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Michael D. Snediker

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Michael D. Snediker teaches courses in early American literature (especially mid-late 19th century), poetry and poetics, transcendentalism, Henry James, modernism, queer theory, disability theory and aesthetics. His most recent monograph, "Contingent Figure: Chronic Pain and Queer Embodiment" (U. Minnesota Press, 2021) theorizes aesthetic phenomenologies of chronic pain across the long American 19th century (especially in relation to Dickinson, Hawthorne, and Melville).

He is also the author of "Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions" (U. Minnesota Press, 2009), which was nominated for the MLA First Book Prize, the Alan Bray Prize and Phi Beta Kappa's Christian Gauss Prize. His essays have appeared in venues including "Elizabeth Bishop in Context"(Cambridge University Press), "Reading Sedgwick" (Duke University Press), "The Cambridge Companion to Queer American Literature" (Cambridge University Press), "The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville" (Cambridge University Press), and "New Essays on Emily Dickinson" (Cambridge University Press). His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including differences, ELH, J19, Modernism/ modernity, and Qui Parle.

He's also a published poet who has been a resident at both the James Merrill House (Stonington, CT) and Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY). His third book of poems, “Jones Very,” is forthcoming from Ornithopter Press. He’s also the author of "The New York Editions" (Fordham University Press, 2017), which won the Poets Out Loud Prize, and "The Apartment of Tragic Appliances," which was published in 2013 by Punctum Books and named a Lambda finalist for Best Gay Poetry. His poems have appeared in venues including Action Spectacle, Black Sun Lit, Court Green, The Drift, Jubilat, House Mountain Review, Interim, and Prelude.

He's currently writing about landscape and compressed lavishness in the work of Henry David Thoreau and Lauren Berlant, and strains of mysticism in queer/ experimental American poetics. He's recently finished a book-length poetry manuscript titled Shed Light.


  • Ph.D. (American Literature), Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • M.A. (American Literature), Johns Hopkins University, 2003
  • M.Phil. (American Literature), Cambridge University, 2000
  • B.A. (summa cum laude with highest honors), Williams College, 1998

Selected Publications


Literary Theory

  • Contingent Figure: Chronic Pain & Queer Embodiment (University of Minnesota Press, 2021)
  • Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood & Other Felicitous Persuasions (University of Minnesota Press, 2008)


  • Jones Very (Ornithopter Press, forthcoming)
  • The New York Editions (Fordham University Press, Fall 2017)
  • The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (Punctum Books, 2014)

Selected Recent Essays/Articles

  • “Queer Theory After Queer Literature,” Cambridge History of Queer American Literature, ed. Benjamin A Kahan (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
  • “Far Away within the View: Elizabeth Bishop’s Queer Planetary,” Elizabeth Bishop in Context, ed. Angus Cleghorn & Jonathan S. Ellis (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • “Weaver’s Handshake: The Aesthetic of Chronic Objects (Sedgwick, Emerson, James),” Reading Sedgwick, ed. Lauren Berlant (Duke University Press, 2019)
  • “‘The Vision—pondered long’ (Dickinson, Blanchot, Merleau-Ponty,” New Essays on Dickinson, ed. Michelle Kohler (Cambridge University Press 2019)
  • “Queer Philology & Chronic Pain,” Qui Parle, Spring 2015

Selected Poetry Publications

  • “These Sufferings Are What,” “Hung About the Neck,” “He Borrowed the River,” and “Mercury Series,” South Atlantic Quarterly: Crip Temporalities, ed. Elizabeth Freeman & Ellen Samuels, Spring 2021
  • “Three Poems,” Qui Parle 26.2, December 2017
  • “Muse Raga,” “Partial Concordance,” “Illuminated Manuscript,” “Midway along the Pathway,” “I Ching/Egg Cup,” Pen Poetry Series, ed. Brian Blanchfield, 2016 
  • “The Abasement of the Northmores,” Poem a Day, The Academy of American Poets, 2015 

Honors & Awards

  • Lence Teaching Award Finalist, Spring 2018
  • Fordham University Press, Poets Out Loud Prize, Spring 2016
  • Philip Guston & Musa McKim Fellowship, Corporation of Yaddo, Summer 2016
  • Sundell Residency for Special Assistants, Corporation of Yaddo, Summer 2015
  • Porter Fellowship, Corporation of Yaddo, Summer 2014
  • Lambda Finalist for Best Gay Poetry, March 2014
  • Flying Object Chapbook Contest, August 2013
  • Pushcart Prize Nomination, Winter 2012
  • Joseph Keane Chadwick Lecture Series, invited Lecturer, University of Hawaii Manoa, Spring 2009
  • Herchel-Smith Fellowship, 1998
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1997

Classes Taught


  • ENGL 3348: Thoreau
  • ENGL 3350: American Literature from 1672-1865
  • ENGL 3351: American Literature, 1865-Present
  • ENGL 3367: Queer Literature
  • ENGL 3396: Figuration: Aesthetics & Affect
  • ENGL 4332: Modern/Contemporary American Poetry/Poetics


  • ENGL 8392: Poetics of Attention
  • ENGL 8373: American Romanticism
  • ENGL 8372: American Transcendentalism
  • ENGL 7396: Susan Howe
  • ENGL 8371: Henry James
  • ENGL 8372: Emersonian Poetics

Research Interests

  • 19th & 20th Century American Literature
  • Poetry & Poetics
  • Affect Theory
  • Aesthetics
  • Disability Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Early American Literature
  • Psychoanalysis & Object Relations

Current Book Projects

  • Crystal Weather Spire: Mysticism & American Poetics
  • Meanderest (book-length poetry ms)
  • Jones Very (book-length poetry ms)

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