According to the U.S. government, Lesley Wheeler grew up in New York and New Jersey, but she also inhabited a heterocosmica hovering above the Atlantic Ocean. As the eldest child of a recent émigré from Liverpool, England, she had traces of a British accent and spent as much time as possible in British and American fictional universes. Some of her favorite world-builders are Emily Dickinson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, and Gwendolyn Brooks.
After earning a B.A. at Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in English at Princeton University (1994), Wheeler moved south to Washington and Lee University, where she is currently the Henry S. Fox Professor of English and teaches a range of undergraduate poetry courses. She lives in Lexington, Virginia with writer Chris Gavaler and their two children.
Wheeler's poetry collections include Heathen (C&R Press, 2009, http://www.crpress.org/) and Heterotopia, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize (2010, http://www.barrowstreet.org/). Her most recent scholarly study is Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present (Cornell University Press, 2007). With Moira Richards, Rosemary Starace, and a larger feminist collective, she also co-edited Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-po Listserv, issued by Red Hen Press in 2008. Wheeler has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the American Association of University Women, and other grantors. Her poems have appeared in Slate, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and many other magazines. Wheeler’s current projects include the scholarly study Poetry's Possible Worlds and a poetry manuscript with the working title Signal to Noise. She blogs about poetry at The Cave, The Hive (http://thecavethehive.wordpress.com/).