writing and teaching in these fields prioritize: Poetics; the relationships between Poetry, Music, and Performance; Aesthetics; Contemporary Caribbean Art; Third Cinema; Literary, Queer, Postcolonial, and Translation Theories. 

Ren Ellis Neyra is completing their book, titled The Cry of the Senses: Listening to Latinx and Caribbean Poetics (under contract with Duke University Press). The Cry probes the historical demands of poetics in the field of Latina/o/x Studies in relation to Caribbean Studies through a performative methodology of listening closely and synesthetically for unruly sounds made by what we otherwise cordon off as visual, narrative, and mimetic. Sonically and multi-sensorially engaging a range of texts, from Salsa and Indie music to live and multimedia performance, to poetry, theater, legal transcripts, and short experimental films, the book features a synesthetic archive that sounds out nonsense, upheaval, hyper-participation, sex, refusal, deviancy, and disobedience in Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, Chicana/o/x, and Black diasporic aesthetics. The book imagines Latinx as a riotous movement in the hemisphere, a plurality that re-imagines sensorial solidarities across the Caribbean archipelago and the Sonora desert.

Ellis Neyra has begun two new book projects, and two different ways of getting at a poetics without humanism: one provisionally titled "Abuse, Poetics: Bilingualism, the American Domestic, and Eroticism," consisting of essays on the Lorena Bobbitt trial and Latinx responses thereto, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's poetics of enjambment and female anal eroticism, Robert Hayden's poetic concerns with domesticity, abuse, queer desire, blackness and place, and a personal essay on bilingualism and domestic abuse; and the other, titled "Liquid: Unsovereign Poetics, 'Chimerical Ecologies,"' imagines an emergent poetics from the ecosystems of what Ellis Neyra calls "unsovereign" places in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Martinique). Artists and writers nibia pastrana, Ramón Miranda Beltrán, MAOF, Engel Leonardo, Monchoachi, Édouard Glissant, Sylvia Wynter, Denise Ferreira da Silva, and others, feature in this study of the elements and Caribbean poetics.

As a writer, they think in the genres (and temporalities) of academic essays, as well as art and performance reviews, and poetry. Read their writing in: ARTFORUM; BOMB magazine; the Journal of Popular Music Studies; ASAP/Journal; Terremoto: Contemporary Art in the Americas; Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theoryLa Gaceta de Cuba; Sargasso: A Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language and Culture; Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora; La Habana Elegante; Comparative Literature and Culture, and other venues. Ellis Neyra recently published their debut book of poetry, Meteor Shower/ Días Sin Shower (2017), and a co-edited, collaborative volume, Caribbean Cautionary Tales (2017), with La Impresora Press, San Juan, Puerto Rico. New work is forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, and elsewhere.

The bio- and geo-diverse landscapes of southeast Florida, western Tennessee, and the Caribbean -- oceanic, riverine, marshy, sunken, hilly, arid, briny, non-white racialized, white-settled, plantation-warped, fugitive-traced -- course through Ren's writing, teaching, and imaginary of space and relations. They bring all of these elements into their dynamics and practices of study in and beside the University, around and under discourses of judgment and individuation.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Will be updated in the Fall of 2019.


Fall 2019
ENGL 141F - 01
Revolutionary Rupture (FYS)

ENGL 201R - 01
Ways of Reading: Sound Sense