In Memoriam

Jim McGowan

 James Denise McGowan


Prospero Freed
by James McGowan

After the tempest, man is not his man,
No man his own—sodden is Stephano
Who slogs in brambles, piloting his band,
Jester and mooncalf, deeper into slough.

One weeps again the king his father’s wreck;
Another plots the king his lord’s demise,
Whose slow assassin’s wits do not suspect
A tricksey angel watches from the skies.

But wizard melodies attune the isle,
And spirits bless the admirable maid:
Your sorcery contrives to reconcile
In justice the fantastic parts you’ve played.

Then drown your book, when you have found your man,
And gravely leave a world to Caliban.



Senior Sem at the Newberry Fall 2013

Professor Diaz's Senior Seminar at the Newberry Library Fall 2013


Upcoming Events

Tuesday, April 15, 2014--Resume Workshop. 4:00 pm in the Welcome Center Auditorium

Wednesday, April 16, 2014--Celebration of Life for Professor Emeritus James McGown.  4:00 pm Young Main Lounge

All are invited to a Celebration of Life service for Professor Emeritus James McGowan Wednesday, April 16 at the Young Main Lounge, Memorial Center. The gathering begins at 4 p.m., followed by a meal in Joslin Atrium.

James died  March 7 . He was a member of the IWU English department from 1969-2000 before retiring.

Thursday, April 17, 2014--How To Talk Back to the Dead: Entering the Poetic Conversation
       A masterclass, led by poet Roger Reeves. 4:00 pm Davidson Room 

How To Talk Back to the Dead: Entering the Poetic Conversation
A masterclass, led by poet Roger Reeves.

Thursday, April 17
4 p.m.
The Davidson Room, in the Memorial Center

This masterclass will feature discussion of some of the ways that poets "talk back" to earlier poets, poems, and poetic traditions, focusing on the poetic conversation between Ricky Laurentiis's "Of the Leaves that Have Fallen" and Wallace Stevens's "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery."

"Of the Leaves..." is available online at

"Like Decorations..." is available online at!/20579785

Masterclass participants are encouraged to read these works in advance, but are not required to.  Handouts of these works will be available at the masterclass.

All are welcome.

Thursday, April 17, 2014--Roger Reeves, A Night of Poetry. 7:00 pm Davidson Room

On April 17th, Tributaries will be hosting poet Roger Reeves! Reeves will be giving a poetry workshop at  4pm in the Davidson Room. And at 7pm, Reeves, joined by Garin Cycholl and William Allegrezza , will be giving readings for our Night of Poetry, also in the Davidson Room.

Roger Reeves's poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. Kim Addonizio selected “Kletic of Walt Whitman” for the Best New Poets 2009 anthology. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and two Cave Canem Fellowships. He earned his PhD the University of Texas-Austin and is currently an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His first book is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).

Garin Cycholl’s recent work has appeared with Admit2, Rain Taxi, Exquisite Corpse, New American Writing, and Seven Corners. He is author of Blue Mound to 161 (winner of the 2003 Transcontinental Prize), Nightbirds, Levitations, and Raeftown Georgics. Since 2002, he has been a member of Chicago’s Jimmy Wynn fiction collaborative.

William Allegrezza edits the e-zine Moria. He has previously published many poetry books, including In the Weaver’s Valley, Ladders in July, Fragile Replacements, Collective Instant, Aquinas and the Mississippi (with Garin Cycholl), Covering Over, and Densities, Apparitions; two anthologies, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century and La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana Reciente; seven chapbooks, including Sonoluminescence (co-written with Simone Muench) and Filament Sense (Ypolita Press); and many poetry reviews, articles, and poems.

Friday, April 25, 2014--Senior Picnic.  4:00 pm.  Professor Bray's home.  RSVP 

In the News



Assistant Professor of English Joanne Diaz is the winner of the 2014 Brittingham Prize in Poetry.






2014 Writing Award Winners

2014 Writing Award Recipients

Kaitlin McManus, Colleen O'Connor, and Shane McGowan
(sculpture by Michael Ferris, Jr.)

2014--Writing Award Recipients Announced                             

Winner: Kaitlin McManus, for her short story, “Those Who Can’t.”
Honorable Mention: Shane McGowan                                                            

Winner: Colleen O’Connor

Winner: Colleen O’Connor, for her essay, “Darling, It’s Better”
Honorable Mentions: Olivia Anderson, for “Blood Tide,” and Mack Rivkin, for “The Private Collection”


jeffneukom  Argus Features Editor, Jeff Neukom, wins "2013 Award for Excellence in Illinois College Newspapers" - sponsored by Illinois College Press Association.

English department Student Assistant and Argus Features Editor honored by ICPA.

The Illinois College Press Association, an organization made up of all the four-year college newspapers in the state, announced the winners of their annual competition for college journalisms, and English department TA and Argus Features Editor Jeff Neukom was awarded a First Place plaque for News Story. 

Congratulations to the Sigma Tau Delta new members!

On Sunday, January 26, 2014, the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, ten new members.

2014 Sigma Tau Delta New Members
2014 Newly initiated Sigma Tau Delta Members: Patrick Cavanaugh, Michael Wettengel, Olivia Anderson, Hannah Dhue, Mack Rivkin, Elise Brubaker,  Erica Kucharski,  Kinzie Schweigert
Not pictured: Joseph Ruskey and Nick Anderson
2014 Sigma Tau Delta Board
Sigma Tau Delta Executive Board 2013-2014: (left to right) Kevin Brown, Patrick Burke, Audra Kuchling, Bobby Castillo, Stephanie Fenty, Tia Sprengel, Rachel Branson
2014 Guest Speak: Meg Miner, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian and Assistant Professor.

Congratulations to Hannah Dhue, semi-finalist in the the 2013 NCTE Norman Mailer Writing Award for non-fiction!

Plath publishes anthology of Carver criticism

Charles (Chip) Corwin, Class of 2005, Graduates Law School with Honors

Sainsbury Honored With 2013 Dougan Award

Alumni update: Ashley Lauren Samsa’s blog posting published in The Guardian

Terkla and Diaz named finalists for Professor of the Year

What is Disgust? Book by Kelly '97 Offers New Answers

Daniel Kelly '97 discusses the character and evolution of disgust in his book, Yuck! The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust.



Welcome to the English House!

English is one of the most popular majors at Illinois Wesleyan. Our curriculum prepares students for graduate study, for teaching in secondary schools, and for entry into professions that stress verbal skills and education in the humanities—fields such as law, journalism, publishing, government, and business. But whatever field they enter, students find that employers value the skills an English major develops.
English House

The department offers two sequences for majors: a Literature sequence and a Writing sequence that includes journalism and/or creative writing.

It all starts at the English House, a 1911 Prairie-style residence designed by local architect Arthur Pillsbury. His daughter, Frances, was an English major at IWU, and the building has been home to the department since the Seventies.

The English department consists of 140 majors and minors and 11 full-time faculty members, seven of whom have received the University’s highest teaching award. Walk through the house and you’ll find faculty in their offices working one-on-one with students or just chatting. Whether it’s helping you find the right grad school and study-abroad program or just giving you a sounding board to talk about concerns, faculty spend time with you not because they have to, but because they want to.

Our faculty members bring a wealth of experience to the classroom. Half of us have published books, and all are active professionally. We attend conferences, we serve on boards, we write creatively, and we work with community organizations. Among us are playwrights, film critics, songwriters, desktop publishers, award-winning writers, and literary scholars. Whatever your interest, there’s a good chance it’ll be shared by someone on the English department faculty.


English Department

Mary Ann Bushman, Acting Chair
Illinois Wesleyan University
PO Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702

English Department Office Hours:
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Phone: (309) 556-3333
Fax: (309) 556-3545

Around the House - IWU English Department News

"Literature is news that stays news."

    -- Ezra Pound