Tag Archives: Community Literacy Center

Welcoming new English majors

  • Leslee Becker was named the 3rd-Place Winner of the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction, sponsored by Rosemont College/Philadelphia Stories & PS Books (“the POWER of Small”) for her short story, “The Grotto.”
  • The Community Literacy Center is happy to welcome six new interns for Fall 2017-Spring 2018. Interns who will develop research and outreach projects with the CLC while facilitating SpeakOut! workshops for youth and incarcerated adults are: Zoe Albrecht (Creative Writing/Fiction with minor in Sociology), Emmy Earsom (Psychology with minor in Spanish), Laney Flanagan (English), Kelly Kuhn (Criminal Psychopathology), Kelly Martin (graduate student, English Rhetoric/Composition), Shelby Spies (Human Development and Family Studies with minor in Business and English).
  • SpeakOut! is still seeking a few serious volunteers for this engaging work! Trainings on August 30 and September 1. Please contact clc@colostate.edu immediately with your application found here: https://csuclc.wordpress.com/intern-resources/
  • A book launch party to celebrate the release of Todd Mitchell’s The Last Panther (Delacorte Press) took place August 25th at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House.
  • Emma Hyche’s poem “Field Trip to the Dead President’s House” was published in the Tampa Review over the summer!
  • This summer, Kelly Weber presented poetry in Detroit at the Twelfth ASLE Biennial Conference Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery. She read as part of a panel considering rusting language/languaging rust, as well as participating in conversations around environmental crisis and recovery. https://www.asle.org/conference/biennial-conference/


Hope Behind Bars 

“Hope Behind Bars” is a musical presentation at Old Town Square on Saturday, August 26 from 4pm to 8pm, which highlights Blues music and other, from groups in the Larimer County Jail (LCJ). The Community Literacy Center and SpeakOut! will be present to represent the writing that comes from its programs in the LCJ. Stop by and send your friends to connect with these programs that do important creative work in our community.

Rekindle the Classics 

The next Rekindle the Classics discussion will be on Wednesday, September 13, 6:30-8:30 pm at Wolverine Farms Publick House. MFA student Kelly Weber will lead a discussion of Morrison’s Beloved. Rekindle the Classics brings together CSU English faculty and graduate students and lovers of literature in the Fort Collins community.

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'Old School' research in the library. Remember catalog cards? 1975. University Historic Photograph Collection

‘Old School’ research in the library. Remember card catalogs? 1975. University Historic Photograph Collection. (Image shared by the Morgan Library on Facebook last week).

  • On Thursday, February 9, the Community Literacy Center hosted Kay Adams, Founder and director of the Center for Journal Therapy in Denver as part of their spring SpeakOut! facilitator training event. Fourteen students, faculty, and community members participated in dialogue on writing through times of chaos.
  • Beth Lechleitner’s collaborative poetry/visual art piece “Mettle” has been accepted into the CSU Art and Science exhibition at the Curfman gallery.  The show opens Feb 21 and runs through March 24.
  • Todd Mitchell attended and presented two sessions at last weekend’s 50th Anniversary CCIRA Conference in Denver. One grimly packed session on “Teaching Dystopian Fiction,” and a second on “Using Writing Games to Develop Literacy and Creativity.”
  • Claire Boyles (second year MFA candidate in fiction) has been accepted to the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference in fiction and awarded a Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship to attend.
  • Bill Tremblay’s memoir on jazz “The Music While the Music Lasts” will appear in Brilliant Corners in the Summer, 2017, issue.
  • Slope Editions announced that Felicia Zamora’s (MFA ’12) book, Instrument of Gaps, was selected for publication from their Fall 2016 Open Reading Period. Read more information on the Slope Editions news page. She also has a poem accepted in Beloit Poetry Journal, her poem “A long road never takes us” is out in the Winter 2017 edition of North American Review, and she participated in a Parlor Press reading in D.C. for AWP on Thursday, February 9.

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CSU Ethnic Studies Assistant Professor Ray Black gave the charge to the marchers in Old Town for the MLK Day March.

CSU Ethnic Studies Assistant Professor Ray Black gave the charge to the marchers in Old Town for the MLK Day March, (image source: SOURCE).

  • Harrison Candelaria Fletcher had a couple of lyric essays accepted for publication over the break: “Coyote Crossword” in Permafrost and “Conjugation” in Uproot. He was also profiled in High Country News http://www.hcn.org/articles/harrison-candelaria-fletcher-uncommon-westerner
  • Sue Doe’s co-authored article with Mary Pilgrim and Jessica Gehrtz, “Stories and Explanations in the Introductory Calculus Classroom: A Study of WLT as a Teaching and Learning Intervention,” Volume 27 of The WAC Journal, is now viewable at: http://wac.colostate.edu/journal/vol27/doe.pdf
  • Camille Dungy is included on a list of 11 Poets Every 20-Something Should Be Reading. “Coming so close to a recent decidedly not-20-something birthday, I am deeply gratified to have made this list on Bustle.com.” https://www.bustle.com/p/11-poets-every-20-something-should-be-reading-28280
  • The Community Literacy Center welcomes Shelley Curry, Sarah van Nostrand, Lizzy Temte, and Alina Lugo as spring 2017 interns.
  • Kristina Quynn presented in two sessions at the 2017 Modern Language Association Conference in Philadelphia. She presented on “Engaged Reading and Criticism” in a special session about “Feminism, Pedagogy, and the New Modernist Studies.” This session and presentation connects with the MLA Teaching Approaches collection on Modernist Women’s Writing, which is forthcoming 2018. Kristina also organized and presented on a panel about “Narratives of Contingency: Unsettling Trends in the New Academic Novel.” Her paper was titled, “Mimetic Drudgery, Magic Realism, and the New Academic Novel.”
  • Shoaib Alam’s short story “Wonderland” from his master’s thesis will appear in May/June issue of The Kenyon Review’s KROnline. Alam is back in his hometown, Dhaka, Bangladesh, working with the Teach For All network partner there, Teach For Bangladesh, on partnership development.

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Winter lights in Old Town Fort Collins, image by Jill Salahub

Winter lights in Old Town Fort Collins, image by Jill Salahub

  • Dan Beachy-Quick has new poems in The Literary Review, American Poetry Review, and a long lyric in the Kenyon Review which can be read here: http://www.kenyonreview.org/journal/novdec-2016/selections/dan-beachy-quick/
  • Dr. Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala (English/INTO CSU) and Dr. Maite Correa (LLC) will be presenting the following paper at the annual meeting of them American Association for Applied Linguistics this coming March 2017 in Portland, Oregon: “Evaluating Pathway Program Effectiveness at an English Language Center in the Era of Public-Private Partnerships in US Higher Education.”
  • Bill Tremblay has been asked by a book club at the Boulder Bookstore to read from and answer questions about Walks Along the Ditch, Tuesday evening, November 15.
  • Take a peek to see what’s new at the Community Literacy Center with SpeakOut! http://pub.lucidpress.com/cfbccb5f-512a-47fc-b172-87674d4e6bfb/


Greyrock Review: Get your work published!

Fiction: 5,000 word limit, format should be double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Galibri fonts. Two pieces of your best work may be submitted.

Nonfiction: 5,000 word limit, format should be double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri fonts. Two pieces of your best work may be submitted.

Poetry: Up to 5 poems may be submitted, each poem should be placed on a separate page in a single document. If poems have a visual formatting component, please use Adobe PDF files. Otherwise, Word (.doc files) are preferred.

Visual Arts: Any visual art form is accepted, excluding video. Please photography your work and submit digitally. 300 dpi and CMYK colored .TIFF file is preferred.

For more information please visit http://greyrockreview.colostate.edu or email Baleigh Greene at bmgreene@rams.colostate.edu

Submissions accepted from October 3, 2016 – December 16, 2016

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  • Dan Beachy-Quick will be on Colorado Matters on the Denver NPR station on May 11.
  • Ellen Brinks has been invited to give a plenary talk at the conference “Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle, 1880-1920,” at Birkbeck College, University of London, in early July.
  • Doug Cloud’s article, “Talking Climate Change Across Difference” has been accepted for publication in a special issue of Reflections focused on “Sustainable Communities and Environmental Communication.” The issue will be out this fall.
  • Roze Hentschell will be leading a group of 10 CSU Honors Program students to study in Oxford, England. From late May through June, the students will take her 3 credit class, “Shakespeare in Oxford,” and they will take field trips to Bath, Windsor, Stratford-upon-Avon, and London. The students will also take a 3 credit independent tutorial with an Oxford professor in their field of study.
  • A short story from Colorado Review, “Midterm,” by Leslie Johnson (Spring 2015), has been selected for the 2017 Pushcart Prize anthology. You can read the story here: http://coloradoreview.colostate.edu/features/midterm/
  • The Community Literacy Center received a $5000 grant from the Bohemian Pharos Fund in support of the youth SpeakOut writing workshops.
  • Tobi Jacobi and Lara Roberts’s essay, “Developing Self-Care Strategies for Volunteers in a Prison Writing Program” appears in the new edited collection, The Volunteer Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Institutional and Personal Change (May 2016).
  • Larissa Willkomm’s research poster on a collaborative writing project on women, jail, and addiction won a 3rd place service learning prize at the recent CSU CURC competition.  Larissa completed this project as part of her CLC internship and work with SpeakOut.

    Larissa presenting her work at the recent CURC

    Larissa presenting her work at the recent CURC

  • Dana Masden’s short story “Exercise, a Good Book, and a Cup of Tea” will be published in an upcoming issue of Third Coast.
  • Kristina Quynn’s essay “My Brother, My….” is part of the just published collection of personal essays from 2Leaf Press on white privilege and whiteness in America.  The collection, What Does It Mean to Be White In America, includes an introduction by Debby White and an afterword by Tara Betts. While not light summer reading, it could be useful to those teaching about race in America.  You can find more information at: http://whiteinamerica.org
  • The following group presented a panel at the April 29 Writing on the Range Conference at the University of Denver, where Cheryl Ball was the featured speaker: Tim Amidon, Hannah Caballero, Doug Cloud, Sue Doe, Ed Lessor, Amanda Memoli, and James Roller. The group focused on examples, challenges, questions, and opportunities associated with integrating multimodality into writing. The presentation was entitled:”A Case of Wishful Thinking?  Our Plans for an Integrated and Coordinated Multimodal Curriculum.”
  • Mary Crow will take part in a public reception and reading for artworks inspired by poems May 19 in Loveland at Artworks, 6:30 p.m., 310 N. Railroad Ave. (Hwy 287 to 3rd, then R a block). She will read her poem. “Dear X,” and the artwork it inspired will be part of the exhibit.
  • “Food for Bears” by Kayann Short (BA 81; MA 88), an essay about the 2015 Front Range food collapse, appears in the latest issue of the environmental literary magazine, The Hopper.
  • Kathleen Willard’s (MFA, poetry Spring 2004) poetry chapbook Cirque & Sky won Middle Creek Publishing & Audio’s Fledge Chapbook Contest. Her book is a series of pastorals and anti-pastorals that “attunes its lyric eye to local ecological crises” (Dan Beachy-Quick)  & evokes “a periodic table of agitation over the continued plunder of Colorado and by extension the world.” (John Calderazzo). Her book is available online at Middle Creek Publishing and Audio, and Amazon.

    Kathleen Willard gave a reading with other Middle Creek Publishing & Audio poets in Pueblo, Colorado as part of the Earth Day Celebration sponsored by Colorado State University at Pueblo and the Sierra Club on April 23rd at Songbird Cellars, a local winery.

    She is also speaking at the Colorado Creative Industry Summit at Carbondale, Colorado on May 5th. In her presentation “Thinking Outside the Book”, she will share how receiving a Colorado Creative Industry Career Advancement Grant shifted her thinking about publishing poetry, how by using some basic business practices increased her poetry readership, and led her to pursue alternative spaces for her poetry, such as art galleries, community newspapers, installations, & the Denver Botanic Gardens CSA Art Share Project. While still wildly interested in the traditional modes of book publication, she would like to increase chance encounters that the public may have with poetry outside the book.

    She is also curating with Todd Simmons of Wolverine Farm and Publishing, a Food Truck Reading Series at Wolverine Farm Letterpress this summer, which is being supported by New Belgium Brewing Company.

    The Fort Collins Book Launch for Cirque & Sky will be June 21st, Midsummer’s Eve at Wolverine Letterpress.

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The CSU Community Literacy Center (CLC) helps create alternative literacy opportunities that work to educate and empower underserved populations, and foment university-community literacy collaboration.  Through the SpeakOut! writing workshops, the CLC confronts stereotypes of at-risk youth and incarcerated women and men, circulating the stories and creative work of community writers through print and multi-media publications, believing that these dynamic literacy activities are key to individual success, cultural awareness and a more socially just world.

Tenth Anniversary of SpeakOut!

For ten years, the Speak Out! Writing workshops have allowed writers to explore who and where they are in their lives through creative expression. The primary philosophy of this program is that every person has a story to tell; each has words that are valuable and necessary.

SpeakOut! Writing Workshops for adults take place at the Larimer County Detention Center with separate programs for men and women, and Community Corrections and Work Release for women transitioning back.  At-risk youth participate in programs from Turning Point, Matthews House and Remington House. SpeakOut! won the “Program of the Year” award at the recent Larimer County Jail volunteer awards banquet.


In weekly workshop sessions, facilitators seek to present a range of approaches and techniques for engaging in writing. Each session involves the presentation of contemporary writing techniques and tools, giving participants the opportunity to apply the concepts discussed to their own lives through guided writing exercises. Writers respond to prompts on issues central to their lives, including confinement, freedom, family, pain, anger, beauty, love, life, place, and home. Participants are then invited to read their work aloud and give/receive feedback.

The writing that results from the workshop is compiled in a bi-annual journal, which is circulated at no charge. Public readings are held at the end of each semester, where community members can hear, in their own voices, the issues prisoners and at-risk youth face, providing an opportunity to counter negative stereotypes regarding incarcerated people and individuals in treatment programs, and hopefully create a society less hostile to prisoner re-entry.


Writing is… in the voice of SpeakOut! writers

Writing is hard, confounding, helpful, hopeful, hideous.
Writing is my mind doing jumping jacks while my heart takes pulse.
Writing is a way to free your mind. Writing is my world when I am so confined.
Writing is a way of expressing one’s self, showing emotions, making people laugh…making people understand.
Writing is a never easy process until you’ve learned at SpeakOut!
Writing is bearing witness to those whose voices have been silenced.
Writing is the voices of those that I have been and those that I am.
Writing is alive.  It is a universe where the pen is exploration and exploration is endless.
Writing is diving into the soul while breathing out the cosmos.
Writing is a way to get feelings, ideas, songs, and poems expressed.  Then, we can share them or not!  But at least they’re not burning idly inside of us.
Writing is a way to thing about and reflect back on past experiences—good or bad.  Writing can help channel emotions you thought couldn’t be tamed.
Writing is freedom, joy, and happiness.

What’s Happening Now

This year SpeakOut! is ten years old. Look for a ten-year retrospective of the community voices that have collected in their volumes over the past ten years, and special events to mark the beginning of their next decade.

The CLC has a record number of workshops and volunteers excited to work at the Larimer County Detention Center, Community Corrections and Work Release for adult women and men, and Turning Point, Matthews House, and Remington House residential treatment centers for youth.

Through the interns who have chosen to work with this program (graduate students in the English and Sociology Departments this year), the CLC continues to develop new ideas for workshops, support research in the field by co-authoring academic papers and create new ideas for grant funding.

CLC Intern Lily Alpers

CLC Intern Lily Alpers

CLC Intern Kate Miller

CLC Intern Kate Miller

CLC Intern Cara Ramsay

CLC Intern Cara Ramsay

CLC Intern Sarah Rossi

CLC Intern Sarah Rossi

CLC Intern Larissa Willkomm

CLC Intern Larissa Willkomm

On the CLC blog you can get to know CLC facilitators and read their reflections on their work within the community through their blogs.

The CLC is back in Eddy Hall, in a newly refurbished space.


The CLC has a new Associate Director, Mary Ellen Sanger. Learn more about her in this recently published profile on the blog.


CLC Associate Director Mary Ellen Sanger

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Mary Ellen Sanger
Associate Director Community Literacy Center


What brought you to CSU?

Since moving to Fort Collins two years ago (for love), I have volunteered at CSU: with the Community Literacy Center leading writing workshops at Larimer County Detention Center, and with Mary Ontiveros and the Diversity team on a project they had in hand at that time.

What is the Community Literacy Center (CLC)? What is it doing that we should know about?

This year the CLC celebrates ten years of promoting literacy through SpeakOut! writing workshops, enhancing opportunities for creative expression for confined populations and at-risk youth. From its inception in 2005 when SpeakOut! consisted of a single workshop for the women in the Larimer County Detention Center (LCDC), this year we expand to six – maybe even seven – workshops at the LCDC for men and women, Community Corrections for women, and Turning Point, Matthews House and Remington House for young men and women. These workshops promote community action and social change, culminating at the end of each semester in a creative journal compiling the voices of writers who have participated in the program. Please stop by the CLC office – we would love to share a journal with you! The voices are surprising and clear and need to be heard.


What is your current role at the CLC?

As the (first ever) Associate Director of the center, and after two years as a volunteer workshop facilitator, I assist Tobi Jacobi in the administration of the program and mentoring and guiding volunteers and interns.

What does your typical day of work there look like?

Thankfully I haven’t experienced anything typical about my days yet. One day I will be meeting with the six inspiring interns who chose to enrich their university experience through learning to facilitate creative spaces with SpeakOut!, another I will be polishing several grants we are putting in place to help fund our anniversary activities, or hanging a solidarity poster in our refurbished office, making appointments to get to know the contacts at our workshop sites, or devising a new spreadsheet to record attendance statistics. It’s a great position for me, where I get to use a lifetime of career experience in one small but powerful office.

What is one of your favorite things about the CLC?

The CLC provides safe spaces for expression for so many whose voices may not otherwise be heard – important for the writers and for the listening community as barriers blur and diverse groups come together. That this work is facilitated by energetic, curious and visionary interns (and volunteers) is one of my favorite things. They invest their time, intellect and hearts in facilitating important spaces for literacy, writers develop and share their voices, and the model moves forward as interns carry the experience into their post-workshop life, enriched and enriching.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I like knowing that some of what I do may make a difference in how someone experiences the world and their space in it.

What special project are you working on right now?

The CLC is working on activities around our tenth anniversary. Depending on funding, we are planning a ten-year retrospective publication, with material compiled from the journals published each semester containing writing from all the programs, and one or more special activities that can celebrate the reach of the program and as importantly, its future.


Why are the Humanities important?

Long ago I was a science and mathematics nerd, who just happened to read and write a lot. I tripped over foreign languages (particularly Spanish) and appreciated the doors that opened as I rubbed up against a broader range of human experience.

That is a great part of the strength of the Humanities – with a base in Humanities, we are able to contemplate our role as intellectual, moral and spiritual members of society, grapple with social justice issues, imagine and express a better future.

What had the greatest influence on your career path?

My “path” was a meandering one. I moved from publishing with Academic Press in San Diego in the 80s, to tourism in Mexico in the 90s and 00s, to nonprofit administration in NYC during the past ten years. I think that the experience of living in a country where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line (that, plus advancing age) has instructed me to devote my time to matters that matter, and not to a stranger’s bottom line.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a doctor. Until I realized I had to dissect cats in college. Nope.

What or who inspires you?

Solidarity inspires me. Yes, definitely solidarity.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of?

I was in jail in Mexico. That’s not the thing I’m proud of. After 17 years living and working there, I was falsely accused and imprisoned for 33 days. I wrote a book about the experience, and while I am proud of having written the book, I am more proud that those who have read it, close the cover and say – “what an amazing community of women you met inside!” I am proud to have been able to bring something of their voices home with me, and release their solidarity into the world.

What book or reading experience had the biggest impact on you?

We just lost one of my favorite writers earlier this year. Eduardo Galeano, from Uruguay, who wrote: “We are all mortal until our first kiss and our second glass of wine.”

What are you currently reading, writing?

Currently reading: Lucia Berlin short stories – “A Manual for Cleaning Women”

Currently writing: in my head, the next great Mexican-American novel. On paper, poem-esque scribbles with the women of Community Corrections.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

Every spring I grow a whole garden from seed. I can’t survive without that miracle. When the garden fades in fall/winter, I make altered-photo transfer prints of the blooms. I pet two rescue cats throughout.

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

I dream of unearthing hearty, steady, earnest funders who understand the importance of keeping alternative literacy spaces vibrant and growing.


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  • The SpeakOut! writing program won the “Program of the Year” award last night at the Larimer County Jail volunteer awards banquet.  Congrats to the facilitators and writers!
  • Two of Dan Beachy-Quick’s  essays, “Heraclitean Thirst” and “Circles” are featured at the online journal Fogged Clarity: http://foggedclarity.com
  • Doug Cloud presented a paper titled “Coming Out Queer, Coming Out Atheist: Building Rhetorical Infrastructures for Marginalized Speakers” at the Conference on Community Writing in Boulder on October 14.
  • Next week, Doug Cloud will be leading a workshop on talking about difference in public and professional contexts for the oSTEM chapter at Colorado State University. oSTEM, which stands for “Out in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics,” aims to “identify, address, and advocate for the needs of LGBTQA students in the STEM fields.” The workshop will take place in Eddy 100 at 6:00PM on Wednesday, November 11.
  • Sue Doe presented at the recent, national Community Writing Conference in Boulder where she and former graduate students Vani Kannan, Lydia Page, and Sarah Austin presented a panel entitled “Conversations on Labor: Report on a Cross-Campus/Regional Organizing Approach Using Participatory  Theatre.”  In their presentation, Sue and her colleagues engaged in participatory methods during the panel itself, querying traditional panel models and demonstrating how engagement works for not only social justice efforts and community engagement but also for enlivening and deepening the meaning of conference presentations themselves.
  • Tobi Jacobi presented an interactive workshop focused on remixing archival documents from the 1920s NY Training School for Girls with contemporary justice reform efforts at the 10th biannual Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference in Tempe, AZ on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015.
  • EJ Levy’s short story “I, Spy” has been accepted for publication by The Missouri Review, where it will appear next spring.
  • EJ Levy also spoke at the NonfictionNow conference in Flagstaff, AZ, last week on the subject of women’s bodies, sex, and sexuality in writing nonfiction.
  • Mary Ellen Sanger, Tobi Jacobi and the Community Literacy Center are pleased to announce that we’ve been awarded a $1500 engaged scholarship grant from Campus Compact of the Mountain West.  The award will support an assessment project for the SpeakOut! writing workshops in Spring 2016.
  • Eleven of our English department faculty members will be working at this year’s Senior Scholarship Day on Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:00-4:00 PM: Dan Beachy-Quick, Pam Coke, Ashley Davies, Katie Hoffman, Kathryn Hulings, Tobi Jacobi, Ed Lessor, Tatiana Nekrasova Beker, Sarah Louise Pieplow, Jeremy Proctor, and Lynn Shutters.  This committee has been developing writing prompts for a writing workshop and a writing competition for high-achieving Colorado high school seniors.  Thanks to all of them for their hard work!
  • Communications Coordinator Jill Salahub is leading two final workshops before the end of the year at Om Ananda Yoga. “Wild Writing, Crazy Wisdom: Yoga, Meditation, and Writing” on Saturday, November 28th, 1:30 – 5:30 pm, and “Wild Writing, Crazy Wisdom: Meditation and Writing” on Sunday, December 6th, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. You can find out more about these workshops and preregister at http://omanandayoga.com/. She also teaches a weekly Hatha Yoga class at Om Ananda Yoga every Tuesday at 7 am and would love to see you there.
  • Meghan Pipe first-year MFA student (fiction) was awarded a residency at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in May 2016.
  • Garrett Marquez (English Education, Class of 2015) is working as a special education teacher at Alamosa High School.

Upcoming Events


Please join us Thursday November 12, 7:00 pm for the second (and final) colloquium of the semester as we gather, with fine appetizers and drinks in hand, to enjoy one another’s company and hear about the work that our colleagues are doing. All department faculty and graduate students are invited.

Here’s a preview of the evening:

Drawing from an on-going scholarly webtext that is under production, Tim Amidon will share a variety of genre ecology maps and visualizations that have been created using D3 (a data visualization program). By leveraging these digital tools, Tim suggests, digital humanists might render visible the textual assemblages that are instantiated through and circulate amidst sites of production. He will discuss ways that such modeling and visualization might be leveraged pedagogically to not only support literacy learning but also to critique and reconstruct systems supported by discursive activity.

Zach Hutchins is the founder and editor in chief of TEAMS, a scholarly collective dedicated to transcribing the unread manuscript sermons of colonial and antebellum America. Those transcriptions are then coded and housed in a searchable database. Searching even the small collection of sermons currently transcribed and published by TEAMS suggests that opening up access to these texts will challenge foundational beliefs about the religious beliefs and experiences of the individuals who laid the groundwork for revolution and the new republic.

Jaime Jordan will discuss how she has used the podcast Serial in her comp class as an example of digital rhetoric and share some introductory research she’s done on the podcast as well as literary research using textual-analysis tools.

If you missed the last gathering, you really owe it to yourself to come to this one! A good time will be had by all.


NCTE Presents:  Standards-based Grading
November 12th, 2015, Eddy 5

Join NCTE@CSU for a discussion on Standard-based grading. We will be joined by local teachers to lead the conversation and end the evening with time for questions. As always, there will be free food and drinks.

Another exciting addition to the November meeting will be the officer elections. The positions of treasurer and secretary will be open.  If you are interested in running, please email an intent to run and statement as to why you are qualified for the position to both: pamela.coke@colostate.edu and ncte@colostate.edu by November 10th.

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National Poetry Day was yesterday, (image by Jill Salahub).

  • The Rhetoric Society of America has accepted a panel organized by Doug Cloud titled “Tracing Effect in Social Movement Studies” for presentation at their biennial conference in Atlanta in 2016. The inter-disciplinary panel includes scholars from Kansas State University and Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. At that same conference, he will help present a white paper on social movements authored with over a dozen other scholars from English and Communication Studies.
  • Kathryn Hulings is happy to announce that her essay, “Light,” has been accepted to appear in the 18.1 issue of Fourth Genre which will be released in February of 2016.
  • Todd Mitchell will present the Saturday keynote address at this year’s Writer’s Retreat in the Rockies. Todd will also conduct a session on Saturday focused on developing character-driven plots. The retreat is taking place from October 16th-18th in Estes Park. It’s not too late to sign up if you’re interested in meeting editors, agents, and other writers, while having a brisk weekend in the mountains. Visit the Northern Colorado Writers (NCW) website for details.
  • Airica Parker’s poem “Earth” appears in Driftwood Press 2:4, which can be viewed on electronic page 16 here: http://media.wix.com/ugd/d32313_bacfd52dc9144aa5a842ef8ba547f4c4.pdf and purchased in print here: http://www.driftwoodpress.net/#!issues/cnec
  • The Community Literacy Center has been awarded a $500 grant from the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association to support a special 10th anniversary retrospective issue of the SpeakOut Journal.  Representative writings from each issue published since 2005 are being nominated by our six community writing groups and the project is being coordinated by English major, Sarah Rossi.
  • The Center for Literary Publishing announces the release of two new books: The Business, by Stephanie Lenox, winner of the 2015 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and A Lamp Brighter than Foxfire, by Andy Nicholson, newest addition to the Mountain West Poetry Series. Cedar Brant, KT Heins, Melissa Hohl, Abby Kerstetter, and Katie Naughton each helped bring these books to publication by handling the copyediting, typesetting, proofreading, and cover design. Both books are available from the University Press of Colorado or from Amazon.

English Department Homecoming Event 

We hope you are able to join us for the English department Homecoming event next Friday, October 16th, 2:00-4:00 PM, on our very own third floor of Eddy Hall.  We will be having a *special presentation* at 3:00 PM, outside Eddy 300, and you won’t want to miss it!  Throughout the event, we will be welcoming alumni and other special guests.  Students will be providing guided tours of our newly renovated Eddy Hall.  Did I mention that we will have cake???


NCTE Presents: National Day of Writing At Colorado State University

Come joing NCTE@CSU to celebrate the National Day of Writing! The theme this year is #WhyIWrite. We will be hosting a writing blackout for middle school, hight school, and college students in honor of the National Day of Writing on campus. For 30 minutes, we will sit quietly without electronics and focus on writing. NCTE@CSU will provide snacks, beverages, and prompts. Please come prepared to share ideas and discuss wriitng. We look forward to seeing you there! October 15, 2015 5:30-6:30pm, Eddy 5 (in the basement of Eddy).

NCTE National Day of Writing



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Five CSU graduate students are going to central China this summer to teach English as a second language at Xi’an Jiaotong University. For four weeks, they will teach six hours a day five days a week. Their primary duty will be teaching language skills to Chinese college students, including reading, writing and verbal communication in English. The program flyer describes the school and its location this way:

Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU), one of the country’s oldest higher education institutions, is a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. Currently, XJTU has 26 schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in science, engineering, medicine, economics, management, art, law and education, with an enrollment of about 30,000 full-time students, including over 14,697 masters and doctoral candidates.

Xi’an is located in the central China. As a city with over 3000 years of history, Xi’an is proud of its historic sites and relics including the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Emperor, one of the eight wonders of the world, the City Wall, the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

In the weeks before they go, we’ll be profiling some of these students on the blog as part of our Student Success Stories series, and a few of them have agreed to send us updates and pictures while they are there. In this profile, we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Mullen.

kristenKristen Mullen
MA English: Literature
Graduating Spring 2016

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in small town Ohio and attended Ohio University where I got my bachelor’s degree in Middle Education in English and Social Studies in the heavenly hills of Athens. I got ants in my pants and decided to move out west to get closer to what I wanted for myself, instead of what everyone else wanted for me.

I’m obviously a huge fan of books and when I’m not reading for class, you can usually find me outside or in the Alley Cat reading sci-fi. Right now I’m on a Kurt Vonnegut kick, who’s quite a genre defier. And so what?

I’m a big fan of all things science, I’m really into anything that has to do with plants or technology. I try to spend as much time as I can in the mountains, running in town, or volunteering as a conversation partner at INTOCSU and getting to know our awesome international students! Also I love Lucifer, my magnificent black cat.

What brought you to CSU?

On a particularly dreary week in Ohio, I received a little funding to fly out to CSU to attend a prospective graduate student get-together. I had a blast and met some real winners with whom I remain friends and who also decided that day that CSU was where they wanted to spend the next two years.

Actually, CSU ended up being the only school where I applied. When I was doing my research on graduate programs, Marnie and some of the literature staff answered all of my questions, emailed me so quickly, and treated me like a real person instead of a number. I knew if I was moving 1,200 miles away, I wanted to surround myself with supportive people and I must have good judgement, because now I spend my days with the most intelligent, sincere, helpful staff and classmates! And it’s located in beautiful Fort Collins, so I’ve made the right choice.

Favorite English class? Favorite English teacher? Favorite assignment or project?

This is a hard question to answer. I wasn’t an English literature major in my undergrad, so I’ve tried to really branch out in the classes I take and they’re all absolutely fascinating and new to me. I’ve dabbled in crossing the ocean with Christopher Columbus in Zach Hutchins’s class, I’ve experienced the eccentric world of Charles Dickens with Ellen Brinks, I’ve gone medieval with Lynn Shutters, down the rabbit hole of literary theory with Leif Sorenson, and experienced some world literature with Leslee Becker.

I would have to say Research Methods with Roze Hentschell changed my whole perspective on grad school. I was really able to narrow down what I wanted to spend my time researching and pick up some good habits from Roze, the biggest multi-tasker I know. I made the greatest friends and supporters in that class. I also can’t forget to mention my project I’m working on for my internship with the Tobi Jacobi’s CLC SpeakOut! program. I’ve just renovated our websites, so if you’re a community member who is involved in public literacy, if your curious about what the CLC does, or if your interested in volunteering with us next year, check it out! (https://speakoutclc.wordpress.com/ and https://csuclc.wordpress.com/)

Why is it important to study English, the Humanities?

Books are the recorded history of our culture. They show us earthlings where we’ve been, how we’ve thought in the past and how we’re building a future. They teach us how to dream and be more compassionate and understanding human beings by exposing us to characters with thousands of personalities that differ from our own. Literature is so much more truthful and less censored than the textbooks we’re taught in school.

The Humanities flex our imagination and keep the world open to new ways of thinking.

Having strong reading and writing skills and being able to reach your audience is important in any field. Knowing how to write under pressure helps too. Studying English also allows you to research anything; the possibilities are endless. Without the Humanities, I would never be able spend my time studying robotic ethics from a philosophical and literary perspective, a way different research approach than those of mathematicians and engineers, but I feel it’s not any less essential to technological advancement.

How did you find out about the opportunity to teach English in China over the summer?

Marnie and Ellen Brinks made an announcement for the Xi’an Jiaotong Summer English Program in early spring, which included contact information for Anne Bliss, the program coordinator and ESL/EFL Educational Consultant at University of Colorado. After getting in touch with Anne, she was really hands on from helping me format my cover letter and C.V. to encouraging me to go big and apply for a teaching position, rather than the TA position. I felt it was a long shot, but her encouragement gave me the added confidence to aim high.

Why did you apply?

I love the time I spend in the classrooms at INTOCSU and have learned that language is not as big of a barrier as it previously seemed. I found that friendships can be formed through body language and laughter from the hilariously messy venture of learning to understand one another. I also see how quickly the students’ English improves through the languages exercises facilitated by teachers like Gayla Martinez (who so generously offered to let me steal some of her lesson plans if I got the job).

It seemed like a long shot, but I figured it never hurts to apply and I had successfully journeyed across the nation, so why not try out all the new things I’ve learned at CSU and take it across the world? I also knew that XJTU (Xi’an Jiaotong University) has The Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and I was hoping that when I wasn’t teaching I could pick the minds of their department and learn about visual information processing for my final research project.

What do you expect it to be like?

I’ll be teaching large classes of about 30 students at a time. I expect it to be fast-paced, I expect to gain a lot of new information about Chinese culture as my students learn English from me, and I think the students will be really enthusiastic after we build a learning connection. All of the students have a background in English, so we’ll be focusing on fine-tuning their communication skills such as subject-verb agreements, tenses, and context. With such a high focus on conversation skills, I feel it will be a lot easier to get to know my students in a short amount of time.

We have a lot to accomplish and July will go by quick. I suspect that there will be a lot of communication between me and my lovely fellow CSU teachers and time spent getting to know instructors from other states and countries. We are also provided with some cultural tours and I have high expectations for Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum where the Terracotta Army rests. They happen to be something I’ve always wanted to see up close.

When do you leave? How long will you be gone?

We leave June 23rd and arrive two days later and we will get back July 27th on the same day (Thank you, time travel).

What sort of preparation have you had to do? What do you think you’ll miss most while you are gone?

I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my students’ background with English, I’ve had to apply for my passport and visa and book my flights—no easy task, and I’ve been getting my schedule down (time blocks for teaching, how that time will be divided, and what exercises we’ll be doing and when). After finals, I plan to spend time attempting to learn some Mandarin so I can communicate better with students and find bathrooms. Always important.

I have a one year old sister and a four year old brother, Lilly and Tommy and the time change (fourteen hours) will make it hard for me to catch them awake, so I will certainly miss hearing their little voices and baby laughs as often for that month.

What advice do you have for current students?

1) Never, ever stop yourself from getting your name out there and applying to opportunities, even if they seem intangible or highly unlikely.
2) Use your time in school wisely because your around the best network of people that are invested in making things happen for you.
3) Don’t let money hold you back. I never have extra funds to fly around the world, but I do make it a priority to look into educational opportunities that provide funding.
4) Find a solid writing group. The only people that will truly understand what your doing are the people that are doing it right there with you, its invigorating to have a few brains moving on the same wavelength in the same room with you.
5) Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Instead of stifling your stress or frustrations about school, feel it, acknowledge it and move on. Build a tough skin. Successful people are the ones that take criticism and set backs and then keep going.

What do you want to say to prospective students about the CSU English department?

I will say that they will not find a staff as approachable and resourceful as our CSU English department. Although they’re all such busy and productive individuals, our staff will always take the time to help students. Whether its working through a project idea, finding resources, helping to edit a draft, or logistical inquiries about things like course credit or how to apply to conferences, I’ve always been met with patience and thorough explanations. It’s certainly a friendly atmosphere AND we have our brand new Eddy building ready to accommodate a bunch of eager English nerds next year!

What are you looking forward to most about moving back into a remodeled Eddy Hall?

Being in a classroom that doesn’t smell like science chemicals, being in a classroom that isn’t located in a basement or windowless, not having to make the trek to Ingersoll, and having a central place to store my jacket and lunch. I also think it will provide an even bigger sense of community and help with communication within the English department, because we won’t be spread out all over the place.

Where will we find you in five years?

I used to think I had the five year plan down, but in the past year so much has changed. I would like to see myself possibly finishing a PhD program in some fun city, teaching somewhere overseas, or you might just find me sitting on top of Horsetooth Mountain grading papers for the super awesome classes I’m teaching at CSU. Or maybe just at a patio in Old Town, it gets windy up there.

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