The countdown to Spring Break and the Easter holiday has begun, and what better way to celebrate than with crime novels?


Norway’s long standing tradition, Påskekrim, is an Easter celebration in which families and friends come together to read crime novels, and now is your chance to join in on the fun!

Whitworth’s first ever Påskekrim event begins this week! Påskekrim involves reading for fun, community, crime and pizza. Here’s how to get involved:

  1. Visit your nearest Resident’s Hall, the Whitworth Library or Westminister Hall to choose a crime book (for FREE).
  2. Read your book over Spring Break for fun!
  3. Bring the crime novel you read-or attempted to read-over break as your ticket in to a FREE pizza party with your fellow Påskekrim participants!


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 10.31.06 AM

Editing and Publishing: A Minor Study with Major Perks

Do you like books? Are you interested in editing? Do you ever wonder about practical and fun post-grad job opportunities? The Editing and Publishing Minor might be for you!

The Editing and Publishing minor is an interdisciplinary minor which stems from the English department. The program is designed for students to gain practical exposure and experience with text production, editorial discernment, design and publishing.

Dr. Thom Caraway describes the Editing and Publishing minor as one that “puts together seemingly disparate elements of a liberal arts education and describes a career path for them,” a type of study which “plays to the strengths of those-in any discipline or major- who are interested in reading well or writing well.”

Courses such as Creative Writing, Book Design, American Literary Journals and Typography are only some of the many exciting classes this minor has to offer! Visit the Whitworth catalog for more specified information regarding course requirements, and make Editing and Publishing your new minor!



Poetry, Coffee, and Fly Fishing

By Ryan Hackenbracht

The beautiful thing about both poetry and fly fishing, I’ve often thought, is precision. In a well crafted poem, every word—every syllable—matters, and in fly fishing, it’s much the same thing: a bad cast will spook every fish in the pool, but a well placed cast will land the fly right on the nose of a rising trout. In this way, both poetry and fly fishing are mechanical—a matter of establishing just the right rhythm, of hitting the nail on the head. But at the same time, they are both an artistic craft, and as much as we might try to reduce them to formula, they consistently amaze us by transcending the very rules we think define them.


My fascination with precision and poetry began as an English major at Whitworth. In the classes of Doug Sugano, Laura Bloxham, Leonard Oakland, and Vic Bobb, I discovered that analyzing poetry was not only fun but hard. It took all my concentration to unravel the bits and pieces of jumbled language—much like sitting on the bank of a river and struggling over a knot of colossal proportions. I was attracted to the complexity of Renaissance poetry and to John Milton, in particular. Poems like Paradise Lost and Lycidas harbored some deep, delicious secret—some stunning revelation about the relationship between faith, politics, and literature—that spoke to me and simply needed to be teased out, dissected, and discussed.


One afternoon, sitting in his office in Westminster Hall and chatting, Doug told me (to my surprise) that I could actually make a living studying such things. With his guidance, I applied to English graduate school. I was accepted into Penn State’s program, and in the woods and spring creeks of Pennsylvania, I cultivated a second obsession: fly fishing. There, as I watched brown trout rise to the evening spinner fall, I understood what Dylan Thomas meant when he said he could hear the sabbath ringing slowly in the pebbles of the holy stream. On the water, fly rod in hand, I found another kind of enchanting, rhythmic poetry that complemented what I was studying on the printed page.


That is, of course, when I was not sitting in one of the many coffee shops that littered State College, sweating over my dissertation and first article publications. As any doctoral student can tell you, writing the dissertation is a lot like assembling a puzzle with 10,000 pieces—some of which play peek-a-boo and laugh as they run away, while others promise they will behave but then frustratingly, agonizingly, refuse to do so. In moments like those, caffeine was a necessity and a curse. It encapsulated much of the grad school experience: nervous excitement about your research coupled with the anxiety that—should you prove anything short of unflagging in your intensity—you’ll crash.


Today, as an English professor, I still measure out my life with coffee spoons, and afternoons are spent doing what I love most: sitting in coffee shops and writing about Renaissance poetry. Publication, I’ve found, is an intoxicating drug, and your addiction grows stronger the more you do it. Quite frequently, I marvel at the magical powers of Microsoft Word, which has the uncanny ability to lure me away from everything else in order to render a blank page not-blank. But here, too, I discover beauty in precision, and I’ve come to realize that writing scholarly books and articles is, in a way, its own kind of poetry. Whether I’m working on Milton, political philosophy, or Protestant theology, there’s something thrilling and satisfying about constructing a well-wrought argument that (I hope) will catalyze debate and produce “much arguing, much writing, [and] many opinions,” to quote Milton’s Areopagitica.


While much has changed since my time at Whitworth, much is surprisingly the same. Although I’m now the teacher, I walk into my classrooms with the same excitement I had walking into Westminster Hall. Now as then, I’m excited to be talking about the texts I love with like-minded English majors, and I learn new things from our class discussions all the time, just as I did when I was a student. At the end of the day, my educational philosophy boils down to this: I try to live up to the example set by my Whitworth professors. They put me on the path to where I am today, and if I can inspire my own students in a similar way, then great. If I can teach my students to cherish literature as the people in Westminster taught me, then I’ve done my job.


And if, by some miracle, I can get them to try fly fishing too—well, then I’ve done even better.

. . .

Ryan Hackenbracht (’06) is Assistant Professor of English and Associate Director of Graduate Studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from the Pennsylvania State University. Originally from the Seattle area, Ryan is adjusting to West Texas life, practicing his “y’alls,” and slipping out to New Mexico and Colorado for fly fishing adventures. You can check out his website here.


A Reflection on Marci Johnson and David Wright.

By Meghan Long

Marci Johnson and David Wright not only made an impression on me by simply being the adorably quirky couple that they are, but also through their intricate, thoughtful, and musical poetry.

I had the privilege of meeting these two poets before the reading in Laurie Lamon’s Poetry Writing workshop course that I am enrolled in. This was a special time for our class because we got to ask them questions such as, “how do you come up with your titles?” or “how to you integrate your faith into poetry?” Enlightened as we were by Johnson’s hot pink beanie marked with the word “Whatevs”, we also attained pieces of advice that will be helpful to us as writers ourselves. The reading on Tuesday evening was sensitive and funny, informational and witty, personal and jarring. Seeing photos and videos of what inspired Johnson’s writing up on a slideshow was incredibly helpful and interesting, and Wright’s explanation of his Bach pieces was intriguing.


Overall, this experience was one of a kind and breathed inspiration into the English department.



Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival

leonard-a-oaklandAre you interested in film? Do you like movies? Indulge in wonderful films and festivities by attending Whitworth University’s 10th annual Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival! 

Join the English Department and Whitworth community during the weekend of March 2-4, in supporting filmmakers, alumni, and current Whitworth students. Some festival favorites will include: an Award-winning Foreign Language Film, “an American comedy-drama listed in the National Film Registry, a documentary created by a Whitworth graduate,” and current student-made film screenings. We’ll see you there!

Friday, March 2: 7pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of The Salesman (2016).

Saturday, March 3: 7pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S. (2017).

Sunday, March 4: 3pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of Do the Right Thing (1989).

One Pine Day supports Rock & Sling

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 1.01.34 PMWhitworth’s 24-hour giving event, One Pine Day, provides an opportunity for donors, alumni, community members, etc., to give gifts to projects such as Rock & Sling, Whitworth’s National Literary Magazine.

“Rock & Sling provides readers a vital center for Christian literary arts, and is one of only eight such magazines in the country. Rock & Sling serves as a live teaching laboratory for students in the interdisciplinary minor in editing and publishing. The magazine also exposes its staff of students to an accessible career field and provides a practical application of their liberal arts and humanities education. Rock & Sling prepares our students to be leaders and innovators in the Christian and commercial publishing worlds, and to enter the editorial career field as well. They are prepared in ways no other undergraduate program in the country can match.” -Whitworth University, office of Institutional Advancement.

Please visit the link below to sponsor Rock & Sling on this One Pine Day! 


Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 1.05.24 PM

Meet the Finalists!

Congratulations to the 2017 Chapbook Contest finalists, Natalie Cross, the contest’s first place winner, and Devon Clements, our second-place finalist!

Whitworth’s Chapbook Contest is an opportunity for students to submit any genre of writing for the chance at receiving publication of their work, and cash prizes. In December 2017, submissions were evaluated by an award-winning guest judge, Amy Leach, author of Things That Are.

This years runner-up, whose poems Amy Leach described as “follow[ing] a versatile consciousness through absurdity, disappointment, and delight,” is Devon Clements. Devon’s writing earned him a spot as a featured reader at the annual “Script” reading.

Devon Clements is a Senior English major, philosophy minor, from Warrensburg, Missouri. With an emphasis on rhetorical communication and design thinking, he pursues academic and creative writing with a dedication to finding authenticity in our post-modern context. He enjoys quoting obscure movie lines, working in the Composition Commons, and the literary works of W. Somerset Maugham and David Sedaris.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Devon’s poetry manuscript!



Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.25.16 AM

The 2017 Chapbook Contest winner, who’s work will be published in a small print run of their work, is Natalie Cross. Judge Amy Leach described, “What I found so moving about these poems, besides their wondrous music, was the sympathy for other bodies, the cow “always tired/always thin/always hungry” and the mom swinging, blackening her organs with her cigarette.”

Natalie Cross is a senior English major on the writing track. Some of her favorite works she’s encountered include In Cold Blood, Franny and Zooey, Gilead, and Lolita. Outside of her literary pursuits, she enjoys spending time with her family and boyfriend, eating tacos, discovering new board games, wine tasting, all things Harry Potter, and hanging out with her cat Greg. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in creative writing, editing, or teaching.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Natalie’s winning submission!

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.27.00 AM

Whitworth Takes DC!

By Rachel Klade

This past January, nine Whitworth students traded strolls on the Hello Walk for walks on the National Mall, long boards for the DC Metro, and snow days for government shutdowns—all things one may experience while interning at the Smithsonian.

Whitworth has a unique relationship with the Smithsonian Institution which allows Whitworth to send students to Washington DC to intern at world famous museums. Though some dismiss this opportunity as something only a history major could pursue, that is not the case at all!

The nine Whitworth students represented a wide array of majors—physics, biology, computer science, sociology, and history. The Smithsonian does its best to align a student’s placement with their interests and career goals. Part of the application process includes a resume, cover letter, and a series of essays, where students are encouraged to express which museums and activities they believe would best contribute to their educational goals.  One of the interns, a history-education major, was placed at the National Postal Museum where they developed curriculum for visiting school groups. An intern, studying biology, was placed at the National Zoo, where they researched the correlation between insect migration and weather patterns. A physics major was placed in the National Air and Space Museum where they engineered experiments for interactive stations, and a history major at the National Museum of American History researched a variety of artifacts for the Special Collections Department. There was really a place for everyone!

I have  had previous experiences interning at museums, but I wanted something a little different this time—something that didn’t involve research or archival work. Therefore, I expressed interest in exhibit design on my application essays, which lead me to be placed in the Exhibits Department at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Granted, this came as a little bit of a shock, and my first thought was that I knew nothing of astronomy, physics, aerodynamics, or any other study that involved air and space. I am a humanities girl, and my brain tends to short-circuit in science classes. However, as I focused on what I would be doing rather than where I would be doing it, I became excited about this incredible opportunity.

My supervisor was the Writer/Editor of Exhibits, meaning she oversees all the exhibit scripts. (Scripts are the informational boards visitors read throughout museums). NASM is undergoing a major transformation and revitalization, and all the exhibits, including the scripts, are being redone. So, my daily responsibilities included examining scripts, graphic layouts, and film transcriptions to ensure they were grammatically correct, as well as adhering to NASM’s in-house style. As I edited scripts, I provided suggestions and comments on the scripts’ content, and some of my comments were added to the final script, which is cool to think that my words are going to be on the museum’s walls someday!

My time in DC was not consumed only by grammatical errors and editing. Being a Smithsonian intern definitely has many perks! For the most part, supervisors want their interns to receive a holistic experience, encouraging them to take long lunches or leave work a little early to venture through other museums. As interns, students got free entrance into the IMAX theaters and some behind-the-scene experiences, such as going to new exhibits before they were opened to the public, attending Smithsonian employee-only events after work, or visiting the Smithsonian storage facility (where the Smithsonian museums hold the majority of their collections that are never seen by the public).

In addition to all the cool experiences, this internship offers an awesome opportunity to network. From the people at my internship site to all the Whitworth alumni in DC, there is a plethora of connections to be made, and nowadays, its all about who knows who.

Most importantly, I not only gained real-world experience, I also walked away from this Jan Term with a better understanding of my potential. Even though I have yet to answer the “what-will-you-do-after-graduation” question, this internship expanded my possibilities. It refined my interests, developed new skills and matured previous abilities. Internships are one of the coolest way to explore a career path without actually having to commit to a career, and I would encourage students who are still trying to figure things out (which is most of us, I think) to pursue an internship, even if its in a field of study they don’t think they would ever end up in. Internships can surprise us, and we discover an interest that we didn’t know we had, opening a whole world of new possibilities.


Whitworth interns at the Pentagon for a private tour.


Whitworth interns in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center.


Interns take a tour of the whalebones collection at the Museum Support Center (the Smithsonian’s storage facility).


To Visual Narratives, and Beyond!

By Dalaney Goodyear

This Jan term, students in Fred Johnson’s Visual Narratives course (EL329) got to learn the ins, the outs and the in-betweens of comics, graphic novels, and other forms of visual narratives. Over the past three and a half weeks, the class examined many ways through which stories can be told visually, and evaluated how techniques and methods of comics are used in other forms of media and story-telling.

The aim of the course is to explore the complex, interdependent, and effective relationship between images and words, and to evaluate what happens when authors make both images, design, and text essential components to the story they tell.

In class, we spent time with a wide variety of graphic novels and comics, ranging from the work of Lynda Barry, who merges essay and collage, Joe Sacco, who does war-zone reporting in graphic novel form, to Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of many Marvel works. The course has something to offer every student, regardless of his or her background with comics.

Eamonn Eppinga-Neff said, “I loved this class, but then I went in loving comics in the first place. The fact that others have enjoyed it proves this class is good with people familiar with comics and for those without experience.”

The course involved reading various kinds of texts, exploring online interactive programs, games, and puzzles, watching films that employ comic-like storytelling, sketching comic pages in class, and hefty amounts of time discussing the complexities of it all.

Erin Wolf said, “I love the discussions that have come out of our classes. I love that about most English classes, actually – that a big part of the learning comes from discussion among classmates rather than being lectured to. It’s a participatory environment that I find really valuable.”

The course culminated with the creation of a visual text of our own, where we worked to apply the concepts we had studied all term to a visual story. The results of those projects varied, from a detailed account of the process of scripts being passed from person to person by Kalani Padilla, to a comic-style retelling of “Dover Beach” by Alli Kieckbusch, to a comic-like adaptation of a previously created adaptation by Erin Wolf.

No matter what kind of visual narrative each student created, by the end of the course one thing is for sure– we all walked away with a much deeper, much more thorough appreciation of comics, visual narratives, and how the different forms of visual storytelling interacts and pulls from each other in our world today.

Kalani Padilla says, “When I look at a comic, I can now say somewhat intelligent things about what it’s doing, and perhaps why, and perhaps how. It feels like a superpower to have active eyes in a world as visually numbing as ours.”

The superpower of having active eyes in a visually numbing world, as Kalani says, is my greatest take-away from this course as well. I now have a greater understanding of the compelling relationship between words, images, and story, and I have been challenged to consider the power and impact of images in our world.

As a future teacher, I am taking from this class the importance of teaching and learning about the power of story, and the importance of having freedom to tell stories different ways, and with different tools. In our ever-changing world, with ever-changing media, it is essential to consider the infinite possibilities of narrative.

Be sure to take Professor Fred Johnson’s Visual Narrative course to learn about all the fascinating aspects of visual narratives!