Professor and Chair of English
Ph.D., English literature, Northwestern University
M.F.A, Creative Writing, New York University
Courses Frequently Taught:
English 101: Introduction to Creative Writing
English 132: The Healing Art: Illness and Recovery in Literature and Film
English 133: Crime and Punishment
English 202: Writing Poetry
English 224: Shakespeare and Film
English 243: Survey of English Poetry, 1500-1700
English 280: Understanding Literature
English 311: Poetics of Engagement
English 345: The Global Renaissance
English 393: Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories
English 394: Shakespeare's Tragedies and Romances
English 480: Senior Seminar
Ragdale Artist Residency, 2016
Kimmel Harding Nelson Residency, 2015
Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant, 2013
NEA Fellowship, 2009
Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship, 2005
The Little Magazine in Contemporary America, co-edited with Ian Morris (University of Chicago Press, 2015)
My Favorite Tyrants, winner of the 2013 Brittingham Prize in Poetry (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014)
The Lessons, winner of the 2009 Gerald Cable Book Award (Silverfish Review Press, 2011)
Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide, 5th Edition, co-edited with Janet E. Gardner (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2020)
Literature: A Portable Anthology, 5th Edition, co-edited with Janet Gardner, Beverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel
(Bedford/St. Martins, 2021)
Articles and Poems
“Comedies of Tough Love” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, ed. Heather Hirschfeld (Oxford University Press, 2018).
“The Future of the University Quarterly,” co-written with Ian Morris. Inside Higher Ed, February 16, 2015.
“Complaint.” Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, fourth edition, 2012.
“The Digital Archive as a Tool for Close Reading in the Undergraduate Literature Course.” Pedagogy Volume 12, issue 3 (2012).
Poems published in AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Missouri Review, Poetry, New
England Review, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, The Southern Review, and Third Coast.
The Poetry for All podcast, co-host with Abram Van Engen:
Tenured, at IWU since 2008; next sabbatical, 2021-2022
Professional and Personal:
As a teacher, I have two goals: I aim to help students develop their interpretive
skills so that they can enjoy the provocations of literary texts, and I encourage
students to see both creative and analytical writing as integral parts of their development
as learners. I hope that my students develop their own interests while at the same
time writing their best creative work and learning about the unique attributes of
I am both a poet and a scholar. In my poetry, I use a style that is based on a principle
of inclusion, one that allows me to write long, discursive lines which connect popular
culture with political concerns, cross many geographies and time periods, and use
a variety of rhetorical strategies to explore charged emotional material. In my scholarship,
I am interested in archives, book history, literary magazines, and the poetry and
drama produced by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.