2015 Poetry Contest Winners Announced

In celebration of Whitworth’s 125th anniversary, students were asked to write a poem of exactly 125 words, including the words “pine,” “cone” and curtain.”

1st Place winner Sandra Tully is from western Washington and is currently a senior at Whitworth. She is an English/writing major and also a Computer Science major.

Guest Judge Arlin Migliazzo had this to say about Tully’s poem, “Perhaps Da Vinci Told Her”: I can envision the master himself nodding appreciatively at the poet’s whimsical but humane explanation for Mona Lisa’s smile that almost isn’t.  The reference to da Vinci’s ingenious flying “contraption,” the artist’s care in his desire to hide the “tea stained tinge on her two front teeth” and her damaged incisor cracked “into a thousand tiny triangles” speak to the centuries that separate us from the painting itself.  Yet the recognition that she might have wanted “to show a subtle streak of rebellion” and his efforts to coax a real smile out of her as well as his compassion in masking her physical limitations speak to our shared humanness across the years.


Perhaps Da Vinci Told Her


not to smile, still she turned the corners of her mouth

just enough to show a subtle streak of rebellion.


Perhaps he made her laugh,

recounting the time he tested his own contraption;

catapulting into the cold night air,

and waking up shivering and naked in a field

surrounded by cattle beveled, staring,

like the slanting surface of a cone.


Perhaps he would have seen it then,

her two lips parting like horizontal curtains

revealing the fall from a pine tree that

fractured her left incisor into a thousand tiny triangles.


Perhaps he waited for her amusement to fade,

slowly concealing the tea stained tinge of her

two front teeth until all that was left

was the lingering remnant of delight.


10262049_766898803340337_3865761703545282024_n2nd Place winner Leah Dassler is a freshman marketing major with a Chinese minor. She hails from Denver, Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and going on adventures with her family. At Whitworth, you can usually find her having random dance parties with her friends or exploring Spokane. In her spare time, Dassler loves to read and write poetry because poetry often presents truth in its rawest form.

Guest Judge Arlin Migliazzo had this to say about Dassler’s poem, “Navigating Red and Black”: I am drawn into the mystery of this poem–and its puzzling, even disconcerting message for me.  Since the author clearly cares for the companion(s?), does the incurred expense “in red and black” refer to a connection (or connections) here at Whitworth?  As the debit/credit ledger theme is carried on in other phrases (“numbers corralled between parentheses/To ignite finely-kept balance sheets” and “gypsy tendencies unaccounted for/The ones tensioned between red and black”) is it rather a paean to the necessity of repeated forgiveness in the constant human struggle upward toward authenticity, both for ourselves and for those we most care about?  What is the poem urging me to consider in my quest for self-knowledge as that quest both connects me to others and also creates pain for those closest to me?  That is the disconcerting part. . .


Navigating Red and Black


In red and black I incurred an expense

One unrepayable


You hurdling up over stairs the way you do,

Insisting the summit must be just

Past swirl-bound mist


Can’t you see as I, from the base, do—

The best climbs lack steps entirely.


To make one’s own way

Beyond pines

Toward sunlight patches


To uncover souls in places where we thought only fog existed

Along the cone-covered way we wander


To disentangle names

from numbers corralled

between parentheses

To ignite all finely-kept balance sheets


This is the path we are meant to stumble upwards

Side-by-side navigating the misty curtain split in two,

Top to bottom


Seven times forgive

These gypsy tendencies unaccounted for

The ones tensioned between red and black


Congratulations winners! Thanks to everyone who submitted, and to our guest judge, Arlin Migliazzo!

Summer 2013A_Migliazzo_5x7 (1)Arlin C. Migliazzo is professor of history at Whitworth University where he has taught since 1983. He received the B.A. from Biola College (1974), his M.A. from Northern Arizona University (1975), and the Ph.D. from Washington State University (1982). His publications include essays and articles on ethnic studies, the Pacific Northwest, colonial South Carolina, church-related higher education, the history of evangelicalism, and comparative democratic development. He has also published some of his poetry in Script, the Whitworth University literary journal.



Mystery, murder, and fun for all


Here’s the scoop from Westminster Round member Kyler Lacey (’15).

Last Friday the 13th of March was the Live Action Literary Clue event, put on by Westminster Round, for all to enjoy. Students across majors attended, demonstrating the importance of different areas of study in the field of murder-mystery investigating. Though in this case, the exact parameters of the crime were left unsolved.

Some of the clues proved difficult to find, and some were found quickly, but re-hidden too well to be discovered in only a few minutes by the next group—so, nobody’s cards were completely filled out. In the end, it was revealed that Beowolf did it, with the Pigs from Animal Farm, in 221 Baker Street. After just shy of an hour and a half, the perp and weapon of choice were found, but the room was left a mystery. The guesses were close, but nobody was able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and as it turned out, Beowolf may have had an alibi.

The rooms in Westminster were converted into deliberation chambers, a Chamber of Secrets, an arena, a Room of One’s Own, 221 Baker Street, and more of the like. Clues were scattered throughout, hidden under tables and rolled up in projector screens. The investigators left no chair unturned or drawer unopened, those that showed up were clearly professionals, seasoned experts.

After the game was done, and it was time to go, almost everyone stayed behind to help clean up. The teamwork during the event was great, but really showed itself afterwards when all of Westminster was put back into shape in less than 20 minutes. The players turned volunteer did a wonderful job picking up paper, rearranging desks, and erasing doodles on white boards.

Thank you to everyone who came, the evening was a blast!

Kristin Bertsch (’17) wins Founders Day scholarship 2015

The Whitworth Founders Day Scholarship is an annual scholarship that recognizes two students with high academic achievement who have made innovative and realistic proposals for strengthening an aspect of Whitworth College. The scholarship was established in 1999 in memory of Whitworth College’s founder, George Whitworth.

This year’s winner, Kristin Bertsch said the following about her plans for the next semester:

During the Spring 2015 semester, I and twelve of my closest friends (or so we will be after three months sharing hostel rooms) will embark on a quest through England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, learning the lives of the people in their respective geographic contexts. Our learning will enable us to use art, history, economy, and literature as frameworks for understanding the unique and intertwined cultural histories of the region.This blog will function toward two ends: firstly, to keep those at home abreast of the happenings on our journey; secondly, and perhaps more importantly, to awaken us all to the beauty of life as it manifests in underappreciated ways. This blog is for me, as a way of recording my adventures. This blog is for you, so that you might feed your own soul which pines after the beauty of life. This blog is for whatever goodness can be derived from it. I hope My Awfully Big Adventure will speak to yours.
A native of the Spokane area, I am currently in my second year of study at Whitworth as
kristinan honors student of English Literature, with special focus in Women’s Studies, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Art History. My participation in the Britain and Ireland Semester Program is generously sponsored by Whitworth University, the U.S. Department of State, and the Benjamin A. Gilman Foundation in partnership with the Institute of International Education.
Congratulations Kristin!

Welcome Jess Walter

“Jess Walter was chosen because he’s both a Spokanite and a nationally known and WeLiveinWaterrespected writer,” said Thom Caraway, a professor in Whitworth’s English department. “For the 125th anniversary celebration this year, we wanted someone who could really enrich the campus environment, and Jess’s presence here will certainly do that.” Walter’s book of short fiction, We Live in Water, deals with questions of social justice in Spokane and around the Northwest.
Walter has been a finalist for the National Book Award as well as #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He has also won a PNBA Book Award.

Upcoming Events with Jess Walter:

In the Writer’s Studio w/ Jess Walter

Tuesday, February 24th – 7:00pm

Weyerhaeuser’s Robinson Teaching Theatre

Reception & book signing to follow

This event will involve a sit-down interview as well as a reading and Q&A. Walter will mainly be talking about his work, including important themes such as social justice. Caraway says he will also touch on his relationship to Spokane and what makes him tick as a writer.

An Evening w/ Jess Walter

Tuesday, March 31st – 7:00pm

Music Recital Hall


Alumni Update: Emily Grant (’13)

My name is Emily Grant, and I graduated from Whitworth University with a BA in Englishme_whitworthblog in 2013.  Since then I have worked at Classic Café in Deer Park (the diner that supported me through 3 years of college), and Chairs and Bank of America Merchant Services in Spokane.  In this next phase of my life I will be working at Stay Alfred, a vacation rental company, as an operations assistant.

I recently had my first piece published outside of a Whitworth blog.  I wrote a short blog post called “On Crashing” for Nicole Sheet’s class while studying abroad in Costa Rica.  Part of our assignment was to submit it to airplanereading.org, and two years later I was advised that my piece would be published.  It was all very symbolic: on the day that I was told that my piece about flying would be published, I also accepted a job for which I will be flying fairly often.  And planes are great places to do some writing.  Well, I’m going to try to convince myself they are…

I have made many conscious efforts to write daily since graduating from Whitworth, but this is really the most I’ve written, outside of work emails, all week.  I most enjoy writing short fiction and longer fiction, but the book I would like to write never moves seamlessly from my head to my computer, and after starting it five times I’ve taken a break to work on other things.  Usually I journal, as it helps me get my thoughts together, and it can be picked up and dropped back off at any time.  Lately I’ve been blogging.  I’m trying an elimination diet (to test for allergies) and I am blogging not only to remind myself that it’s worth it to eat only foods I hate for almost two months, but also because I think that real people need to hear stories from real people about what it’s really like to undertake such a project.  I undertake quite a few weird projects, so I may have found my niche.

Over the next few months, I hope to pick up some literary journals that interest me and submit away to them.  I might also blog about trying to write on planes.  I’m not sure where I’ll finally settle down as far as a career is concerned, but I do plan to carve out time within a busy work schedule to continue to write, and to continue to do weird things that are worth writing about.

Casey Andrews’ adventures in sabbatical scholarship

The Provost’s Faculty Scholarship Award is given to a senior faculty member in order to recognize and encourage scholarly activity. I am pleased to announce that Casey Andrews is the recipient of this year’s award.  Casey will use the award to complete the book manuscript he began working on during his sabbatical this year.  His book analyzes literary figures who were active in the 1930s peace movement, including Aldous Huxley and Virginia Woolf:

My book in progress is called Writing Against War: Literature, Activism, and the British Peace Movement. In the project I analyze five British writers whose fiction contributed to their peace activism in the 1930s. The central writers are Aldous Huxley, Storm Jameson, Siegfried Sassoon, Rose Macaulay, and Virginia Woolf—all of whom had links to the largest pacifist organization the Peace Pledge Union. As part of my research, I have gone to archives in London (the British Library and the archives of the Peace Pledge Union), Hamilton, ON (the William Ready Research Division at Macmaster University), and Swarthmore, PA (the Swarthmore College Peace Collection). The book draws on the resources of peace studies and literary criticism to provide a fresh understanding of politically committed fiction during a moment of deep crisis in Europe. I am currently in conversation with a press about publication, but nothing will be definite about that for some time. I’ll be sure to tell all if/when a contract becomes official. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is a great honor and will help me complete the project not just through its financial assistance but also because it is a  very encouraging sign from the university regarding my sabbatical work.

2015 Leonard Oakland Film Festival

This weekend marks the kickoff of the seventh annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival.wildlike The structure of the event is a little different than last year’s, so heads up. On Saturday, Feb. 7, the rotation will begin with Wildlike, an independent film that will be showing at the Bing Crosby Theater (in partnership with the Spokane International Film Festival) at 7 p.m. Tickets for this showing will be available at the Info Desk in the HUB. The event will continue with its second film, Unforgiven, at 10 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theater.


​The festival is split up into three weekends with the second and third screening dates falling on Saturday,  Feb. 21 and Saturday, March 7, respectively. If you want more information you can visit this handy website here or contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu.

Alumni Update: Dave Fogelstrom (’92)

After I graduated in 1992, I was hired as a drama teacher at Antioch Junior High School in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Soon after, I started coaching football at Antioch High School.  Since that time, I went on to teach and coach at Deer Valley High School and Heritage High School, where I currently teach senior English.  Two years ago we established a Fellowship of Christian Athletes club at Heritage High School and it has flourished.  I am blessed to be one of their leaders.  I was hired in 2012 to coach the quarterbacks at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg.

Over the last twenty plus years I have married an amazing lady named Tracy, had two Book Cover (2)children (Hannah and Jacob), and more recently I published a book.  It is currently available through Amazon and is titled McBeth and the Everlasting Gobstopper (check it out). The spelling error is most intentional. As a satiric look at teaching Shakespeare to high school students, the book has been well received by teachers, students, and those who just want a good laugh.  The book writing and publishing process was rewarding, frustrating, and amazing all at the same time.

Whitworth’s English department definitely prepared me for my current job as a teacher, and I find my knowledge of literature to be on par or beyond that of my colleagues.  Whitworth is a special place that gives you every opportunity to challenge yourself.  My advice to current students is to take advantage of literally every opportunity you can to learn and improve yourself in a variety of areas. I was blessed to have the best professors out there and my journey over the last two decades has shown that to be true.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2015 Campus-Wide Poetry Contest

To celebrate Whitworth University’s 125th anniversary, write a poem of exactly 125 words. Three of those words must be “pine,” “cone,” and “curtain.”


The contest is open to all Whitworth Students. Previous 1st place winners are ineligible. Entries should be submitted at the English Department front desk no later than 5:00 pm on Monday, March 2; please attach your name and contact information on a separate sheet of paper. No entry fee. Multiple submissions permitted.

1st Place: $50 gift card to Auntie’s Bookstore
2nd Place: $20 gift card to Auntie’s Bookstore

Guest JudgeSummer 2013A_Migliazzo_5x7 (1)

Arlin C. Migliazzo is professor of history at Whitworth University where he has taught since 1983. He received the B.A. from Biola College (1974), his M.A. from Northern Arizona University (1975), and the Ph.D. from Washington State University (1982). His publications include essays and articles on ethnic studies, the Pacific Northwest, colonial South Carolina, church-related higher education, the history of evangelicalism, and comparative democratic development. He has also published some of his poetry in Script, the Whitworth University literary journal.