Tag Archives: Leslee Becker

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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The trees in front of Eddy Hall are starting to get a few golden leaves. Fall is on its way! #greenandgoldforever

The trees in front of Eddy Hall are starting to get a few golden leaves. Fall is on its way! #greenandgoldforever

  • On June 23-24, 2016, Pam Coke participated in an international, interdisciplinary conference titled “The Cultural Landscape of Teenagers” in Le Mans, France.  Scholars from around the world, including South Africa, New Zealand, Austria, and the United States, gathered to share research and “to shed light on those cultural artifacts that target not only teenagers but an increasingly wider public – including television series, films, young adult novels, among others – and explore the images of teenagers.”  Pam presented her paper, “What Are They Selling? What Are We Buying?:  Eating Disorders as Cultural Artifacts,” where she shared findings from her qualitative research study examining how eating disorders have become an intricate part of the web of American behavior patterns, a way for teenagers to perform adolescence.
  • Over the summer, Sarah Louise Pieplow’s poetry manuscript was a finalist for the Ahsahta Sawtooth Prize. She also had 5 ghazals accepted for publication in Denver Quarterly. Sarah Pieplow would also like you to know that the GLBT Resource Center’s Safe Zone training is back! It’s fun! (And she is one of the trainers!) The purpose of Safe Zone is to reduce homophobia and heterosexism at CSU, thereby making our campuses a safer environment for all members of our community regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The Safe Zone program prepares members of the CSU community to serve as a resource on LGBTQ issues, and also strives to educate the organization about the Safe Zone program.  If you would like to better learn how to support students, faculty, and staff in the GLBTQQIA community (and figure out that acronym), these trainings can help you do that. To sign up for a training, go to http://www.glbtrc.colostate.edu/safe-zone. To ask more questions about what the heck this involves, go to Sarah.
  • Over the summer Dan Robinson gave a fiction reading, presented a paper, and moderated a round table discussion at the International Hemingway Conference in Oak Park, IL; He also had a couple of radio interviews on writing about and on the science and art of wildfire fighting.
  • Shoaib Alam received an Honorable Mention in the Glimmer Train May/June Short Story Award for New Writers contest.
  • This summer, Felicia Zamora (’12 MFA) has two poems in the newest issue of Poetry Northwest, was interviewed on the Indiana Review website as runner-up to the 2015 1/2K Prize, had poems accepted to Witness Magazine and Michigan Quarterly Review, was a finalist for the 46er Prize with The Adirondack Review where three poems are featured, and her second chapbook, Imbibe {et alia} here, was released from Dancing Girl Press.
  • Leslee Becker received the 1st-place Award in the 2016 Moondance Film Festival’s Short Story category. She also had stories accepted by Carolina Quarterly and Fifth Wednesday, and was awarded a writing fellowship/residency at the Anne LaBastille Foundation in the Adirondacks.
  • Ellen Brinks gave a plenary talk in early July at the University of London, Birkberk College, on the forgotten geographies of the transnational fairy tale in late 19th- and early 20thC fin-de-siecle literary culture.
  • Matthew Cooperman’s long piece “Difference Essay” was accepted recently by Seattle Review. This summer he gave two readings in California, at the Sacramento Poetry Center, and Poetry Flash/Moe’s Books, Berkeley. He and Aby Kaupang will be reading at Mountain Folds, in Colorado Springs, Sept 24. Two upcoming readings Matthew and Aby suggest for your radar. First, hosted by Cole Konopka and Sam Killmeyer for the Fork Socket series, September 14, Julie Carr, Amaranth Borsuk and Sam Killmeyer, 7:30 pm, The Forge. Second, for EveryEye, Sept. 21, Susan Briante and other luminaries, tea.
  • Sue Doe’s article, “Stories and Explanations in the Introductory Calculus Classroom: A Study of WTL as a Teaching and Learning Intervention” which was co-authored with Mary Pilgrim, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Calculus Center, was accepted this week for publication in the The WAC Journal.  
  • Beth Lechleitner will read a few of her poems at a community reading in celebration of autumn.  The event is from 1 to 3 on Sunday, September 18 at the Loveland Museum and Gallery on Lincoln in downtown Loveland.
  • Dana Masden’s poem “The Missing” appears in the Fall Issue of the Adirondack Review.
  • In two weeks, Airica Parker will be a featured reader and workshop leader at a regional poetry retreat hosted by Wendy Videlock in Palisade, Colorado. All are welcome to attend: tickets available through: http://coloradawendy.wixsite.com/mysite
  • Barbara Sebek kicked off sabbatical with some research in London at the Guildhall Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Sebek’s paper, “Temporal and Geographical Mash-Ups in Jonson and Shakespeare” was part of a seminar “Of an Age: Shakespeare and Periodization” at the World Shakespeare Congress, which convened in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in July and August.  In addition to seeing five plays in seven nights by Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe, she met the British Sign Language interpreter for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, visited the British Library’s stunning “Shakespeare in Ten Acts” exhibition, and saw the Royal College of Physicians exhibition of the library of alchemist/scholar/global navigation promoter John Dee, regarded as one of the inspirations for Shakespeare’s Prospero.
  • Rebecca Snow’s poem “Sestina for Adjuncts” is in the current issue of Rattle: http://www.rattle.com/print/50s/i53/
  • The Contractor, a historical western by James Work, professor emeritus, is now available in hardcover from FiveStar Publishing. The reviews have been unanimously positive, and the publisher has submitted The Contractor as a nominee for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Prof. Work’s next western, The Grub Rider, Number 8 in the Keystone Ranch series, will be published by FiveStar in April of 2017.
  • Lots and lots of good news from Tim Amidon, who had a very busy summer:
    • In May, Tim Amidon presented a research talk at Computers & Writing in Rochester, New York on the ethics of disclosing geospatial knowledge through Instagram titled “#nolandmarks: technorhetorics, watersheds, & de/coloniality.”
    • In May, Tim Amidon led a mentoring roundtable at the Graduate Research Network, a one day workshop for graduate students concentrating in computers, writing, and digital rhetoric at Computers & Writing in Rochester, New York.
    • In May, Tim Amidon was appointed to the faculty of the Colorado School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.
    • Tim Amidon traveled to Heifei, China, with a delegation from the Natural Resources Ecology Lab (NREL) to envision how the composition program might best support English language learners from Anhui Agricultural University who will be coming to CSU as part of a 2X2 program.
    • In May, Tim Amidon helped to coordinate (and, participated in) an exciting two-day professional development workshop lead by UD Composition Admins Ed Lessor and James Roller. Participants spent time working with digital composing tools such as cameras, audio recorders, as well as photo, audio, and video editing software, and theorized how pedagogies and assignments can scaffold multimodal literacy learning in their Upper Division composition courses.
    • In June, Tim Amidon and W. Michele Simmons (Miami University, Oxford, OH) had a peer-reviewed paper on research methodology in community based research accepted in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication. Tim and Michele will give a research talk on their paper at SIGDOC ’16 and the paper will be published in the proceedings thereafter.
    • In June, Tim Amidon spoke at and participated in a one-day workshop hosted by an interdisciplinary research team and lead by Dr. A. R. Ravishankara to envision a National Smoke Warning System. Stakeholders from the EPA, US Forest Service, CDC and researchers discussed challenges and opportunities associated with attempting to design and implement a warning system that could effectively alert publics to the health and safety risks associated with wildfire.
    • In June, Tim Amidon gave short-workshop on ethnographic and naturalistic field-based research methods for exploring and writing about place for students affiliated with an exchange program between CSU and Tomsk Polytechnic University (Tomsk, Russia) led by Dr. Tatiana Nekrasova-Becker and Dr. Tony Becker.
    • In August, Tim Amidon participated in a one-day educator institute at InWorks in Denver hosted by Hypothes.is, a web-based annotation tool that allows students to tag, comment, and offer meta-level commentary on any web-based content. Participants from both secondary and post-secondary levels envisioned and shared ways of utilizing the tool to support learning in their courses. Dr. Jaime Jordan was one of the leaders of the excellent workshop.
    • In August, Tim Amidon was invited by Dr. Lori Peek to consult on the design of a digital survey-instrument that FEMA is developing to help U.S. property owners, businesses, and government actors conduct cost-benefit analyses about the value of building or re-engineering structures to meet performance-based engineering standards for seismic activity.
    • In August, Tim Amidon participated in components of the weeklong graduate teaching assistant orientation organized and led by Composition Admins Nancy Henke, Amanda Memoli, Kristina Yelinek, Hannah Caballero and Composition Director, Dr. Sue Doe.



Essayist, Memoirist, and CSU Fiction alumnus Steven Church will give a reading of his work. The reading takes place in the Lory Student Center, Long Peaks Room 302 on Thursday, September 8 at 7:30pm. The reading is free and open to the public. Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst, Ultrasonic: Essays and a forthcoming fifth book of nonfiction, One with the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters between Humans and Animals, which will be released in Fall 2016 by Soft Skull Press.

On Thursday, September 14 poets Julie Carr, Amaranth Borsuk, and MFA student, Sam Killmeyer will give a reading of their work. The reading will take place at the Forge Publick House, located at: Back Alley, 232 Walnut St., Fort Collins CO, 80524.

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~From English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic

Leslee Becker

Leslee Becker

Name: Leslee Becker
Title: Professor of English
Program: Creative Writing MFA Program


How would you describe your work in the English Department?

It’s not that different from everybody else’s. It’s teaching, committee work, and in Creative Writing – for me anyhow. I think my colleagues see the same way – much of our work is reading short stories and novels. So it’s like, “Oh, this is wonderful.”


Yeah, it doesn’t sound like work if it’s doing things you love.

I had somebody visit me onetime, and I wanted her to shut up so I could get some work done. I think she was feeling sorry for me. And she kept leaning over my shoulder when I was trying to read this short story [that a student wrote] and then I’d turn a page and she’d say, “No! Don’t do that. I want to go back and re-read this part.” And then I was trying to put comments on and I said something about the dialogue and the scene, and she said, “No, that’s all wrong! That’s fantastic dialogue.” She, I think, envied me.

And I’m teaching a literature course right now and I love it. It’s something I’ve never taught before. It’s an E370 – American Lit in Cultural Contexts. And we’re doing it under this umbrella heading that includes celebrities, popularity, myth, violence, scandal. The reading that I’m giving the students and the papers that they’re doing, some of them are meant to probably exercise some things that are brand new for students: writing letters to writers, imitating a writer…


That actually sounds really interesting. I’ve never heard of that in a literature course. I’ve always kind of envied the creative writing side of that.

Oh, well there was a student presentation today on Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, and we had to write an opening line from that character’s point of view and pass it to the next person. By the time it came around – there were twenty students in the class – somebody had done something so funny and written about where to get donuts. It turned into the evil character in the story just trying to find a good Mexican burrito. I loved it.


So what brought you to CSU?

Well, a job description that I read. I can’t remember how I found out about it, but the chance to teach in such a prestigious MFA program… I didn’t know anybody, but I knew Stephen Schwartz’s work and read his stories and I loved them. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t want to move. So it was an unusual interview because supposedly I wanted to stay back in California with my friends. And then I was so charmed by everybody in the department here, plus I had meals with students, went to potlucks. And everything I saw then is how it is now. I better just stop there, because otherwise it’ll get dark by the time we finish [this interview].

Leslee Becker talks in her living room, January 25, 2003.

“Leslee Becker talks in her living room,” 2003.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I have to say – and I really mean it – interacting with students and my colleagues. I think I came to school moaning today, getting up at four. I was just dragging today and then low and behold, [I had] that student’s presentation in a class and then [I was] talking to a student after class, getting to know more about him. And my colleagues too, when I come in, there’s something so genuine and accepting about the people, our quirks, and they tolerate it.


Why are the humanities important?

I’ll tell you, I always think when somebody asks why the humanities are important – it’s not that I feel defensive – I think, “Where’s that question coming from and why?” And there might be some sort of false idea that what we do is sit around and, you know, chat about books and fictional characters and everything else.

I have to steal from people. “You cannot get the news from poetry, but men die every day for lack of what is found there.”

I had never thought of that word “humanities” before. I would think of movies, theater, art, as having something mysterious happen to me. Whenever my friends hear me get highfalutin about this, I say, “Something just happened. I watched this movie and it just affected me.” Has it ever happened to you, when you look up from the page, and oh my god? Someone’s just said something that’s affected you. I like being affected.


What inspired you to pursue a degree in English?

To tell you the truth, I was absolutely lost and I wasn’t going to go to college. I grew up in this small town, really backwater. We didn’t even have a guidance counselor. And I stupidly, without any background in theater or drama, thought that I wanted to go to New York and study acting and go on the stage. And a man at the school who took on the job – I think he was a basketball coach – took on a role of trying to guide people during the day. And he said, “Have you thought about college?” And I said, “No, I’m going to go to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.” And he said, “Well, just to be on the safe side…”

So I thought theater and English sometime around my sophomore year, and with this particular teacher we were reading Faulkner and Melville. I was pretty stupid about both writers and he liked that. Every time I’d say something, he’d say, “That’s so fresh and original.” I was responding from passion and I just loved it.


In terms of some sub-careers, I’ve heard that you’re designated as the Hall Monitor of Eddy.

It’s a role I took on because I really wanted to have a belt that said, “Hall Monitor.” And sometimes I’ve gone down the hall and it looks like I’m checking to see if people are in their offices. I have a pass to go to the bathroom.

When I was first in college in dorms they had hall monitors. Did you ever hear of such a thing? Oh, it must bring up stuff for people, cause sometimes I’ll walk down the hall and go, “Hall Monitor!” And people… [She turns quickly to her desk and types to demonstrate.]

It’s something I call myself. And I never got a badge or a belt or anything.


Maybe that’s something we’ll have to fix. I’ll make a note of this.

You think there’d be power as a teacher, and there is. Probably like my colleagues, I do not like the power it has when it comes to grades and how it’s going to affect students. So this is kind of a silly way to exercise it. Without, I hope, hurting people.

Professor Leslee Becker back on duty as Hall Monitor after the remodel

Professor Leslee Becker back on duty as Hall Monitor after the Eddy remodel


And I’ve heard you are also the English Department Movie Maven.

When I first came here there were very few theaters. One time I sent out an email, and the reactions were amazing saying, “Thank you! Thank you!” And all I was doing was recommending a movie. And then people started to ask me, “What have you seen lately?”

And I haven’t done it for a while, and I actually haven’t seen a movie in a long time. I thought that last year’s movies were pretty meh – no matter what they say at the Academy Awards. Maybe it’s a confession of how much time I spend watching Netflix picks and things like that.

I do remember recommending a Coen Brothers movie called A Serious Man. And it was really about a teacher facing tenure and facing much more. It was done with their humor and it was so incredibly funny and bleak. Some people were walking out of the theater when it ended saying, “What was that all about? What a waste of money.” But there was some man in the back, and he laughed every time I did. So in a way it’s like having company, but I don’t have to sit with them and put up with their noise.


What’s on your movie list right now, out of curiosity?

Oh, that’s interesting because I’ve got The Revenant up there because of that director. It has more to do with that director, to see what he’ll do.

Some of the people won’t watch the movies I recommend because they think they’re going to be very dark, always set in Eastern Europe.

Oh, I know the movie I’m dying to see. It’s Son of Saul. It won the best foreign language movie this year.


By the way, I’ll have to take a picture of your office. There’s so many fun things in here.

[Gesturing to a picture of a cat] That’s from the Clinton’s. You can write to the White House and ask for pictures of their pets. You get one, if you’re lucky. Somebody must have a job in the White House answering mail from the pet’s point of view. But I remember composing the letter saying, “My little friend says hi” – I don’t know what I was trying to imitate – “and would love a picture of Socks.”

Leslee's office, a treasure trove

Leslee’s office, a treasure trove of fun things




Are you working on any special projects right now?

Yes, I’ve been working on a novel for a long time. Novels – that would be a first for me. I thought I had finished it about three years ago. Thanks to colleagues here and Judy Doenges and EJ Levy and getting it to some places in New York that really let you know what’s wrong with stuff, [I’m revising].

Something I’ll never do again is have a kid as a protagonist. But this past summer, I made a major change to the beginning of it. I keep going back to it because I can’t let it go, Central City, about a bus driver taking people to Central City to gamble. Not a lot to go on, you might say. I like to write about jobs that I don’t have or know anything about so that I can learn about them. I might have goofed a lot. I set it back in the past so I wouldn’t have to deal with cellphones and that kind of thing.

I’m going to go back to it because the secondary characters, the people on the bus, are more colorful than the main character. I’m not sure if she has a history of kindness towards her ten-year-old son, and that’s one of the more controversial parts of it. She’s kind of referring to her son a lot, I think, to get sympathy that she doesn’t deserve. I never thought of it as taking a risk. It was one of the first things people reacted to. She’s driving the bus. So I think there’s more suspense about what’ll happen to the son, so what happens to the woman I don’t think is interesting. But she meets an odd man with an odd job on the bus, so you’re expecting a romance.


Do you have a moment in the classroom that stands out as the most memorable?

It goes back a long way. In one of those big literature classes, there was an especially shy young man. He stuttered a bit. I’ll just say they all had to do presentations, and I probably worried too much when his was coming up. He latched onto that Hemingway story, “Big Two Hearted River.” Boy, he brought in his fishing equipment which had been handed down through the generations, and told us all about fly fishing and looked at lines in the story. It was, for me, an opportunity that I don’t know if we get that much to really shine, to bring out something that maybe people don’t know about us. There was a whole change in his demeanor. There was a prize for favorite presentation and the students voted his. It was just the enthusiasm, the story. I think in that class we had also done Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It, so that young man connected with it. That should be the story about the humanities, actually.


What’s your favorite thing to teach or your favorite thing about teaching?

It’s listening and hearing other people’s responses and being absolutely inspired. It comes from the students who see something that I’ve never seen before. Or when we’re in Creative Writing Workshop, it’s how they encourage other students. It comes out in a spirit that is really wonderful to watch.

Leslee at the recent department retreat, which she helped plan

Leslee at the recent department retreat, which she helped plan


What advice would you give a student taking a class in the English Department?

Count your blessings, lucky child.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I could quote Queen Victoria, but before Victorian women got married, the advice they were given was, “Close your eyes and think of England” (laughs). I never got that advice, but it’s kind of funny. I don’t know. But that was the advice that maidens got on their wedding night in England. And I think it could apply to lots of things. Whenever you’re in a bad, place – not in your car though, don’t do this – close your eyes and think of England. God only knows what that would conjure up.


Who or what inspires you?

What I admire about CSU students is they’re open. They’re not jaded. Most of them, lots of the students I’m working with this semester, are working forty hours a week. Many of them are first generation college students and I was, too.

And my colleagues. Louann Reid inspires me. You’re inspiring me right now.


What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’ve gotten a couple of awards from CSU for service and teaching and I’m really proud of those. And one year, I was actually selected to give the commencement to the College of Liberal Arts. There were all these parents out there and I thought, “Does anybody listen to these?” People really do.

Dean Gill and Leslee Becker, receiving her award for being selected John N. Stern Distinguished Professor

Dean Gill and Leslee Becker, receiving her award for being selected John N. Stern Distinguished Professor, 2015


What are you currently writing or reading?

I’m reading a novel called Mr. Splitfoot by contemporary writer Samantha Hunt. I was intrigued by the setting because whoever had reviewed it said that it was using an upstate New York setting. And in my novel I’m using the Adirondacks. I wanted to just read this novel and actually, it’s very funny. It’s my treat. Late at night, when everything is done, there’s a certain time that feels like it’s okay to indulge.


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

Weep (laughs). Oh, I don’t mean to be so glim.

I like fishing but I haven’t done it. And the fishing surprises me, because I’m not really a patient person. But something about getting out there with other people. Actually, I go alone and other people talk to me.


What don’t your colleagues know about you?

I tell everything. But most of my colleagues here would not know that I dated someone who worked in the White House.


I won’t press further, but I think everyone’s going to be very intrigued.

I know, and they might ask me questions and think, “My God, what administration? The Eisenhower or Truman? Roosevelt?”


What is your favorite word and why?

Evening. I love the sound of it. Evening. It feels southern to me. But during one of those big moments when I was in college when things were coming together, a professor had us read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” And then I heard a record of T.S. Elliot reading it. It was really kind of nasally (she does an imitation). It’s just – evening.


Which people – living or dead – would you invite to dinner?

Elizabeth Bishop, Fran Leibowitz, Helen Mirren, and I’d like to invite Kafka and his former fiancé. I’d be scared to meet James Dean.


Why would you be scared to meet James Dean?

I was so young. This might surprise people – in our little town the movies hadn’t even come there yet. And everybody has these highfalutin ideas what he represents. I just remember thinking, “Boy, I wish I could look like that.” And I don’t even know what that meant, being like him. Was I already infatuated with the idea of somebody who would die at age twenty-five? I haven’t been able to explain it.

Vintage Leslee, looking very James Dean

Vintage Leslee, looking very James Dean


What’s one thing you dream of being able to accomplish in your tenure at CSU?

I’d like to publish the novel that I mentioned and I’d like publish another story collection.


I have to ask about the boxing gloves.

I wish I could tell you a big story behind them, but it’s something I like the looks of.







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Image by Ashley Alfirevic

Image by Ashley Alfirevic

  • Leslee Becker received the University’s Jack E. Cermak Award for Advising.
  • Stephanie G’Schwind is very proud to announce that Colorado Review will make a second Best American debut this year: Jonathan Franzen has selected “Namesake,” by Mason Stokes (Summer 2015 issue) for Best American Essays 2016. You can read the essay here: http://coloradoreview.colostate.edu/features/namesake/
  • Tobi Jacobi presented a paper entitled “The Challenges of Going Public with Archival Prison Materials” on a panel with other prison writing scholars at the recent CCCC meeting in Houston, TX.  She also led a learning circle at the pre-conference prison pedagogy and research workshop.
  • As co-chair of the Qualitative Research Subcommittee of the Standing Commission on the Status of Women Faculty, Lisa Langstraat wrote a Vice Provost of Research Quarterly Funding Grant proposal, “Qualitative Research on the Culture and Climate for Women Faculty at CSU.”  Our committee was awarded all requested funding which will allow for the expansion of current research efforts and summer funds for coding and analyzing data.  This data will inform policy regarding improving the culture and climate for women faculty at CSU as well as nation-wide Advance Grant development.
  • Shoaib Alam’s short story “Guildwood Village” has been accepted for the 2016 Tin House Summer Workshop. He will be at Reed College in Portland from July 10-17 and is looking forward to studying with Chinelo Okparanta.
  • CSU was well represented among this year’s winners of the AWP Intro Journals Award. Cedar Brant won for her poem, “Make Blood,” and Nathaniel Barron won for the first chapter from his novel-in-progress, From the Watchtower. Emily Ziffer received an honorable mention for her nonfiction essay, “Moving Forward, In Russian.” That’s three awards for CSU, the most of any program! All of the nominees will be on our Poster at the English Department Awards Reception.
  • Two TEFL/TESL students, Kathleen Hamel and Brian Doebbeling, successfully defended their portfolios on 4/15.
  • Felicia Zamora (MFA ’12) has four poems accepted in West Branch’s upcoming feature issue focusing on avant-garde contemporary women poets. Other poems have recently been accepted to Cutbank, The Adirondack Review, and Salt Hill.


Greyrock Review Release Party!!!

 The Greyrock Review Release Party will be held on, Thursday, April 28th  from 6-8 at Wolverine Farm’s Letterpress & Publick House on Willow.


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The new front of Eddy Hall

The new front of Eddy Hall

Welcome to Fall Semester!

  • Harvard Review has taken 3 of Dan Beachy-Quick’s poems, and The Nation has accepted one. A suite of short essays from A Quiet Book will also be appearing in the next Mississippi Review.
  • Leslee Becker’s “Terrier,” a story that originally appeared in The Kenyon Review, has been published by Redux. Leslee’s story collection, The Little Gentleman, received the Runner-Up Award from Snake Nation Press, and was named a Finalist for the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press.
  • Matthew Cooperman has had new poems accepted by Word/for Word and Ampersand Review. In June, he attended the ASLE Conference at the University of Idaho, where he presented a paper, “Whether Underground: Notes Toward a Larimer County Almanac.” Work from that project has been accepted for publication in Big Oil: An Anthology of Global Warming, forthcoming from BlazeVox.
  • Over the summer Camille Dungy published a creative nonfiction essay in the Virginia Quarterly Review (“Inherent Risk, or What I Know About Investment”), another essay in the New England Review (“A Shade North of Ordinary”) and a poem in Orion (“Frequently Asked Questions: 6″)
  •  Airica Parker was privileged to reconnect with Wendy Videlock, Art Goodtimes, David Rothman, Uche Ogbuji, and a small group of other Coloradan thinkers, writers, and community leaders for a retreat in Breckenridge this summer. Also, one of her short poems appears in the current issue of Fungi magazine, Vol. 8 No.2. Speaking of short poems, an invitation: Airica edits an online community, Postcard Poems (https://www.facebook.com/postcardpoems), and she would love to feature some CSU poets, Airica.Parker@colostate.edu.
  • Dan Robinson will be reading from his newly released novel, Death of a Century, at Old Firehouse Books on Wednesday, September 2, at 6:00 PM.
  • Sasha Steensen’s fourth book of poetry, Gatherest, was accepted for publication with Ahshata Press.  West Branch published seven poems from her ongoing project, Hendes, in their Spring/ Summer issue.  An interview conducted with Joshua Marie Wilkinson was published in The Letter Machine Book of Interviews.  “Poems for Lent” was published in the anthology A Book of Uncommon Prayer.  “In Quiet,” a collaboration with Elizabeth Robinson, published recently in Likestarlings, can be read here: http://www.likestarlings.com/poems/elizabeth-robinson-sasha-steensen1/
  • Inspired by themes from Bill Tremblay’s novel, THE JUNE RISE, the Fort Collins Chamber Music Society will perform an original musical piece written on commission by Glenn Cortese, conductor of the Greeley Philharmonic. Briana Sprecher-Kinneer will read selections from the book under the title “The Story of Antoine Janis and First Elk Woman.” The performance will be at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 9:15 PM, in the Digital Dome [2nd floor] on Thursday, August 27, 2015. The concert is funded by Fort Fund, the Griffin Foundation, and Marilyn Cockburn. Musicians: Liz Telling, (oboe), Lola Kern, (violin), Amber Johnson, (cello), Ben Durfee, (viola), Madeline Greeb, (piano), Cille Lutsch, (flute), and Briana Sprecher-Kinneer, (voice).
  • James Work has signed a contract with FiveStar Publishing to publish his novel THE CONTRACTOR, based on a murder that took place during the construction of the Union Pacific railroad through Wyoming. FiveStar has also accepted the manuscript of a novel titled THE GRUB RIDER, which will be published as #6 in the Keystone Ranch series. Each novel in the series is based upon a segment of the King Arthur tales. THE GRUB RIDER, set in Wyoming, uses the narrative of Sir Gareth, one of King Arthur’s nephews, on his first heroic quest.

English Department Office Hours

 The English Office hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (closed during lunch, 12:00-1:00 p.m.).

The Writing Center, Fall Hours – beginning August 31st
Monday-Thursday, Eddy Room 25
Friday -10-1pm (online consultations only)
Morgan Library
Sunday-Thursday – 6-8pm

Eddy 300 Computer Lab
Monday – Friday 7:30-10pm
Saturday 8-6pm
Sunday 10-6pm

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"Love, In Theory" by E.J. Levy, the French edition

“Love, In Theory” by E.J. Levy, the French edition

  • Good news from E.J. Levy: “My award-winning story collection, ‘Love, In Theory,’ is being released today in France by Editions Payot & Rivages, publishers of (among others) Elmore Leonard, David Lodge, Alison Lurie, and Willa Cather. They compare my work to that of Lorrie Moore, Grace Paley, and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. The collection won the Flannery O’Connor Award and the GLCA New Writers Award, previously awarded to Munro, Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich and other award-winning authors.”
  • Leslee Becker’s story collection, The Little Gentleman, has been named a Finalist for the Snake Nation Press Fiction Award.  She was also listed in the Literary Arts category as one of Silicon Valley Creates Awards Laureates for winning the Santa Clara County Arts Council Short Story Award. (She has not moved to Silicon Valley, but is being cited as an Artist Laureate in honor of SVC’s 25th anniversary.)
  • Ellen Brinks has an essay on queer Victorian childhood and adolescence in an edited collection entitled Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature. The volume, which appeared this spring, is part of the Routledge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature.
  • Camille Dungy has a new poem featured in the Kenyon Review. http://www.kenyonreview.org/journal/mayjune-2015/selections/camille-t-dungy/
  • Tobi Jacobi was elected to serve a 3 year term on the CSU Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research advisory board.
  • Tobi Jacobi and Wendy Wolters Hinshaw’s essay, “What Words Might Do: The Challenge of Representing Incarcerated Women and their Writing” appears in the most recent issue of Feminist Formations, a feminist scholarly journal.
  • Two English majors received Top Honors at the CURC Showcase and five others received High or Highest Honors. The Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) Showcase features writing, oral presentations, service-learning, art, and research by CSU undergraduate students. Seventeen English majors entered. An interesting note in the poetry competition is that the first place winner, Eric Bleem, is a Biochemistry major whose E210 instructor was English MFA student Kristen George Bagdanov. Eric was awarded first place for his poem “Hollows.” You can see pictures and read about the winners at http://english.colostate.edu/2015/05/celebrate-undergraduate-research-and-creativity-curc-showcase-winners/
  • Five of our current student teachers returned to campus on Monday, May 4th, to talk and workshop with our current Methods students.  Stephanie McElroy, Melinda Smith, Kendall Umetsu, Chris Vanjonack, and Kelly Wimler visited Pam Coke‘s EDUC 463: Methods–Teaching Language Arts class.  They answered questions about student teaching, and then they worked with students in small groups to answer questions about their unit plans.  Melinda, Kendall, and Chris have already secured teaching positions for the fall.
  • Mary Crow has had her poem, “Short Cut,” accepted by Calliope magazine.
  • Christine Robinson (2011 MA, Rhet/Comp) was recently named recipient of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences (LAS) Outstanding Instructor award for 2015. Christine just finished her fourth year as a full-time instructor at UCCS.

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Alumnus Justin Hocking accepting his award

Alumnus Justin Hocking accepting his award

  • Alumnus Justin Hocking’s memoir The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld won the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. The book is also: a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, listed as one of Ten Brilliant Books That Will Grab You from Page One in Kirkus Reviews and The Huffington Post, selected by Hector Tobar as his Favorite Book of 2014 in Publisher’s Weekly and Salon.com, A Library Journal Best Books of 2014 Selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014 Selection, a Hudson’s Books 2014 Booksellers Favorite, a Book Club pick for April 2014 on The Nervous Breakdown, and a #3 Denver Post Bestseller.
  • Moriah Kent, a graduate student in the TEFL/TESL program, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. She will spend 10 months teaching English at a Bulgarian secondary school. She chose to apply to Bulgaria because she wanted to gain experience in the European educational system and has long admired art and culture of the Balkan region.
  • Tim Amidon was elected to the Committee on the Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty (CoRSAF).
  • A free pdf chapbook of Dan Beachy-Quick’s early sections of “A Quiet Book” is available at Essay Press: http://www.essaypress.org/ep-23/
  • Leslee Becker has received a writing residency/fellowship at Brush Creek Foundation in Wyoming.
  • Pam Coke’s article  “Making Meaning of Experience: Navigating the Transformation from Graduate Student to Tenure-Track Professor,” co-authored with her graduate school colleagues Sheila Benson and Monie Hayes, appears in the April 2015 issue of The Journal of Transformative Education.  You can access the article here: http://jtd.sagepub.com/content/current.
  • The members of NCTE@CSU held officer elections at their meeting on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Congratulations to our new slate of student officers: Jenna Franklin (President); Emily Rice (Vice President); Paul Binkley (Secretary); Ian McCreary (Treasurer); and Morgan Bennett (Marketing Coordinator). Thank you to our outgoing officers: Anton Gerth (President); Belle Kraxberger (Vice President); Alex Andrews (Secretary); Jenna Franklin (Treasurer); and Emily Rice (Marketing Coordinator). Faculty sponsor Pam Coke is thankful for you and proud of you.
  • Sue Doe presented preliminary results of the TILT-funded course redesign study, “Engaged Learning Through Writing: A Faculty Development Project” alongside Mary Pilgrim (Math) and Hilary Spriggs (Math) on Saturday April 18 at the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), at Colorado College. Preliminary results from their study suggest outcomes similar to those found in a similar study undertaken with the Department of Psychology — that student learning is improved at a statistically significant level by low-stakes engagement writing in the disciplinary classroom. The interdisciplinary study group, which also includes Kate Kiefer, will also present their project to the CSU Math Department on April 27.
  • Camille Dungy spoke at the CLA’s Great Conversations on April 23. Topic: How the environment is changing how we write and why.
  • Bruce Ronda’s chapter “Imagination and Apocalypse: Christopher Cranch’s Novels for Young Readers” appears in Romantic Education in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. National and Transatlantic Contexts (New York: Routledge, 2015).  Also: he has signed a pre-publication contract with University of Georgia Press for The Fate of Transcendentalism.
  • Cory Holland just published a paper in American Speech: Bayley, Robert, and Cory Holland. “Variation in Chicano English: the case of final (z) devoicing.” American Speech 89, no. 4 (2014): 385-407. http://americanspeech.dukejournals.org/content/89/4/385.full.pdf+html And a book review in the LinguistList on “Sounds Interesting” by J.C. Wells. https://linguistlist.org/pubs/reviews/get-review.cfm?SubID=35993937
  •  As part of a short but nice review of Dan Robinson’s forthcoming novel, Death of a Century (out June 5), Publishers Weekly wrote, “Set in 1922, Robinson’s atmospheric tale of betrayal and revenge paints a passionate picture of the Lost Generation, those who came of age during WWI.”
  • Kristin George Bagdanov’s poem “Moon Body” was accepted for publication by Berkeley Poetry Review.  She has also accepted an offer to attend UC Davis’s PhD in Literature program, where she will be a Provost’s Fellow in the fall.
  • Mandi Casolo has accepted an offer of admission to the University of Houston’s English Literature and Creative Writing PhD program with a teaching fellowship, and was awarded the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Fiction.

Now Taking Applications: English Department Communications Internship

Number of positions: 2
Internship term: Fall 2015 Semester, 15 weeks, August 24th – December 11th, 2015
Total credits: 2
Hours: 80 hours (40 per credit hour), approximately 5 per week
Stipend: $500
Application Deadline: Friday, May 8th by 12:00 p.m.

The English Department is looking for two engaged, self-motivated, responsible, creative, and enthusiastic CSU students, undergraduate or graduate, with good communication and writing skills to help tell the story of the English Department. The interns in this position will help facilitate communication and community with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the English Department.

Interns will spend most of their time researching, interviewing, attending events, writing, and developing content — both for print and online. A major responsibility of this internship will be creating content for the department’s blog. Interns will work directly with the English department’s Communications Coordinator to meet departmental communication needs and complete various content development projects as assigned, including but not limited to creating profiles of people (alumni, faculty & staff, students), programs and projects; conducting interviews; providing event coverage (which would include attendance and photos, along with other modes of recording where relevant); and reporting departmental news and upcoming events.

For these internship positions, some prior reporting or blogging experience and/or education is preferred, as well as an understanding of principles for writing for the web and strong communication skills, both in person and in text. We also prefer applicants who are familiar with the English Department, its programs, people, and events – and who are willing to learn more. Content will be developed in various modes, and therefore skill with technologies such as sound recording and photography, as well as image and sound editing experience is preferred. We are also looking for interns with good people skills, the ability to participate in effective verbal and written exchanges, understanding that as they attend events and conduct interviews and such, they are acting as a “goodwill ambassador” for the department.

Applicants should email or hand deliver to the English Department main office the following: a cover letter, résumé, contact information for three references (phone and email), and three writing samples (plus multimedia samples, if applicable) by the application deadline to:

English Department
c/o Jill Salahub: Communications Coordinator
A105 Behavioral Sciences Bldg.
1773 Campus Delivery
Ft. Collins, CO 80523-1773

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On Wednesday, April 8, faculty members from the entire college were recognized for teaching, research, and service and 3 MFA students were featured readers throughout the program.

Abby Kerstetter and Matt Truslow read their poetry and Nate Barron read from a micro-essay. Associate Dean of CLA and emcee Bruce Ronda arranged the program such that the individual works were effectively showcased and the readings marked logical breaks in the series of awards. Their work was well received by the audience and they made us proud.

Nate Barron reading

Nate Barron reading

English department faculty also made us proud as they received several recognitions and awards. The retirement of Doug Flahive was noted, as were the service milestones of Cindy O’Donnell-Allen (15 years), Sue Russell (20), and others. Zach Hutchins, Tobi Jacobi, and E.J. Levy received Faculty Development Awards, which provide a summer stipend for research and creative artistry. Pam Coke received the CLA Excellence in Teaching Award for Associate Professors, and Louann Reid received the Distinction in Advancement Award. In recognition of a career of distinguished teaching, creative artistry, and service to the university, Leslee Becker was named a John N. Stern Distinguished Professor. This award is a career milestone.


E.J. Levy (Faculty Development Award) and Louann Reid (Distinction in Advancement Award)

Tobi Jacobi (Faculty Development Award)

Tobi Jacobi (Faculty Development Award)

Pam Coke (CLA Excellence in Teaching Award for Associate Professors)

Pam Coke (CLA Excellence in Teaching Award for Associate Professors)

Dean Gill and Leslee Becker (John L. Stern Distinguished Professor)

Dean Gill and Leslee Becker (John N. Stern Distinguished Professor)

Tobi Jacobi and Pam Coke

Tobi Jacobi and Pam Coke

Leslee Becker and Louann Reid

Leslee Becker and Louann Reid

Bruce Ronda and Leslee Becker

Bruce Ronda and Leslee Becker

We thank all faculty who were willing to be nominated and prepared materials, and we thank Zach Hutchins, Sarah Sloane, and Bruce Shields for their letters and support where such nominations were required. A special thanks also to Sarah Sloane and Deanna Ludwin for the great pictures of the event.

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Eddy Hall behind blooms, image by Jill Salahub

  • Associate Professor of Creative Writing Dan Beachy-Quick has been named a fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Beachy-Quick was one of 175 scholars, artists and scientists selected to receive a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship and one of 10 recipients in the organization’s poetry category, (there were more than 3,100 applicants). He is the first CSU professor from the humanities to win the prestigious award and only the fourth professor from the university. The award will enable Beachy-Quick, who also is a CSU Monfort professor (he was the first humanities professor to be awarded that title) to spend the next year writing. Read more here: http://source.colostate.edu/csu-creative-writing-professor-wins-guggenheim-fellowship/
  • Dan Beachy-Quick is on two panels at this year’s AWP, one for Omnidawn Press, and the other, the 35th Anniversary Reading for Milkweed Editions. He also has been awarded a Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant at Harvard University for 2015-2016 to continue work on his long, meandering essay “A Quiet Book.”
  • Leslee Becker’s story, “The Other Party,” has been accepted for publication in Breakwater Review.
  • In mid-May, at CSU’s Mountain Campus, John Calderazzo will be conducting a science communication workshop on story-telling for the graduate fellows of the Center for Collaborative Conservation.
  • Better: Culture & Lit has published three poems by Sarah Louise Pieplow; the poems were selected as finalist entries in Better’s 2014 Better contest. http://bettermagazine.org Sarah is pleased to share the company of CSU’s Deborah Thompson in Issue Six.
  • Gazing Grains Press has also published a miniature of a poem from Sarah Louise Pieplow‘s 2013 finalist chapbook, golem.
  • Communications Coordinator Jill Salahub contributed to a series Marianne Elliott is hosting on courage, “I showed up. I opened my heart. I stayed.
  • Our own Abby Kerstetter has been named as one of the winners of this year’s AWP INTRO Awards, and her poem “Blackout” will be published in a forthcoming Hayden Ferry’s Review. The Intro Journals Project is a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in AWP member programs. Program directors are invited to nominate students works, which are selected for publication in participating literary journals. Congratulations, Abby!  Here’s the link: https://www.awpwriter.org/contests/intro_journals_project_overview
  • Come enjoy the grand release party of the Greyrock Review. Sunday, April 26th will be the day to celebrate our writing communities flourishing Writers & Artists. Anyone is welcome. Our hosts, Equinox Brewing will kindly give us the stage at 6:30 to present the Greyrock journals published authors. Meet the Greyrock team that brought together a brewing company, a surprise food truck and artists for a release party you shouldn’t miss.


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Chloe’ Leisure’s (MFA, Spring 2006) Chapbook, The End of the World Again

Chloe’ Leisure’s (MFA, Spring 2006) recently published chapbook, The End of the World Again

  • CLA Spring Faculty/Staff Meeting and Awards Ceremony: Three of our MFA students — Abby Kerstetter, Matt Truslow, and Nate Barron — will be featured readers at the College of Liberal Arts Spring Faculty/Staff Meeting & Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 8th. Past spring meetings have included entertainment from theatre and music students, and we are proud that Abby, Matt, and Nate were chosen to showcase the liberal arts and the creative writing program this year. Five English department faculty members will be recognized with awards for teaching, research/creative artistry, and service. Please come support not only our department faculty and students but also faculty from the rest of the college. This is always an upbeat and celebratory event. The ceremony from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm in the Durrell Center Seminar Rooms A & B. There is parking available near Moby.
  • Leslee Becker’s story, “The Continental,” has been accepted for publication in Ascent.
  • Next week, Doug Cloud will be giving at talk in Athens, Ohio at the third annual Ohio University Queer Studies Conference titled, “Coming Out Gay, Coming Out Atheist: Re-Thinking the Long-Term Influence of the LGBTQ Movement(s).” He’ll also lead a workshop for queer students and students of color titled, “Queer in the Workplace, Queer in the World: Some Key Concepts for Talking About Categories of Difference in Public and Professional Contexts.”
  • Roze Hentschell is attending the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in Vancouver, B.C., where she presented a paper, “‘They Sing’: Comedy, Choirboys, and Actors at St. Paul’s.”
  • A French edition of EJ Levy’s story collection, Love, In Theory, will be issued by Payots & Rivages on May 5, 2015.
  • This week, Nancy Henke learned that she received a Senior Teaching Appointment. She joins 19 other department faculty whose long-term, high-quality teaching and service have been recognized with this honor.
  • Todd Mitchell attended and presented two sessions at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference last weekend (one on developing layered characters, and one on developing engaging conflicts).
  • Todd Mitchell also launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the continued production of a graphic novel he’s working on with the Irish artist, Patrick Mullholland. The story uses a matriarchal alien invasion to explore crucial environmental, social, and political questions. If you’re curious, the first issue is produced and available for free off the Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/1OCQTP9
  • Mid-American Review interviewed Kristin George Bagdanov about her poem in their recent issue here: http://casit.bgsu.edu/marblog/mar-asks-kristin-george-bagdanov-answers/ She will also be reading at MAR’s 35 year anniversary party at AWP next week: Friday, April 10th at 8pm, Gallery13 in Minneapolis.
  • The Moscow Arts Commission and Broadsided Press has selected Kristin George Bagdanov’s poem “Earth Body” as one of the four ASLE-member poems to be broadsided for the “Broadsides on the Bus” program this summer in Moscow, Idaho. The broadside will be on display on the Moscow buses during the ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) conference, and copies of the poem and accompanying original art will be on display in the Transit Center; the broadsides will also be downloadable.
  • Undergraduate Choice Award: The Graduate School partnered with the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry to sponsor the Undergraduate Choice Awards through which each category of the Graduate Student Showcase will be judged by a team of undergraduate scholars. This category is designed to expose undergraduates to graduate level scholarship, facilitate the training of undergraduates in the critical analysis of scholarly products, and to reward graduate students whose work is perceived to be among the highest quality by the undergraduate team of judges. Two Graduate students in the Department of English received awards. In the Creative category, Cedar Brant won second prize ($75) for The Hidden Hinge: Mapping Memory and Myth through Poetry, and in the Research category John Whalen won third prize ($50) for The Utilization of Web-based Resources for Computer Assisted Vocabulary Learning

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