A Reflection on Marci Johnson and David Wright.

By Meghan Long

Marci Johnson and David Wright not only made an impression on me by simply being the adorably quirky couple that they are, but also through their intricate, thoughtful, and musical poetry.

I had the privilege of meeting these two poets before the reading in Laurie Lamon’s Poetry Writing workshop course that I am enrolled in. This was a special time for our class because we got to ask them questions such as, “how do you come up with your titles?” or “how to you integrate your faith into poetry?” Enlightened as we were by Johnson’s hot pink beanie marked with the word “Whatevs”, we also attained pieces of advice that will be helpful to us as writers ourselves. The reading on Tuesday evening was sensitive and funny, informational and witty, personal and jarring. Seeing photos and videos of what inspired Johnson’s writing up on a slideshow was incredibly helpful and interesting, and Wright’s explanation of his Bach pieces was intriguing.


Overall, this experience was one of a kind and breathed inspiration into the English department.



Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival

leonard-a-oaklandAre you interested in film? Do you like movies? Indulge in wonderful films and festivities by attending Whitworth University’s 10th annual Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival! 

Join the English Department and Whitworth community during the weekend of March 2-4, in supporting filmmakers, alumni, and current Whitworth students. Some festival favorites will include: an Award-winning Foreign Language Film, “an American comedy-drama listed in the National Film Registry, a documentary created by a Whitworth graduate,” and current student-made film screenings. We’ll see you there!

Friday, March 2: 7pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of The Salesman (2016).

Saturday, March 3: 7pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S. (2017).

Sunday, March 4: 3pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, a showing of Do the Right Thing (1989).

One Pine Day supports Rock & Sling

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 1.01.34 PMWhitworth’s 24-hour giving event, One Pine Day, provides an opportunity for donors, alumni, community members, etc., to give gifts to projects such as Rock & Sling, Whitworth’s National Literary Magazine.

“Rock & Sling provides readers a vital center for Christian literary arts, and is one of only eight such magazines in the country. Rock & Sling serves as a live teaching laboratory for students in the interdisciplinary minor in editing and publishing. The magazine also exposes its staff of students to an accessible career field and provides a practical application of their liberal arts and humanities education. Rock & Sling prepares our students to be leaders and innovators in the Christian and commercial publishing worlds, and to enter the editorial career field as well. They are prepared in ways no other undergraduate program in the country can match.” -Whitworth University, office of Institutional Advancement.

Please visit the link below to sponsor Rock & Sling on this One Pine Day! 


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Meet the Finalists!

Congratulations to the 2017 Chapbook Contest finalists, Natalie Cross, the contest’s first place winner, and Devon Clements, our second-place finalist!

Whitworth’s Chapbook Contest is an opportunity for students to submit any genre of writing for the chance at receiving publication of their work, and cash prizes. In December 2017, submissions were evaluated by an award-winning guest judge, Amy Leach, author of Things That Are.

This years runner-up, whose poems Amy Leach described as “follow[ing] a versatile consciousness through absurdity, disappointment, and delight,” is Devon Clements. Devon’s writing earned him a spot as a featured reader at the annual “Script” reading.

Devon Clements is a Senior English major, philosophy minor, from Warrensburg, Missouri. With an emphasis on rhetorical communication and design thinking, he pursues academic and creative writing with a dedication to finding authenticity in our post-modern context. He enjoys quoting obscure movie lines, working in the Composition Commons, and the literary works of W. Somerset Maugham and David Sedaris.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Devon’s poetry manuscript!



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The 2017 Chapbook Contest winner, who’s work will be published in a small print run of their work, is Natalie Cross. Judge Amy Leach described, “What I found so moving about these poems, besides their wondrous music, was the sympathy for other bodies, the cow “always tired/always thin/always hungry” and the mom swinging, blackening her organs with her cigarette.”

Natalie Cross is a senior English major on the writing track. Some of her favorite works she’s encountered include In Cold Blood, Franny and Zooey, Gilead, and Lolita. Outside of her literary pursuits, she enjoys spending time with her family and boyfriend, eating tacos, discovering new board games, wine tasting, all things Harry Potter, and hanging out with her cat Greg. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in creative writing, editing, or teaching.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Natalie’s winning submission!

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Whitworth Takes DC!

By Rachel Klade

This past January, nine Whitworth students traded strolls on the Hello Walk for walks on the National Mall, long boards for the DC Metro, and snow days for government shutdowns—all things one may experience while interning at the Smithsonian.

Whitworth has a unique relationship with the Smithsonian Institution which allows Whitworth to send students to Washington DC to intern at world famous museums. Though some dismiss this opportunity as something only a history major could pursue, that is not the case at all!

The nine Whitworth students represented a wide array of majors—physics, biology, computer science, sociology, and history. The Smithsonian does its best to align a student’s placement with their interests and career goals. Part of the application process includes a resume, cover letter, and a series of essays, where students are encouraged to express which museums and activities they believe would best contribute to their educational goals.  One of the interns, a history-education major, was placed at the National Postal Museum where they developed curriculum for visiting school groups. An intern, studying biology, was placed at the National Zoo, where they researched the correlation between insect migration and weather patterns. A physics major was placed in the National Air and Space Museum where they engineered experiments for interactive stations, and a history major at the National Museum of American History researched a variety of artifacts for the Special Collections Department. There was really a place for everyone!

I have  had previous experiences interning at museums, but I wanted something a little different this time—something that didn’t involve research or archival work. Therefore, I expressed interest in exhibit design on my application essays, which lead me to be placed in the Exhibits Department at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Granted, this came as a little bit of a shock, and my first thought was that I knew nothing of astronomy, physics, aerodynamics, or any other study that involved air and space. I am a humanities girl, and my brain tends to short-circuit in science classes. However, as I focused on what I would be doing rather than where I would be doing it, I became excited about this incredible opportunity.

My supervisor was the Writer/Editor of Exhibits, meaning she oversees all the exhibit scripts. (Scripts are the informational boards visitors read throughout museums). NASM is undergoing a major transformation and revitalization, and all the exhibits, including the scripts, are being redone. So, my daily responsibilities included examining scripts, graphic layouts, and film transcriptions to ensure they were grammatically correct, as well as adhering to NASM’s in-house style. As I edited scripts, I provided suggestions and comments on the scripts’ content, and some of my comments were added to the final script, which is cool to think that my words are going to be on the museum’s walls someday!

My time in DC was not consumed only by grammatical errors and editing. Being a Smithsonian intern definitely has many perks! For the most part, supervisors want their interns to receive a holistic experience, encouraging them to take long lunches or leave work a little early to venture through other museums. As interns, students got free entrance into the IMAX theaters and some behind-the-scene experiences, such as going to new exhibits before they were opened to the public, attending Smithsonian employee-only events after work, or visiting the Smithsonian storage facility (where the Smithsonian museums hold the majority of their collections that are never seen by the public).

In addition to all the cool experiences, this internship offers an awesome opportunity to network. From the people at my internship site to all the Whitworth alumni in DC, there is a plethora of connections to be made, and nowadays, its all about who knows who.

Most importantly, I not only gained real-world experience, I also walked away from this Jan Term with a better understanding of my potential. Even though I have yet to answer the “what-will-you-do-after-graduation” question, this internship expanded my possibilities. It refined my interests, developed new skills and matured previous abilities. Internships are one of the coolest way to explore a career path without actually having to commit to a career, and I would encourage students who are still trying to figure things out (which is most of us, I think) to pursue an internship, even if its in a field of study they don’t think they would ever end up in. Internships can surprise us, and we discover an interest that we didn’t know we had, opening a whole world of new possibilities.


Whitworth interns at the Pentagon for a private tour.


Whitworth interns in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center.


Interns take a tour of the whalebones collection at the Museum Support Center (the Smithsonian’s storage facility).


To Visual Narratives, and Beyond!

By Dalaney Goodyear

This Jan term, students in Fred Johnson’s Visual Narratives course (EL329) got to learn the ins, the outs and the in-betweens of comics, graphic novels, and other forms of visual narratives. Over the past three and a half weeks, the class examined many ways through which stories can be told visually, and evaluated how techniques and methods of comics are used in other forms of media and story-telling.

The aim of the course is to explore the complex, interdependent, and effective relationship between images and words, and to evaluate what happens when authors make both images, design, and text essential components to the story they tell.

In class, we spent time with a wide variety of graphic novels and comics, ranging from the work of Lynda Barry, who merges essay and collage, Joe Sacco, who does war-zone reporting in graphic novel form, to Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of many Marvel works. The course has something to offer every student, regardless of his or her background with comics.

Eamonn Eppinga-Neff said, “I loved this class, but then I went in loving comics in the first place. The fact that others have enjoyed it proves this class is good with people familiar with comics and for those without experience.”

The course involved reading various kinds of texts, exploring online interactive programs, games, and puzzles, watching films that employ comic-like storytelling, sketching comic pages in class, and hefty amounts of time discussing the complexities of it all.

Erin Wolf said, “I love the discussions that have come out of our classes. I love that about most English classes, actually – that a big part of the learning comes from discussion among classmates rather than being lectured to. It’s a participatory environment that I find really valuable.”

The course culminated with the creation of a visual text of our own, where we worked to apply the concepts we had studied all term to a visual story. The results of those projects varied, from a detailed account of the process of scripts being passed from person to person by Kalani Padilla, to a comic-style retelling of “Dover Beach” by Alli Kieckbusch, to a comic-like adaptation of a previously created adaptation by Erin Wolf.

No matter what kind of visual narrative each student created, by the end of the course one thing is for sure– we all walked away with a much deeper, much more thorough appreciation of comics, visual narratives, and how the different forms of visual storytelling interacts and pulls from each other in our world today.

Kalani Padilla says, “When I look at a comic, I can now say somewhat intelligent things about what it’s doing, and perhaps why, and perhaps how. It feels like a superpower to have active eyes in a world as visually numbing as ours.”

The superpower of having active eyes in a visually numbing world, as Kalani says, is my greatest take-away from this course as well. I now have a greater understanding of the compelling relationship between words, images, and story, and I have been challenged to consider the power and impact of images in our world.

As a future teacher, I am taking from this class the importance of teaching and learning about the power of story, and the importance of having freedom to tell stories different ways, and with different tools. In our ever-changing world, with ever-changing media, it is essential to consider the infinite possibilities of narrative.

Be sure to take Professor Fred Johnson’s Visual Narrative course to learn about all the fascinating aspects of visual narratives!






David Wright and Marci Johnson Event

Whitworth English students, mark your calendars for this Spring Semester!

When? February 27th

Where? Lied Building room 102

What: Lecture/reading featuring poets and writers, David Wright and Marci Johnson.

David Wright’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Image, Rock & Sling, 32 Poems, and Ecotone, among others. He lives in Central Illinois where he teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College.

“In A Liturgy for Stones, David Wright has come upon a rich and enriching vein whereby our daily narratives may be seen to partake of the greater story, our many comedies and tragedies to partake of the One.” —Scott Cairns, author of Philokalia: New & Selected.

Marci Johnson works for Salon.com and is the Poetry Editor for The Cresset and for WordFarm press. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in, Main Street Rag, The Collagist, Rhino, Quiddity, Hobart, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, and 32 Poems, among others. Her first collection of poetry, The Eyes the Window, won the Powder Horn Prize and was published by Sage Hill Press in 2013, and her second full length collection, Basic Disaster Supplies Kit, was released by Steel Toe Books in early 2016. Her chapbook, A Dictionary of Theories, won the Friends of Poetry chapbook contest for Michigan authors in 2014 and was published by Celery City Chapbooks.

“The book thrusts us into linguistics and semiotics, but does so by means of a kind of picaresque love story, which is in part also the story of Johnson’s own writing of the story and of our reading it, and of the inevitable split between the story and the experience.” —Christopher Howell, author of Love’s Last Number, and Wioner of the Washington State Book Award.

TESOL Minor Opportunity!

Attention all Whitworth English students! Do you enjoy teaching? Are you passionate about the English language? Do you enjoy serving/teaching others? Put your fabulous English skills to great use with Whitworth’s TESOL minor!

TESOL (teaching english to speakers of other languages) is a 16 credit minor which explores and focuses on strategies, theories and practices of teaching English. The classes within this minor focus specifically on English acquisition and structure of language. TESOL also provides opportunities for a field experience and socio-cultural learning as well as language pedagogy.

This minor fits nicely with an English major at Whitworth and can provide new and exciting opportunities for future careers such as teaching and/or working abroad, working in Education, working with English Language Learners, missions work and so much more!

For more information about the minor’s requirements and advantages, email Dr. Gregg Brekke at gbrekke@whitworth.edu or scroll below!



Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) minor (16 credits)

Whitworth University


Requirements for a TESOL minor
TES/EDU 361 Second-Language Acquisition 3
   or TES/EL 396 Introduction to TESOL
TES/EDU 362 ELL Methodology 3
TES/EL 388 Structure and Development of the English Language 3
TES/EDU 396 Refugee and Immigrant Experiences 3
One of the following: 3
TES/SO 120 Introduction to Sociology
TES/SO 200 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
TES/SP 398

TES/EL 395

Intercultural Communication

Field Studies





Suggested Initial classes for students to begin the major:

Fall semester: TES/EDU 396 Refugee and Immigrant Experiences

                                TES/EDU 361 Second-Language Acquisition

                                 or one of the socio-cultural classes.

Spring semester: TES/EDU 361 Second-Language Acquisition

  TES/EL 388 Structure and Development of the English Language

                                      or one of the socio-cultural classes.



“All We Did Was Survive”

If you enjoy film, literature, history, and how they intersect, you’re in luck!

Whitworth English professor Dr. Casey Andrews’ article, “‘All We Did Was Survive,’ Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk demands one’s attention towards English heritage and propaganda in the “immersive experience” of Christopher Nolan’s 2017 thriller, Dunkirk. Dr. Andrews’ piece analyzes the similarities and distinct oppositions of film style between the work of Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan. His review takes a look at the valuable yet possibly “off-putting” minimalistic features within Nolan’s directorship, and how Nolan’s intentional film, script, and character development choices should allow Dunkirk a seat beside “the classic World War II epics that studios churned out in the decades following the war.”

Please participate in exploring some of Whitwoth’s English professors’ accomplishments and publications by enjoying Dr. Andrews’ insightful and engaging review, here!