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Department of English News and Events

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WSU English Department Newsletter

Our monthly newsletter, published online, celebrates the latest publications, acceptances, projects, presentations, awards, accolades, teaching highlights, activities, and more of English faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.

MARCH 2023

Publications, Exhibits, & Acceptances

faculty book covers

Jeannie Bennett’s essay, “Madness as Mystic Purpose in Sense8” was published in the edited collection Streaming Mental Health and Illness: Representations in Netflix Original Programs (McFarland, 2022).

Volume 15.1 of Blood Orange Review has just been published! This sprawling double volume features winners of the 2022 Emerging Writers Contest, cover art by 2022-2023 Graduate Art Curator Fellow Cameron Kester (WSU MFA Candidate in Fine Arts), and exciting fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual artworks from new authors and established artists alike. Please join Editor-in-Chief Lauren Westerfield and the editorial board in celebrating this 15th anniversary issue.

Blood Orange Review would also like to welcome new Spring 2023 editorial staff, including Fiction Editor Jamie Flathers, Assistant Fiction Editor Michael Meyer (Graduate Student, MA Candidate in Literature), and former Fiction Editor turned Nonfiction Editor Grant Maierhofer.

In Spring ’22, Cameron McGill had four poems published in the surrealist anthology Teeth of the Billow Tree (Willow Springs Books).

Cameron McGill has one poem accepted for the Poetry Is Bread anthology, forthcoming ’23 from Nirala Publications India and edited by Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tine Cane.

A limited double-vinyl release of Cameron McGill‘s new album The Widow Cameron will be available later this spring.

“Tremors and Rebounds,” an essay from Susan Ross‘s unpublished memoir, A Certain Flatness of Light, earned Honorable Mention from the 2023 Barry Lopez Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Linda Russo’s article “Decolonial Praxis/Indigenous Resurgence: Relational Accountability in ‘Kin Study’ Poetics” is forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops, Performances, & Presentations

Buddy Levy was an invited guest speaker on February 21 at the Mark Twain House and Museum. His talk about his book Empire of Ice and Stone (St. Martin’s Press, Dec 6, 2022) was moderated by Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Deborah Blum. The talk can be found here.

Buddy Levy was an invited guest February 15 on the Art of Manliness Podcast, hosted by Brett McKay. They talked about the leadership aspects (and the two central leaders) of the Canadian Arctic Expedition covered in Levy’s book Empire of Ice and Stone. The episode, titled “Leadership Lessons from a Disastrous Arctic Expedition,” is available here.

At the AWP (Association for Writing and Writing Programs) Conference in Seattle
March 8-12, our faculty and students will be busy:

Blood Orange Review will be tabling at the AWP Bookfair and offering special submission opportunities and limited-edition anniversary broadsides created in partnership with the WSU Fine Arts Department. The table staff includes faculty editors Colin Criss, Grant Maierhofer, and Lauren Westerfield, graduate student assistant editor Melanie Bell, and undergraduate scholarship recipients Mark Parsons and Lain Bundalian.

DJ Lee collaborated with Common Area Maintenance, Black Earth Institute, and Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts to organize a multi-disciplinary Off-Site Reading, Reading Room, Book Signing, and Gallery Exhibit. The reading room will have a printed catalogue/anthology, documenting the artwork and incorporating writings from the groups reading at CAM during AWP. The catalogue will be available outside of AWP. Black Earth Institute is a community of artists and scholars addressing social justice, environment, and the spiritual dimensions of the human condition. Common Area Maintenance is a vibrant gallery and open format generative studio offering collaborative work and exhibition space in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, 2125 2nd Avenue. The reading will take place Thursday, March 9, 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Lee will read some poetry and her mixed-media art will be on display in the gallery.

DJ Lee will also be signing her book Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots at the Oregon State University Press table at the AWP Bookfair on Thursday, March 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Grant Maierhofer will read at the Heavy Feather+Alternating Current+Kernpunkt Off-site event at AWP, Wednesday, March 8, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Underbelly, 119 1st Avenue South, Seattle, in Pioneer Square.

Grant Maierhofer will also read at the Reading Roulette Off-site event (Nightboat Books, Sublunary Editions) at AWP Friday, March 10, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Arundel Books, 322 1st Avenue, Seattle.

Cameron McGill will be doing a book signing at on Saturday, March 11, at the Western Colorado University table # 907 at the AWP Bookfair.



Teaching Highlights, Activities, & Innovations

David Martin reports the Joint SFCC/WSU Freshmen Composition Photo Gallery (open to suggestions for a better name) coming up on March 10.  It will be held in two locations, The Bundy Reading Room and The Math Annex (aka SFCC Headquarters). The gallery is a collection of student photos taken to illustrate moments of Happiness/Joy, Challenge/Concern, and Epiphany. The concept is to showcase the first year experience.

Linguistics Club met on March 3 with advisor Michael Thomas. The club discussed questions such as: How do we know how old languages are? They looked at claims regarding the Taiwanese roots of the Austronesian language family and a recent archaeological find.

The Editing and Publishing Certificate Guest Speaker Series organized by Lauren Westerfield featured “Freelane Double Agent Anne Horowitz” on February 7, “How-To with Heloise: Harmonious Copyediting and Publication” on February 9;  “Sensitivity Reading: Attentive Analysis with Athena Dixon” on February 16; “A New Direction: Opt West Founding Editor Colleen Sabaka” on February 21; “Future Fusion: Finding the Best of Both Worlds with Eva Recinos” on February 28; “Away from the Big Apple: Remote Literary Agenting with Cassie Mannes Murray” on March 2; and “The Mentor of the Hero; Career Advising and Resume Tips with Leanne Ralstin” on March 7. The final event in the series occurs March 21: “Full Circle: The Editing Industry with Linda Bathgate.” All department students, faculty, and staff, are welcome. The event will take place in the Bundy Reading Room at 10:45 a.m.

Patty Wilde and Nishant Shahani are organizing the next graduate professionalization workshop titled “The Work Before the Writing: Preparing to Write Diversity Statements.” They write: “We want to draw students’ attention to the various DEIA initiatives that they can participate in during their graduate careers that would ultimately facilitate in writing these statements. To be sure, we don’t want to instrumentalize these endeavors—a concern that we will explicitly take up in the workshop—but we do want students thinking intentionally about how they might contribute to social justice-related initiatives. For example, we want to highlight the EDIC committee, the Anti-Racist Composition committee (ARC), the Social Justice Conference (SJCON), participation in Inqueery, etc. If any faculty are involved in DEIA endeavors or know of any opportunities that we can share with students (on or off campus), can you please let us know? And if you would like to join us for the next workshop to talk about this work, that would be great too.” The workshop will be held via zoom on Friday, March 31st from noon to 1. Contact Patty or Nishant for the Zoom link.

students making prints in an art room at WSU

cover of literary journal blood orange review

Roger Whitson and the Faculty Recognition Ceremony Committee will hold the 2023 Faculty Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, April 12, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Living Room of the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center. This is an informal get together celebrating the many and varied accomplishments of our faculty. Accomplishments can include but are not limited to: publications, exhibits, acceptances, conferences, readings, workshops, presentations, teaching highlights, activities, innovations, gatherings, awards, honors, prizes, fellowships, grants, short summaries of happenings, events, performances, symposia, and anything else you want to celebrate with your colleagues and students and the larger community. Please send your accomplishments and relevant snapshots over the last year (February 2022 – February 2023) to Roger as soon as possible.

WSU Visiting Writers Series, organized by Cameron McGill and Julian Ankney, will welcome the following writers in March: Washington State poet laureate Rena Priest on March 9; and multi-media fiber artist, playwright, and poet Sarah Hennessey on March 28. See the VWS Website for more information.

Upcoming English Department Open Mic nights will feature Jamie Flathers on March 9 and TBA on April 13. Open Mic is held in the Bundy Reading Room at 6:00 p.m. and all are welcome. Door Prizes include books and gift certificates to Brused Books in Pullman.

The annual English Department Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, March 31, from 3:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please mark your calendars.

Awards, Honors, Prizes, Fellowships, & Grants


Vanessa Cozza received the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Career-Track Faculty.

In December ’22, Cameron McGill was named part-time poetry faculty in Western Colorado University’s low-residency MFA program.

In February, Susan Ross was named a member of the Advisory Board of the bilingual Interdisciplinary Media and Communication Studies Journal published by Yasar University of Turkey.

Congratulations to our faculty on their recent promotions:

Gibran Escalera, Promotion to Career-Track Associate Professor

Tomie Gowdy-Burke, Promotion to Career-Track Associate Professor

Jon Hegglund, Promotion to Tenure-Track Professor

Laura Kuhlman, Promotion to Career-Track Associate Professor

Melissa Nicolas, Promotion to Tenure-Track Professor

Liz Siler, Promotion to Career-Track Associate Professor

Kate Watts, Promotion to Career-Track Professor

From the Chair’s Desk

Donna Potts Chair of English Department
March has been a month of celebration: seven faculty members were recently promoted—Gibran Escalera, Tomie Gowdy-Burke, Jon Hegglund, Laura Kuhlman, Melissa Nicolas, Liz Siler, and Kate Watts—and Vanessa Cozza received the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Career Track Faculty. Our Creative Writing Faculty members are preparing to leave for the Associated Writing Programs Conference (AWP) in Seattle March 8-10, where DJ Lee, Grant Maierhofer, and Cameron McGill will  read from and sign their books. We’re thrilled that our Excellence Fund permitted us to send Blood Orange Review (BOR) editors and interns to AWP as well: graduate student assistant editor, Melanie Bell, as well as undergraduate scholarship recipients Mark Parsons and Lain Bundalian. In addition, to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of BOR, editor-in-chief Lauren Westerfield worked with the new BOR art curator fellow, Cameron Kester, and Kevin Haas, in Fine Arts, to create broadsides to sell at AWP at the BOR table at the Bookfair. These broadsides will also be sent to WSU donors to thank them for contributions that made the project possible. Finally, we’ll have a Scholarships and Awards ceremony on March 31 to celebrate undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members for their many achievements throughout the year.