Miho Nonaka, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English
On Faculty since 2010

Office: Blanchard 312
Phone: (630)752-5787


P.h.D. (English/Creative Writing), University of Houston

M.F.A. (Creative Writing), Columbia University

M.A. (East Asian Studies), Harvard University

B.A. (English), Wellesley College

About Miho Nonaka

Miho Nonaka is a native of Tokyo and a bilingual poet/translator.  Besides poetry of all kinds, her interests include lyric essay, memoir, Japanese literature, surrealism, and modern European literature.

Courses Taught

    ENGL 105 – Literature of the Modern World

    ENGL 202 – Literary and Global Explorations: Japanese Literature and Animation

    ENGL 285 – Asian Literature

    ENGW 213 – Creative Writing

    ENGW 214 – Discursive Writing

    ENGW 332 – Creative Non-Fiction

    ENGW 335 – Poetry Writing & Criticism

    ENGW 444 – Special Topics: Writing of Place & Journey

    ENGW 444 – Special Topics: Memoir

    ENGW 444 – Contemporary Poetry & Issues of Craft

    ENGW 494 – Senior Seminar 

    ENGW 495 – Independent Studies (Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing; Advanced Poetry Writing; Poetry Manuscripts; Memoir Projects)


My scholarly research has to do with the non-Western spiritual tradition and cultural identity of Japan within a global framework.  It stared with modernism and the avant-gardes in the early 20th-century Japan, and moved on to postwar authors and literary movements.  I've written articles on the legacy of Arechi (The Wasteland) poet, Tamura Ryuichi, the effects of Emily Dickinson's poetry in Japanese translation, Endo Shusaku's vision of the Church beyond the east-west divide. I have taught animation works by Miyazaki Hayao as part of my global literature class, and I plan to co-author an article on Murakami Haruki and his techniques that are resonant with magical realism.

My creative works have to do with in-betweenness.  I often find myself exploring the issues and questions of translatability, home, dream and language.  My most recent lyric essay takes raising silkworms and harvesting their cocoons as a motif for the liminal space in which poetry and translation happen for me.

Selected Publications

Poems and Essays: 

“The Production of Silk.” Kenyon Review (forthcoming March/April 2017). Essay.      

 “Rupture.” “Contained Things.” The Southern Review (forthcoming Summer 2017)

 “Waking Ritual.” Windhover (forthcoming February 2017)

 “Distance.” The Christian Century (forthcoming)

 “A Bird at the Market.” Ruminate Magazine 38 (Spring 2016): 57.

 “Island Country.” Bluestem 25.1 (Spring 2015): 116.

 “Birthday Poem.” Windhover 19 (Spring 2015): 2.

 “Beetle Child.” The Cresset 78.1 (Michaelmas 2014): 21.

 “Spiral Bottle.” The Cresset 77.4 (Easter 2014): 52.  

 “The Museum of Small Bones.” Ruminate Magazine 31 (Spring 2014): 63.

 “Purists.” Windhover 18 (Spring 2014): 74.

 “Girl Insomniac.” The Christian Century 130.25 (December 2013): 10.

 “Afternoon with Koi.” “Class by the Sea.” “Firefly.” “Harvest Moon.” Poetry Kanto 29 (2013). Web.

 Selected poems with introduction. American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. 416-438.

 “Roommates.” “The Leafy Sea-Dragon.” Ploughshares 35.4 (Winter 2009): 125-127.

 “Autumn Troupe.” Cimarron Review 169 (Fall 2009): 7-8.

 “An-Pan Man.” American Letters & Commentary 20 (2009): 17-18.

 “Bach’s Inventions.” Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House. Portland, OR: Tin House Books, 2008. 151.

 “Floating.” “Teaching Myself to Touch Silk.” The Spoon River Poetry Review 33.1 (Winter/Spring 2008): 79-81. 

 “What I Wish.” “蝶.” The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets’ University & College Prize. Ed. Mark Doty. New York: Academy of American Poets, 2010. 26-27.

 “And We, Theater of Girls.” The Iowa Review 36.3 (Winter 2006/07): 99-116. Essay. 

 “Beetle Shrine.” “The Book of Winter.” “When I feel I am not much use to human society.” Lyric 9 (2006): 44-48.

 “Bach’s Inventions.” “Birch Skin.” Tin House 7.3 (Spring 2006): 201-202.

 “Aubade.” “Deaf Dalmatian.” “Harmful, Harmless.” Prairie Schooner 79.4 (Winter 2005): 153-156.

 “Atmosphere.” “Tree.” Phoebe 35.1 (Spring 2006): 90-91.

“Late August Song.” “No Longer Kraków.” Crab Orchard Review 10.1 (Winter/Spring 2005): 152-154.

 “Miniature Pavilion.” Quarterly West 56 (Spring/Summer 2003): 39.


“Season of Eternity: The Resonance of Dickinson’s Poems in Japanese.” Religion & Literature 46.1 (Spring 2014): 187-195.

 “Beginning with Some God.” Mapping the Line: Poets on Teaching. Ed. Bruce Guernsey. Charleston, SC: Penyeach Press, 2013. 93-99.   

 “In the Beginning Was the Fear.” Tamura Ryūichi: on the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master. Eds. Takako Lento and Wayne Miller. Warrensburg, MO: Pleiades Press, 2011. 91-100.


Saint Sinatra and Other Poems. By Angela Alaimo O’Donnell. The Christian Century 129.13 (June 2012): 41-43. 

 Elegy for Trains. By Benjamin Myers. CCCU ADVANCE, Fall 2011. 41. 



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