Tunes to Get You Through Finals: Bert Emerson Edition

Dr. Bert Emerson’s playlist comes from March 2011, a time when he was “gearing up for [his] dissertation defense.” In 2011, he named this playlist “Offense.” For Bert, “these songs weren’t for getting through finals, but for winning them.” Integrate some of Dr. Emerson’s winning attitude into your finals week! Scroll below to listen!

1. “Not Afraid,” Eminem

2. “Run This Town,” Jay-Z (feat. Rihanna & Kanye West)

3. “Seven Nation Army,” The White Stripes

4. “Mama Said Knock You Out,” LL Cool J

5. “Best of You,” Foo Fighters

6. “Lose Yourself,” Eminem

7. “L.A. Woman,” The Doors

8. “Jesus Walks,” Kanye West

9. “Let God Arise,” Chris Tomlin

10. “My Hero,” Foo Fighters

11. “Soldier On,” Shelly Colvin *See Dr. Emerson’s office to hear this song!

12. “Welcome to the Black Parade,” My Chemical Romance

Tunes to Get You Through Finals: Thom Caraway Edition

Start your weekend right with Dr. Thom Caraway’s “Wildfall” playlist! Click here to give it a listen or scroll below!
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  1. “Fortress,” Queens of the Stone Age
  2. “Bad Talkers,” Blue Pills
  3. “My Mathematical Mind,” Spoon
  4. “For Rock and Roll (Was Made for You),” Blitzen Trapper
  5. “The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret,” Queens of the Stone Age
  6. “Heartbroken, In Disrepair,” Dan Auerbach
  7. “Three Storms Until You Learn to Float,” Cloud Cult
  8. “You Never Were Alone,” Cloud Cult
  9. “First Caress,” Spoon
  10. “Past Lives,” Langhorne Slim
  11. “Starslight,” At The Drive In
  12. “The Evil Has Landed,” Queens of the Stone Age
  13. “The First Vietnamese War,” The Black Angels
  14. “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  15. “Manipulation,” The Black Angels
  16. “Hold My End Up,” Delta Spirit
  17. “Gratitude,” Beastie Boys

POEMS to Get You Through Finals: Laurie Lamon Edition

Dr. Laurie Lamon would like to offer some “cheer and beauty” to your finals preparations. Take a look at her wonderful poetry recommendations below!


Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks, by Jane Kenyon

I am the blossom pressed in a book, found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .

When the young girl who starves sits down to a table she will sit beside me. . . .

I am food on the prisoner’s plate. . . .

I am water rushing to the wellhead, filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .

I am the patient gardener of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am the stone step, the latch, and the working hinge. . . .

I am the heart contracted by joy. . . the longest hair, white before the rest. . . .

I am there in the basket of fruit presented to the widow. . . .

I am the musk rose opening unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .

I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with you when you think to call my name. . . .


The Writer, by Richard Wilbur

· In her room at the prow of the house

· Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage. But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure. A stillness greatens, in which The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent. I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top, And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure, (poem cont. stanza break) P

· It lifted off from a chair-back, Beating a smooth course for the right window And clearing the sill of the world. It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder.


Eating Poetry, by Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. The librarian does not believe what she sees. Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress. The poems are gone. The light is dim. The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up. Their eyeballs roll, their blond legs burn like brush. The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep. She does not understand. When I get on my knees and lick her hand, she screams. I am a new man. I snarl at her and bark. I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


Tunes to Get You Through Finals: Doug Sugano Edition

Let Dr. Doug Sugano’s dynamic playlist get you through these final Mondays of the semester! Enjoy these great recommendations by listening on Spotify or looking below, and be sure to let Doug know what you think!
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1. “Deacon Blues,” Steely Dan

2. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” James Taylor

3. “That’s the Way of the World,” Earth, Wind and Fire

4. “A Song for You,” Donny Hathaway

5. “Stormy Weather,” Etta James

6. “Take Me to Church,” Hozier

7. “To Zion,” Lauren Hill

8. “Lovely Day,” Bill Withers

9. “Can’t Find My Way Home,” Blind Faith

10. Fantasia in D Minor, Mozart—Mitsuko Uchida, pianist

11. “Gold to Glass,” Revivalists

12.“Cheek to Cheek,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

13. “Improvisation on Dona Nobis,” Yo-Yo Ma and other artists

14. “This Little Light of Mine,” Yo-Yo Ma and Amelia Zirin-Brown

Isabella Santos: From Ballet to Outdoor Explorations

A common misconception about English majors is that “real” careers aren’t made from English degrees. The “starving artist” archetype, the construed belief that one cannot study what they are passionate about without ending up in their parent’s basement. Luckily, this stereotype is proven false by an amazing Whitworth alumni, Isabella Santos.

A native Spokane dweller, Santos would never have imagined herself in her current career post-graduation. At Whitworth, she graduated with the Literature track of the English degree. This academic decision to graduate with English was a “no brainer,” yet, the decision to attend school itself was under much debate for Santos. As an adolescent, Santos spent 14 years as a ballet dancer. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she elected to pursue higher education instead of dance. Though a difficult decision (choosing Whitworth over a professional dance career), without having made it, Santos would not have ended up in the wonderful career she has now entered.

Santos works as a program coordinator for Peak 7 Adventures. Peak 7 Adventures is a nonprofit organization which seeks to give outdoor adventure opportunities to marginalized youth. Their primary goal is to bridge “the gap between outdoor adventure and socioeconomic status.” Though her current career was not anticipated by her as an undergraduate student, she has not been disappointed by the experience. In her field, there are many ways to apply her skills from her English degree to real life situations. Santos states: “The tools of being able to think critically… and understand people in different ways is all so important… ”

While her work consists much of logistics and other such office work, some of her work includes field work as a guide. Santos describes this past Summer, when she was paid as a part of her job to climb Mt. Baker multiple times. Working directly with the youth calls for using skills she learned through her English Literature major. “I don’t know what it’s like to be an African American youth from urban Seattle but… I can ask them questions… and I can allow them to tell their story.” At Whitworth, Santos learned to ask hard questions and to have hard questions asked of her.

Santos advises current Whitworth English Majors and students, to “give yourself grace…that allows you to learn from the experience of being an English major and not end up crying in your professor’s office.” She argues that focusing on overachievement can subtract from developing your own identity. While the Whitworth English department offers a unique and fantastic environment, keep in mind that individuality matters and that there is life beyond Whitworth.

The transition from college to one’s career can be difficult, but this period of life serves as excellent preparation for the future. Bella’s post-graduate experience shows that writing and editing do not have to be the end-all-be-all options for English majors. The likelihood is that in the future, most will receive opportunities to end up like Bella Santos: working somewhere unexpected yet serving well and truly loving one’s career.

By Adira McNally

At the End of the World: On Self-Publishing a Book and Whitworth’s Role

By: Sarah Michelle Cruz

Whitworth’s English Department offers an amazing class taught by Thom Caraway, where your final project is to literally publish a book. When I took it, the class was called, “Literary Editing and Design,” so we learned how to use In-Design in order to create every aspect of what our finished product would look like, from front to back: The book cover, to the binding, type of material, font, and the list goes on. At the same time, we learned some material editing aspects to prepare us for the publication of our own book.

It was a lot to compact into one course, but definitely rewarding. If you want to know what the self-publishing journey feels like, it’s a little bit like a process full of sweat, tears, frustration, excitement, trial and error. Editing in itself takes a large amount of time with a huge amount of attention to detail. Depending on how long ago you wrote your text, you might end up over-critical toward your writing. I remember that one of my classmates said it would be “a pain in the ass” if she found typos in her published copy. I laughed and didn’t think much of it until I found a typo on the first page of my finished product. In addition, learning to use the In-Design program is difficult in itself, and if you didn’t constantly press save, you have the potential to lose hours of work progress. Sometimes there are issues of missing details on the program, and the mistake is pretty visible in the printed produce. It all takes patience and a willingness to persevere even when your book doesn’t “look” like how you imagined it. But on that note, there’s potential for the book to look even better than you imagine it.

Watching my book come to life was incredibly fun. It is called, “At the End of the World,” and it is a compilation of short stories in the perspective of characters living in a time where the Earth’s trajectory toward spiraling into the sun is inevitable, and the world’s destruction is undeniable. It’s separated into five sections: North, South, East, West, and Andalusia Sky (the “fabled” city in the sky that is believed to survive after the Earth’s destruction), and each sections consisted of four short stories. I had a distinct image of what I wanted the book cover to be, but didn’t have the art skills to make it a reality. So I sketched an image of a man holding a suitcase, looking over the edge of a cliff with a giant orange sun behind him, then I sent it to my friend to paint it. Her adaption of my image is now the cover of my book! As I played around with drawing tools in In-Design, I found that I could create some interesting abstract images. Playing around with that turned into symbolic chapter section images, and the final few pages of my book consists of a series of abstract images that actually look like an explosion that dies down to nothing. That was just a fun result of playing around, which can happen to anyone during the publication process!

If you’re a writer and thinking of ways to publish your book, going the self-publishing route leaves you with many options to create it any way you want, and then distribute it any way you want. I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to publish my book traditionally, and that takes paying large amounts for an editor, finding agents, and waiting for a reliable publication company to publish the product. If anything, there’s even Amazon publishing. I would just encourage any writer to move past the fear of having your work “out there,” whether in a blog or published and sold in stores. You have something wonderful to offer, and the publication process will grow you as an individual, and help you to become a stronger artist.   

Sarah Michelle Cruz is a Whitworth Alum (’16) who majored in English Writing and Psychology. She is currently living in California’s Bay Area, focusing on writing her second novel and readying her first book for publication. She is also a singer/songwriter working on producing her music just for the sake of sharing it.

Bird of Paradise: A short story by Devon Clements

Every year, students and their selected papers attend The National Undergraduate Literature Conference, this year taking place in Oregon. As sort of a preview to the conference, here is an early viewing of the short story that Junior Devon Clements was selected to read.

Bird of Paradise
By: Devon Clements

Jessica had loved birds for as long as she could remember. Her childhood bedroom had been awash with the vibrant color photographs she had clipped from magazines or printed from her elementary schools library, featuring everything from the stunning bold plumage of tropical parrots to the everyday humble, yet nonetheless beautiful washed out browns and reds of Sparrows and Robbins. She distinctly remembered spending countless hours, dime store binoculars pressed close to her eyes, in the backyard of her childhood home, scanning the dense deciduous foliage for any sight of the avian creatures.  Even throughout her teenage years, through the loss of her mother to cancer, and her father to a motor vehicle accident; which Jess explained was unintentional, yet in reality, was due to her father’s crippling alcoholism which had set in at the loss of his wife, Jessica had retained a love and fascination for the birds of the world. In fact in her most honest and self-aware moments she accepted that the concept of flight was no doubt a strong sub-conscious attraction to the bird, for its ability to at any given moment leap into the air as if God himself were blowing upon their fragile wings and travel to another place, another land, another life. Though tragedy had struck her twice in her short existence she had refused to give up hope and had gotten deeply involved in extracurricular activities her senior year of high school, mainly focusing on raising awareness of the habitat destruction of the Amazon due to the savage use of palm oil by the large, and as she would be quick to point out, heedlessly greedy corporations of the world. These forays into public awareness raising were ultimately futile, and as she grew older her hope in a world change faded into a hope for policy change and eventually dissolved into a cynicism, which if left unchecked would consume her. College was never on the short list for Jess, after graduating from her un-prestigious, Midwest public high school she remained at her waitressing job at The Round-a-bout café, rarely venturing out of the small town she had lived all her life.

Years went by, as they tend to do, and Jess remained in the same insignificant township her only change in that of her profession, having lost what childhood hope she had once retained to the dark, dreary, and ultimately futile, pursuit known as life. Her joy now came only as flickers, snatches of a forgotten dream dosed out to her in the smallest of increments. That first drag on her smoke break, the exhausted sigh of relief as she slides into her old Dodge Neon accompanied by the mechanical click as her key slides perfectly into the ignition. She has learned to not only appreciate these moments, but to truly cherish them, as one would cherish a child’s smile opening his first Christmas present, the glint of true unadulterated happiness present, if only for a second. Jess still thought of birds, obsessively at times, but her only true and complete devotion to the creatures was through her dreams. As each night would arrive she would eagerly close her eyes, the soft cotton of her pillow caressing her head like the warm down of a mother hen, and she would began to free herself from the human filth of her life. As the physical space of her room left her, its stark white walls melting into the brightest tropical auroras of the rainforest, Jess would finally feel peace. She would spend countless hours gliding through the sky, her feathers allowing her to soar ever higher. The far off oceans and lands that in her waking hours were far beyond her reach could now be as easily attained as if crossing the street. Time, distance, speed, these were all things of the real world and within Jessica’s sub-conscious sleeping brain, nothing was impossible.

Slowly, in time with the degradation of her last remaining shreds of happiness, these fantasies broke into her waking world. Without her realization Jess found herself more and more absent minded, she was free of the despair and hopelessness of her stagnant, routine thoughts, and was instead allowed to exist in a world of fantasy. As those who have ever experienced a true and all-encompassing drug addiction will know, once the substitution of reality becomes a daily option, it will soon become more than a habit, it will transform into a way of life, a mantra repeatedly circling the mind of the user, leaving little room for anything or anyone else. This was the state of Jessica’s mind as she sat, motionless, her eyes trance like, seeming to see everything, yet at the same time nothing at all. The pounding bass of the music around her barely registered as her boss Joseph Olsen approached her, a large bald headed man exhibiting the outer characteristics of a person who once sought to be in one of the countless biker gangs which stream across the south, but has now retired into a resentful and exhausted nightclub owner. His brow dripped sweat as he hoisted some form of buckled harness over Jess, clipping it together behind her back. “That’s my girl, my sweet girl” he whispered into her ear as he tightened the straps on either side of her bosom. “It’s your time babe, your time to be the star of the show” he chuckled into her unhearing ear. Joseph attached the final part of her elaborate vest, a large matte silver carabineer that fit snugly into a hook at the rear of her new piece of equipment.

As the cable, which was now connected to Jessica’s vest, began to pull snug and slowly drag her off the stool and into the air, she remained oblivious to her surroundings. The pounding music surrounded her body as it dazzled amidst countless neon lights, illuminating her frame to the satisfaction of the men below. She climbed ever higher, and as her weight began to distribute she slowly began an ellipse through the air. As she passed an enormous mirror her eyes came in to focus and she looked. Before her was a women in her late 20’s, all signs of joy replaced by wrinkles and scarring which belonged to a women much older then she, yet, her body remained a picture of feminine attraction and was scantily clad in a small red and orange thong, the straps of which twinkled in the florescent lighting, above that her breasts barely concealed beneath a similarly bright top lay just below the straps of her harness. Her hair was arranged in a provocatively messy set of curls entwined with faux feathers, most likely synthetic and produced in a large coal burning sweat shop, inhabited by the lowliest of Chinese day laborers. This was the picture presented to Jessica, but when she allowed recognition into her vision she gasped as she span, weightless through the air, what she saw before her was the mesmerizingly beautiful plumage of the creatures she had loved all her life. She closed her eyes once more, the cat calls and jeering of the men below her replaced by the chirping and cawing of the rainforest, and as she continued to swing above the sexual and barbarous crowd below her, she let herself go and at last had become what she had dreamed of her whole life, a bird of paradise.


Devon Clements. Class of 2018. English Philosophy major. Missouri. Soccer. Coffee. Historical Fiction. Edward Sharpe. Of Human Bondage. Travel. Moleskine. Pens. Vans. United Kingdom. Trees. Gym. Literature. Sour. Northwest. Theatre. Explore. Skateboard. Run. Cats. Blue. Finishe

Professors in Public: Laurie Lamon at Auntie’s Bookstore

By: Emily Church

As hard as it might be to believe, professors do live in a world outside of Whitworth, especially English professors. Many of them publish research and different forms of writing and some go out and do readings for the general public.

A couple of weeks ago, Professor and published poet Laurie Lamon did a poetry reading alongside fiction writer Charley Henley. Although the reading was interrupted by the fire alarm going off, Lamon had the right amount of time to woo the crowd with her presence and poetry. After her reading, I asked if she would answer a few questions for me about her reading. I asked, “How do you decide what you want to read and how do you decide the order in which you will read your chosen poems?”

This was how she responded:

“The November 12 reading at Auntie’s fell right after the presidential election, and clearly it was a week of great, complex, and terrible pain. That is an understatement.  I wasn’t in an emotional place to give a reading, to be honest, that Saturday night. But the truth is that we need poetry more than we need the pain of isolation I myself feel, and know y colleagues and our students are feeling as we try to take in this outcome. Because we couldn’t believe it happened, because we believe in diversity, because we don’t feel the privilege of our white skin as we should, because we need art to make us better than we are, I tried to put together a reading that might offer something of a hand to whoever was hardy enough to show up on a cold Saturday night.

I started with two clearly political poems: “It was Hatred,” which I wrote as the U.S. – Iraq war began, and “The Man in the Guerrilla Suit.” I wanted to directly address issues of prejudice, and inhumanity.

At the center of the reading I placed “Thinking of the End of a Poem,” which I include below. I wrote this after the Easter season a few years ago. It was triggered by an occurrence in my neighborhood as I walked past one of the Hospice Houses in my area. I walk past this house many times a week and always look to see if there is anyone sitting on the patio, or if the “therapy dog” is out. Often the dog is there; I’ve never seen anyone on the patio. The poem ends with the crucifixion, and the darkness Christ endured. I wonder at that darkness. I wonder at the miracle of his humanity and suffering. This poem doesn’t then move to the resurrection. It wonders at the darkness.

I closed the reading with 2 poems that hopefully brought us to a place of quietness and ordinariness, which is to say, Joy.  In these dark weeks where we are heading into the season of Christ’s birth and presence on earth, we need to remember that, and let our fearful and aching hearts fill.”


Laurie doing at poetry reading at Auntie’s Bookstore downtown

Laurie Lamon’s poem, “Thinking of the End of a Poem”

Thinking of the End of a Poem

The dogs pull toward the corner where the therapy dog

is loose, rubbing its face in new grass. The man on the sidewalk

will say yesterday was hard. We lost two last night in

hospice. Here, birdsong will open the trapdoor

of pines where light is always northern and follows the earth

west where I look when I can through the hum of green for more.

The man on the sidewalk finishes closing a car door, and leans toward Claire,

I will learn this is her name, who has a band aid on her forehead

and blood shot eyes. Her sweatpants are gray. The therapy dog’s age

is heart shaped from eyes to muzzle. In a moment

Claire will say she’s from South Carolina, and smoke her cigarette

to the butt and not drop it to the sidewalk.

At the end of the poem it is bedlam, as when there came

sudden darkness—no one prepared, foretold, no shadows telling

time, crossing tables, the beaten ground, no lamps smoking

and everyone still, not knowing this waiting and for what.

The body had been crucified and raised and for three hours

looked into darkness with the rest of us.

Mindful of the Change

By: Devon Clements

Exploring the traverses of the internal,

Like some long forgotten picaroon.

Delving into the abstractions,

Contrasting like the bloody snow.

One sunset is another, and who am I to stay between?


I thought one day perhaps I’d find it.

The search as fickle as our hearts.

Lost in the endless sea of time

Each day we yearn to break our backs,

For the sake of the forgotten dream.


As drink is to the alley dweller,

So too does it quench my thirst.

It leaves me yearning ever-after,

I’ve been stumbling since my birth.


I didn’t ask for what I’m given,

Never sure of what I’ve got.

The song, methinks is ending,

I only have one more shot.


Devon Clements. Class of 2018. English Philosophy major. Missouri. Soccer. Coffee. Historical Fiction. Edward Sharpe. Of Human Bondage. Travel. Moleskine. Pens. Vans. United Kingdom. Trees. Gym. Literature. Sour. Northwest. Theatre. Explore. Skateboard. Run. Cats. Blue. Finished.