shortcut to content

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

English Department

Page address: http://english.mnsu.edu/

National Poetry Month

Alyssa Cole reading “How It Begins” by Julianna Baggott

Alyssa Cole is originally from Pennsylvania, but has lived in Lakeville, Minnesota for the past seven years. She has written several books and is hoping to publish one in the near future. This spring, she will be graduating with a degree in English and a minor in Film Studies.

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott— who also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher (The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted) and N.E. Bode (The Anybodies)—has published 19 books over the last twelve years, including novels for adults, younger readers, and collections of poetry. Film rights for her novel Pure, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and ALA Alex Award-winner, have been acquired by Fox 2000. The second book in the trilogy, Fuse, has just been released. There are over one hundred foreign editions of her novels published. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Best American Poetry, Best Creative Nonfiction, Real Simple, on NPR.org, as well as read on NPR's “Talk of the Nation” and “Here and Now.” She's a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University and the founder of the nonprofit Kids in Need - Books in Deed.

Did you miss a day? View the National Poetry Month Archive.

The Good Thunder Reading Series Welcome Jesmyn Ward and Nikky Finney

ward_webfinney_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series welcomes fiction writer Jesmyn Ward and poet Nikky Finney on Thursday, April 10.

Jesmyn Ward, whose novel Salvage the Bones won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction, has been called "fearless and toughly lyrical" (The Library Journal). Her unflinching portrayals of young black men and women struggling to thrive in a South ravaged by poverty and natural disaster have been praised for their "graphic clarity" (The Boston Globe) and "hugeness of heart" (O: The Oprah Magazine). Ward's precise and graceful narratives make her a fitting heir to the rich literary tradition of the American South.

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney's fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

Ward and Finney will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will be archived at the series web site.

They will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

Dr. Westerman Selected as 2014 Distinguished Faculty Scholar

westermanThe College of Graduate Studies and Research, along with the Center of Excellence in Scholarship and Research, is pleased to announce that Gwen Westerman was selected as a 2014 Distinguished Faculty Scholar.

The Faculty Research Committee received many outstanding applications, and the selection process was particularly difficult due to the very impressive qualifications of those who were nominated.

Congratulations Gwen!

National Poetry Month Begins April 1

Minnesota State University, Mankato's Department of English is celebrating National Poetry Month in April through pre-recorded filmed poetry readings by students that will be posted on the English department's website daily from April 1-30. For more information, please see here.

The Good Thunder Reading Series Welcomed Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith

rasmussen_websmith_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series welcomed poets Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith on March 20.

Matt Rasmussen's poetry has been published in Gulf Coast, Water~Stone Review, Paper Darts, and at Poets.org. He was recently awarded a Pushcart Prize and has received grants and residencies from The McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, The Anderson Center, and The Corporation of Yaddo. He teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, The Loft Literary Center, and Hamline University. His first book of poems, Black Aperture, won the 2012 Walt Whitman Award and he's a founding editor of Birds, LLC, a small, independent poetry press..

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars (Graywolf, 2011), won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. The collection draws on sources as disparate as Arthur C. Clarke and David Bowie, and is in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Telescope. Duende (2007) won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body's Question (2003) was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005.

Rasmussen and Smith were interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview is archived at the series web site.

They led a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

Summer Courses Now Available

The Summer 2014 courses are now available here.

The Good Thunder Reading Series Hosts Eddice B. Barber Residency

hautman_weblemon_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series hosted the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Residency February 18-21. A writing workshop was held Tuesday thru Friday with a craft talk and reading on Thursday.

Pete HautmanGodless, Los Angeles Book Prize winner The Big Crunch, and three New York Times Notable Books: Drawing Dead, The Mortal Nuts, and Rash. His "young adult" novels range from science fiction (Rash, Mr. Was, Hole in the Sky, and The Obsidian Blade) to mystery (Blank Confession) to contemporary drama (Godless, Sweetblood) to romantic comedy (The Big Crunch, What Boys Really Want). With novelist, poet, and occasional co-author Mary Logue, Hautman divides his time between Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Stockholm, Wisconsin. His latest book is The Cydonian Pyramid, Book 2 of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy. The third book in the trilogy, The Klaatu Terminus, will be published in April 2014.

Alex Lemon is the author of Happy: A Memoir and three poetry collections: Mosquito, Hallelujah Blackout, and Fancy Beasts. The Wish Book and an essay collection are forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2014. His writing has appeared in Esquire, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, Tin House, Kenyon Review, AGNI, New England Review, The Southern Review and jubilat, among others. Among his awards are a 2005 Fellowship in Poetry from the NEA and a 2006 Minnesota Arts Board Grant. He is a frequent book reviewer for the Dallas Morning News. He lives in Ft. Worth, Texas, and teaches at TCU.

Hautman and Lemon were interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will is archived at the series web site.

They led a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

The Good Thunder Reading Series Kicks Off the New Year Tomorrow

duryee_weburrea_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series begins its spring lineup by welcoming poets Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Christopher Howell on January 30.

Winner of the 2011 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry for her debut collection Cradling Monsoons, Sarah McKinstry-Brown studied poetry at the University of New Mexico and the University of Sheffield, England. She's been published everywhere from West Virginia's standardized tests to literary journals such as Chicago Quarterly Review. McKinstry-Brown teaches performing and writing workshops in libraries, lockdown facilities, colleges, universities, and everywhere in-between. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sarah lives in Omaha with her husband, the poet Matt Mason, and their two feisty daughters.

Christopher Howell, a native of the Northwest, was a military journalist during the Vietnam War and later received an MA from Portland State University and an MFA degree from the University of Massachusetts. He has published ten collections of poems, most recently Gaze, and Dreamless and Possible: Poems New & Selected and Light's Ladder. He was also editor, with Christopher Buckley, of Aspects of Robinson: Homage to Weldon Kees. Nuts, Bolts, and a Coil of Rope, a collection of views, reviews, and interviews, is forthcoming. His poems, translations, and essays have been frequently and widely published in anthologies and journals, including Antioch Review, Colorado Review, CrazyHorse, Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Field, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Northwest Review, and Harper's. He has received three Pushcart Prizes, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the Washington Artist Trust, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Massachusetts Council for the Arts. He has also been awarded the Helen Bullis, Vachel Lindsay, and Vi Gale prizes, the Washington State Governor's Prize for Literature, the Washington State Book Award, the Nebraska Book Award, and the Stanley W. Lindberg Award for Editorial Excellence. He teaches at Eastern Washington University, where he is also director of Willow Springs Editions, and director and principal editor for Lynx House Press.

McKinstry-Brown and Howell will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will also be archived at the series web site.

They will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

GSEA to Host Graduate Conference

The Graduate Scholars of English Association is hosting the second annual Minnesota State, Mankato, English graduate student conference. This year's theme is "The world as I see it" and focuses on individual perspectives of shared and unshared worlds.

The conference will be held Saturday, April 26, 2013, in the Centennial Student Union. Please visit the conference website for more information on the call for papers, schedule, and registration.

Former Professor Dr. Ron Gower has passed away

Dr. Ron Gower passed away on November 14, 2013. Dr. Gower began employment with Minnesota State Mankato in September 1970 and retired in July 1996. He was a professor in the English department, where he later became department chair. He is remembered fondly by faculty and staff. Memorial services for Dr. Gower will be held on December 7, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. at Mankato Mortuary, 1001 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato. A copy of Dr. Gower’s obituary can be found at: http://www.mankatomortuary.com/sections/detail.php?obit_id=3185.

Nadine B. Andreas Visiting Writer Residency Presented by the Good Thunder Reading Series

duryee_weburrea_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series completes its fall lineup when it welcomes creative nonfiction writer and 2013-14 Andreas Graduate Assistant Angela Duryee and fiction and creative nonfiction writer and 2013-14 Andreas Visiting Writer Luis Alberto Urrea.

Angela Duryee, the Andreas Graduate Assistant for 2013-14, is a native of southern Minnesota. She is now a third-year MFA candidate in creative writing, concentrating in creative nonfiction. An avid reader and writer from a young age, her controversial fiction story, The Hunt, led to the shutdown of her high school's literary magazine. She studied piano performance at SMSU, Marshall, an received her BA in English from MSU, Mankato. While pursueing her MFA in Creative Writing at MSU, she also hosts Writer's Bloc and is a creative nonfiction editor for Blue Earth Review.

Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Luis Alberto Urrea has published extensively in all the major genres and is a prolific and award-winning writer. He is a master of language and a gifted storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. The Devil's Highway, a non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona deser, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. An historical novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter, along with The Devil's Highway, was named a best book of the year by many publications. Urrea's most recent novel, Into the Beautiful North, was a national best-seller. The author of fourteen books, Luis Urrea has received many prestigious awards, including the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize, the Western States Book Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Edgar Award.Collectively, Luis' books have been chosen by more than thirty different cities and colleges across the country for One Book community read programs.Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicage.

Urrea will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will also be archived at the series web site.

Duryee and Urrea will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

Grant Writing Workshop

The final session in the Professional Development Series this fall will focus on grant writing. Join Lesley Arimah and Professor Diana Joseph on Wednesday, November 13th for a session that will provide information on finding and applying for grant opportunities.

Good Thunder Reading Series Hosts the Robert C. Wright Minnesota Writer Residency

cattdavis

The Good Thunder Reading Series welcomes creative nonfiction writer and 2013 Wright Award winner Alicia Catt and fiction writer Alan Davis on October 24th.

Alicia Catt is the 2013 Robert Wright Award winner. Catt is from Minneapolis and holds undergraduate degrees from Minneapolis Community & Technical College and Metropolitan State University. She is a third-year MFA candidate and composition instructor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdfeast, 1966, Mary, The Dirty Napkin, Revolution House and others.

Alan Davis teaches at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he's Senior Editor of New Rivers Press, and in the Fairfield University low-residency MFA program. He's received Fulbright awards to Indonesia and Slovenia. For ten years, he has co-edited American Fiction. He has also been chosen twice by Writer's Digest as one of the best places to publish stories. His recent collection So Bravely Vegetative won the Prize Americana for Fiction. Dorothy Allison reviewed his first book in The New York Times Book Review: "Alan Davis' voice transports and sings.... I kept thinking that I wouldn't mind winding up as a character in one of his stories. Odds are, he'd do me justice."

Davis will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will also be archived at the series web site.

Catt and Davis will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

rachel_stori Rachel Stori

Former MNSU student Rachel Stori passed away September 8, 2012. Rachel graduated from Mankato West High School in 2002. While in high school, she developed a passion for learning German and eventually spent a year studying abroad in Germany. After high school she attended and graduated from the University of North Dakota, where she spent another year studying abroad in Regensberg, Germany. She then moved to Mexico where she taught English to elementary students. Her enthusiasm for education brought her to Minnesota State University, Mankato where she taught German as a teaching assistant while earning her Master's Degree in TESL. After receiving her Master's Degree, she was granted a Fulbright teaching assistantship, completing two years in Austria.

"While at MSU, Rachel was a German TA, as well as a TESL graduate student. As her advisor, I enjoyed the hours spent with Rachel discussing her classes, the many aspects of her teaching position, her research, her desire to teach abroad, and her illness. I was proud of her Fulbright award, and I am so glad she was able to pursue her dream of teaching English in Austria for two years despite her illness. Rachel became good friends with many TESL students and her warmth and humor were positive lights in our program." —Karen Lybeck

2013-2014 Professional Development Sessions

workshop

Fall

All sessions will be held from 12:00-1:00 in AH 214 and are open to graduate and undergraduate students.

Preparing Application Letters and Selecting Writing Samples for Graduate School
Wednesday, October 16th

Join Professors Geoffrey Herbach and Sue Johnston for a session that will focus on writing the personal statement and cover letter and choosing a writing sample for graduate school applications.

Finding Teaching Jobs/Writing Letters of Application for Teaching Jobs
Wednesday, October 30th

Join Professors Donna Casella and Dick Terrill for a session that will provide information on searching for teaching positions. They will also cover the format and content of application letters as well as common materials that may be required to accompany them

Grant Writing
Wednesday, November 13th

Join Lesley Arimah and Professor Diana Joseph for a session that will provide information on finding and applying for grant opportunities.

Watch for more career workshops in spring 2014!

Tuesday, February 4th: Interviewing for Teaching Positions/Preparing Teaching Demonstrations with Professors Heather Camp and Jennifer Veltsos

Tuesday, February 18th: Applying to/Presenting at Academic Conferences with Professors Elizabeth Williamsen and Lee Tesdell

Wednesday, March 19th: Careers in ESL (K-12 and Community Colleges with Professors Glen Poupore and Nancy Drescher

Note: Graduate Coordinator, Professor Melissa Purdue, is available for one-on-one appointments throughout the year to assist students in creating and editing their CVs, job application letters, and graduate school applications.

2013-2014 Professional Development Sessions Begin September 30th

The English Department is hosting its first professional development session of the new school year on Monday, September 30th, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in 303 Armstrong Hall.

Join Professors Kirsti Cole and Candace Black for a professional development workshop that will assist students in preparing to apply to graduate programs (MA, MFA, PhD). The session will address how and when to start searching for schools, when to apply, GRE tests, and how to decide on the right program.

All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to attend!

Good Thunder Reading Series Welcomes Swati Avasthi and Rachael Hanel

avasthi_webhanel_web

The Good Thunder Reading Series welcomes young-adult fiction writer Swati Avasthi and creative nonfiction writer Rachael Hanel on October 3rd.

Swati Avasthi is the author of Split (Knopf, 2010), which received the International Reading Association Award, Cybils Award, silver Parents' Choice Award and was nominated for or won 15 state awards. It has made numerous "Best of" lists including YASLA, CCBC, and Bank Street. Her second novel, Chasing Shadows is hot off the presses from Knopf. Avasthi teaches at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and lives in Minneapolis with her two dogs, two kids and one husband, though he is worth two.

Rachael Hanel writes and teaches in Mankato. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has written more than twenty nonfiction books for children, and her essays have been published in the Bellingham Review and New Delta Review. Her memoir about growing up as a gravedigger's daughter, We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down, was released in Spring 2013 from the University of Minnesota Press.

Avasthi and Hanel will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The interview will also be archived at the series web site.

They will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

Sigma Tau Delta Member of the Month

Nick Lloyd is the Sigma Tau Delta member of the month for September.

Nick plans on graduating in the spring of 2014. He's semi-fluent in Spanish, German and American Sign Language and published an online YA horror-romance novel, Shades of Red and Blue.

Founded in 1922, Sigma Tau Delta has over 750 active chapters and functions at the international level, sponsoring publications, programs, and events of value to the profession and teaching of language and literature.

Learn more about Nick and Sigma Tau Delta here.

Cookie Trival Pursuit

Sigma Tau Delta is hosting their annual Cookie Trival Pursuit Wednesday, September 18th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm outside AH 230. Stop by, play a little literary Trival Pursuit and get a cookie!

 

Good Thunder Reading Series Kicks Off September 12

kidder

The Good Thunder Reading Series kicks off a new semester September 12 by welcoming creative nonfiction writer Tracy Kidder to Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Strength in What Remains, Mountains Beyond Mountains, My Detachment, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.

Tracy Kidder will be interviewed on "Authors in Transit" on public-radio station KMSU-FM 89.7 airing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday at 11:00 a.m.

He will lead a talk on craft at 3:00 p.m. in CSU Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253.

Track News

Events

April 10th Good Thunder Reading Series

Jesmyn Ward and Nikky Finney

3:00 Talk on craft, CSU Ostrander
7:30 Reading, CSU 253

April 26th The world as I see it Conference