• Tobi Jacobi presented at the Community Writing Conference in Boulder on Friday, October 16.  She gave a retrospective talk on 10 years of directing the SpeakOut writing program and co-facilitated a “deep think tank” workshop on homelessness, prison, and poverty with Phyllis Ryder, Paula Mathieu, Mike Homner, and Isabel McDevitt.
  • EJ Levy has been invited to teach fiction at the Kenyon Review Writers Conference, June 18-25, 2016. Faculty include Lee K. Abbott, Stanly Plumly, Carl Phillips, Linda Gregerson, Dinty Moore, and Brenda Miller. Applications to this generous, generative gathering will be accepted in January 2016.
  • Debbie Vance, first-year MFA student (Fiction)’s short story, “Black Mountain Lullaby,” will appear in Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment this Saturday, October 31. The link to the journal: https://flyway.org.
  • Pete Garrison, MA candidate in English Education, recently completed two years of volunteer service as a member of CSU’s Peace Corps Master’s International Program. Pete served in northern Ethiopia, where he taught classes and facilitated trainings at a college of teacher education. Although he will miss Ethiopia’s generous culture and delicious cuisine, he is excited to be returning to CSU this spring.
  • Aby Kaupang Cooperman recently participated in Essay Press’s EP interview project with H.L. Hix, Shane McCrae, Jena Osman and Bino A. Realuyo in a chapbook titled “Bound to the Past: Poetry (out from) under the Sign of History.” The chapbook is free online and can be found here: http://www.essaypress.org/ep-37/#HDEVk3bYIOt8vA87.99
  • Gesture Press has accepted Mandy Rose’s chapbook, Letters to Pluto, for publication in Spring 2016.

CSU Creative Writing Program Reading Series Writers’ Harvest Festival: Andrew Altschul, newest member of the CSU faculty and author of Deus Ex Machina and Julie Carr,  CU – Boulder faculty member and prize-winning author of six poetry collections. 7:30pm, University Center for the Arts, Hatten Gallery. This event is part of an annual national festival aimed to support local food banks. Bring a nonperishable food item to qualify for our exciting raffle! Thursday, November 5th, 7:30pm, Art Museum, University Center for the Arts, CSU.  Free & Open to the public. Seating on a first-come basis – no ticket required.



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~by English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic

In the CSU English Department’s first of many upcoming listicles, we’re spotlighting some of the best places at CSU to read, write, and study. This week, I took to our Twitter and Instagram pages to share some of my favorite #secretstudyspots around campus.  Maybe you knew about some of these locales, or maybe you didn’t, but there are special tips and tricks to each one.

1. The basement of the LSC. This is the perfect place to camp out and write when you’re looking for something a little more relaxed. You can rent out laptops Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You also have access to crepe and smoothie shops right next door when you need that mid-paper sugar boost. And for those of you who are over twenty-one, there’s a cold brew waiting at the Ramskeller once you’ve finally finished.

2. The Collaboratory in the Morgan Library. I didn’t know there was a specific name for this haven, but CSU Morgan Library tweeted us back with the info! The two hardest things about finding a spot in the Library are finding a snug chair and scouring a suitable amount of outlets for your phone and your laptop. The back of the third floor has the best of both worlds. Some people come here to catch a nap, so be careful not to give into peer pressure when you’ve got something important to work on.

3. The Diane Warren Kindness Lounge in the LSC. It’s not exactly super secret, but you’ve got to love this fireside spot. You get beautiful views of the foothills with piano music drifting up from the LSC Theater when your usual Pandora station just won’t cut it. Plus, there’s a new coffee shop a few steps away that serves Starbucks. I’ve got a long list of Starbucks lovers, and they’re all sitting in the lounge.

4. The Eddy Computer Lab. Okay, so we all know about this one, but we forget that we can use it for more than printing off papers five minutes before class starts. It’s a quiet zone that’s perfect for when you really need to get ish done. There’s also a plethora of English majors and fellow classmates to provide mutual encouragement when you’ve all got a big assignment coming up.

Okay, you probably know about this #secretstudyspot, but remember: it’s for way more than printing!

A photo posted by CSU English Department (@csu_english) on

For more secret study spots or fun English department gems, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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Eddy Hall atrium

Eddy Hall atrium, image by Jill Salahub

  • Dan Beachy-Quick went to Yale University last week to meet with the Poetics Work Group to discuss his most recent book, gentlessness.
  • Antero Garcia published a blog post for DMLCentral discussing the racism of #BoycottStarWarsVII and the implications for classrooms: http://dmlcentral.net/boycottstarwarsvii-racism-and-classroom-responsibility/
  • Cindy O’Donnell-Allen presented last week at the annual conference of the Associations of Science and Technology Centers along with Holly Le Masurier from the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Their presentation featured work with local youth participating in the Youth Science Civic Inquiry (YSCI) Institute focused on water use and protection that was held last summer at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The work is part of a large grant sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Writing Project that centers on the intersections between science and literacy practices.
  • Debby Thompson’s essay “Meta-Hamster” has been accepted for the Ruminations section of January’s issue of Under the Sun.  The essay is both an analysis of pet-keeping in the US and a rumination on the place of analysis in creative nonfiction.
  • Catherine Ratliff successfully defended her dissertation on the female expatriate communities of interwar Paris.
  • The Literature Program was awarded a $500 mini-grant from the CSU Graduate School to be used for recruiting MA students.
  • Kayann Short (BA 1981; MA 1988) presented her paper “Between War and Wheat: The Cultivation of Ellen Webb in Mildred Walker’s Winter Wheat” at the recent Western Literature Association conference in Reno, NV.
  • Dancing Girl Press has accepted Felicia Zamora’s (MFA ’12) chapbook, Imbibe {et alia}here, for publication in summer 2016. She also has poems accepted in the Indian Review, North American Review, Pleaides, and Matter Journal. Her poem “Decoy” was a runner-up in the 2015 Indiana Review ½ K Prize and her poem “Not not” was a finalist in the Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest.


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This is a special Humans of Eddy post. Joelle Paulson is both a department alumna and a current faculty member. Over the summer and into the fall, she helped create content for the department blog and Facebook page, and she helped some of her colleagues enhance their faculty pages. Before that, she did some great work on content for our website, in particular putting together the Peace Corp International MA page, and a page that showcases graduate work. We decided it was about time you got to know her better.


Joelle Paulson
MA in Literature, 2014
Currently teaching CO150

You started at CSU as a graduate student — why did you choose to study here?

I chose CSU without actually ever visiting the campus. The English Department offered me a position as a GTA, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get in front of a classroom. It has been a decision that I am very grateful for! The people in the English Department have made my experiences here absolutely wonderful, and I have fallen in love with teaching. Plus, it’s Fort Collins, the land of biking and beer! I couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were a student in the English department?

Ellen Brinks and Leif Sorensen had a huge impact on my experience as a student. Ellen’s kind and patient manner was exceedingly helpful when I was writing my Master’s Project, and I now consider her a close friend (along with her dog Pearl and cat Opal!).

I took two classes with Leif, and he was probably the most challenging professor I had. We read A LOT in his classes, and he really pushed us to dig deep into the texts. I owe so much to both Ellen and Leif!

How would you describe your work in the English Department now?

I currently teach four sections of CO150, and I have been doing a little bit of side work on the department blog. Teaching has been challenging, but I love it! Nothing beats the amazing connections you can build in a classroom.

Over the summer and into the fall, you were helping create content for the department’s Facebook page and blog – what did you learn about the English department through that experience?

Through my work on the Facebook page and blog, I had so many opportunities to connect with faculty and community members that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. The best part was learning about the many interesting things our faculty members do!

What do you enjoy most about your work at CSU?

I enjoy the people I work with! I have been so fortunate to build a strong group of friends in the English Department, and that, more than anything else, has made my experience wonderful.

How did your major prepare you for the job, the life you have now?

I use the critical thinking and analysis skills I gained during my experience at CSU everyday in the classroom. I try to get my students to recognize the rhetoric that surrounds them and to understand the deeper meanings embedded in even the most mundane things like advertisements or films.

What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?

This place is abounding with good beer, good people, and an incredibly smart and helpful team of instructors and professors in the English Department. Be prepared for a lot of challenges, but as long as you have a healthy outlet for your stress, it is all worth it.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?

Explore your other interests even while in grad school. And remember that your classmates are probably one of your best resources, even if all you need is a hug. I also recommend hiking up to Horsetooth Rock at nighttime, if you’re up for a bit of adventure.

Joelle Paulson

Why is it important to study the Humanities?

The humanities are about thinking creatively. They’re about applying creative solutions to the world’s problems and making moral and intellectual sense of everything that happens. They’re about empathy and fostering social justice and equality. They’re about making meaning out of things that may seem incomprehensible and enjoying the beautiful diversity of humanity.

What was the last piece of writing you read or wrote? OR, What are you currently reading, writing?

The last book I read was Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. I have never felt so deeply connected to an author as I did to Allie Brosh. Her writing and illustrations are honest and beautiful. I secretly want to track her down and force her to be my best friend.

What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I enjoy playing disc golf quite a bit. I’m really trying to get better! I also enjoy zombie movies, tennis, and dancing poorly.

What don’t your colleagues know about you?

Sometimes I walk my rabbit Gunther on a leash. Also, my side hobby is cake decorating.

What’s one thing you dream of being able to accomplish in your time at Colorado State University?

I am trying to become more tech-savvy! I’m teaching myself some code; so far I’ve succeeded in creating a webpage about giraffes as practice. I’m also planning to develop my own personal blog, as another outlet for my writing.

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~by English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic

Collectible trading cards, practice footage, and man-and-ball portraits currently occupy the walls of the UCA’s Art Gallery. “I just don’t get all the football stuff,” someone behind me murmured as an aside. Granted, we were all there to listen to David Baker’s prolific nature poetry and excerpts from his new book Scavenger Loop, so the works from “Scrimmage: Football American Art from the Civil War to the Present” did seem a little out of context. But I didn’t feel imposed upon by any of the hulking figures.


“We are in the presence of valuable art. Football art, but valuable nonetheless,” Camille Dungy joked before the presentation. “So please be careful and don’t cross the white line.” Everyone chuckled, but as both an athlete and a bookworm for most of my life, I always felt at odds with the ever-present tension between collegiate academia and collegiate sports. And though Baker’s poems had nothing to do with football, or sports for that matter, he somehow had a way of diffusing that underlying friction, his jocular and easy-going manner paired with a nimbleness and precision for language. “Buckeyes represent!” He called walking up to the podium. “I’m just going to shut up and read some poems.”



As he started reading his first poem, “Trillium,” and reached the line, “I cut it with my machete,” Baker burst into hysterical laughter, holding up his injured hand mid-gesture. “I didn’t do this with my machete. I’m going to have to start over now. It’s a serious poem, damn it!” And, in a seamless transition from the robust and hearty laughter, said, “By the way, trillium is a little flower. A very rare flower.”

As he read about shielding rare flowers from hungry deer, large wild cats hauling the carcasses of their prey, and bruising magnolia trees that have lost their way, their habitat stretched too far north, Baker both dissected language and brought it back to congruence in that way only poets can, erecting images of winter winds and scavenger lungs with chilly accuracy and warm affection. “I’m grateful to be here,” he said. “There’s so many sh*tty things we do to each other, so coming to a little room to sing to each other, that’s pretty great.”


Before moving onto one of his longer poems that heavily references the fanatic writings of John Clare, he said, “I brought a damn handout. This is so stupid. You’ll appreciate it though.” During Clare’s time in asylum, he developed a secret code exercised in some of his 3,000 letters and poems that he used to shield his writing from the doctors. “He took out all the vowels. Like they’ll never figure that out,” Baker laughed. The poem, “Five Odes to Absence,” weaves together lines from poet Clare, Twitter, and Baker’s neighbor Bernard, a young boy who plays hockey in the driveway.


His title poem, “Scavenger,” came about from an urge to take on agrichem giant Monsanto. “You know what GMO is backwards?” he asks. “I wrote that whole poem just so I could say that joke.” He says the poem turned from grinding a pedantic ax to mourning the loss of a nurturing figure after the death of his mother, becoming a pastoral elegy made from little shards of language, like a magpie nest. “I’ve always written about what grows outside. Poetry’s a useless art if it doesn’t have the ability to complain. It’s not a viable art if it can’t make its voice known.”

Baker’s poems carry an expert athleticism about them, natural talent combined with careful practice, ensuring exactness in the spiral of his language and in the force of a hard-hitting stanza. During the question and answer session, Baker suggested some reading, helping the audience figure out where to start with John Clare and where to branch out, beginning with the New Yorker. “I read this great poem the other day. It had a stupid title though – a sports title.”


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From department chair Louann Reid: Homecoming was a hit! Thank you to Pam Coke and Rebecca Kennedy, who organized the event, and to the scores of people who helped make it successful. Marnie, Sheila, and Sue helped us prepare and clean up; work-study students Kayla and Mike were instrumental in some design and implementation tasks; lab monitor Jeffrey distributed programs; communications intern Ashley and Communications Coordinator Jill (who also put together a special slideshow) took pictures the whole time; Joelle Paulson gathered and posted alumni stories to the blog beforehand and helped prepare the invitation; and Marilyn Bistline of the CLA Development Office helped us with a mass mailing of invitations.

There were more than 80 people; some alums brought children; and a few have children they’re encouraging to attend CSU. There were alums from 1950 through 2013 or 14. First-gen and first-year students were invited, and a few of them did attend; several helped out with directing people and distributing programs. Sean Waters played guitar, and Airica Parker stepped in to cut and serve the cake. English ed. students led tours of the building, having been trained to do so by Bruce Ronda. A few faculty from Ethnic Studies and Philosophy stopped by.


Sean Waters takes a break while his road manager Pam Coke looks on

Four previous chairs joined us, starting with John Pratt from 1974 through Rosemary, Pattie, and Bruce. Cake crumbs were embedded in the conference room carpet. Stephanie created a tremendous display that included the FIRST Colorado Review, which included e.e. cummings, Ray Bradbury, and a host of other writers who are pretty well known.


The centerpiece of the event was unveiling a dedicatory and celebratory poem for our return to Eddy, written by all four poetry faculty. Camille first read it aloud, then Matthew and Sasha spoke about the process and the title, respectively, and then they read the poem again, dividing the lines as they had written them, with Camille and Sasha reading their lines and sharing Dan’s and Matthew reading his 4 (it’s a sixteen-line poem). We have an 18×24 framed copy to hang somewhere in the department, and we printed a limited edition of 200 broadsides so that everyone on the faculty and staff can have their own 9×12 copy. Jessica Crouch of Wolverine Farms Press was a pleasure to work with on this project.




If I have forgotten anyone, please know that my memory isn’t a match for my gratitude. My thanks to you, too.

And we completely ran out of cake.

See the full set of pictures on our Facebook page

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from English Department Communications Coordinator Ashley Alfirevic

Back when we were both on the Greyrock Review, Taylor served as our group’s fearless leader, tackling everything from editing to formatting. Now, she’s working on some pretty cool stuff and stopped to chat with us about Eddy, NYC, and NBC.


Taylor Heussner
English, Creative Writing Major

What do you like most about your major?

I like how we are taught how to critically think. It’s a valuable technique inside and outside of education. Depending on the courses you choose, you can learn information that is usually found in certain majors only. It’s a melting pot of subjects.

How do you spend most of your time in Eddy Hall?

Printing my endless amounts of papers and articles I have to read. Also, using the gender-neutral bathroom because that’s awesome.

Do you have a favorite moment in Eddy Hall?

When I turned in my graduation qualifications! Also, when everyone moved back into Eddy Hall – I work at Resources for Disabled Students and when they were in Ingersoll Hall, well, that’s a long walk to deliver a test.

Do you have a favorite English class or teacher?

I really enjoyed Advanced Poetry with Camille Dungy because she gave me constructive and beneficial advice; I felt like I grew as a poet.

I also liked Environmental Writing with John Calderazzo because he is a great storyteller and the topics are pretty relevant subjects right now, and I liked how he mixed science with literature and writing. I think our schools need more inclusiveness like that.

Right now, I am taking the Empathy Capstone with Lisa Langstraat and I find it interesting to be studying emotion critically – maybe this is how psychology majors feel, but with less memorization and more essays.

What did you enjoy about your internship with the Greyrock Review?

I enjoyed reading other people’s work because I was able to discover a lot of hidden talent. It was also nice to work with deadlines to reach an end product. Our team liked to have fun, and when you like your tasks and meetings together, it’s easy to manage stress.

Have you had any cool or interesting internship experiences?

Summer 2015, I interned at USA Network, NBCUniversal in New York City as a production marketing intern. I fell in love with the smelly city and I loved working with video and media every day. To have the ability to work closely with Creative Directors and Producers is something I’ll never forget. I made a lot of valuable relationships, and I don’t have the horror intern stories that some people get on their first “real life” job.


Currently, I am interning for 303 Magazine in their music section, so I get to attend concerts and review them, as well as conduct interviews with artists and write up anything I feel like writing. It’s a cool gig.

I also intern at F and W Media as a marketing intern where I copy-write and update their website. I like the experience of marketing, especially since I am not a business major, and it’s fun that I get to dip into other fields – don’t be scared when people ask you what you’re going to do with your degree!

What’s your favorite book, poem, quote, lyric, or genre?

I really hate this question because once people know you’re an English major, this is the first question they will ask you. It’s like asking a parent which child they love the most. Sometimes I’ll get anxiety depending on the person who’ll ask. But, I guess The Reader by Bernhard Schlink because I read it in middle school, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll know the adult themes, and it was classic and unlike anything I had read. “There’s no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does,” is a quote I admire from the novel.

If you were to give advice to incoming CSU English majors, what would it be?

Value your major because language and communication is very important, especially post-grad.

Clean up your life and get rid of your filler words. They are not needed and you’re not fooling anyone with word count.

What’s your biggest goal/priority right now?

To get through my last semester without slacking off.  Finding a job would be a bonus.


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NCTE’s Seventh Annual National Day on Writing is being celebrated today. The theme this year is #WhyIWrite. NCTE answers the question “Why a National Day on Writing?” this way:

In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, NCTE established October 20 as The National Day on Writing.  The National Day on Writing

  • points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university (see The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor),
  • emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and
  • encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.

This past week, NCTE@CSU held an event in honor of the National Day on Writing. They hosted a writing blackout for middle school, high school, and college students on campus. For 30 minutes, attendees and hosts sat quietly and focused on writing. NCTE@CSU provided snacks, beverages, and prompts, and attendees came prepared to share ideas and discuss writing. English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic attended the event and had this to share.

Quote from NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing, http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/writingbeliefs

Quote from NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing, http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/writingbeliefs

There’s nothing quite like sitting down with a group of writers fueled by coffee and ink, whether it’s in a Starbucks or the basement of Eddy Hall.  This past Thursday, NCTE@CSU helped to celebrate the National Day of Writing, providing inspiration, caffeine, and a hashtag. Pen-and-paper and doc-and-keyboard types both gathered together for an hour of writing and a little bit of musing, occasionally pausing to tweet:






Some penned children’s stories on superhorses and alligators, others channeled Dr. Seuss, and others journaled in leather bound books they’ve had for years. Some said they prefer to write in little chunks, still others said once they start they can’t stop, either overcome by passion and vision or fear they’ll forget how their story is supposed to end.

Most said their urge to write started at a young age, encouraged by parents or teachers or publications in one of those Celebration of Young Poets books you had to pay $30 out-of-pocket for (they published one of my third grade poems about horses galloping through a field). Whether we looked back on our own early writings with nostalgia or a little bit of cringing (I do more of the latter), it served as a reminder that we are always growing and changing as writers. “You can find your voice, but there’s no mic drop when you’ve finally created the perfect piece,” commented Vice President Emily Rice.

If you’d like to find out more about the National Day on Writing, visit the NCTE website.

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The cake for the Homecoming open house was delicious

The cake for the Homecoming open house was delicious, and eventually it was all gone

  • Sasha Steensen’s essay “Openings: Into Our Vertical Cosmos,” was released by Essay Press as a digital chapbook.  She thought of titling the essay “What Not to do on Sabbatical,” in case that piques your interest.  You can read the essay here:  http://www.essaypress.org/ep-40/
  • Skyhorse Press has released Dan Robinson’s first novel, After the Fire, in paperback, so those who didn’t buy it in the first go round can find it now.  When it was first published in hardback, Wildland Firefighter Magazine said that it contained “some of the best stuff ever written about [fire] crews,” Bloomsbury Review wrote that it “engages you with a kind of terrible beauty,” and Booklist called it “a fine debut.”
  • Courtney Polland’s proposal “Playing with Pastoral: Socio-Economic and Geographic Relations in Herrick’s Hesperides” has been accepted to the Graduate Student Showcase, November 11.
  • Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri’s, MFA (Fiction) 420 word flash-fiction piece, entitled “Love and Reefer” has been accepted for publication in Straylight Literary Magazine.
  • Meagan Wilson’s proposal “Mere Imagination: Mind & Material” was accepted to the Graduate Student Showcase, November 11. She’ll present from 11-12:30.

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David Theis
English major, graduated 1989
Chief of Media, The World Bank

David in Brussels this past summer with his wife.

David in Brussels this past summer with his wife.


How did you get from your major to the work/the life you have now?

Funny thing about being an English major, in my experience, was always being asked at the time, “Are you going to teach?” This suggested to me that most people had a fairly narrow view of what an English major can become when he or she grows up. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had many a great teacher over the years; however, my aspirations never included being an educator. I had originally thought to go into advertising, but Public Relations – a field I fell into at a tender age – has been a perfect fit, in part, I suspect, because my major focused on writing. By this I mean not only the writing of others, but a lit major must write quite a bit, and often quickly. I was fortunate to have professors at CSU that had a low tolerance for second-rate writing. This raised my game, for which I will be forever grateful. (RIP Doctors Mark and Zoellner.)


What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally)? How did your experience in the English Department help you with these achievements?

Working in communications for an organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty and improving the lives of people in developing countries is a daily reward, both personally and professionally. Showing my daughters when I’m quoted in the press is always fun, too. The largest commonality between working in public relations and being an English major is that in both pursuits you have to be able to speak and write forcefully to be successful.


What did you like about the English program? Why did you choose to study here?

What DIDN’T I like about the English program? It’s a cocktail party major; you are trained to be charming and clever and to have witty quotes from great authors trip off your tongue. An education in being pithy and droll has little downside. In all honesty, an uncle I admired had attended CSU, and he turned out ok, so I applied to one university. And they accepted me!


Do you have a favorite or funny story from your time with the English Department?

I have countless funny stories. A great memory was Dr. Zoellner walking into the first day of American Lit 1914 – 1924 and writing on the chalkboard Ogden Nash’s one-line poem, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” He asked, “Who can tell me what this poem means?” A few students hazarded guesses – “It’s more fun to drink than eat sweets” etc. But then Zoellner said, “It’s about how to get laid. Anyone uncomfortable with truths such as this should probably drop this class.” Ha! Bob certainly knew how to shock people. But he was right – that’s precisely what the poem means.

My god, he was a brilliant prof. Taught me how to explicate a novel properly. You probably didn’t want to take the class immediately after his well-lubricated lunches at the Charco-Broiler, but otherwise he was absolutely priceless.


Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were at CSU in the English Department? Do you still keep in contact with your classmates or professors? 

Dr. Thomas Mark was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met, and he was a wonderful and engaging professor. Dr. Mark was brilliant, inspiring, and utterly charming. I consider myself fortunate to have had him as my advisor and to have struck a friendship with him. Lovely man. I remember once telling Dr. Mark I didn’t know what to take the next semester. He suggested hemlock. I still chuckle as I write this.

And yes, I am happy to still be in touch with dozens of classmates. In the first weekend of December, 1985, two friends threw a party in their dorm room. The next year, they hosted a party the same weekend. The 30th party was held in December of last year. I’ve missed two. Scads of CSU grads come every year. We crank up ‘80s music and dance our faces off.


What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?

Don’t let anyone tell you majoring in English will limit your career potential. First, because that’s utterly false – ask Reese Witherspoon, or Stephen Spielberg, or Conan O’Brien, or Michael Eisner, or Diane Sawyer…

Second, the pursuit of a liberal arts education is about far more than making coin. It’s about opening up your mind.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?

Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-english-major.html


What are you currently reading, writing? 

I recently read Amsterdam and Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, of Atonement fame. He has an amazing prose style.


You have an hour to spend in a bookstore. What section do you make a beeline to? 

If I’m in a bookstore for an hour it would be in the poetry section. Here’s a tip: the Poetry Foundation has a poetry app that’s absolutely terrific. And free!


What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time? 

My wife and I go to a lot of concerts. Now my daughters have gotten the bug, too. And I cook quite a bit.


Do you have a current photo of yourself we can use alongside your profile?

All my current photos have either my wife or children in them. Darndest thing.

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