Lisa Colletta is Full Professor and Program Director of the English Writing, Literature, and Publishing program

She is a dual American/Italian citizen, who was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida but grew up on the West Coast. In Los Angeles, she worked at the Getty Museum and Bon Appetit Magazine, before earning her Ph.D. in English literature from The Claremont Graduate University. Her research and teaching interests are in twentieth-century British literature, travel writing, and humor studies. Dr. Colletta has published five books and numerous chapters and articles in both scholarly and popular outlets. In her spare time she studies wine at the Fondazione Italiana Sommelier.


Loving books and travel, Professor Colletta's approach to life is "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Dr. Lisa Colletta


Q. When were you happiest?

For about half an hour in the mid-1980s.

Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A writer, a journalist specifically.

Q. What is your computer and/or phone wallpaper?

A photo of a compass with the names and directions of the winds in Italian. It was painted on a wall outside a ferry terminal in Sicily.

Q. Which word or phrase do you most overuse?

Well, I grew up on the west coast, so in English, I use “like” too much. In Italian, it would be “Boh” ...


Q. What is the worst job you’ve ever done?

I’m not ruling anything out, yet.

Q. What trait do you most dislike in yourself?

Just one? The list is too long . . . I am a very flawed individual.

Q. If you weren’t a professor, what would you be?

During a recent trip to Sardinia, I was convinced I wanted to be a shepherd, but the hours are grueling.

Q. What trait do you most dislike in others?

Again, just one? I started my career in humor studies, which means I am a misanthrope.


Q. If you could travel back in time just once, where and when would you go?

Paris in the 20s

Q. How do you relax?


Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?

I was raised Catholic, I feel guilty all the time.


Q. If you could bring something extinct or a deceased historic figure back to life, what/who would it be?

There are many writers I would like to have known, but in about five years, I fear there will be lots of extinct things we wish we could bring back, like hippos, lions, giraffes, bees. . .

Q. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?

A few things. Shakespeare said everything, and we’ve only been repeating him for 500 years. Technology rarely makes your life better. Social media is a scourge, And, paraphrasing E.M. Forster, “People will always disappoint you, but they should always be given the opportunity not to.”


Q. Tell us a secret…

No, then it won’t be a secret. Oh, okay, if you spill red wine on a carpet, it can be cleaned with shaving cream. Club soda also works.