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Dr. Morrison has essay published

Morrison-M.jpgMorehead State University’s Dr. Ronald D. Morrison, professor of English, has published an essay that explores connections between the country-rock band Blackberry Smoke and the poetry of William Wordsworth. 

The essay titled “Wordsworth’s ‘Michael,’ the Georgic, and Blackberry Smoke” appears in the volume Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2, edited by James Rovira and published by Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield.

In the essay, Morrison focuses on the formal features of the georgic, a poem focused on agriculture, and he draws connections between William Wordsworth’s famous poem and various songs in the catalog of Blackberry Smoke. While critical treatments of Romantic poetry tend to focus on the pastoral, which presents an idealized view of nature and rural values, contemporary critics have begun to examine the form of the georgic, which tends to describe in relatively realistic fashion the joys and hardships of rural life and rural culture. Morrison believes that his article tells us something about both Romantic poetry and contemporary music, particularly the genre of Southern Rock.

Morrison notes that rock music has many parallels to Romantic-era poetry. In fact, the Doors were named after a line in William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” and the last two U2 albums were named after collections of poetry by Blake as well: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

“I had a lot of fun with this project. I think it is important to show students that poetry from earlier ages can have a great deal in common with the contemporary world and contemporary art forms,” said Morrison.

Morrison has been an MSU professor since 1988. He was awarded the University’s Distinguished Research Award in 2004. He served as the University’s faculty regent from 2008-14, and he is a former chair of the MSU Faculty Senate.

Additional information is available by contacting Morrison at 606-783-2608 or email

For more information about MSU’s English program, visit