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

Events & Activities

Students find their voices in Open Mic at Café Moro

A young woman reads expressively aloud from her cell phone.

“There is no ‘usually’—that’s what I like about it,” says Linda Russo who coordinates Open Mic at Café Moro in Pullman with fellow English faculty member Donna Potts.

A community of people reading aloud from their own work or the work of others is what Open Mic is all about. The poems, stories, essays, and even music they present are often deeply personal and sometimes political. Open Mic is open to the public and happens once or twice monthly.  >>Watch the English student-produced video

Passport Program cultivates world citizens

A young man gestures as he speaks.

Creating a space for students to become their best selves is the goal of the Passport professional development and mentoring program. LeeAnn Hunter, clinical associate professor of English and self-described “artist, educator, and cultivator of citizens of the world,” designed the program to foster more direct professor–student interactions over multiple semesters, encouraging students to follow their own paths and to develop their voices so they are recognized.

“Students who feel supported, and who have a faculty member who believes in them and cares about them and their dreams, are twice as likely to report long-term professional well-being,” Hunter says. >>Watch the English student-produced video

Visiting Writer Series brings notable guests to campus

WSU English Dept. Visiting Writer Series logo.

Presented by the Department of English, the WSU Visiting Writer Series brings noted poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction to campus for creative readings, class visits, workshops, and collaborative exchanges across intellectual and artistic disciplines.

Recent presenters include fiction writer Crystal Wilkinson; cut paper, comics, and collage artist Mita Mahato; poets Kaveh Akbar and Rachel Morgan; book editor, author, and educator Carey Salerno; literary agent and writer Vaughan Fielder; writer, comedian, and producer Ted Tremper; and screenwriter Kevin Willmott, whose work on BlacKkKlansman, directed and co-written by Spike Lee, won him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay this spring.

Blood Orange Review logo.

WSU literary journal Blood Orange Review recently launched its latest issue, 10.2. Founded by alumnae Stephanie Lenox and H.K. Hummel, BOR‘s inaugural issue appeared online in 2006. It now receives hundreds of monthly submissions from national and international writers. The first 30 issues contain work by more than 200 writers and artists from around the world.

Clinical Assistant Professor of English Bryan Fry joined the editorial team in 2008 and established a student internship, which enables the journal to serve as an educational tool for students interested in editing and publishing. BOR interns and students in the English department’s editing and publishing track learn hands-on about the editorial process—from selecting work to reading proofs and editing for consistency.

The founders transferred the journal’s editorial operations to WSU in 2015 and continue to serve in an advisory capacity. BOR strives to carry out their original mission: “to create a home for emerging and established writers.” With the transition, Blood Orange Review sustains the support of WSU’s creative writing faculty, which includes 10 accomplished writers and editors. Fry currently serves as editor-in-chief.

Blood Orange Review’s inaugural literary contest this spring honored winners in each of three genres—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—with awards of $500 each and publication of the authors’ work in the journal.

Undergraduate journal LandEscapes strives to publish unique pieces that ‘challenge the stigma’

LandEscapes logo.

“A creative outlet for WSU students, a high-cultured flyswatter, a mag, a rag, late for dinner—call it anything you want. LandEscapes belongs to WSU. A gift.” This was how the late Boyd Benson, founding editor of LandEscapes, described it.

Each step of the journal’s publication process—from advertising to reviewing submissions to layouts and distribution—is run entirely by students from a variety of personal and academic backgrounds.

Editor this year is Madison Jackson, former editor of WSU’s student-run newspaper The Daily Evergreen. In April, the print version of LandEscapes 2019 was launched with a celebration at WSU Pullman, featuring readings by students and ice cream from Ferdinand’s Creamery. The online version is to be published soon.

Open Mic at the café

At Open Mic in Pullman, ///name??// reads aloud as Linda Russo and Donna Potts listen.
English student Kamisha Sewell reads a prose poem as professors Linda Russo and Donna Potts listen.

Passport Program

LeeAnn Hunter and student mentee converse while other students and faculty do likewise.
Above, LeeAnn Hunter and a Passport Program student chat in a room filled with faculty-student conversations. Below, Passport students share a laugh with their faculty mentor.
Three young women in the Passport Program share a laugh.

LandEscapes launch 2019

Students line up for ice cream and copies of LandEscapes at the 2019 issue launch party.
Students line up for ice cream and copies of the new ‘LandEscapes’ at the 2019 issue launch party.

Visiting Writer Series

Kevin Willmott.
Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kevin Willmott