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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Lesley Wheeler

Henry S. Fox Professor of English

Payne 308
(540) 458-8758

Professional Website

Fall term office hours: Monday and Wednesday 1:15 to 2:20; Tuesday and Thursday 1:15 to 2:50; and by advance appointment


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


Twentieth-century and twenty-first-century poetry in English: sound, voice, performance, gender, place, and community


WRIT 100—First Year Writing Seminar
English 205—Poetic Forms
English 230—Poetry
English 353—20th-Century British Poetry
English 363—American Poetry from 1900-1950
English 364—American Poetry from 1950-Present

Selected Publications


The Receptionist and Other Tales. Poems. Aqueduct Press, 2012.

Heterotopia. Poems. Winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize, 2010.

Heathen. Poems. C & R Press, 2009.

Voicing American Poetry. Cornell UP, 2008.

Letters to the World: Poems from Members of the Women's Poetry Listserv. Co-editor with Moira Richards and Rosemary Starace. Red Hen P, 2008.

Scholarship Girl. Poetry chapbook. Finishing Line P, 2007. 

The Poetics of Enclosure: American Women Poets from Dickinson to Dove. U of Tennessee P, 2002.

Selected Essays, Interviews, and Reviews

Essay. "The Formalist Modernism of of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Helene Johnson, and Louise Bogan." The Cambridge History of American Poetry (forthcoming).

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. "What Death Will Buy: Escaping Gender in Emily Dickinson." Nature, Woman, and the Artifice of Politics. Ed. Eduardo Velasquez. Roman and Littlefield, 2000.

Essay. "Medbh McGuckian's The Flower Master as a Critique of Female Modernism." HOW2 1.3 (2000).

Review Essay. "Attitudes of Mothering: Review of Rita Dove's Mother Love." Critical Matrix 10:1-2 (1996).

Essay. "Rita Dove." Scribner's American Writers Series, Supplement IV (December 1996).

Selected Poems in Journals

SubTropics, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, Fringe, Rattle, Slate, Poetry, 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, American Writing, Critical Matrix, Northeast Journal, American Standard, SPSM&H, and Interim.

Seminar and Capstone Topics

Poetry and Community
Poetry and Performance
Emily Dickinson
African-American Poetry and Poetics
H. D. and T. S. Eliot
Feminist Literary Theory
Lyric and Voice
Major American Women Poets
American Gothic

Work in Progress

Poetry's Possible Worlds (scholarly study)

Signal to Noise (poems)