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.

Mona-Lisa

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. . .

MistyForest3

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.

 

 

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!

Congratulations to our 2015 Chapbook Contest Winners!

stull

Congratulations to Dana Stull (’16), the first-prize winner for the 2015 Chapbook contest, and to Annika Bratton (’18) for an Honorable Mention!

Dana (above) describes herself as one who “writes, reads, bakes pies, pickles and preserves, speaks goat, takes names, and is currently developing a stand-up comedy routine.”

Here’s what our guest judge, Daniel Bowman Jr., had to say about Dana’s manuscript, the girl who says nothing:

“I was a bit torn on this decision at first. the girl who says nothing in some ways lacks the range of some other manuscripts—an experimentation with styles, forms, lines and line breaks, and sound necessary as the true voices and chief concerns of young poets begin to emerge.

And yet…the girl who says nothing resounds with a maturity and sense of purpose beyond expectations. It is, quite simply, the one chapbook that haunted me long after I’d read all of them. These terse, focused poems left me no choice but to reckon deeply and personally with this girl who says nothing, and, by extension, with the terrifying distances between how things ought to work and the realities of our world.

The ‘incident reports’ are particularly effective. Told in an alarmingly clinical voice, they remind us how the stories of the most vulnerable are so often mediated—shaped and controlled—by those in power.

In addition, many individual lines reverberate despite the tight spaces of the poems: ‘she is crossing the small bridges/in me.’ Indeed. That image accounts precisely for the way this character, and these poems, get under your skin, how they disturb and finally transcend niceties on the journey toward truth.

The critic R.P. Blackmur wrote of poetry operating at a high level, noting how it ‘not only expresses the matter in hand but adds to the stock of available reality.’ the girl who says nothing has added a rich and subtly textured experience to my own stock of availability reality, and for that I am grateful.”

stull poem

Annika Bratton (’18) describes herself as “a first year student from Banks, Oregon, right between Portland and the coast. I am double majoring in Peace Studies and English and minoring in Environmental Studies. When I’m not studying or writing poetry, I enjoy dancing, hiking, going to the beach, and attempting to solve social justice issues. I am beyond excited to have received such an honor in this competition.”

bratton

On Bratton’s manuscript, Bowman states that “the poems in Becoming radiate with an attractive zeal, physicality, and longing. Though they sometimes risk abstraction, they nonetheless provide a space where joy and pain coexist in a creative tension.

I came to a nearly instant trust in the poet’s voice, which is clear, inventive, vulnerable, by turns earnest and ironic, but never dull or stilted. And the poems are consistently invitational; one becomes less a reader and more a participant: ‘Hold every echo in the cavern of your lungs,’ the poet bids us. The brand of partaking described in Becoming isn’t for the faint of heart—this poet is all in. And so was I.”

Here’s “Jewelry Boxes,” a poem from Becoming:

she wrung the light
out of a bulb
but not before a kiss of shattered glass
and chemicals.
children take longer to die
and less time to be alive
when mousetraps are baited with
hollow models and the expectancy
of manhood.
children
can’t see how many heartbeats
a day makes;
her heart
beat so much faster with
the light stuck in her palms.
she sewed a necklace from her teeth,
presented it to collarbones on one knee.
my heart can’t stop flashing traffic lights
so i had to uncap my brain.
listen.
the rocking chair can’t sway
the weather-vane
enough to birth some lightning,
but it keeps a kite in its lap
just in case.
she melted some crayons
for the waxing moon
and fingerpainted a new skyline
from all the blood in her mouth.
Thanks to Thom Caraway, Annie Stillar, the Whitworth Department of English, to all of this year’s contestants, and to our 2015 guest judge, Daniel Bowman Jr.
Daniel_Bowman_Jr_author_photo - large
Daniel Bowman Jr. is the author A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country (virtual artists collective, 2012) andBeggars in Heaven: A Novel (forthcoming 2015). His work has appeared in The Adirondack ReviewBooks and CultureThe CressetThe Midwest QuarterlyRio Grande ReviewSaint Katherine ReviewSeneca Review, and many other journals. A native of the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York, he lives in Hartford City, Indiana and is Associate Professor of English at Taylor University.
 

2014 Poetry Contest Winners Announced

For this year’s poetry contest, students were asked to write an abecedarian.

Dr. Richard Strauch, our faculty guest judge, was so taken with the task that he contributed his own verse to the mix:

Abecadarian poems have to

Be among the most

Challenging structures to negotiate, for the

Danger is one of pedantry: how

Easy it is to lose sight of the

Forest of beautiful language for the trees of the rules.  Yet

Good poetry acheives both; indeed, Igor Stravinsky’s words

Have equal meaning here: The more I constrain myself, the more

I free myself.

Just as I found myself looking for adherence to rules, so I

Knew a good abecedarian poem would

Let me forget the rules and simply speak to

Me.

No poem emerged as one that should be out of contention.

On the other hand, each

Presented itself

Quite individually, in its own voice,

Reaching out to me.

Selecting one winner, or even

Two, proves to be a challenge.

(Uff da, I would say, if I were Norwegian, and not so

Very German, as I am.)  Nevertheless, I am always so impressed

With Whitworthians’ work (sextuple-U!):

Excellent, and

Yes, literary Pirates trump

Zags any day of the week.

shannon ritchie

Shannon Ritchie (’15) has won first prize and a $50 gift card to Auntie’s bookstore for her poem “Cloud-Watching.”

Shannon explains: “I’m a junior English writing major/math minor who will be graduating in December. It’s easy to identify me across campus from my hot pink Doc Martens, faded bomber jacket from the 80s, or my flamboyant My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic backpack. Next summer I will attend a Masters in Teaching program with the immediate goal of teaching high school English and possibly mathematics. However, my true aspiration is to eventually become the quirky creative writing teacher of a misunderstood junior college – and own pet seahorses.”

Dr. Strauch had this to say about Ritchie’s poem: “I was intrigued by the two poems that used the abecedarian form to evoke childhood – the ABCs are so elemental (and elementary), and the pairing of form and content seems a brilliant wedding.  What I loved about ‘Cloud-watching’ was that a set of lines that seemed at first contrived held the key for me: Is ‘simply existing’ an illusion?  I can look back to an idyllic childhood and see the extent to which my life, too, was defined by order, rules, structure – and at the same time, this is the tension of the abecedarian poem.  The language is evocative (I don’t know why, but it put me in the mind of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville 1915), and as the poem called me to remember my own childhood, it also invited me to re-examine it.”

Cloud-watching

 

Away meant simply existing

between happiness and myself.

Coloring outside of the lines I

daily sketched freedom into my routine,

earning a name for my construction.

 

Fridays brought kite flying in the

garden. Watching patterns

hurry away from grounded life,

I always felt completely

justified in my desire to be.

 

Kenton lived three houses down

Lincoln Drive. We would pick

marionberries together under each

new moon celebrating adolescence,

optimism our only language.

 

Pies required precision, intentional

quietness. Windows cracked, scent

reached to the outdoors inviting

seasons to stay. Baking meant

that neighbors may stop to say hello.

 

Under umbrellas we defied the

varying seasons. Resisting any

warnings I reminded Kenton:

x-rays had shown that all

young people were missing, like

zoo animals, the will to be.

dana stull

Dana Stull (’16) won second prize and a $20 Auntie’s gift card for her poem “Brittlebush.” Dana explains: “I write (poems and comics) and read (everything) and make pies (my favorite being rhubarb).​”

Of her poem, Strauch said, “Psalm 119 is, of course, one of the more famous abecedarian forms, though that is lost in translation. What would an abecedarian psalm in English look like?  What if David were living in the American southwest? There is a beautiful trajectory to this poem, a sense of advent, a quality of light triumphing over darkness. An empty dance gives way to an excess of joy. This was a poem upon which I found myself meditating much as I would a psalm, and which drew me in by the way that the language of confession and praise engaged all of the senses.” 

Brittlebush

 

All of it—the quiet

bloom that stuns,

calls me out of this empty

dance. I stood there, asked

everyone. A quiet

flight, the space between

God, my

hands.

 

I asked; demanded

jealous

King—shouting

love, held blind in

me. I stood there, gave

nothing. Then,

overwhelmed, my hands

 

pressed with morning—

quilted in a strange

rescue. He breathes,

tremor of ground

underneath my feet. Gives

voice to me, this

excess of joy, called out

Yahweh—

zenith King.

erin kreycik

EL major Erin Kreycik (’15) received an honorable mention for her poem “On Being Trapped In the Royal Court Theatre.” Strauch claimed, “This poem really intrigued me. It may be due to my discipline, but I found this poem to be one of the most musical in quality – reading it aloud enlivened it more to me that simply reading it on the page. There were several turns of phrase that caught both my ear and my imagination: ‘a thousand things that ran lapping down the aisles like dark light’; ‘rows of handkerchief voices’;  ‘No-sleep Xanax churchhood.’ This is a poem whose meaning is not readily apparent, and yet I have the feeling that, as with a great piece of music, the longer I live with it, the more it speaks to me.”

On Being Trapped In the Royal Court Theatre

(after Beckett)

All you want at first’s it all. It. All. Like

boards, like blue. Like creak—

creak. Carpetless. Slow.

Don’t ask what it is, or why. It. All.

Every face. You, too.

First this. You call this a face?

 

Go out. Come back in again.

Hush. Hush. Listen. Don’t stop.

It. All.

Jesus Christ this spotlight never stops. And your voice

 

knocked over a thousand things that ran

lapping down the aisles like dark light.

Mother. Ghost of your child-self –

nave, altar, His arm, His gushing heart.

O holy holy. Under and over.

Piss in the bedpan she won’t have emptied – not

quite                                    yet.

 

Roaring up the aisles, you a tiger’s wraith, prowling

shroud. You the woman in white. Soon.

Too soon. Not yet. Up. Down.

 

Voices, rows of handkerchief voices. You jump

when they call you woman. No-sleep

Xanax churchhood, head a prayer-book, how many shoes?

 

You hated carpet. Had to hear them. Step. Not. Step. Yet.

Zone of fracture. Till the lights go out.

 

Thanks to Annie Stillar, Thom Caraway, and Laurie Lamon for their help with the contest. And high-fives to Dr. Strauch.

Rich Strauch

Richard Strauch is professor of music and Director of the Whitworth Wind Symphony.  In addition, he teaches music history and applied low brass, and is second trombonist in the Spokane Symphony.  His area of research is the impact of religiosity on the aesthetic and reception of late 19th century music.  He holds degrees from Wheaton College and Yale University, and is in his 17th year of teaching at Whitworth.  He is married to a poet, and has three children who are also poets.

 

 

 

Congratulations to the 2014 Chapbook Contest Winners!

Hearty congratulations to Rowanne Fairchild (’14) and Kaitlin Schmidt (’14), the winners of this year’s chapbook contest.

rowanne fairchild

Rowanne Fairchild (’14) won for her fiction manuscript “Refraction.” Guest judge Esther Lee called “Refraction” “a poignant story about a narrator whose empathy for a childhood friend serves as a reminder to us: that to honor those who have been traumatized requires a refusal to forget them.”

Rowanne is a graduating senior from Whitworth’s English department. “Refraction” is her first published manuscript. An avid traveler, she draws inspiration for her writing from the places she experiences and people she encounters. She enjoys telling stories, and loves being able to communicate with an audience through writing.

You can read an excerpt of “Refraction” below. Rowanne wins the $100 prize and she’ll be the featured reader at the Script reading on May 9. Thom Caraway & Co. will design and print a small run of her chapbook.

Big cheers also to Kaitlin Schmidt (’14), this year’s runner-up.

kaitlin_schmidt_profile

Of Kaitlin’s poetry collection, “After Babel,” Esther Lee said, “These poems feel like tiny leaves in your palms. Their meditative power begins to accumulate and reveals an intimate address and vulnerable questioning by the speaker.”

Kaitlin says, “I grew up as a quiet person who read all the time, and somehow became an extroverted person who talks all the time. This combination leads to being very open about inward thinking, which is what I explore in my writing. This manuscript deals with how much communication is strangled in any relationship, which I hope comes across as ironic considering I am trying to communicate something to you, the reader.”

You can catch more of Kaitlin’s poems at a reading on Sunday, March 30, at Jones Radiator.

estherlee_author

Thanks also to the 2014 guest judge, Esther Lee.

Esther Lee has written Spit, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011) and her chapbook, Blank Missives (Trafficker Press, 2007). Her poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Lantern Review, Ploughshares, Verse Daily, Salt Hill, Good Foot, Swink, Hyphen, Born Magazine, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University where she served as Editor-in-Chief for Indiana Review. She has been awarded the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize and Utah Writer’s Contest Award for Poetry (selected by Brenda Shaughnessy), Snowcroft Prize (selected by Susan Steinberg), as well as twice-nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She recently received her Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Utah. She began teaching as an Assistant Professor at Agnes Scott College in the Fall 2013.

And now, the samples! Here’s a look at Rowanne’s “Refraction”:

I traced my way back from the crossroads after school and managed to find the house without much difficulty.  I stood on the edge of the road and watched the piece of glass flash in the sunlight.  After several moments I crossed the ditch and made my way back until I was crouched by the wire mesh.  With a cautious hand I tugged on the screen, but was still startled when the boy unfurled from the shadows under the porch.

“Hi,” I whispered.  I lowered myself to sit cross-legged.

He looked at me and gurgled.

“What’s your name?  Do you have a name?”  When he didn’t answer I remembered the story I’d learned in Sunday school last weekend, about a boy who was made a slave and then became a prince.  “Can I call you Joseph?  I’m Jacob.”

Joseph’s eyes were blank and he stretched his arms out towards me.  He was wearing my socks on his hands, and had his thumb jammed through the hole where my big toe used to fit.

“Yeah, those are socks, they usually go on your feet.” He inched towards me and I saw he wore a thin t-shirt and a pair of tattered pants.  Grime was ground into the fabric.  His clothes hung from his emaciated frame and trembled as he shivered.  His feet were bare.  His hair was so filthy I couldn’t tell what color it was.

“I’m ten.  How old are you?”

Joseph’s face was empty, blank.  Like Mama’s garden before she planted daffodils in the fall.  He looked maybe eight or nine.  He made a noise in the back of his throat and tried to push a socked hand through the mesh towards my lunch pail.

I unscrewed the cap and pulled out a crust that was left over from my lunch.  “Is this what you want?”  I extended it towards him and suddenly the sock came off, he snatched it with dirty fingers, stuffed it past cracked lips.

He gulped and then looked at me as if waiting for more. He reminded me of the stray mutt I used to feed scraps to when he would follow me home from school.  He went mad from a coon fight three days before Dad was drafted, and Dad had to shoot the dog from our back porch.

I felt heavy, like a rock that was being shoved into motion and yet still wouldn’t move.  “Sorry, that’s all I have.”

And enjoy this poem from Kaitlin’s “After Babel”:

Babel

We fishtail apart across ice,

careening legs and arms cut

up with each other’s words.

I try to get to you with language

but malfunction use my hands

to sort out the air but slaughter it

like a nightmare try to pick up

a mouse but squeeze too hard

apart. There are so many things

I want you to know.

2014 Poetry Contest Announced!

2014 poetry contest

We know you’re working hard on your chapbook contest entries (due Friday, Feb 7, by the way).

Now you have another chance to achieve fame (and a $50 gift card to Auntie’s Bookstore) in our third annual poetry contest. You’ll be leaning on the 26 letters of the alphabet to produce an abecedarian. The contest is open to all current Whitworth students.

Thanks to Dr. Richard Strauch for serving as our guest judge and to Jessica Weber (’14) for designing the rad poster.

Lift Every Voice and Vote for Meredith Friesen (’14)

The-Norton-Anthology-of-American-Literature-2-Volume-Set-9780393930580[1]

As an assignment for EL 331W Southern Renaissance, Meredith Friesen, senior English major and current Westminster Round president, submitted her recitation of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson to the 2013 Norton Anthology Student Recitation Contest.

Meredith’s submission has been chosen as one of the top three finalists! The public and the panel of Norton editors will decide the winner, which means she needs your votes to win.

Vote for Meredith here! Deadline for voting is Dec. 8th.

The winner will receive a $200 Barnes & Noble gift card and will have his or her name featured on the acknowledgements page of a Norton Anthology.

Image from here.

Watching and Receiving: A Few Words from Department Chair, Pam Corpron Parker

cbd2

In his poem, “The Tables Turned,” William Wordsworth famously charges his reader, “Up! Up! my Friend, and quit your books:/or surely you’ll grow double.” This may be music to the ears of homework-weary students, but I don’t think Wordsworth intended for us to toss our books in the dumpster and give up reading altogether.  Rather, he invites us to seek a balance between reading about the world and experiencing it first-hand.  He beckons us to “Come forth into the light of things,/Let Nature be your teacher.”  This is good advice as we head into the thick of the semester with midterm papers and exams piling up like fall leaves.

community building day 1

Several weeks ago on Community Building Day, a group of dozen or more students and faculty from the departments of English, theology, and world languages did just this.  We set aside our classes and books to work in the Westminster Garden. Under the direction of Leonard Oakland, we raked, weeded, pruned, and planted daffodil bulbs together.  (I think that Wordsworth would have given us the thumbs up on our bulb choice, don’t you?)  We got our hands dirty, talked about books and classes, and learned (as Wordsworth’s poem explains) that Nature “has a world of ready wealth,/Our minds and hearts to bless.”

cbd3

For me, digging in a homely daffodil bulb is an inherently hopeful activity.  To plant bulbs, or any seed for that matter, we enact a tangible metaphor of faith, particularly the act of faith that is teaching. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”(KJV).  Teachers rarely know what students take away from their lessons, but we have faith in the educational relationship, the works we teach, and the students themselves.

Later that day, we headed back our classes but the garden still glowed in the afternoon sunlight.  We—and the garden—were blessed by our time together in Nature’s classroom. These community events are part of what makes learning and working around Westminster such a pleasure.  Whitworth’s “education of mind and heart” (oddly presaged in Wordsworth’s poem) spills out into the garden and beyond.

If you have been around Westminster Hall, you may have noticed that the garden is particularly exuberant this fall.  Purple asters, black-eyed Susan, Russian Sage, and feather reed grass crowd around the basalt columns and tumble onto the sidewalk.  In part, this is a result of rather pungent doses of compost last spring, but it is also due to the faithful labors of senior (?) English major John Hope, who spent much of his summer working and reading in the Westminster Garden.  Most afternoons, I would find John weeding or watering or reading in the shade of the weeping cherry trees. (As you can see in this accompanying photo, the garden is a good place to grow beards and flowers.)

john hope in garden

Speaking of gardens and poets and beards, we have been celebrating Thom Caraway’s nomination as Spokane’s first poet laureate this week. (For more information, see the Spokes-person Review’s article about Thom on the front page of the “Northwest” section.)  No one deserves this recognition more. Thom has been a tireless poet, teacher, and community advocate at Whitworth and in his beloved West Central neighborhood.  He is thoroughly planted in Spokane, not only because he is a longtime resident, but also through his role as the board president at Project H.O.P.E., a local nonprofit dedicated to improving the West Central neighborhood.  Project H.O.P.E. provides job training for at-risk youth through teaching them to garden, market, and sell vegetables grown on Riverfront Farm, an urban farm expanding to eight empty lots in West Central.

thom-caraway

Thom’s achievement is good news for all of us and a reminder of what it means to walk your talk.  Another beloved Whitworth poet, Laurie Lamon says, “For this honor to come to Thom speaks volumes for the service, teaching, and mentoring he has done, so much of it quietly, and all of it with the heart, mind and soul of a poet who has served first and foremost his community and students.”  Join us in congratulating Thom, or better yet, send him a note.

In the meantime, live in hope and remember Wordsworth’s advice to glory in the days of fall: “Come forth, and bring with you a heart / That watches and receives.