Congratulations Chapbook Contest Winners!

Congratulations goes out to the three winners of this year’s Chapbook contest! Here’s a look into the winners and excerpts from their winning work.

1st Place: Molly Rupp

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Bio:  Molly Rupp is a senior English major, with an art minor. She has an alarming affinity for parenthetical asides, strongly advocates for the Oxford Comma, and hopes to one day live in a cabin on the Oregon Coast, surrounded by cats. Notable skills include, but are not limited to: binge watching Netflix, quoting Harry Potter in everyday conversation, embracing awkward social situations, and making killer mac and cheese.

Excerpt from Gloria Patri:

“This time I know I was four because that year we borrowed a shaky video camera from a family friend and have hours of footage. There’s me toddling around with confident steps in a Minnie Mouse costume on a windy day, the river and my dad’s office in the background and the voice of my mother competing with the sound of gusts on microphone. The preschool production of The Three Little Pigs and distracted children forgetting lines and missing notes and me in a puffy white hat and prim and proper dress with apron, showing off my new-found skill of eye-rolling. Christmas Eve and the nativity scene and I’m wrapped in cloth that worked as a makeshift dress, stiff and falling into my eyes. The Virgin Mary always seems to be dressed in blue in nativity scenes although I’ve never particularly understood why, so my cloth was blue and my face was red and I clutched the swaddled doll in a death grip and Mrs. Bradford was telling me from the front of the stage that I could put Jesus in the manger now.

We’d practiced for weeks and all I knew was fear because what if I put the doll in at the wrong time and what if I didn’t look peaceful enough and why was she called the Virgin Mary anyways and what if I dropped the baby Jesus, I couldn’t just drop Jesus in front of everybody and now it was Christmas and everyone knows that that’s like, the moment, and my four year old hands are clutching this doll that the day before I’d been playing school with and telling to eat its vegetables, and I know I need to put it in the manger. It’s Jesus now and that’s where the baby Jesus is supposed to go and everyone is waiting.”



2nd Place” Molly Daniels


Bio: Molly Daniels is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy and Music. Her family resides in Missoula, Mt. She often takes part in Whitworth plays, and she enjoys reading, cooking, and swing dancing. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a career in creative writing and book design.



he gives chase          scatters leaves underfoot         appetite to taste the earth teeth

breaking olive skin—

she flees, a race to the riverbed cry father-god

his word                dripping finger            dragged from the deep

proclaims her bark               stretched to the sky         winding grooves and paper flesh

she eludes           and yet        he breaks off branches      he leaves her        bleeding sap

crowns himself with              hair and fingernails




3rd Place: Hannah McCollum


Bio:Hannah McCollum (’18) is currently studying abroad in Guatemala and Nicaragua. She misses Westminster and mashed potatoes ‘n’ gravy. When she returns to Whitworth she will miss the amazing Guatemalan hot chocolate. Her majors are English/Writing and Spanish.

Excerpt from “My Mom’s Hands:”

In dusty cardboard boxes my parents kept our old finger paint masterpieces and drawings on faded construction paper. When my older brother James was in kindergarten he listed facts about Mom for a Mother’s Day gift. Mommy’s favorite thing in the world to do, according to this record, was laundry. That is actually her least favorite chore. I remember her sitting on the carpet in front of the TV with towers of laundry baskets beside her. Pride and Prejudice would be playing, the long one that spread over six VHS tapes, which my mom had seen approximately one hundred times. She didn’t watch movies, she played movies in the background while she sorted and folded warm smelling clothes.

I thought Elizabeth Bennet looked a little like my mom did in my parent’s wedding picture: they both wore simple white dresses and proud gazes. Once I wandered into the master bedroom and found my mom sitting on the bed with the picture out of its frame. I sat next to her and watched her use a brown pencil to bring up the corners of her sepia tone lips, trying to soften her expression from fifteen or twenty years ago. Next to the serious bride stood a version of my dad with longer, fuller hair and bigger glasses. He was smiling widely.

On Calling Westminster Home

By: Olivia Shaffer

Dedicated to the people I’ve sat in class with for four years, to the people who were once strangers and are now close friends, to the class of 2016.

Westminster Hall

When we are freshman, we have what seems like an infinite amount of time at Whitworth in front of us. We sit in freshman seminar, surrounded by people we do not know, and are told by professors that the next four years as an English Major are going to be rigorous, but rewarding. And wow, were they right. Those people we did not know are now some of our closest friends. We have sat in classes with each other for four years, taught by professors who have instilled in us knowledge and wisdom that will never be forgotten – both inside and outside the classroom.

What I have noticed about the English Department is that we seem to be more cohesive than other departments on campus. We are unified by our small and creaky building (which, by senior year, we’ve grown to love and call home). We have study sessions where we recap the dozens of books we’ve read…in one semester. We complain about our papers and say we hate our own writing, but we all secretly love the rigor that goes into reading books for a living. By senior year, we have learned the best ways to research and we spend hours analyzing one page of a book, which produces three pages in a paper. We love our classes, although we may not admit it, and we are thankful for the professors that push us to be better and expand our ideas. If you ask any other major if they are this thankful for their academic time at Whitworth, I guarantee the response will not be as gratuitous.

So what does it mean to be a senior English major? To me it means thinking about graduation, and suddenly growing nostalgic for all of the classes I’ve taken – and all the ones we were unable to take. It means realizing that the professors – who have become mentors, coaches, and sometimes therapists – will not be just down the creaky hallway to talk to about, well, anything. It means recognizing all of the hard work I’ve put in these last four years, and not taking the last semester for granted. It is appreciating that these strangers I sat by three years ago have become family. It is accepting that the laughter, stress, and conversations that resonate in the Westminster lounge are soon going to be just a memory, a wave of nostalgia, and moments in a finished chapter of my life.

So, my fellow seniors, as we go into our last semester together remember this: we are approaching the end of something that will never be relived. As we sit in our last first week of classes, as we take our last midterms, as we read our last books for class, and as we write our final papers, make sure to embrace the little time we have left. We once sat in freshman seminar together, and we just finished sitting in Senior Portfolio. Soon, we will sit together for one last time at graduation, walk across the stage together, and take a few final pictures, then go our separate ways. But for the next four months, all 30 of us will sit in our last semester of classes together. Let’s make it count.

Olivia Shaffer (’16) is an English Literature major and History minor at Whitworth University. Aside from academics she dedicates a large part of her time to the Jubilation Dance program at the university; an extra curricular that allows her to continue to pursue her passion for dance. She has no idea what post-graduation life will look like, but hopes for the best.

Upcoming Event: Greg Wolfe Lecture and Discussion

Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Whitworth University, Lied Center for the Visual Arts Room 102

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-05-26 16:38:40Z | |

Greg Wolfe, founder and editor of Image Journal, the big kahuna in the faith/art/literary magazine world, and author of “Beauty WIll Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age,” will being giving a talk on beauty, art, and faith followed by a Q&A with Professor Thom Caraway. He has been called “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation” (Ron Hansen). He will be available after the discussion for a book signing session.

Make plans to attend!

There and Back Again: Writing Home from Oxford

By: Kristen Bertsch

I think that stories are the most important things we can collect in our lifetime. The more I explore my life, the more I am convinced that the joy and wisdom of life come through the accumulation of stories. Stories are how we learn about ourselves, others, and the world around us. I’ve said so before. That’s kind of the thesis of my own little blog, which I maintain during my travels . I use this blog to collect my own stories, my own as well as those I pick up in my adventures.

This time my adventures are taking me through Oxford. I’ll be here for three months, studying writing and linguistics (anticipate a future post about language and the formation of meaning). My last adventure took me through six countries in three months, and I spent no more than four days at a time in one place. This adventure is very different. I’ll be existing here for a little while. And that means it’s time to start writing home.Oxford Phtoo Kristen

I mean many things when I say “writing home.” First off, I mean that I will be writing letters to those I left behind in the States–my loved ones who together create “home” for me. As privileged and honored as I am to be taking this opportunity, it comes at the price of a temporary loss of home. To alleviate that loss, I spend my days writing. I write here, in my journal, in my letters, professionally, and academically. It’s what I do and I love to do it. It keeps me connected to my home, reminds me of what I will return to in three months time.

But the writing I do also serves the secondary but equally important purpose of creating a new sense of home where I am now. This is where I talk about storytelling. Narratives are the stories we tell to inform ourselves and others about the reality. The words I write are my narratives, and they inform the reality I am fashioning for myself here. To call Oxford “home,” I have to be a part of Oxford. I have to have stories that put me here and make this place and these people important. I am writing myself a role in the story of this new world with all the people I meet, the places I go, and all the beautiful things I see. Then I will be part of their story, and they will be part of mine. When I write home, I am writing myself “into home.”

This first week has been a gracious adjustment period. Despite having assimilated once before, I am still surprised by my own quickness to goof up here. Last year, in my first week of travel, I severely burned myself cooking, resulting in a trip to the local hospital (the scars are quite charming). This week I have only shattered a glass diffuser, committed two traffic violations, and insulted the tea staff by taking a cup too early. I do think I’m writing myself as a bit of a nuisance. But every home has one. I hope that by the end of the week I will have written myself into waterproof shoes.

To all of those who receive my letters and who read my blog, you are playing a vital role in the confirmation of my home here. Thank you for reading, and please write back.


Kristin Bertsch (’17) is a junior English/Writing major at Whitworth, pursuing a future in graduate school and a career in travel writing. Kristin studied abroad last year in Britain and Ireland and will study English at Oxford University during spring of 2016. In addition to her studies and contributions to the English Department blog, Kristin works as research assistant to English Professor Dr. Pam Parker and as archiving assistant to Library Director and Art Professor Dr. Amanda Clark. Kristin is an active supporter of local art and theater and a frequenter of Spokane Poetry Slam.