CSU Students (only) completing CO150 in good standing during the 2016/2017 Academic Year, in sections addressing the course topic of “food,” are eligible to participate in this essay contest, (only one entry per student).

Please submit the following to participate:

  • A researched (source-based) argumentative essay or a photo essay with accompanying Rhetorical Analysis (A4 or A5) done for CO150 on the topic of food.
  • Submit entries to sue.doe@colostate.edu, and foodcontestCSU@gmail.com.
  • Submit all entries electronically to the above email addresses. When submitting essays, please use the email subject line: Food Contest Entry 2016/2017 so your entry will be easily identified.

With your essay, please submit:

  • A letter of transmittal that explains your audience and purpose for the text you’re submitting and your willingness to be included among contestants and willingness to be published in the next reader.
  • A letter of support from your CO150 instructor, verifying the essay’s completion in CO150 and your completion of the course in good standing (passing with a C or better).
  • Reliable contact information for you so that we may reach you after the end of the semester/school year.

All submissions, with accompanying documents, need to be submitted electronically by May 22nd, 2017. Winners will be announced in late May or early June 2017.

Awards: Winners will receive awards of $125 (1st place), $75 (2nd place) and $50 (3rd place) AND publication of your award winning essay in the next CO150 reader. Public readings during the 2017/2018 school year may also be possible.


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I always loved English because whatever human beings are, we are storytellers. It is our stories that give a light to the future. When I went to college I became a history major because history is such a wonderful story of who we think we are. English is much more a story of who we really are. ~Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni was among the most prominent African-American poets of the 1960s and 70s.

Giovanni was born in 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. From an early age, she was a reader; she writes that she was often sick and had to stay home from school and would fill her hours with books. She describes her childhood aspirations on her webpage: “My dream was not to publish or to even be a writer: my dream was to discover something no one else had thought of. I guess that’s why I’m a poet. We put things together in ways no one else does.”

Giovanni’s relationship with school was turbulent; she dropped out of high school, but was later admitted to Fisk University. She was expelled from Fisk, but was readmitted with the help of the Dean of Women, going on to become editor for the school’s literary magazine and active in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. She also did graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, although she did not complete either degree. She’s gone on to receive twenty honorary doctorates.

Her first book—Black Feeling, Black Talk—was published in 1968, the year she graduated with her B.A., and was followed closely by a second book, Black Judgement. Her work responded to the assassination of civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Although some criticized her work as aggressive and militant, it was enormously successful, rising Giovanni to prominence as one of the pre-eminent African American poets of the time.

In the 70s and 80s, Giovanni taught at Rutgers University while continuing to write and publish, diversifying her work to include several works of autobiography and numerous books of children’s poetry. Meanwhile, she became highly regarded as a speaker and was invited to give lectures across the country. She has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal, the NAACP Image Award (several times), was nominated for a Grammy Award, (for her Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, a spoken word poetry album), and the first person to receive the Rosa L. Parks Women of Courage Award.

Until recently, she has continued to publish poetry and nonfiction prolifically. Today, at 71, she is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.

Video: Giovanni talks about her latest book, Chasing Utopia

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Black History Month is almost over, but we’ve barely brushed the surface of the influence black authors have had on the literary community.

Rita Frances Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. Her father, Ray Dove, was the first African-American to work in the tire industry as a chemist. Following in her family’s educational footsteps, Dove graduated from high school as a Presidential Scholar and continued to Miami University where she graduated summa cum laude. In 1974, Dove held a Fulbright Scholarship from the German university Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen. By 1977, she graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop with an MFA.

Her strong academic success has given Dove 25 honorary doctorates from prestigious institutions like Yale University (2014), Emerson College (2013), and Emory University.

She has published countless poetry collections and novels, many of which Dove has won awards for. Her collection Thomas and Beulah won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and On the Bus with Rosa Parks was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1999. Recently, she won the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement from Oregon State University in April 2016.

Dove was the first African-American appointed as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress from 1993-95. According to an article on Diane Rehm, following her position as poet laureate and “determined to make her art form accessible to the public, Dove transformed the position into that of poetry ambassador.” From 2004-2006, Dove served as the poet laureate of Virginia.

Dove’s work has brought her recognition from multiple US Presidents. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 1996 from President Bill Clinton. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Dove the National Medal of Arts.

February 12, 2012: Poet and author Rita Dove is presented with a National Medal of Arts by U.S. President Barack Obama during an East Room ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Dove was presented with the medal for her contributions to American poetry and literature. (Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Rita Dove continues to inspire new generations to be creative and use their voice. As she explains, “without imagination we can go nowhere. And imagination is not restricted to the arts. Every scientist I have met who has been a success has had to imagine.”

Video: Rita Dove discusses influence in this brief excerpt from the Academy of American Poets’ first annual Poets Forum in 2007.

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~from intern Joyce Bohling


Caitlin Montgomery
Major: Psychology and Pre-Med

What are you doing in Eddy Hall today?
I am working. I do a work study, and I am a lab monitor.

When do you expect to graduate?
Never. *laughs* I’m expected to graduate in 2019. I’ll be taking an extra year.

How do you spend most of your time in Eddy Hall?
I have a majority of my classes here, and I work here for 13 hours a week, so I do a lot of studying. This is my “library.”

Favorite moment in Eddy Hall?
I just like being in here [the computer lab] and interacting with everyone who walks through the door. There’s a lot of different personalities, especially with English majors. I feel like English majors are very fun.

Favorite English class or teacher?
Sean Waters — he made class [CO300] fun.

Describe Eddy Hall in one word.
Studious. Everyone’s just on the move, ready to go.

What’s your favorite book?
There’s just so many. I like Harper Lee. My childhood was J.K. Rowling, so there’s that too. But I like all different kinds of literature.

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  • Sue Doe’s chapter, “What Works and What Counts: Valuing the Affective in Non Tenure-Track Advocacy,” co-authored with Maria Maisto and Janelle Adsit, was just published in Contingency, Exploitation, and Solidarity: Labor and Action in English Composition. Edited by Seth Kahn, William B. Lalicker, and Amy Lynch-Biniek.
  • Darcy Gabriel has happily accepted a place in the University of Minnesota’s PhD program in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication (RSTC) starting this fall.
  • SueEllen Campbell’s contribution to the post-election series “Letters to America” in Terrain.com appeared online last week at this link:  http://www.terrain.org/2017/guest-editorial/letter-to-america-campbell/.
  • The Verging Cities, by Natalie Scenters-Zapico—published by the Center for Literary Publishing as part of its Mountain West Poetry Series—has been awarded the 2017 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. The award, for which the poet receives $5,000, is given in odd-numbered years and recognizes the high literary character of the published work to date of a new and emerging American poet of any age and the promise of further literary achievement. The book’s publishing team was Karen Montgomery Moore, Cedar Brant, Melissa Hohl, Katie Naughton, and Stephanie G’Schwind.
  • Airica Parker’s poem “Disjointed” appears in Central Michigan University’s Temenos: Skin Suits & Bare Bones online and in print. See it here for free on page 29: http://www.temenosjournal.com/current-edition.html
  • Mary Crow has had two poetry acceptances; “Beyond Tahrir” will be published by Hotel America and “Happiness Production Line” will be published by American Poetry Review.
  • Tirzah Goldenberg (MFA – Poetry, Summer 2013) has a recently published book of poetry, entitled Aleph, published by Verge Books.
  • Deanna Ludwin has been nominated for the 2017 Team Fort Collins Wellness & Prevention Lamplighter community service award.

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W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois is remembered for his many roles as a journalist, educator, African-American sociologist, and Civil Rights activist. He was born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Du Bois excelled at school, receiving two bachelor’s degrees from Fisk University (a historically black college in Nashville) and Harvard College, where he studied under the philosopher William James. Following a fellowship from the John F. Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen in 1982, Du Bois continued his studies at the University of Berlin. Upon his return from Berlin, he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D from Harvard University. These degrees led to his various teaching positions at Wilberforce University in Ohio, University of Pennsylvania and Atlanta University.

The influence of Du Bois extended far beyond his academic career. He co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910 and published pivotal works about racism and segregation. Du Bois published a book of essays called The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, drawing from his experiences as an African American. In 1915, Du Bois, along with the NAACP, worked to ban the silent film The Birth of a Nation with featured blacks in a negative, horrific light.

The History Channel explains that Du Bois “sought to place African-American experience in its world historical context. Out of this mix evolved his dual projects of building an African socialism and publishing a work of scholarship on the African diaspora.”

In 1961, Du Bois moved to Ghana where he began working on his Encyclopedia of Africana which documented information about Africans and people of African descent around the world. He died in 1963, the same year he became an official citizen of Ghana, at the age of 95.

The 1963 March on Washington honored W.E.B. Du Bois with a moment of silence. While he wasn’t around to see the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it embodied everything Du Bois spent his life fighting for.

Video: W.E.B. Du Bois – Mini Biography from Bio.

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Image credit: bell hooks Institute

Image credit: bell hooks Institute

bell hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952. The town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where she and her five siblings grew up and went to school, was segregated, and her experiences in this community helped shape the commitment to feminism and resistance to racism central to her life’s work.

hooks wrote her first book, Ain’t I a Woman, while she was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Her pen name, bell hooks, was borrowed from her great-grandmother, but she used the lower-case letters as a means to foreground the content of her writings rather than her identity as author. After it was published in 1981, Publisher’s Weekly ranked it in the “twenty most influential women’s books of the previous twenty years.”

Throughout her career, hooks has held academic positions at The University of California in Santa Cruz, Yale University, Oberlin College, and City College of New York. She is known as a “crossover” academic, meaning that her works span many academic disciplines. The focus of her over thirty published works has been race and gender theory, but these works are remarkably diverse in how they apply race and gender theory to various disciplines, from pedagogy and teaching to film and media studies. In academic communities today, her works are read, taught, and considered foundational in many fields.

Alongside her various theoretical and critical publications, she has also published five children’s books, a memoir, works of poetry, as well as appearing in numerous films. Today she lives in Kentucky.

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Kelly Weber is a first-year graduate student in the MFA Poetry program and graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for CO150. She’s been featured in our Humans of Eddy series and recently facilitated a Rekindle the Classics discussion about Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. She was kind enough to report back to us about how it went.


~from Kelly Weber

“While reading, like writing, may feel like a solitary endeavor, it’s perhaps best shared as part of a community.”


You know that feeling when you just need to talk out a book with friends?

On Wednesday, February 8, I and faculty from CSU gathered with members of the Fort Collins community for a conversation about Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness as part of the Rekindle the Classics series. At Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House, we shoved a couple tables together and crowded glasses, books, and knees around it to start the conversation. Several of us sneaked in a few gibes about one another’s book covers–the literary “Who wore it best?” of icy vistas plastered across trade paperbacks. (Don’t lie, English majors live for this stuff.) After a few minutes of settling and a proper introduction from Lynn Shutters, we jumped in.


Feminism. Ambisexuality. Ice. Anthropology. Ethnography. Science fiction. Loyalty. Nationalism. Love. War. Every topic was fair game in our conversation, and as we talked, I slowly found that others had crossed the same imaginary ice I did. People thumbed through pages more and more frequently to read aloud passages. Someone in the group would offer a question and another a theory with parts of the text, and then yet another would jump in with an alternative reading of the same scene. We ranted about characters we didn’t like, raved on the ones we did. Is the world of The Left Hand of Darkness the main character, or is it a tool only developed as much as it needs to be?

By break time, people were laughing and circling into little knots and groups as they got up to stretch or order refills. When we found our seats again, we reached a consensus: each of us needed to finally process a major character’s death. (No spoilers.) How did we interpret that final scene? How had rereading opened new perspectives on it for us? I felt–years after flipping through those final pages on a dark, cold winter night–that I could finally reach some closure. Toward the end of the conversation, we veered away from Left Hand to talk more generally about “genre” literature’s representation and the underrepresented benefits of good literary science fiction and fantasy. The evening’s talk ended with excited chitchat about stories even as people were walking out the door.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Left Hand of Darkness

The best part of discussing books with a good group of people (and this is something we talked about during our conversation) is a) being able to talk about lit in a way that’s fruitful and b) finally sharing what’s been on your mind about what you’ve read: the challenges, the heartaches, the head-scratchers. While reading, like writing, may feel like a solitary endeavor, it’s perhaps best shared as part of a community. A passionate conversation about a novel, or poetry, or memoir, or what-have-you, becomes of course precisely what the best literature stands for: a passionate conversation about what we think and feel about our everyday lives. To talk about reading is to talk about thinking and dreaming, and that’s kind of an amazing thing to bring into a communal space.

I’ve already got my calendar marked for next month’s Rekindle the Classics. I look forward to paging through a classic again with a great group of people–and I hope to keep seeing new faces.


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Toni Morrison is among the most acclaimed African American authors in U.S. history. In 1993, she became the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. She also received a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio on February 18, 1931. Even at an early age, she showed a love of literature and reading, going on to major in English and classics and Howard University and to get her master’s degree from Cornell in 1955. Her thesis focused on the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, both of whose literary influences can be seen in her work.

Morrison’s novels feature African-American protagonists and span the length of U.S. history, from the colonial period (A Mercy) to the Civil War (Beloved) to the Korean war (Home). In addition to her novels, she has also published a work of literary criticism—Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination—a collection of essays and speeches, several children’s books, as well as the libretto for the opera Margaret Gardner in 2005.

Morrison taught throughout her career and was a professor at Princeton University from 1989 until 2006. A prolific writer, Morrison continues to produce work, publishing a novella as recently as 2015.

Video: Mini bio from Biography.

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~from intern Joyce Bohling


Recently I shared a story here on the blog—“What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”—exploring career options for English majors. For that post, I interviewed Career Education Manager for the College of Liberal Arts, Katie Russo, who explained all that English majors bring to the professional world.

To continue my exploration into this subject, I attended the CSU Career Fair to talk to recruiters themselves and see what kinds of skills employers are looking for.

I prepared for the Career Fair in all the ways you’re supposed to—took my resume to the Career Center to polish it up, did a little research about the companies and organizations that were going to be there, and dressed in my most professional attire. Still, I felt nervous, like there was more I should be doing.

“Maybe I’ll just wake up tomorrow and be an entirely different person,” I thought Tuesday night. “That seems like it will increase my chances of being hired significantly.”

Of course, that didn’t happen. The name and major printed on the name tag I was given before I entered the Fair declared me to be, still, Joyce the English major.

Joyce, the English major

Joyce, the English major

I was struck, as I entered the Grand Ballroom and took a turn around the room, by the wide variety of employers and jobs. If you wanted to work for a bank, there were banks. If you wanted to work in social services, there were organizations that assist underserved populations. If you wanted to work for a national or state park, there were national and state parks. Restaurants, manufacturers, hotels, public schools, insurance agencies… There were even religious organizations recruiting students interested in a career in ministry. It’s encouraging to think that, whatever your passions and interests, there are employers out there looking to hire you.

Admittedly, one of my greatest fears attending events like the Career Fair is that it will be viciously competitive. I had visions of recruiters glancing over my resume, looking me up and down, and sneering, “What do you think you’re doing here?”

But my anxiety turned out to be unwarranted. Many were very excited to see I had a background in writing and teaching. Some were recruiting for specific jobs and internships that I wasn’t qualified for, but when I said I was looking to get experience in communications, they said, “Oh, cool—our company hires communications people too! Here’s the person to contact.”

Some recruiters were honest that their company’s positions were very competitive, but no one was rude or told me I need not apply.

In fact, only one recruiter told me outright that I wasn’t qualified at all—for the simple reason that her company was only hiring licensed psychologists. She was very nice about it.


In the end, I was glad I overcame my fears and went to the Career Fair. No one scoffed at the idea of an English looking for work or suggested that I transform into an entirely different person; in fact, a number of recruiters seemed very pleased to talk to me and encouraged me to follow up.

What’s more, I found out about some job opportunities in the area I wouldn’t otherwise have known about, which was, after all, the point: to make a good impression, yes, but also to help think about what career options are right for me.

In other words, I was reminded that career exploration is not about becoming someone else, someone that you imagine companies will want to hire. It’s about figuring out what’s a good fit for you.

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