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Michael Theune

Robert Harrington Endowed Professor of English and Chair of English


Office Number:
CLA 149
Michael Theune

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 , and . 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.