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Assistant Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall 5030

Research and Teaching Interests: Introduction to college writing, rhetoric and composition, American literature, forms of literature surveys, and introduction to creative writing

Office Hours: Virtual and in-person, by appointment. Please email me.


  • B.A., University of Mississippi, English and Psychology
  • M.A., University of Alabama at Birmingham, English (poetry concentration)
  • MFA, Sewanee School of Letters, Poetry

Shelly Stewart Cato has had a lifelong love affair with literature and creative writing. Her Masters’ thesis, entitled Drive-In Sin, consists of both formal and free verse poems set in and around New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta, and Birmingham. The poems seek to crystallize moments of gender incongruity between boys and girls as well as men and women. In 2020, she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Sewanee School of Letters. She also attended Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2017. Her MFA thesis is titled Like Paper Dolls, We Accumulate Nicely and is in progress to become her first manuscript.

She particularly enjoys teaching first-year students how to analyze the rhetoric of the written, spoken, and visual world around them. She is interested in offering learners the chance to participate in a writing process, which helps them structure and succeed. Students move sequentially from brainstorming for an essay or project to creating polished, clear writing. She is interested in digital literacy and teaching students to connect with the varied audiences they will face in life and work.

She also teaches literature survey courses that explore an ever-changing and stellar array of poems, flash fictions, stories, micro-memoirs, and short plays. Texts are historical and current, diverse and intriguing.

Shelly Cato is interested in twentieth-century American poets Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bishop, and twenty-first century American poets Tracy K. Smith, Ada Limón, Natalie Diaz, Matthew Olzmann, and Tiana Clark. Shelly is the 2021 Nancy D. Hargrove Editor’s Poetry Prize winner and a 2020 Rattle poetry prize finalist. Her poetry appears in Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, New Ohio Review, Cagibi, Blue Mountains Review, Southeast Review, and Washington Square Review. She has also published flash fiction at Little Patuxent Review and Ponder Review as well as creative nonfiction at Essays Daily. She is interested in blurring the lines and boundaries between genres and expanding ideas of form in writing.

  • Recent Courses
    • EH 101, 102: First and second semester Freshman Composition
    • EH 106/096: Introduction to College Writing I
    • EH 107/097: Introduction to College Writing II
    • EH 212: Introduction to Literature
    • EH 223, 224: Pre- and Post-1865 American Literature surveys