A word from our Chair

Here I am, sitting in my office, looking at the western side of the Loop, a view dominated by Weyerhaeuser (such a long word with so many vowels) and trees.  It’s the beginning of the Fall term, actually about 4 weeks into it.  My weekend was great, largely because of Maggie Bullock (Wolcott’s) and Ethan Wolcott’s wedding on Saturday in bucolic Elk.  It was on Camden Farm, a great place with thousands of Christmas Trees of various heights and girths.  Below you will see what a great time we had.  Annie, our stalwart program assistant, set up the photo booth and forced us to mug for the pictures.  When I say “forced” I’m not joking.  There were props—specific props—appointed for (foisted upon) each of us.  How lucky are we?  At any rate, the day was lovely.  About 90 degrees, outside, nice ceremony, I watched a hawk soar above, I watched Fred entertain his son Liam among the tiny trees, and the reception in the “barn” was filled with things to do— dancing, talking, avoiding dancing, the picture booth, eating great food, catching up with friends, and meeting new people.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 20, was Community Building Day, and that was eventful.  For about an hour, we watched in wonder as large rocks were being delivered and placed in the Westminster Courtyard.  Many of the English and Art faculty watched agog at the machinery, but then we all got to work spreading manure (literally, not talking about what we do in classes), moving plants, and planting bulbs.  You should come back to see the courtyard, particularly next spring.

Call me an optimist (few do), but I think that the department is doing well.  We have a great mixture of senior profs (Leonard, Laura, Vic,  Laurie, Pam and I), younger profs (Casey, Fred, Nicole, Michelle, and Jack), and full-time lecturers (Maggie, Thom, Angela, Sarah, and Chad).  We work well together, for the most part, and we enjoy working together.  Yes, the pictures can be deceptive, but at very least they indicate the type of tyrannical power that Annie holds over all of us.  Hope you are well.


Author and Poet Shira Dentz to present reading September 30 at Whitworth

Speakers & Artists and the English Readings Endowment are pleased to welcome Shira Dentz to campus. Dentz is the author of black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman Books), a book of poems which has been nominated for the PEN/Osterweil Award 2011.  (More info here, from Shearsman Books.)

Other works include a chapbook, Leaf Weather (Tilt Press), and the forthcoming door of thin skins (Cavan Kerry Press). Her poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in journals such as APR, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, jubilat, and Brooklyn Rail, and have been featured on NPR, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Omnidawn’s blog. Dentz is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, The Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, she has been a Fellow at the Tanner Center of the Humanities in Salt Lake City, and is the former Poetry Co-editor of Quarterly West. She is currently the Drunken Boat‘s Book Review Editor.

Dentz will read from her works on Friday, September 30, at 7:00 p.m. in the Lied Art Center at Whitworth University. A book sale and reception will follow the reading. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253 or visit her website.

The purpose of the Whitworth Speakers & Artists Series is to present a broad range of voices, perspectives and ideas that will enrich the intellectual and spiritual life of the campus and the larger community. The English Readings Endowment was established to bring nationally recognized writers to the Whitworth campus and the greater Spokane area. During their time on campus and in the community, visiting writers offer classroom visits, workshops, meetings with students and faculty, and literary readings.

Note from the Chair: Update, the English Readings Endowment

I know that no one really likes to talk about money, but I’m going to do so for a bit.  Our English Readings Endowment is now over $128,000.  That’s a great accomplishment and something for all of us to be proud of.  That fund helps us bring nationally known writers to Whitworth for our readings.  As large as the fund is, it produces a little over $5,000  in interest that we can use for the readings.  While that does seem like a lot of money for a reading and classroom visits that fund also goes to cover the readers’ air fare, lodging and meals.  It’s strange to think that now, many big name writers now ask for $10,000-$20,000 for such appearances.

In addition, two years ago, with the passing of Nadine Chapman, the department established the Chapman Readings Endowment to help fund appearances by local and regionally recognized writers.  And, we would also like this fund to help support our new journal Rock and Sling.  The Chapman Fund, at this point, is very small, and we need to raise $25,000 in three years so the fund can be vested  (that is, allowed to exist).

I really don’t like fund raising, but I don’t mind doing so for causes such as these two readings endowments.  I’d appreciate anything that you could give to these funds, and so when you give, please designate where you’d like your money to go.  We couldn’t have these endowments and these readings without your support and attention.  Thank you for what you’ve given so far.

To give, please call the Advancement Office at 509.777.3243 (Spokane) or toll-free at 800.532.4668.

Doug Sugano, Chair

Rock and Sling Relaunch — In Photos!

Last Friday, Rock & Sling celebrated our relaunch with a reading at Auntie’s Bookstore. Over 100 people showed up to support R&S, and hear readings from Leonard Oakland, Beth Cooley, Cathy Bobb and more.

The reading was followed by a reception (and delicious hors d’oeuvres, courtesy of Andrew Larson!) at Dean Davis Photography.

Thanks to Auntie’s Books, Dean Davis and all our readers for a great evening!