English Matters. College of Arts and Sciences, Washington State University.

Spring/Summer 2021

Message from the Chair

Dear Alumni, Friends, and Family,

We hope that 2021 has already been a happier and healthier year for all of you. Throughout the past year, we depended more than ever on the generosity of our alumni and friends. As we had to rely more heavily on digital technologies, we were able to use your contributions to update equipment for our faculty and graduate students, pay for online conferences, and support a variety of online and outdoor projects that benefited our majors.

Donna Potts smiles beside a bookcase of faculty publications.
Donna Potts

For example, your contributions helped support the Washington State University Interdisciplinary Conference on Social Justice (WSU SJCON), an annual event organized by our graduate students and sponsored by the College of Education, the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the departments of English and Sociology. And, as always, your gifts provided scholarships and other opportunities for greater student success.

Although the job market is more uncertain this year, our undergraduates continue to give us hope. While international travel plans were put on hold (the trip for the inaugural recipient of Nick and Karen Kiessling’s wonderful international travel scholarship had to be canceled), our students benefited from opportunities closer to home, such as  Linda Russo’s “EcoArts on the Palouse” project. They also pursued various poetry projects. Allyson Pang, our 2020 Civic Poet, created a “Happiness Project” and recorded a beautiful collaborative poem called “Forward,” which you may view on her YouTube channel.

In this issue of English Matters, you’ll find many more examples of teaching, learning, research, and outreach accomplishments department-wide.

WSU English alumni also have much to be proud of in the department’s outstanding quarterly, ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture. As part of its mission, ESQ supports graduate and undergraduate students, helping them gain scholarly editing experience through internships, research assistantships, and participation in the Year in Conferences feature. Recent and forthcoming special issues feature Emily Dickinson, Sarah Piatt, pandemic-era teaching and scholarship, and Transcendentalism. Contributors have recently won several national awards, including the Hennig Cohen Prize, the SLSA Schachterle Prize, and the especially coveted 1921 Prize in American Literature (multiple wins). Internationally renowned for excellence, the journal advances the English department’s reputation and would gratefully welcome your support.

I continue to be impressed with all of the ways our faculty, staff, and students have managed to move forward in the midst of these trying times, and thanks to the generosity of our donors, I have no doubt that they will continue to inspire.

All my best,

Donna L. Potts
Professor and Chair

Stack of English faculty authored or edited books.
A sampling of the many books authored or edited by WSU English faculty. (click to enlarge image)