Lesley Wheeler Henry S. Fox Professor of English

Lesley Wheeler

Payne 308


B.A., Rutgers University
Ph.D., Princeton University


Twentieth and twenty-first-century poetry; creative writing in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; speculative fiction. Poetry Editor of Shenandoah.


  • Writ 100-First Year Writing Seminar
  • English 204-Topics in Creative Writing: Poetry
  • English 239-Magical Education
  • English 230-Poetry & Music
  • English 229-Protest Poetry
  • English 353-Poetry, Skepticism and the Sacred
  • English 356-Whitman vs. Dickinson
  • English 363-Modern Poetry's Media
  • English 364-Poetry and Authenticity

Seminar and Capstone Topics

  • Taking Literature Personally
  • Documentary Poetics
  • Otherworlds
  • Poetry and Performance
  • African-American Poetry and Poetics
  • H. D. and T. S. Eliot
  • Lyric and Voice

Selected Publications


Selected Essays, Interviews, and Reviews

  • Essay. “Ghost Tour,” The Hopkins Review 16.3, for the “Traversals” folio on walking, Summer 2023.
  • Essay. “Creative Scholarship, or Doubling Down,” Modernism/ Modernity “In These Times” column, 16 February 2023.
  • Essay. “Partial Visibility: Short-Lined Sonnets by Elizabeth Bishop and Adrienne Su,” Sonnets from the American, edited by Dora Malech and Laura T. Smith, Iowa University Press, 2023.
  • Essay. “Reading as an Apprentice Time Traveler: A Lesson in Close Reading and in Writing Time,” Poets & Writers (September 2022).
  • Essay. “Brave Words,” Poets & Writers Online Exclusive (May 16, 2022).
  • Co-interview with Ashley M. Jones, The Adroit, January 27, 2022
  • Essay. “Closure, Irresolution, and Cynthia Hogue’s ‘At Delphi,’’The Account 16 (Fall 2021).
  • Essay. “Taking Poetry Personally with Hai-Dang Phan,” American Poetry Review (November 2021).
  • Essay. “Hand of Smoke,” Speculative Nonfiction 5 (Spring 2021).
  • Essay. “Hurry Up Please Its Time,” Modernism/ modernity, #MeToo and Modernism Essay Cluster (September 2020).
  • Essay. “White Rice: Teaching in the Confederacy," Waxwing 21 (Summer 2020).
  • Essay. “The Smell of Tansy Through the Dark,” Massachusetts Review (Spring 2020, 29-37).
  • Essay. “Anne Spencer’s Epistolary Activism.” In Modernist Women Writers and American Social Engagement, coedited by Jody Cardinal, Deirdre Egan-Ryan, and Julia Lisella (Lexington Books 2019).
  • Essay. "Women Stay Put." Crab Orchard Review, 22.1 (Winter 2018).
  • Essay. "The window slides down into its door-sleeve." Symposium on Teaching Claudia Rankine's Citizen, Southern Humanities Review (September 28, 2015)
  • Essay. "Spacetime: Walking Around in Paula Meehan's 'Death of a Field.'" Ecotone 10th Anniversary Issue (Spring 2015): 31-39. "Poem in a Landscape" Feature.
  • Essay. "Verse and the Multiverse." Poet Lore 110.1-2 (Spring/ Summer 2015): 113-124.
  • Essay. "The Formalist Modernism of of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Helene Johnson, and Louise Bogan." The Cambridge History of American Poetry. New York: Cambridge UP, 2015 (628-649).
  • Essay. "A New Walk." Forging a Rewarding Career in the Humanities: Advice for Academics. Ed. Karla P. Zepeda and Ellen Mayock. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2014 (3-13).
  • Essay. "Undead T. S. Eliot: How 'The Waste Land' Sounds Now." Poetry 204.5 (September 2014): 467-479.
  • Interview. "Humanities and the Work of Healing: An Interview with Rafael Campo."Shenandoah 63.2 (Spring 2014).
  • Essay in verse. "Women's Speculative Poetry Now" (essay in verse). WisCon Chronicles 8: Re-generating WisCon. Ed. Rebecca Holden. Seattle: Aqueduct Press, 2014 (104-6).
  • Essay. "The Dinosaurs Are Breeding." Verse Wisconsin 112, "Parents & Children" (Fall 2013).
  • Essay. "Coffee with Poets in New Zealand."Gettysburg Review Summer 26.2.221-9 (Summer 2013). Poetry Daily prose feature for week of May 27th, 2013.
  • Essay. "Signals from Aotearoa New Zealand: An Introduction." Co-authored with Max Chapnick and Drew Martin. Preface to co-edited portfolio of 25 previously unpublished poems from New Zealand. Shenandoah 62.2 (Winter 2013).
  • Essay. "'Salon with a Revolving Door': Virtual Community and the Case of Wom-po." Contemporary Women's Writing (December 2011).
  • Essay. "Unruly Poems for an Unruly Group." The Exercise Book: Creative Writing Exercises from Victoria University's Institute of Modern Letters. Ed. Bill Manhire, Ken Duncam, Chris Price, and Damien Wilkins. Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press, 2011(82-84).
  • Essay. "Mapping Sea Garden." In Approaches to Teaching H.D.'s Poetry and Prose, ed. Annette Debo and Lara Vetter. New York: MLA, 2011 (40-48).
  • "An Interview with Bill Manhire." Shenandoah 61.2 (Winter 2012).
  • Essay. "Rhymes with Poetess." Kenyon Review Online (August 2011).
  • Review essay. "Illness and Poetic Language." Literature and Medicine, Spring 2011 (29.1.197-212).
  • Review of Cynthia Hogue's Or Consequence (poetry). Shenandoah (Fall 2011).
  • Review of Ann Fisher-Wirth's Carta Marina (poetry). Poetry Flash (October 2011).
  • Essay. "On Capstones, Service Learning, and Poetry." Profession 2010.
  • Essay. "Materializing Millay: The 1930s Radio Broadcasts." In Broadcasting Modernism, ed. Michael Coyle, Debra Rae Cohen, Jane Alison Lewty (University of Florida Press, 2009).
  • Essay. "Cento for an Anthology of Women Poets."Junctures: A Journal of Thematic Dialogue, June 2008 (10, 129-143). With Ann Fisher-Wirth, Ellen Goldstein, Ann Hostetler, D'Arcy Randall, and Rosemary Starace.
  • Essay. "Voice and the Visual Poetry of Langston Hughes." Fieldnotes: A Publication of the Masters in Teaching Program at Bard College, Fall 2007 (3.3.5-11).
  • Interview. "Your Body, Your Breath: An Interview with Janet McAdams." Shenandoah 56.3.141-156 (Winter 2006).
  • Essay. "Against Usefulness," in "A Muse of Fire: Poetry in Crisis," Editor's Forum, Studies in American Culture 28.2.20-31 (2005).
  • Essay. "Impostors and Chameleons: Marianne Moore and the Carlisle Indian School." Written with Christopher Gavaler. Paideuma: A Special Issue on H. D. and Marianne Moore, 33.2-3.53-82 (Fall 2004).
  • Essay. "Both Flower and Flower-Gatherer: Medbh McGuckian's The Flower Master and H.D.'s Sea Garden." Twentieth-Century Literature 49.4. 494-519 (Winter 2003).
  • Review. "Safe Mischief: The Zones of Paradise by Lynn Powell" (poetry). American Book Review 25.5.1-3 (2004).
  • Review of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (novel). Shenandoah 53.4 (2003).
  • Review of Verner D. Mitchell's (ed.) This Waiting for Love: Helene Johnson, Poet of the Harlem Renaissance, African American Review 36.2 (2002): 340-2.
  • Review of Ruth Ellen Kocher's Desdemona's Fire. African American Review 35.2 (2001): 342-3.
  • Essay. "'Heralding the Clear Obscure': Gwendolyn Brooks and Apostrophe." Callaloo 24.1 (2001).
  • Review of Medbh McGuckian's Shelmalier and The Wake Forest Book of Contemporary Irish Women Poets. Shenandoah 51.1 (2001).
  • Essay. "Medbh McGuckian's The Flower Master as a Critique of Female Modernism." HOW 21.3 (2000).
  • Essay. "Rita Dove." Scribner's American Writers Series, Supplement IV (December 1996).

Selected Poems in Journals

Guernica, North American Review, Kenyon Review Online, Poetry, Quarterly West, Interim, AGNI, Copper Nickel, Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, New Ohio Review, Ecotone, Strange Horizons, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cascadia Subduction Zone, Tahoma Review, SubTropics, Cimarron Review, Notre Dame Review, Ocean State Review, Water~Stone Review, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Switchback, Salamander, Poet Lore, Fringe, Rattle, Slate, 32 Poems,Fringe, Barely South Review, Platte Valley Review, Witness, The Journal, The National Poetry Review, Blackbird, Admit Two, Diner, Tupelo Press Poetry Project, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pearl, The Journal, American Literary Review, Poemeleon, Poetry Southeast, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Southeast Review, Puerto del Sol, Crab Orchard Review, MARGIE, Barrow Street, storySouth, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Chiron Review, PMS, Phoebe, Sou'wester, Elixir, Nimrod, The Louisville Review.


Selected Awards and Honors

Winner of the Bradford-Niederman Broadside Award for “Unsonnet,” awarded by Ecotone at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, 2021.
Katherine Nason Bakeless Fellowship to Breadloaf Environmental Writers Conference, 2021.
Pearl S. Buck Writer in Residence at Randolph College for Winter 2021.
Pushcart nominee for poetry in 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019.
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship (April 2013). 
Tiptree Award Honor List for The Receptionist and Other Tales (2013).
Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (2012).
Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to New Zealand (2011).
Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize for Heterotopia (2009). Judge David Wojahn.
Shortlisted for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize for Voicing American Poetry (2009).
Virginia Commission for the Arts, Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry (2007-8).
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2005-6).
American Association of University Women Summer Faculty Fellowship (1996).