Elizabeth Cantwell, Ph.D.

Teacher, Chair of Humanities/English
Yale University – B.A.
University of Southern California – Ph.D,

Professional Focus: I am the chair of the Humanities/English Department. I also coach Webb’s debate team.

Scholarly or professional activities: My undergraduate degree is in English and my Ph.D. is in literature & creative writing. I am an editor for the film magazine and website Bright Wall/Dark Room, and I have contributed my own film writing to many an issue. Writing about film is something I love to do, and it definitely feeds my own intellectual work at Webb as well. I have also published two books of poems – Nights I Let The Tiger Get You (Black Lawrence Press) and All The Emergency-Type Structures (Inlandia Institute) – and have been working on a third collection, though the pandemic hasn’t been totally kind to my poetic synapses.

Grew up: I grew up in Northern Virginia. Totally a different state than Southern Virginia.

Favorite spot at Webb: Hmmm. There are so many! Right now, I really love that spot on the museum lawn across from Jackson. There’s shade, a nice breeze, and butterflies, and if you’re there right before lunch, you can say hi to everyone who walks up from Chandler Field to the Dining Hall.

Favorite music or musician: I really can’t choose between the Talking Heads and Fiona Apple!

Favorite book or author: This is not a nice question to ask of a literature person … the EASY answer is obviously Gatsby, but boy, uh, I love so many books. Eve L. Ewing’s poetry has really been reaching me lately.

Favorite TV show or movie: Well, I’m biased, but as far as TV goes I think Halt and Catch Fire, which my husband co-created, is pretty perfect. You can watch it on Netflix if you haven’t already. And I guess Twin Peaks has to tie Halt for first place.

Saturday routine: I have two kids, so I don’t get to sleep in that much … but I do try to get up a LITTLE later than I do during the week! Weather permitting, I try to get outside as much as possible, maybe go for a hike, hang out at the beach, or just take a long walk with my slow old dog. At some point in the afternoon, you will probably find me either playing Uno with my 4-year-old, listening to my 8-year-old wax poetic about the many kinds of snakes he loves and wishes we had as pets, or attempting to squeeze in some yoga during a rare quiet moment. After the kids go to bed, I am probably watching something on TV with vampires in it.