Santa Clara University


English News & Events

News and Events about the Department of English

  •  Remembering Father Rynes

    The Green Knight by Christine Long Brunkhorst '83. Fr. Ted Rynes was more than a professor and a college advisor. He was a beacon that showed students the way to learn and write and live. Read more »

  •  Norma Elia Cantú will be our guest speaker

    Norma Elia Cantú non-fiction writer and scholar, Professor of English, UT San Antonio will be here at SCU on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 4-5pm at St. Clare Room. Co-Sponsored by the Santa Clara Review, Creative Writing Program, & Dept. of English.

    Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la frontera. University of New Mexico Press. Winner, 1995 Premio Aztlán Literary Prize

  •  Praise for the Santa Clara Review

    The Santa Clara Review received high praise for its design, artwork, and the diversity and quality of writing in a lengthy review on, a leading source for information and reviews on literary magazines and books.

  •  Welcome our new faculty member Amy Lueck for 2015-2016

    The English Department welcomes our new faculty member for 2015-16: Assistant Professor Amy Lueck. Forrest Nyugen (English, ‘16) interviews her below.

    I completed my undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing at Loyola University Chicago, and am excited to be part of a Jesuit community once again. I completed my Master’s at University of Pittsburgh and recently received my PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from University of Louisville, where I conducted research on the formation of public high schools in the nineteenth-century US. An article drawn from this project, “’A Maturity of Thought Very Rare in Young Girls’: Women’s Public Engagement in Nineteenth-Century Commencement Essays,” was recently published in Rhetoric Review, and I am pursuing other articles as well as a book-length project from this research as well.

    Why SCU?
    I’m excited to join SCU because of their strong liberal arts tradition, close faculty and student community, research and teaching support, and beautiful campus. I can’t wait to learn even more reasons to love SCU over the years.

    What do you do in your spare time?
    I am very project-oriented, so I usually like to spend my spare time pursuing some kind of art or craft project. For instance, this summer I muddled my way through the reupholstering of a wing-back chair and an ottoman. I also enjoy yoga, cross-stitching and taking very long walks. Oh, and Hulu. I spend a lot of time with Hulu.

    Answer all questions in the speed round with only an adverb:
    Shakespeare? Verily
    The Oxford Comma? Always
    Yoga? Blissfully
    Plaid on plaid? Bravely
    Coke or Pepsi? clearly (Coke!)
    People who just can’t hang? Away
    The Shrinking American Middle-Class? Regrettably
    The Patriarchy? Ungrammatically (Why is there an article on this word these days?)
    The current state of literature in English? Globally
    Air-conditioning? Never
    Speed round? Very

  •  Welcome our new faculty member David Keaton for 2015-2016

    The English Department welcomes our new faculty member for 2015-16: Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer David Keaton. Forrest Nyugen (English, ‘16) interviews him below.

    I received my BFA in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University and my MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where I worked closely with Chuck Kinder on finishing my first massive, unpublishable novel. But now that this is out of my system, I’ve since placed fifty or so pieces of fiction and nonfiction in various publications, as well as published two novels and two collections of short stories. My first collection, Fish Bites Cop! Stories to Bash Authorities, was named the 2013 Short Story Collection of the Year by This Is Horror and was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, and my first novel, The Last Projector (Broken River Books) was recently released in a more portable paperback edition. I’m currently working on a fiction project that deals with the current police abuses in our country and the attempts to rectify this with new technology such as body cameras.

    Why SCU?
    I have been very impressed with the information I continue to discover regarding SCU’s incredible faculty and campus. I’m also fascinated by SCU’s long history (the longest in California, right?), as well as their wonderful stable of writers.

    What do you do in your spare time?
    Lately, I've relegated most of my spare time to some last-minute writing projects. There have been a couple short-story invites for upcoming anthologies that I hope to finish up this week before I put this computer in a box and chase it to California. I'm also an avid movie watcher, and for no good reason, I collect games for the long-defunct Atari Lynx "handheld" (I put that in scare quotes because it's notoriously unwieldy). Useless trivia - Tobey Maguire was the little kid in the original Atari Lynx television commercial. His is the only success story I could find regarding this game system.

    If space aliens from an evil galactic empire we only recently discovered — but too late! — declared war on kingdom animalia, phylum chordata, class mammalia, the entire world and also America, by raining down disrespect in the form of nukes, lasers and/or name-calling on the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, and President Trump failed us again, and the oceans are still rising, and the bees are still dying, and we regretted ever cutting NASA's budget, and if, after a series of completely logical events, our very own Santa Clara University became the last bastion of capitalism, not to mention Jesuit Distinctness, for all humankind amid an onslaught of epithets and shrapnel to safeguard everything we few, we patriotic, we mammalians hold dearest: hair, breasts and hot-bloodedness. Could we count on you? You say that, but what would you do?
    I contemplate post-apocalyptic scenarios almost daily, and they almost always involve the hoarding of eyeglasses. I have five pairs of glasses to avoid any Lord of the Flies-type power struggles, so I would be in charge of using my pile of glasses all day, every day to focus the sun and heat up our dinners. This would put me in a fearsome position, kind of like the bad guy in Keven Costner's The Postman, which means I would use my authority to force people to watch The Postman, or, more likely, to please hold these glasses for a second because my arm is tired and heating up this stone soup is taking forever.

    Answer all the questions in the speed round with only an adverb:
    Shakespeare? Bloodily
    The Oxford Comma? Correctly
    Yoga? Bear-ily
    Plaid on plaid? Loudly
    Coke or Pepsi? Toothlessly
    People who just can’t hang? Clint Eastwood-ly
    The Shrinking American Middle-Class? Tragically
    The Patriarchy? Leave It To Beaver-ly
    The current state of literature in English? Timidly
    Air-conditioning? Desperately
    Speed round? Cautiously

  •  Creative Writing and Santa Clara Review News

    This year the English Department and Creative Writing Program sponsored poetry readings by SCU alumni Peter Verbica and Janice Dabney and SCU faculty members Tim Myers and Philip Kobylarz, a fiction and nonfiction reading by SCU alumnus and faculty member Mike Malone, and a storytelling event with SCU faculty members Tim Myers and Andy Garavel.

    The Santa Clara Review, the Creative Writing Program, and the Department of English inaugurated an ambitious reading series this past year: Writing Forward featured Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Gerald Stern, Lenore Marshall Prize winner and NEA/Guggenheim poet Rigoberto Gonzalez, and New York Times columnist and non-fiction author Katie Hafner. (A student interview with Gerald Stern may be heard at—Mr. Stern said the questions made it one of the best interviews he had ever given).

    Writing Forward builds on the reading series previously tied to Review publication parties that brought to SCU notable poets and fiction writers such as Robert Hass, Juan Felipe Herrera, Carolyn Forché, Dana Gioia, and Jim Shepard.

    Writers for the coming year include poet Alexandra Teague (California Book Award winner) on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 5-6 PM, St. Clare Room (Learning Commons) and distinguished non-fiction writer Norma Elia Cantú, on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 4-5 PM, St. Clare Room. All are welcome.

    The Review and Creative Writing are also working with the College of Arts and Sciences and other campus organizations to bring U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to SCU in Spring 2016 (n.b.: the Review brought him first two years ago). The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature.

    We wish to congratulate the following students for their success in the increasingly competitive admissions to MFA in Creative Writing programs: Martin Saunders, ‘12, English major with creative writing emphasis, accepted full scholarship and teaching stipend to attend the MFA program in poetry at  North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Kelly McMeekin, ‘13, English major with creative writing emphasis, will attend the MFA program in fiction at University of Washington, Bothell. Ellen Paolini, ‘14, English major with creative writing emphasis, accepted full scholarship to attend the MFA program in fiction at Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia.

  •  Writing Award Winners and Honorees from 2014-2015

    Jacob Wilbers
    Winner of the Christiaan Lievestro Prize for his portfolio “The Proper Use of Colorblindness in America’s Educational System,” “Becoming Human: Character Growth in Rasselas,” “Women and World Order: The Peculiar Place and Power of Females in Hamlet”

    Patrick McDonell
    Winner of the Katherine Woodall Prize for his essay “Creating the Elevator: The Creation of Place in Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio”

    Forrest Nguyen
    Winner of the Tamara Verga Prize for his poem [untitled: Ghazal]

    Kalyn Josephson
    Winner of the McCann Short Story Contest for her short story “A Bit Scruffy”

    Sabrina Barreto
    Winner of the Shipsey Poetry Prize for her poem “Summer Glimpses”

    Marissa Martinez, Max Nguyen, Erin Root and Max Silva
    Winners of the Multimodal Writing Prize for their anti-privilege campaign: “Beyond Guilt: Solidarity Through Action”

    Natalie Grazian and Helena Isabella Alfajora
    Canterbury Scholars 2015-2016

    Addison Beck, Frankie Bastone and Avery Unterreiner
    English Club Officers 2015-2016

    Jacob Lans and TJ Brown
    Editors of the Santa Clara Review 2015-2016

  •  Faculty Achievements

    Simone Billings has worked on the 6th edition of The Well-Crafted Argument with Fred White – and is excited that two of her CTW students from Fall-Winter 2014-15 will have their final papers from Winter 2015 published in the 6th edition, which will be out in January 2016.  In Fall 2014,Billings served as a reviewer of student submissions for the annual convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society for undergraduate and graduate English majors and minors.  In Winter 2015, Billings completed a 5-week MOOC called “Shaping the Way We Teach English: The Landscape of English Language Teaching,” a course in teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.  Also in Winter, Billings chaired a session at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, “Exploring Identifies:  Embodied and Disembodied,” as well as attending breakfast meetings of the Writing Program Administrators and the Jesuit Programs Writing Program Administrators (besides going to various sessions).  In Spring 2015, Billings piloted a hybrid Advanced Writing course, attended the Spring meeting of the Northern California-Nevada affiliate of Writing Program Administrators since she was president this year of that affiliate, was a stage 1 reviewer for submissions to the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication, and interviewed applicants for Phi Beta Kappa.  In Summer 2015, she was a moderator of one and a respondent to another session at The Young Rhetoricians Conference.  In August she also will serve again as a Discipline-Specific Reviewer for US applicants in English for Fulbright Scholar grants.

    Phyllis Brown and Kevin Visconti (Leavey School of Business) represented Santa Clara University at the 4th convening of the Aspen Undergraduate Business Education Consortium, hosted this year at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business June 7-9. Phyllis and Kevin were invited to report on a study of ePortfolios and Pathway reflection essays in the open plenary session and then to lead discussion of the project in the following session. Their work involves collaboration with Christine Bachen (Communication Department and Director of Assessment), Susan Parker (Accounting Department), and Andrea Brewster (Curriculum Manager for ELSJ) in conjunction with their multi-year study of ePortfolios as a tool to deepen learning related to Core Pathways. Phyllis has served on the Advisory Board for the Consortium for the last two years.

    Michelle Burnham published a review essay, “Literary Recovery in an Age of Austerity,” in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 32.1 (2015): 122-32. She edited volume 44 of the scholarly journal Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, which was published in March 2015. Michelle will also be serving as a reviewer for the ACLS Fellowship Program in 2015-16.

    Diane Dreher received her Master’s degree in Counseling with a Health Psychology emphasis this June.  In Fall 2014, she published an empirical article with David Feldman and Robert Numan, “Controlling parents survey: Measuring the influence of parental control on personal development in college students,” in the College Student Affairs Journal. Her vocation identity questionnaire (Dreher, Holloway, & Schoenfelder, 2007) was used in the University of Chicago Medical School’s national study of vocation in medical students, published this year in Teaching and Learning in Medicine. She published a chapter, “Leading with compassion: A moral compass for our time,”in The psychology of compassion and cruelty: Understanding the emotional, spiritual, and religious influences, edited by Thomas G. Plante, and presented her findings in an “Ethics at Noon” panel on leadership in April. Her article, “’To tell my story’”: Grief and self-disclosure in Hamlet,” was accepted for publication this spring by the interdisciplinary journal, Illness, Crisis, and Loss.
    This year Diane served as president of our campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Faculty Senate representative for the English Department, and a member of the Faculty Senate Task Force on Salaries and University Budget Priorities. She was elected president-elect of the Faculty Senate for 2015-16, and will be on sabbatical, working on her next book, in Fall 2015.

    Andy Garavel’s article, “A Dublin Rape of the Lock: John Wilson Croker’s Amazoniad” has been published in Eighteenth Century Ireland. He has been serving as peer reviewer for The Irish University Review. On May 28, he and Tim Myers performed “An Evening of Storytelling” in the St. Clare Room, sponsored by the English Department and the University Library. Andy has been named to the Leadership Board of the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Kirk Glaser had two poems appear this year in Nimrod: International Journal of Prose and Poetry, eight poems in The Sand Hill Review, one poem in The T.J. Eckleberg Review, and one poem in De La Mancha.

    Jill Goodman was the faculty recipient of the Broncos Read Award for 2014-15. This University Library Award is given to faculty, student, staff and alumni for their contributions to the university, for their love of reading, and because they embody the values of the university. Jill Goodman received the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. John B. Drahmann Advising Award, 2013-14.  This was awarded in September, 2014, for “extraordinary dedication to student welfare through wise, informed, effective, and caring counsel” and for demonstrating “the ability to motivate other teachers and learners.”  In late summer 2014, Jill Goodman and Gail Gradowski published an article in the Oral History Review entitled “Using Online Video Oral Histories to Engage Students in Authentic Research.” Oral History Review.  41.2 (2014): 341-50.

    John Hawley presented a paper, “Envisioning the Postcolonial and the Queer: Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers and Saints and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother?” at a Graphic Novel conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and gave an invited public lecture, “From Tom of Finland to Vera Wang: Stonewalling Stonewall,” in Humboldt University’s W.E.B. DuBois’s lecture series.

    Ron Hansen’s novel A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion was the subject of the keynote address (“A Plea in Favour of Guilt”) by French critic Adrian Grafe at the University of Bucharest on June 5th.

    Jackie Hendricks presented a paper entitled “Criseyde Becomes Cresseid Becomes Criseyde: Chaucer’s, Henryson’s, and 16th-century Printers’ Negotiation of shared Literary Space” at the annual Medieval Association of the Pacific conference held in Reno, NV in April. She has since developed it into an article that she is submitting to be considered for publication.

    Miah Jeffra was awarded the Lambda Literary Fellowship in Nonfiction, and was a Writer’s Grotto LitCamp attendee in fiction. Jeffra is also a featured reader at the BeastCrawl Literary Festival, through Pandemonium Press, in July. 

    Maria Judnick will be presenting “Learning to Vary Sentence Structures” at her fourth AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander) Pedagogy Workshop at SJSU in June 2015.  She continues to blog for KQED Pop and recently celebrated publishing her thirtieth post for the website.

    Nick Leither published Cook and Tell: Recipes and Their Stories at Santa Clara University.  The book, edited in collaboration with Maura Tarnoff and Stefanie Silva, collects twenty-three recipes and their accompanying narratives, written by SCU first-year students in Critical Thinking and Writing. The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review at John Hopkins University published his story, “Indications,” in June.  He continues to publish and edit collaborative writing on a blog he created for student work called Tense Present.

    Michael S. Malone’s book The Intel Trinity, published last summer, was named the Best Business Book of 2014 by 800-CEO-READ, beating out the likes of Walter Isaacson’s latest book.  His new book, Team Genius (HarperCollins), co-authored with Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, comes out in July.  Cost of Goods Sold, the second novel in his ‘Silicon Valley Quartet’ will be published later this month.  The second edition of his award-winning history, 4 Percent, was published last month.  Besides teaching English 71 for the first time, Malone has also filled his days writing editorials for the Wall Street Journal, averaging one per month so far in 2015.  He is currently writing under contract the pilot to a new television series.

    Cruz Medina’s book Reclaiming Poch@ Pop: Examining the Rhetoric of Cultural Deficiency was published by Palgrave MacMillan at the beginning of 2015. At the 2015 College Composition and Communication Conference, Cruz presented on his book as a part of a panel on self-identification with senior scholars in rhetoric and composition. Cruz’s coverage of the conference was featured prominently on NCTE’s website. In March, Cruz co-authored an article in Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society that advocated for the ethical consideration of the experiences of people living in Arizona when discussing recent legislation. Cruz was also invited to present to community college faculty on culturally relevant rhetorical analysis as a part of the Puente program housed on UC Berkeley’s campus. As a part of Trish Serviss & Simone Billings’ Bannan Grant on writing, Cruz presented on multimodal writing and the Jesuit tradition on the Santa Clara University campus. In May, Cruz presented at the 2015 national conference for Computers and Writing at University of Wisconsin, Stout along with Trish Serviss and six undergraduate Santa Clara students in the LEAD program on the use of iPads in CTW courses. In June, Cruz has a short chapter in a collection called Teaching Latino/a Literature in the 21st Century along with Juan Velasco.

    Tim Myers’ new book of poetry, Nectar of Story, is out June 17th from BlazeVOX Press.  Tim’s published three short stories, with PIF Magazine, Storytelling, and Exterminating Angel Magazine respectively, has an article on the Orpheus myth with Los Angeles Review of Books, an article with the Colorado College Bulletin, and three poems in an anthology about siblings.
    Loring Pfeiffer successfully defended her dissertation, “The Politics of Desire: English Women Playwrights, Partisanship, and the Staging of Female Sexuality, 1660-1737,” on May 1.

    The English Department will soon be updating its website! Please help us determine how it can best serve alumni by completing our upcoming alumni survey, which will arrive via email this Fall. Send updates of your email address in advance to our website.

  •  The English Club

    The English Club was rebooted for the 2014-15 school year. The club wanted to find new ways for students and faculty to engage with each other (and with ideas) outside of the classroom. Three students – Addison Beck, Avery Unterreiner, and Frankie Bastone – helped organize and host four events over the course of the year. During the Fall Quarter, the club hosted a screening of The Fault in Our Stars, an adaptation of the novel by John Green. During the Spring Quarter, Michelle Burnham organized an alumni panel, an event that gave students a chance to hear from six of our alumni about the ways their English studies inform their careers. The club also sponsored two traditional storytelling nights. The first night featured Tim Myers, and the second night featured Tim Myers and Andrew Garavel. We are looking forward to hosting more events next school year.

  •  SCU Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta 2014-2015

    In 2015, the SCU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta  welcomed 19 new members to its group; they range from high sophomores to seniors.  The chapter celebrates the three members—junior Natalie Grazian and seniors Sabine Hoskinson and Jacob Wilbers—who represented SCU at the annual convention, held in Albuquerque, NM March 18-22, 2015.  Sabine read a piece of creative nonfiction: “Floating in the Mediterranean”; Jacob read “Colored Vision: Identity in DeLillo’s White Noise”; and Natalie read “The Upside to Nightmares.”  They also enjoyed attending talks by convention speakers Gary Soto and Leslie Marmon Silko.  Next year’s officers—Natalie Grazian, President; Helena Isabella Alfajora, Vice-President; and Joseph Sanfilippo, Teasurer—are looking forward to next year’s convention March 2-5, 2016, in Minneapolis MN with its theme “Finding Home.”


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