She grew up in The Netherlands and in upstate New York. She graduated with Highest Honors in Ancient Greek from Swarthmore College, and was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study English Literature at Newnham College in Cambridge University. As a Fulbright Scholar, she pursued a year of Translation Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 1991 she received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University.
After teaching at Oberlin College for four years, she joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she specializes in nineteenth-century poetry, comparative poetics, lyric theory, classical reception studies, and critical translation studies.
She has served as Vice President (2013-15) and President (2015-16) of the American Comparative Literature Association and is currently Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.