Welcome to my website. I was born in 1964 and grew up in Orange County, California as the youngest of three children. My father, James L. Drake, was a native Californian, and (aside from being a fine amateur boxer) he served in the Navy from 1952-56 on the USS Mann, later going to work for the U.S. Postal Service. My mother, Theresa Calamito, grew up in New Jersey and became a seamstress. She loved to read and encouraged me to become a scholar.

I attended Saddleback High School in Santa Ana, and then Orange Coast College before transferring to the University of California, Irvine, where I graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English in 1989. I subsequently earned an M.A. in 1990 and a Ph.D. in 1997 from the same university. 

After my graduate and post-doctoral years at UC Irvine, I taught at Chapman University and CSU Fullerton from 2002-2012 and 2002-2015, respectively, after which I worked as an independent tutor. I am currently teaching a course on Shakespearean romance for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNLV. In all, I have designed well over one hundred courses and taught texts by more than four hundred authors in British, American, and world literature as well as in literary criticism, theory, and composition. This site offers syllabi, guides, and question sets drawn from my experience. You are welcome to use/adapt them for non-commercial purposes.

       Modified from a Wikimedia Commons image
       of Odilon Redon’s “Orpheus” (pre-1928)