David Thoreen, Ph.D

Professor of English

508-767-7583 Founders Hall - Room 227

Degrees Earned

B.A., St. John’s University; English, 1985
M.F.A., Bowling Green State University; Creative Writing, Fiction, 1987
Ph.D., S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook; English, 1994
Ph.D. Thesis Title: “Brave New World Democracy: Manifest Destiny in the Fiction of Joan Didion, Robert Stone, and Thomas Pynchon”

Undergraduate Courses Taught

Creative Writing
The Modern Short Story
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to Film Studies
Survey of American Literature
Special Topics in American Literature: David Foster Wallace
Special Topics in American Literature: George Saunders and the Spirit of Satire
English Composition
Honors Introduction to Literature
Senior Seminar in Literature

Writing and Research

Professor Thoreen’s intellectual pursuits include creative writing, story structure, and narrative poetry, as well as American literature more generally, from Anne Bradstreet to Junot Diaz.  Writers of particular interest include Joan Didion, E. L. Doctorow, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, and George Saunders.

Honors and Awards

Professor Thoreen has been recognized for his fiction and poetry, most recently by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, which named him a Tennessee Williams Scholar.  He has also won Minnesota Monthly’s Tamarack Award for Fiction and the Worcester County Poetry Association’s annual poetry contest, a Devine Fellowship for Fiction, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Sample Publications and Conference Presentations

“Io Sono Una Bella Luna,” Verse Daily, May 15, 2019 (https://www.versedaily.org/2019/iosanounabellaluna.shtml)

“In which Dad Does the Voices of Jay Jameson, Glib Gilbey, and the Referee, Mimics the Sound of the Bell, and Plays the Role of The Crusher—and I Do a Turn as The Monkey.” The Alembic (Spring 2019): 44-48. 

Four Poems:  “Io Sono Una Bella Luna,” “How to Know the Difference Between a Hawk and a Handsaw,” “November,” “On a Line from Millay.”  New Letters 85.2-3 (2019): 125-29.

“I’m President and You’re Not.”  Seneca Review 48.1 (Spring 2018): 102.

“Winter Wheat.”  The Alembic (Spring 2017): 136.

“The Etymology of ‘Good-Bye’: Vestigial Language in Charles Baxter’s ‘Poor Devil,’” delivered at The Association for Core Texts and Courses 22nd Annual Conference (Plymouth, MA), April 9-12, 2015.

In the Radiance of That Justice: Kafka’s Penal Colony as Plato’s Republic,” delivered at

The Association for Core Texts and Courses 18th Annual Conference (Yale University), April 14-17, 2011.

“Late Fall, Early Snow.”  Slush Pile.  Ed. Rachel Branwen.  Apr. 2009.

“Release from Hiroshima Hospital” and “A Streetcar.”  Great River Review 49 (Fall-Winter, 2008): 26-28.

“Master of None.”  Natural Bridge 13 (Spring 2005): 186.

“Minnesota.”  Slate.  Ed. Robert Pinsky.  9 Dec. 2003. 

“The Fourth Amendment and Other Modern Inconveniences: Undeclared War, Organized Labor, and the Abrogation of Civil Rights in Vineland.”  Thomas Pynchon: Reading from the Margins.  Ed. Niran Abbas.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2003. 215-33.

“The Narrative Structure of Barry Hannah’s ‘Water Liars.’”  Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Cultures 54 (2001): 223-36.

“Infernal Machines, Tribal Evil, and Individual Resistance: Tobias Wolff’s ‘In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,’” delivered at the Global Conference on Evil and Human Wickedness (Anglo-American College, Prague, Czech Republic), March 2001. 

Thoreen, D. “The President’s Emergency Powers and the Erosion of Civil Rights in Vineland,” delivered at the Programme for International Pynchon Studies (King’s College, London), June 1998. 

Honors and Awards

Tennessee Williams Scholar, Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Winner of the Worcester County Poetry Association’s annual contest, for “Letter to Hortsch from Middle Age.”

Pushcart Prize Nomination for “How to Do It” (Diner).

Tamarack Award for Fiction, Minnesota Monthly.

Devine Fellowship for Fiction.

Recipient of one of three competitive full-year, fully-funded sabbaticals, Assumption College, 2001-02.

Faculty Development Grants, Assumption College, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013.