Michael Theune



Professor of English and University Writing Program Director


Ph.D., University of Houston, 2002
M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1996
B.A., Oxford University, 1994
B.A., Hope College, 1992

Courses Frequently Taught:
English 101: Introduction to Creative Writing
English 202: Writing Poetry
English 301: Seminar in Creative Writing (topics include "Stand-up Poetry"; "Ekphrastic Poetry"; "Ideas of Poetry / Poetry of Ideas"; and "Poetry, Daily")
English 344: Romantic Literature
English 370: Issues in Contemporary American Poetry
English 401: Senior Writing Project


Work included in The Best of the AWP Pedagogy Papers 2009.
Sigma Tau Delta’s Eugene W. Hughes Outstanding Sponsor, 2007-2008.
Illinois Wesleyan University Student Senate Professor of the Year, 2007-2008.
Marshall Scholar, 1992-1994.

Selected Publications:
—Keats's Negative Capability: New Origins and Afterlives. Ed. with Brian Rejack. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool UP, 2019.
We Need to Talk: A New Method for Evaluating Poetry. With Bob Broad. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2017.
Midwestern Death Poems. With Austin Smith. Green River, VT: Longhouse, 2013.
Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns. Ed.  New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2007.
—Poems in Alaska Review Quarterly, American Literary Review, American Poet, The New Republic, Pindeldyboz, The Texas Review, and elsewhere.

Faculty Status:
Tenured, at IWU since 2002; next leave, 2022-23.

Professional and Personal:
I write criticism and poetry. My scholarship has three main concerns: the poetic turn (those amazing places where poems radically change their focus); the assessment of poetry (we do it all the time, so we should probably think deeply and well about it!); and the Romantic poet John Keats ( swoon ). I blog about some of these interests at  structureandsurprise.wordpress.com voltagepoetry.com , and  keatslettersproject.com . I love all kinds of poems, but my own writing right now focuses on shorter forms: aphorism and haiku. As a teacher, I value and promote active engagement and creative risk. When not immersed in the above, I watch movies, look at paintings (abstract expressionism is a favorite style), run the occasional half marathon, and read and drink coffee at the Coffee Hound.