Coming Soon…Jericho Brown!

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 26th, when Whitworth University will be hosting poet, Jericho Brown. Jericho Brown is a poet and professor, whose most recent book, The New Testament, has been described by critics as being, “lyrical clarity,” and as “ushering the body from political and religious battlegrounds” (Jericho Brown website here). His first book, Please won the American Book Award and his second book of poetry, The New Testament won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is the Director the Creative Writing Program and an associate professor of English and creative writing at Emory University.

Invite your friends and family to enjoy this night of poetry, community, and fun!
Reading poster_Elyse_Kara

Påskekrim Participants are Loving their Crime Novels!

Many Whitworth students took part in a long-standing Norwegian Easter tradition during Spring Break thanks to this years Påskekrim event! Take a look at some of the student participants’ experiences with crime novels this Spring Break!

Anna Rajala is a freshman at Whitworth. Her major is Elementary Education. During Spring Break, she went to College Work Week at the Washington Family Ranch in OR for the first half, and then went home to Southern CA.


I’m reading Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker. It’s about a private investigator/detective named Spenser who is hired by Patty, a divorced woman who is trying to get her teenage son Paul back from her ex-husband, Mel. Patty and Mel essentially steal their son back-and-forth in some sort of revenge competition, even though neither really wants Paul. Spenser befriends the boy and takes him away to a house in Maine to protect him from both parents. While there, Spenser discovers secrets about Paul’s family he never would have expected.

The book is pretty good so far; the story is interesting enough that I want to keep reading. However, unless it’s supposed to be a satire (which I don’t believe it is), it’s very cliché and mediocrely written. Maybe that’s the genre. It has the hokey melodrama of detective stories from the mid 1900s, complete with cringey metaphors, sexism, and an overly macho, womanizing protagonist. With all that being said, it has a kind of antiquated charm, and I certainly enjoy reading it, if only to laugh at the ridiculous plot twists and “creative” imagery.

Timothy Bruggeman is a sophomore at Whitworth, and for Spring break he visited my family in California.


The book I read is Titled A Time to Kill by John Grisham. In the book, two men brutally rape and beat a little girl. The father tells his lawyer he is going to kill them, but the lawyer doubts that this is his real intention. The father succeeds in killing them while using an illegal weapon, and asks that the lawyer take his case because he helped his cousin. Now, the defense attorney must win the case with the biggest publicity in his life.
The first chapter was tough. I did not read the summary beforehand, so a brash description of a brutal murder was offputting. After that, the humor was subtle, and I took it slow to get everything. The book is divided into 44 sections, and I took a break after finishing each one.
Jadyn Baumgartner is a freshman, nursing major at Whitworth. During Spring break, she went home and spent time with family and friends! The crime novel she read was, Come & Eat: A Celebration of Love and Grace Around the Everyday Table by Bri McKoy.
This book is about how we all get caught up in the hustle of our everyday lives and many of us don’t take the time to fill a hole in our hearts. That hole many times is something that is deeper and truer than what we get out of just checking all the boxes of our daily lives. McKoy ties in God’s kingdom to all of this. This book was on the shelf that we were told to pick from but is not a mystery or crime novel.
The reading is going well. I enjoy the content of this book so so much and am easily able to apply myself to the situations presented and the advice given. I am about halfway through!

Kathryn Smith Poetry Reading! 11.15.2017

On November 15th, the Whitworth English Department will be hosting poet and nonfiction author, Kathryn Smith.


Her most recent works within her book, BOOK OF EXODUS, examine wilderness, loneliness and faith. This collection of poems follow an imagined Russian family’s experiences and trials while living in Siberia.

There will be a reception immediately following the reading in the Red Room directly across from Stage 2 in Cowles Auditorium.

Wednesday, November 15th


Cowles Auditorium, Stage 2

Find out more about Kathryn Smith and her work on her website:

Thursday April 6th: Come to the Susanna Childress Poetry Reading!

Join the Whitworth University English Reading Series in welcoming poet Susanna Childress.

The reading will take place in the Cowles Music Building in the recital hall at 7pm.

Her most recent book, Entering the House of Awe, was publish by New Issues Press, and won the 2012 prize in poetry from the Society of Midland Authors. Her first book, Jagged with Love, was awarded the Brittingham Prize in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from the University of Southern Illinois-Carbondale. She has received an AWP Intro Journals Award, the National Career Award in Poetry from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and a Lilly post-doctoral fellowship. She lives in Holland, Michigan.


You Don’t Have to Be An Actor

An inside look into the 2015 Fall Semester Reading in Action course. 

By Lauren Padilla
It was on the syllabus of course, but when we were reminded that they’d be acting out A Raisin In The Sun, the Reading In Action Class was still rather in denial. 
“Act? Live? In front of people of all things?”
Thankfully a general enthusiasm lived on (as our clip denotes), the number of missed entrances was minimal, and the performance passed us enjoyably—thanks to the acting and also the unreal amount of snacks.
Even though it was executed by amateurs, seeing the play firsthand revealed all kinds of nuances we may have missed when reading it through the first time:
Being able to hear a penny drop when Walter Lee discovers that Ruth is pregnant.
The vehemence in Lena’s reply when Beneath denounces God. 
These sensations can all be written perfectly well into a novel, but only real voices can achieve them. It was a reminder to us all as readers that literature is not static—in the case of a stage play, or otherwise. Of course, stage plays are the most physical and tangible form of this concept, but literature should always be an experience; in the hands of a good reader, a piece of literature is alive
 This project was part of Professor D’Amico’s EL115H Reading in Action Course. This freshman level honors course explores a variety of reading practices beginning with our initial love of literature, moving into advanced scholarly reading, and engaging in service-learning with reading communities in Spokane. Padilla was one of her freshman students. 

Readings Galore

All sorts of readings are coming up. Make sure to check them out:

Westminster Round Student Reading
7 p.m. at Boots Bakery, Friday, April 17
Westminster Round will be holding an off-campus reading for the English Department at Boots Bakery & Lounge this Friday (April 17th) at 7 p.m. We’re still finalizing the line-up, so if you’re interested in reading please send us your work.Submissions should include no more than five poems/three pages of prose. Send what you’ve got to Katie Cunningham ( before Thursday, April 16th.

There will be food. There will be drinks. There will be laughter. There will be carpooling (outside of Westminster Hall at 6:20 p.m.).

For more details, see the Westminster Round Facebook page.


Railtown Almanac Reading

Saturday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m.

Railtown Almanac is an anthology of poems by Spokanites and about Spokane, published in 2014. The 170-page collection draws from a wide range of poets, featuring vastly different styles, subjects, and perspectives. The anthology was curated and edited by writers Thom Caraway and Jeffrey Dodd, and published by Sage Hill Press. 

Venue: Hendrick House, Whitworth University
Free & open to the public 

Emily Gwinn teaches English at Spokane Falls Community College. Her poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in Hubbub, Rock and Sling, Pontoon, andThe Furnace Review, and her poetry is included in Cave Moon Press’s anthology of poems about food, Broken Circles: A Gathering of Poems for Hunger. Emily also had the pleasure of representing Spokane at the 2014 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. She is the recipient of the Tom Pier Prize in Poetry from Allied Arts of Yakima Washington’s Coffeehouse Poetry Series, and her chapbook,Transpiration, was published by Finishing Line Press. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University.
John Whalen has nearly a hundred publications in literary journals and magazines including: River StyxCity LightsThe Greensboro Review, the Virginia Quarterly ReviewCutBankRedactionsDark Horse, and the Hollins Critic. His work has been anthologized twice in Pontoon. He has been a finalist for both the Ruth J. Lilly Award and the National Poetry Series Award. His first full-length poetry collection, Caliban, was published in 2002, and In Honor of the Spigot won Gribble Press’s chapbook competition in 2010. In 2014, he won the Floating Bridge Press chapbook award for Above the Pear Trees.
Poet, fiction writer, artist, teacher: Nance Van Winckel does it all, and does it well. In 2013, she published her sixth book of poems, Pacific Walkers (a finalist for the Washington State Book Award), along with her fourth collection of stories,Boneland. 2014 saw the publication of her novel in the form of a scrapbook, Ever Yrs. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and produces a cross-disciplinary art called photo-ems: photographs with small poems and other graphic material blended on top of the original photograph. She has received many awards and honors, including multiple NEA poetry fellowships.
For more details visit the Get Lit website.
Inland Northwest Faculty Reading
Sunday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m.
Hosted by Eastern Washington University, this reading celebrates creative writers who are also professors, honoring those who split their time between creating art and encouraging the artistic and academic pursuits of their students.

Participating writers and teachers include faculty from EWU, Whitworth, Gonzaga, North Idaho College, SFCC, and SCC, who will read from new works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. EWU professor Natalie Kusz, author of
 Road Song, will host the event. 

Participating faculty include:
*Jaime Baird of Whitworth 
Megan Ciesla of Gonzaga
Christopher Howell of EWU
*Fred Johnson of Whitworth
Leyna Krow of NIC & SFCC
Kathryn McKenna of SCC
Gregory Spatz of EWU
Rachel Toor of EWU
For Moor details, visit the Get Lit website. 

This Whitworth Life 2014 Podcast Is Now Available

This Whitworth Life 2014

If you missed our This Whitworth Life reading last fall and you’ve been plagued with regret ever since, now your prayers have been answered. If you attended last November’s storytelling extravaganza and have wanted to relive the magic, those prayers have been answered, too.

A podcast of the event is now available here.

The event was a project of EL 347: Creative Nonfiction Workshop. Eight members of our campus community wrote and read stories about significant moments in their lives.
Topics include but are not limited to: jigsaw puzzles, introversion, campus tours, grits, comical-only-in-hindsight interactions with law enforcement, martyrs, PTSD, forgiveness.
Enjoy these stories by our 2014 cast: Katie Ferris (’15), Amanda Clark, Alan Jacob, Tim Grayson, Henry Stelter (’16), Amy Hendricks (’09), Laura Bloxham, and Helen Higgs.
Thanks also to our faculty panelists, Fred Johnson and Karin Heller, to Annie Stillar, and to the Fall 2014 students of EL 347.



“Bread Bakes in Heat” by Taylor Oddino (’17): A Preview for This Whitworth Life

This Whitworth Life 2014Please mark your calendar for This Whitworth Life: A Campus Storytelling event. The 2014 cast includes nine readers who’ll share their stories at 6pm on Friday, Nov. 21, in the chapel.

For a taste of what you’ll hear on the 21st, check out “Bread Bakes in Heat” by Taylor Oddino (’17).

When I was twelve, I decided to dedicate my life to ballet: Ballet class, everyday, after school from three to nine, plus all-day Saturday. When I was 15, I auditioned for the Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy in Texas. I was accepted and moved into the dorms at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. I danced six days a week from eight a.m. to 5 p.m., for seven weeks.

All my years of work came to be defined in a single rehearsal. It was a summer day in Houston, and I could feel the 110-degree heat radiating through the glass windows in a sixth-floor studio. It was a three-hour rehearsal. There were three different groups of dancers, and we rotated, so I only danced for a third of the three hours. We were strictly instructed to be standing when not dancing. God help the girl who decided to sit and stretch.

I stood in a corner of the massively spacious studio. The six-story facilities were brand new, and the walls smelled of fresh paint. The floor looked bare without scuffs. It was all too perfect. The barres felt too smooth beneath my sweaty palms.

It was late afternoon, and after dancing all day, I was expected to stand there in the corner. I already knew the choreography by heart, so there was nothing to keep my mind occupied. The complex part of the dance was maintaining our lines, which I found extremely difficult to practice on my own. The only thing left to focus on, apart from my growling tummy, was my feet.

They were screaming at me. That kind of blood-curdling scream that makes your shoulders rise, your muscles tense, and your eardrums throb with the most uncomfortable of pains. My feet were beyond swollen, puffing out of my pointe shoes like a batch of dough that had too much yeast. I will never forget that pain. I used the barre to lift myself up; anything to relieve the pressure.

The heat from the window, my empty stomach, the dizzying smell of paint, and the loaves of bread that I called feet. Something inside me was dying. I think it was my passion. When I took my shoes off after that God-forsaken rehearsal, I rested my chin on my knees and tenderly rubbed my bloody toes. My mom always said it looked like my feet had been through a meat grinder. I preferred a cheese grater analogy.

I came back to Washington and quit dancing six months later. I got a job, and a boyfriend. I became normal. I now teach at a local studio and I am a teacher in Whitworth’s dance ministry, Jubilation.

The passion that I have now is so different. I am so much more fulfilled. I can look into my future and know that I won’t have to worry about how having a baby might endanger my chances of being able to return to work. I don’t have to worry about my career ending at age 35.

I would do it all over again. I would not be who I am today without my dancing.

I started out like these, shiny and new. The sport broke me down to this, ragged and worn. I learned that some things aren’t worth pursuing. But most importantly, I learned that you have to remember to take your shoes off and breathe.

Taylor Ann Oddino was born in California and finds herself torn between the golden Promised Land of Cali and the enchanting forests of the Pacific Northwest. She has lived in Spokane since she was a little girl and decided to study journalism, communications, and French at Whitworth University. In her spare time, she teaches dance, practices yoga, cheers for the Seahawks, and spends time with her lovely family and friends.

A Preview for this Whitworth Life by Kaurie Albert (’15)

Please mark your calendar for This Whitworth Life: A Campus Storytelling event. The 2014 cast includes nine readers who’ll share their stories at 6pm on Friday, Nov. 21, in the chapel.

For a taste of what you’ll hear on the 21st, check out this piece by Kaurie Albert (’15).

I was headed back to Whitworth after spending spring break at home in Montana. It wasThis Whitworth Life 2014 the first time I’d be driving my own car back. That 1986 Buick that had been through a couple wrecks and multiple repairs, but had been running well for some time. My dad thought it would be just fine over the two mountain passes and long stretches of interstate between Hamilton and Spokane. I made it to Missoula in good time, picked up my friend Brandon, and continued on our way. My Chihuahua-weiner-dog-terrier combo of a creature named Pippin curled up on his panda pillow pet on the seat between us.

Unusual for Montana, we started noticing more and more traffic. We were nearing the top of Lookout Pass when we came to a complete stop behind a long line, primarily of semis. It was just in time too, as the hood had started smoking. Trying to ignore that dilemma, I turned off the car and let it sit. Curious, Brandon and I stepped out into the cold mountain air, flurries of snow and strong wind whipping about us, while Pippin spasmodically jumped around inside the car barking. Just a small stretch ahead was a massive rock slide. It had taken out one of the cement side things and spilled onto the road.

The next four hours dragged on. We passed the time by telling stories, doing homework until the daylight faded, and observing the many people meandering about. Night fell and it wasn’t until 9:00 that the road was cleared enough for the line to start moving. The car started, though reluctantly. It was not excited to drive after sitting for so long, and regardless of how much I floored the gas pedal, it wouldn’t go over 20mph. Fortunately, we were right at the top of the pass and had a rather long descent ahead. We coasted down the mountain going 55 all the way into Idaho. Brandon’s phone finally got service and he had six missed calls from his mom and numerous messages from our friends. We were supposed to have been in Spokane a good three hours ago.

The road flattened out and the car refused to go over 20. It was making weird clicking noises, but I was too afraid to stop. What if it didn’t start at all again? I tried to drive as close to the side of the road as possible, semis flying by. Brandon searched fruitlessly for the hazard lights. No idea where those were. He was trying to reassure his mom and I was trying to keep my cool. Please, please, please, don’t stop. We can make it, we can make it, we can make it. Pippin remained passed out on the panda, oblivious. I asked Brandon to distract me. We asked each other stuff we never knew about one another. He would tell me every once in a while that it was going to be fine.

Signs to Kellogg, Idaho appeared and we decided we should stop there. There was no way we’d make it to Spokane tonight. After another hour of painstaking progress, I took exit 51 into Kellogg and coasted right into a Les Schwab parking lot. The Dave Smith car lot was adjacent to us. It seemed like a good place to break down. I called my dad, who seemed calmly unsurprised that the car did not make it. We decided to ditch the car and worry about it later. My friend Lauren offered to rescue us and drove an hour and a half from Spokane to Kellogg. I left a note on the car, saying “Sorry, we broke down” and we transferred to Lauren’s. By the time we pulled into our house it was 1 in the morning and I had six hours before I had to be at work. Although it was an incredibly long day, I abandoned a car in Idaho, and put Brandon’s mom through that trauma, we both agreed that it was an adventure. My family has been cursed with cars for years and it only made sense that it would happen to me too. However, I did discover that keeping my cool and just believing that we would “make it” was probably the most valuable trait I possessed in that moment. I will never underestimate the ability not to panic in a situation again, or be more thankful that I had someone as laid back as Brandon for a passenger. Cooler heads did prevail.

Kaurie Albert is a senior Lit major from Hamilton, Montana. She isn’t sure what she wants to do in the near future, though writing will continue to be a large part of it. However, she does plan on returning to Montana at a much later date to settle in mountain country and raise pygmy goats.