Whether you live in the area or will be traveling to Fort Collins for the weekend, we would love for you to join us in our homecoming festivities on October 16th. Come help us celebrate our return to the new and renovated Eddy! Drop by our open house between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the third floor of Eddy Hall, where there will be a band, tours of the new building, refreshments in the Whitaker Conference Room, and a special presentation at 3 p.m. Please RSVP to Louann.Reid@colostate.edu so we can be sure to have enough refreshments on hand.

In the days leading up to the English department’s “Homecoming Celebration” (October 16th from 2-4pm), we will be highlighting some special memories from our alumni. Here is a special memory from alumnus Robert King (MA 1961):

I was an English major at Colo. A&M 1955-57 and later graduated with a Master’s before going to Iowa’s Writing Workshop as a Ph.D. student. The dates indicate I went to class in “Old Main,” the wonderful stone castle on College Ave.  I can still name many of the professors at that time but the one I would like to mention was Dr. Aurelia Harlan, a figure both friendly and imposing. In a survey course in English literature, she read the opening of Beowulf in Old English, a work and a language I had never heard of. I still remember the resonance of those sounds as they bounced around the high-ceilinged Victorian room. Later, that thrilling introduction helped me get through a year of Anglo-Saxon at Iowa, a requirement that, W. D. Snodgrass told me, pushed him into the MFA program rather than the Ph.D.

To read more memories from our alumni in honor of Homecoming, you can find the whole series here. If you would like to share your own memory from your time with the CSU English department, please send a description of your favorite memory and an accompanying photo to Joelle Paulson at jpaulso2@gmail.com. We’d love to hear what you remember!



Tags: , , , , , ,

English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic recently attended an NCTE@CSU event about Banned Books and had this to share.

Perhaps instead of Banned Books Week, we should call this Challenged Books Week. On Thursday’s NCTE@CSU Meeting, I learned about how often parents challenge books found in a library, a school, a publishing house, or even a Barnes & Noble.


Jeremy Wolfe

Thankfully, Jeremy Wolfe – a Community Business Development Manager from Barnes & Nobel and the guest speaker for the evening – informed us that however challenged they may be, Barnes & Noble (B&N) does not support attempts at censorship*. Their guiding principle at B&N is that they will offer a diverse and extensive selection, and they will continue to offer their customers freedom of choice. Their censorship policy says that while they do not personally endorse every book they sell, they do endorse their customers right to choose what they want buy.

If there is a demand for a book – and if it’s banned, there usually is – then B&N will continue to sell it. As a matter of fact, if a publisher formally recalls a book, copies usually fly off the shelves before the bookstore even gets the request. “All the conspiracy theorists want it,” Wolfe joked. Raina Telgemeier’s YA book Drama is one of the best selling novels in the store and ranks tenth on 2014’s Most Challenged list. Laughing, Wolfe remarked that, “Since we’re mainly focused on profits, we’re allowed to be a little insensitive to niche complaints.”

Jeremy Wolfe talks to NCTE@CSU at the Banned Books event

Jeremy Wolfe speaks at the NCTE@CSU at the Banned Books event

But here’s the confusing part: what’s the difference between being challenged and banned? And how does it keep the book from readers? It’s much harder to ban a book through the legal system of the United States, as it must be proven to cause real and significant cultural harm; only Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl have been legally banned. It’s far easier to challenge a book on a per state or per community basis, restricting access to potential readers by changing availability or excluding it from schools and libraries. Most of the data collected is on books that have been challenged, since they cannot be banned nationwide.

Interestingly, books are most often challenged for sexually explicit material and least often for violence and homosexuality. Children’s sexual education books are often challenged on the grounds of child pornography for their illustrations. “It really reveals what bothers us as a culture,” Wolfe notes. “Often, the reasons books are challenged are two sides of the same coin.” For example, the top challenged book of 2014 – Sherman Alexi’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – emphasizes in its classroom teaching guide that it promotes family values and multiculturalism, but it is most often challenged on the grounds of being anti-family and culturally insensitive. Speaking of cultural insensitivity, there’s another apparent trend in the numbers: Caucasian authors get a bit of “buffer time” compared to authors from diverse backgrounds. Alexi’s book was challenged in three years, whereas it took seven years for challenges to John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

Parents make almost 50% of challenges, with patrons accounting for 10% and administrators accounting for 9.5%. Librarians say that if can convince a parent to come in and discuss their problems with, say, Walter the Farting Dog, that’s half the battle. Most are able to have a dialogue and the challenges are dropped. However, if a parent progresses to a written complaint, the next step is often a rally for a public outcry.

No matter who is attempting to censor literature, whether it be a parent or administrator, both The Office of Intellectual Freedom and the NCTE offer resources to help librarians and teachers. Pam Coke, the Undergraduate Coordinator for English Education, pointed out that the NCTE even offers legal council for teachers dealing with challenges to classroom books.

“Banning books is a means of control. It’s all about power. Censorship is about fear,” Wolfe noted. “At the end of the day, it’s about trusting other people to hear information that they might disagree with.”

All statistics are from the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Please visit http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks for more information.


*Barnes & Noble has banned one book from their shelves: a how-to guide to for male pedophiles that arose during the advent of self-publishing.

To find out more about Banned Books Week, visit the official website.

Tags: , ,

image by Jill Salahub

image by Jill Salahub

  • Gulf Coast has accepted Dan Beachy-Quick’s poem, “Sibboleth.”
  • Matthew Cooperman’s chapbook, A Little History of the Panorama, a collaboration with the Italian artist Simonetta Moro, was recently named a finalist for the Omnidawn Chapbook Prize.
  • Tobi Jacobi presented a paper on literacy outreach and prison writers at the University of Wyoming English Department’s Symposium on Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacy on Friday, September 18.
  • EJ Levy’s first ever attempt at poetry, “Poem as a Letter of Apology, or What Endures” was published in the autumn issue of The Pinch (Vol.35, number 2).
  • Sasha Steensen has four new poems up at Dusie.  You can read them here: http://www.dusie.org/
  • Airica Parker will be a featured reader for 100,000 Poets for Change in Denver at West Side Books (3434 West 32 Avenue) this Sunday, September 27th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.


CSU Writes

The CSU Writes “Women Writers in Academe” discussion & workshop is coming soon!  You have two options for attending the discussion: Tuesday, September 29 at 4-5:30pm (CHEM B202) or Wednesday, September 30 at 4-5:30pm (CHEM B202). The “Women Writers in Academe” discussion & workshop focuses on identifying some of the gender-specific challenges women scholars face when writing for publication as well as strategizing solutions to enhance and support our writing here at CSU. Please spread the word. If you work with women graduate students or faculty who may be interested, let them know they can find more information at the CSU Writes page at: http://english.colostate.edu/csu-writes.





Deadline: Friday, October 2, 2015 by 4:00pm


  • The Creative Writing Program is conducting its annual university wide creative writing competition for Creative & Performing Arts scholarships.
  • Students can submit multiple genres, but no more than ONE entry per genre.
  • Undergraduate students may submit three to five poems OR one short story OR one creative essay.
  • Awards are typically $500 per academic year in the form of tuition waivers; awards of $1,000 – $5,000 are sometimes given for special merit.
  • Multiple awards are available.


Submission Guidelines:

  1. Student may submit 3 to 5 poems OR 1 short story OR 1 creative nonfiction essay (not an academic paper).
  2. DO NOT PUT NAME OR ADDRESS ON THE MANUSCRIPT. Include only page numbers and title on manuscript.
  3. Attach a cover letter stating name, email, phone number, CSU I.D. number (not ssn number), and genre.
  4. Address manuscripts to: Professor Dan Beachy-Quick, Director, Creative Writing Program.
  5. Please be sure to either mail OR Hand-Deliver submissions to the English Department mailroom on the third floor of Eddy Hall by Friday, October 2, 2015 at 4:00pm.


Criteria for Award:

  1. Must have a minimum 2.4 GPA.
  2. Must be undergraduates (working on first bachelor’s degree).
  3. Must be enrolled full-time (12+ credits).
  4. Should be making satisfactory progress toward degree, i.e., must have satisfactorily completed 75% of CSU courses attempted and must not have accumulated excessive credits. (See Office of Financial Aid for further details.)
  5. Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.


The Creative Writing Faculty cannot comment on the writing; manuscripts will not be returned.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic

Poetry lovers filled the LSC’s North Ballroom for the first of this semester’s Creative Writing and Reading Series. The room had a palpable buzz while waiting for Mary Szybist, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry with her latest creation, Incarnadine. The eager chatter and persistent clanging of the cash register in back quickly silenced for introductions. “We’re here to inspire, explore, and reimagine the familiar,” said Morgan Library representative Bruce Hallmark.


Because the openers had already introduced her, Mary began by introducing us to her poetry. The first piece, an elegy for a former student, provided a description of “Heaven in Miniature,” somehow creating a tangible version of an afterlife by “counting up the things you love and realizing you lack nothing,” like counting all of the things in your pockets to remember if you brought your keys. Mary’s poems somehow make death feel vaguely familiar and conciliatory, adding before her poem about fish eyes that, “One of the great things about poems is you can talk to the dead.” Some poems make an observational interlude between suffering and ending — the flickering signal of a firefly being consumed by a spider, Lucifer and light blending in a poem of “courtship and hunger,” or seagulls feasting on the wounds of a whale, asking, “why wouldn’t such sweetness be for them?”

But Mary’s poems are anything but morbid. They’re simple and beautiful, sometimes funny and always genuine. Her language is accessible, and the lilt of her voice makes you feel like you’ve known her for a very long time. She read another poem using language about Nabokov’s Lolita, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski, and Mary’s Annunciation, combining the power imbalances and sexual charge of all three to let them “shimmer all at once” with “intolerable tenderness.” She read another about teenage girls assembling a puzzle, a realistic and light-hearted poem that treats their comments about the veins in a grandmother’s hands and the allure of a velvet bikini with equal weight. She concluded her reading with a poem called “The Lushness of It,” and said, “You’d be as good as anyone, I think, to an octopus.”

At one point, Mary pressed the pages of Incarnadine wide and showed us the poem “How Not to Speak of God,” shaped round like a sun with radiant light extending from it, and said, “We often confuse faith and doubt, which we too easily think are different sometimes.”

What Mary’s poems discussed the most, and what I found the most relatable, was her struggle with the icon of the biblical Mary. She said she grew up loving her, but now toils to conceive her as an icon for women. Some poems were from the biblical Mary’s perspective, addressing the things women say yes and no to, what women are dutiful to, and what it means to be a mother. During the question and answer session, someone asked about her “fascination with Christianity.”

“It’s funny you call it a fascination,” she said, almost with a tone of curiosity in her voice. “To me it was so deeply alive. It was my world.” Mary went on to describe that after her break from Christianity, it was necessary to create religious figures differently in her imagination because “ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. They’re still in you even if you don’t believe the same way.” She said a sense of ownership in her poems converted the biblical Mary from a symbol, an object of contemplation, into someone she can have a relationship with.

As someone who attended Catholic school until college, who ended each school day with the Memorare (a prayer honoring the Virgin Mary), and had a rosary hanging on my rear-view mirror, Szybist’s poems hit me in such an old, odd place. I understood her “fascination,” her struggle in dealing with religious figures that you loved as a girl now that you are a woman. After her reading, I felt like I had a revelation of my own, not one that made me want to announce or denounce anything or anyone, but simply extend warmth and friendship towards the women, iconic or otherwise, in her poetry.


Mary Szybist signing the book of one of our new freshman English majors


Tags: , , , , ,


The National Council of Teachers of English at Colorado State University (NCTE@CSU) is a non-profit, student-run organization on campus for teacher education students of all content areas. As a professional organization NCTE@CSU provides its members with informative and education-based information through the form of monthly meetings, where they invite professionals in the education system, including student teachers, principals and other administrative staff, and seasoned teachers, to share their expertise with NCTE@CSU membership.

The purposes of this organization are:

  • to create a community among future teachers of literacy;
  • to help develop professional attitudes, standards, and awareness of current issues within the profession through meetings, discussions, lectures, and publications. (e.g., electronic newsletters, journals, blogs, and professional speakers);
  • to encourage inquiry and research in literacy teaching;
  • to enhance ties between pre-service students and the professional education community; and
  • to engage in service projects supporting the above purposes.


This organization is designed to:

  • Provide future educators with a real look into what teaching is like today
  • Assist in providing needed prior to applying for jobs
  • Expose you to new political and career knowledge beyond what you learn in your CSU courses


It’s a safe and great place for future educators to meet one another, ask questions, get answers, and network with education professionals in the surrounding districts!


We firmly believe that NCTE@CSU is first and foremost a community so. . .EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

  • As of this semester NCTE@CSU is a FREE opportunity for all those to attend!
  • Dinner is also provided at no cost thanks to local sponsors! HELLO, FREE DINNER!!!
  • Though there are no requirements to be a member of NCTE@CSU, we will be doing community and fundraising events throughout the year! They are going to be fun!!!
  • NCTE@CSU is an organization that provides you with a ton of resources without taking up a ton of your time!
  • We meet on the third (or second) Thursday of each month from 5:30 pm-6:30 pm (It may end earlier).
  • That is only between 3 and 4 meetings a semester.
  • NCTE@CSU looks amazing on your resume!


Topics for upcoming meetings:

Thursday, October 15th 5:30-6:30 pm

  • In Honor of National Day on Writing (October 20)
  • Speakers: Guest teachers from local school districts will share writing lessons of their own in a celebration of the NCTE National Day on Writing
  • Location: Eddy 5

Thursday, November 12th 5:30-6:30 pm

  • Standards Based Grading
  • Speakers: Local English language arts teachers will explain and demonstrate how they are using standards-based grading in their secondary classrooms
  • Location: Eddy 5


Check Us Out on Facebook! facebook.com/nctecsu

Email Us: ncte@colostate.edu


NCTE@CSU Officers

jennaJenna Franklin: President – Contact info: jenrosie@gmail.com MA English Education. Current GTA, teaching College Composition 150.“I joined NCTE@CSU because I am interested in improving my professional teaching knowledge and I want to make connections with professionals in the field. Last semester, I had the opportunity to attend the Colorado Language Arts Society (CLAS) conference in Golden, CO with members of NCTE and Dr. Pam Coke. This was an incredibly fun and inspirational introduction into the world of teaching secondary English in Colorado, an experience every English teacher in Colorado should have!”
Emily Rice: Vice President – MA English Education. Interests: Adolescent Literature, Writing, and classroom psychology.“I joined NCTE@CSU when I moved here from Minnesota in January 2014. I have learned so much in this year and a half of meetings, and I am so appreciative of the knowledge obtained. The speakers are so insightful into the world of education, and the members of the organization have become my friends, as well as a valuable resource for my professional development.”
Paul Binkley: Secretary – MA in English Education with a focus in science fiction.“I’m excited to be a part of NCTE, because CSU’s branch has been a great professional development resource for pre-service teachers, and I hope to keep building on the work past officers have already contributed to the organization. Paul is a Fort Collins native and received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing from CSU in 2013.
Morgan Bennett: Marketing Coordinator — BA in English with an emphasis in Education. “I joined NCTE initially to participate in the mock interviews (in the spring), after going to a few meetings though, I was hooked! Every meeting is full of interesting topics, riveting speakers, and of course, free food!” In Morgan’s spare time, she enjoys reading books, riding horses, rock climbing, and travelling. Her last trip abroad was with Dr. Brinks to teach children in Zambia
Ian McCreary: Treasurer – Graduate student in English Education.“I am excited to be a part of NCTE because of the amazing people that I get to work with as a member and the experiences that I get attending meetings. There are not many clubs that offer so much applicable resources to members outside of networking.Outside of school and NCTE, Ian is an avid fisherman. Feel free to ask him what’s happening on the rover or if you want to go fishing one afternoon.
pamPam Coke: Faculty Sponsor —  Contact info: Pamela.Coke@colostate.edu Pam was a member (and officer) of her NCTE student affiliate at the University of Iowa.Currently, Pam is in her 14th year at CSU, where she teaches courses in adolescents’ literature, teaching reading, and teaching methods. She is thrilled to be back in Eddy. Come visit her in her bright, shiny, new office in Eddy 323A. When Pam is not at CSU, she enjoys reading, running, biking, gardening, and cooking–as well as traveling. This past summer, she and her family spent two weeks touring England, Scotland, and France. Be sure to ask about her broomstick flying lessons at Alnwick Castle!



Please save the date for the Department of English Homecoming Celebration: Friday, Oct.16, 2015, at 2 p.m. on the third floor of Eddy Hall.

The renovation of Eddy Hall is complete, and the Department of English is preparing for an open house to celebrate our return! Whether you live in the area or will be traveling to Fort Collins for the weekend, we would love for you to join us for our Homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 16th. Drop by the third floor between 2 and 4 p.m. There will be a band, tours of the new building, refreshments in the Whitaker Conference Room, and a special presentation at 3 p.m. We would like to get a sense of how many of you might be able to join us so we’ll be sure to have enough refreshments. Please RSVP to Louann.Reid@colostate.edu.

We hope you can join us. Whether or not that’s possible, we would like to feature stories from you on our department blog. What are some of your favorite memories from your time with the Department of English at Colorado State University? Did you have a favorite class or instructor? A really memorable experience with fellow students? We would love to hear any stories you are willing to share – short or long. Please send your favorite memory (a paragraph in length, at least) and an accompanying photo to Joelle Paulson at jpaulso2@gmail.com by the end of September.

We look forward to seeing you Friday, Oct. 16th, for your Homecoming!

Louann Reid
Professor and Chair
Department of English

Pamela Coke and Rebecca Kennedy
Faculty and Homecoming Organizers

Tags: ,

image by Jill Salahub

image by Jill Salahub

  • Dan Beachy-Quick’s essay, “Thinking as Burial Practice,” is up at Wave Composition: http://www.wavecomposition.com/
  • A profile and interview with John Calderazzo on nature writing is forthcoming in Whole Terrain magazine. John will soon be doing nonfiction writing talks and workshops at Colorado Mesa University and the Wyoming Writers Conference in Sheridan.John has also conducted a number of science communication workshops for CSU faculty and graduate students through SoGES, the Department of Atmospheric Science, and the Office of the Vice President of Research.  This week he will do a talk on story-telling and science communication at a conference of Antarctic Researchers at Sylvan Dale Ranch.
  • Camille Dungy’s poem, “Frequently Asked Questions: #9,” is featured on the Academy of American Poets’ webpage, poets.org.
  • Bruce Ronda’s essay “’Picking the World to Pieces’: Little Women and Secularization” appears in Critical Insights: Little Women, Gregory Eiselein and Anne K. Phillips, eds. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2015, 54-66.
  • Stewart Moore’s short essay, “Patience,” was just published in the fall edition of The Flyfish Journal.
  • Bill Tremblay’s narrative, “To Cynthia from the City of Love,” will be forthcoming in Ginosko Literary Journal sometime before the end of 2015.
  • Summer Whisman earned her MA in Rhet Comp in 2011 and was diagnosed with ALS in spring of 2012.  She has written an unpublished memoir about living with ALS called Pillowflipping my Way Through ALS and Oregon Public Broadcasting recently did an hour-long interview with her about her manuscript and experiences with the disease.  The audio of the interview and a short video are available at OPB’s website:  http://www.opb.org/news/series/at-home/at-home-with-als/

Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic


Tom Buchanan of The Great Gatsby may be one of the most disliked characters in the history of American Literature. His hateful attitudes are apparent from the outset with his praise of the (misnamed) Rise of the Colored Empires, saying, “Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.”

While Fitzgerald used Tom Buchanan as a vehicle to condemn eugenics, many other canonical authors and intellectuals of the early twentieth century openly embraced Francis Galton’s idea that genetics should be used as a “better breeding science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of race.”

Dr. Ewa Luczak, Associate Professor of American Literature at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Warsaw, discussed the prevalence of eugenics in early twentieth century thought and its influence on two of the period’s most established authors. Her presentation, “‘A Truly Angelic Society’: Eugenics and American Pre-World War II Literary Imagination,” left me both intellectually confounded and deeply disturbed. To think two authors from my very first American Literature class – Jack London of “To Build a Fire” or Charlotte Perkins Gillman of (one of my personal favorites) “The Yellow Wallpaper” – were such proponents of “the betterment of the human race” left two of my icons shattered.

Dr. Luczak revealed that eugenics was considered a scientific, even socially progressive, norm in the United States before World War II. “Forward-thinkers” from Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago all thought of this racial hierarchy as an intellectual rejection of the outdated Enlightenment, with its focus on human brotherhood, and Christianity, with its belief in creationism. Promoters endorsed either Negative Eugenics – anti-miscegenation laws or sterilization – or Positive Eugenics – propaganda for fitter families and scientific measurements that proved racial superiority.

Luczak shared her personal struggle with these subjects with the audience. She detailed her feelings of shock when she first encountered some of her research, and it’s apparent how committed she is to exposing the eugenic tendencies underlying some of our most important national works.

Though literature classes study Jack London for his place in the Naturalism movement, his beliefs in the natural world extended so far as racial Darwinism. His book The Kenton-Wace Letters, written with Anna Strunsky, is an exchange of debating notes between Wace, who encourages human breeding, and Kempton, who believes in romantic love. London wrote Wace’s parts and viewed marriage as a rational, domestic selection, and later broke off his romantic involvement with Strunsky because of her Jewish heritage. His The People of the Abyss chronicles the life of the poor in London’s East End, based on his immersion in the slums for research. In his letters, London describes the poor as “beasts,” saying they had degraded into a new species of human more akin to the animal world than civilization. His post-apocalyptic The Scarlet Plague conveys similar themes of eugenics.

While courses normally praise Charlotte Perkins Gillman as a leading American writer during the first wave of feminism, her focus on pure sociology quickly turned into inhumane gynocentric eugenics. Gillman latched onto ideas promoted by “progressive” eugenicist Lester Ward, who regarded women as the true racial leaders who had the power to control human breeding by their selection of mates.  Building on this, she wrote The Crux as a novel of Positive Eugenics choices, saying women should marry for “love and good judgment.” However, it is her trilogy of a female utopia that horrifyingly allows for extreme forms of Negative Eugenics. The first of the trilogy, Moving the Mountain, explains that a more “socially progressive” United States has been reached because, “We killed many hopeless degenerates, insane, idiots, and real perverts after our best methods of cure.”

Dr. Luczak’s presentation revealed a pervasive belief in the United States that two of academia’s most revered authors, Jack London and Charlotte Perkins Gillman, endorsed eugenic ideologies in their texts. Dr. Luczak’s talk introduced a shift in my perspective when thinking about these particular authors and what they wrote, authors I read in one of my formative literature courses. I’m still struggling with how to understand this new perspective, and how I might apply it to my future reading. There’s value in looking more closely and discovering the blind spots we might find, in ourselves and in our literature.


Tags: , ,

Matt Truslow recently graduated from our MFA Poetry program and has been hired to teach CO150. We are happy to have him!


Matt Truslow

What are you most excited about for teaching at CSU?

I’ve spent the last three years here as a graduate student and GTA. I’m very fond of the English department at CSU and I suppose I’m most excited to be on the other side of the glass.

What do you like most about teaching in general?

It’s the best job I’ve had. I like that I don’t have to sell anything. My responsibility is to make students more literate, deliberate, and self-aware. It’s an honest and necessary thing to do.

Why do you think the humanities are important?

They’re founded on empathy. Understanding a text requires understanding.

When you’re not working or teaching what do you like to do?

I watch a lot of TV. It’s a bad habit I’m trying to break. When I can tear myself from a screen I’m reading and writing poems. It’s what I got my MFA in.

What did you do with your summer before you started teaching?

I worked nights at Home Depot.

What is something most people at CSU do not know about you?

I practiced martial arts from grade school to early college. I’m garbage at it now but that’s something most people probably didn’t know.

What is your favorite book and why? What about your favorite word? 

I’ll say that my favorite book is “The Sonnets” by Ted Berrigan but I really can’t say with certainty. My favorite word is “and.”



Tags: , ,

by English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic

Sarah Rossi is a senior majoring in English Education. Full disclosure: she’s also been my roommate for all four years of college. To conduct our interview, we met in neutral territory: our old stomping grounds at the Academic Village. After we turned in our thesis proposals – hers is focusing on community literacy – we sat down outside the building to talk.


A: You changed your major a couple of times before choosing English. What made you pick English Education?

S: My roommate (see above) was an English major and I was always really jealous of her homework, not because it was easy, but because I wanted to read literature and I wanted to write. I’ve always had a love for literature and writing, but more importantly, I have a love for people. I wanted to combine those two, so that’s how I found myself in English Education.

A: What do you spend most of your time doing in Eddy Hall?

S: I’ve had classes there in the past, but this semester I’m interning at the Community Literacy Center. Our office is in Eddy, so I’m there a lot during the week.

A: What are you working on for your internship?

S: The internship focuses on offering the community alternative literacy opportunities through the form of SpeakOut! writing workshops. We’re facilitators and we hold writing workshops with different community sites. You can be working with community corrections or with at-risk youth or at the Larimer County Detention Center. We just really focus on creating a community of writers.

A: Does the writing get published?

S: Every semester, we publish writings from all of the community sites in a journal. This semester we will have a fall journal that features their writing and artwork. We’re also looking to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of SpeakOut! with a special edition of the journal.

A: Who are some of your favorite English professors?

S: Where do I even start?! I really enjoyed learning from Dr. Tobi Jacobi. I had her for my Capstone – Literacy, Resistance, and Change. That’s when I got involved with the internship because I just found that class really interesting. It made me think about the importance of literacy in the community more and more.

For the Education side, I think Dr. Pam Coke is so insightful. I learned a lot of things from her classes that I want to incorporate into my own teaching philosophy.

A: What is your favorite book?

S: My favorite epic poem would be Paradise Lost by John Milton. I had read excerpts before, but I took the Milton Capstone with Dr. Roze Hentschell and I just absolutely fell in love with it. I think it’s an intimidating text, but that made it way more exciting for me to analyze.

A: What is your favorite part of Eddy Hall?

I really like how they added patio furniture outside the building. That’s where I go to read in between classes. It’s a great spot for conversation when you’re catching up with classmates.

I think we’ve always had a great community in Eddy Hall, and now we have a great building to match.

Tags: , ,