Spring 2022 Holder Lecture

April 21, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Callen Conference Room

Event is free and open to the public. 

On April 21 at 4 p.m., Douglas Hesse, professor of writing in the Department of English at the University of Denver, will discuss “The Creative Coordinates of Contemporary Nonfiction: Matters for Readers and Writers.” The talk will explore how nonfiction writers variously draw on their memories or 1458919536387seek new experiences, how they put themselves at the center of their writing or keep themselves in the background, and how they move between showing and telling, between stories and ideas. Hesse will illustrate these dynamics with work from contemporary writers. Hesse is author of over 80 essays and is the co-author of four books, including Creating Nonfiction and the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers. Nationally recognized for his leadership in writing pedagogy and administration and national literacy efforts, he has served President of the National Council of Teachers of English, Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and chair of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum.  Hesse earned his PhD from The University of Iowa.

Lecture will be held in Callen Conference Room located on the 1st floor of the Smith Curtis building at Nebraska Wesleyan University.  Event is free and open to the public.

Visiting Writer Series Presents:

TC Tolbert


March 29, 2022 at 7:00pm

Via Zoom:

This event is produced in collaboration with the Wolf Fund and free and open to the public.

TC Tolbert identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, mover, and poet. And, s/he’s a image002human in love with humans doing human things. S/he is author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014 and re-released in 2022 by Nightboat Books), five chapbooks, and co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books 2013). TC was awarded an Academy of American Poets’ Laureate Fellowship in 2019 for his work with trans, non-binary, and queer folks as Tucson’s Poet Laureate. S/he also loves collaborating with wood.

NWU English Department Presents:

Justin Runge

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Rescheduled for Monday, March 21, 2022 at 5pm

By Zoom at:

Event is Free and open to the public 

A Conversation with Justin Runge: Runge will be presenting on his career as a writer, publisher, and editor.

He is the author of Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012), Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014), and poetry published in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Northwest, Sycamore Review, and other journals. While at Nebraska Wesleyan, Runge served on the staff of both The Reveille and The Flintlock. He then earned a creative writing MFA at the University of Alabama, where he oversaw the redesign of Black Warrior Review and founded chapbook imprint Blue Hour Press. Runge currently works as the communications coordinator for the University Honors Program at the University of Kansas.

William C. Kloefkorn Nebraska Writers Series

Jeff Alessandrelli


Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 6:00pm

Olin Lecture Hall B at Nebraska Wesleyan University

Event is free and open to the public!

Jeff Alessandrelli is most recently the author of the poetry collection Fur Not Light (2019), which TheScreen Shot 2022-03-04 at 8.09.41 AM
Kenyon Review called an “example of radical humility … its poems enact a quiet but persistent empathy in the world of creative writing.” Entitled Nothing of the Month Club, an ex­panded version of Fur Not Light was released in the United Kingdom in 2021. Forthcoming in 2022 from the press [PANK] is a novel focused on selfhood and the contemporary sex reces­sion. In addition to his writing Alessandrelli also directs the nonprofit book press/record label Fonograf Editions. He graduated with his PHO in Literature/Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013.

Visiting Writer Series Presents: image001

Charlotte Pence

February 1, 2022 at 6:00pm

Olin B Auditorium

Event is free and open to the public!

Charlotte Pence’s new book of poems, Code, received the 2020 Book of the Year award from Alabama Poetry Society and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews Indie Poetry Book of 2020.  Code details not only the life cycle of birth and death, but also the means of this cycle: DNA itself. Her first book of poems, Many Small Fires(Black Lawrence Press, 2015), won Foreword Reviews’ silver medal award in image002poetry. Both poetry books weave together personal experience and scientific exploration. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics.
Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

William C. Kloefkorn Nebraska Writers Series

Saddiq Dzukogi

September 30, 2021 at 6:00pm

OLIN Lecture Hall B

image001On September 30th at 6 pm in Olin Lecture Hall B, Nigerian poet Saddiq Dzukogi will read from his most recent poetry collection Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press 2021), which was named one of 29 of the best poetry collections by Oprah Daily.

The reading is presented by Nebraska Wesleyan University’s William C. Kloefkorn Nebraska Writers Series and is free and open to the public.

Saddiq Dzukogi’s poetry collection Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press 2021) was named one of 29 of the best poetry collections by Oprah Daily. His chapbook Inside the Flower Room was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Society of America, Prairie Schooner, and other literary journals and maga-zines. He is a finalist of Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of fellowships and Grants from Nebraska Arts Council, Pen America, Obsidian Foundation, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is a Ph.D. student and serves as an Assistant Poetry editor for Prairie Schooner.

ENG 3040: Studies in Writing-Scriptwriting

Starting October 21, 2021, 2nd 8 weeks of Fall semester

I am pleased to announce the following exciting addition to the Fall 2021 schedule: ENG 3040 Studies in Writing:  Scriptwriting. This course will be taught in the second 8-weeks of the Fall semester, so if you are looking for an additional course, this might be the course for you. This 4-credit course will meet, in-person, in Acklie 109 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the following Wednesday evenings: Oct 20, 27, Nov 3, 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 15

The course focuses on the writing process, and its format is a mixture of lecture, conversation, movie-viewing and workshopping material written for the class.  It is approved as both a “Creative and Performing Artsand (upper level) “Writing Instructive” course in the Archway Curriculum.

Picture1The instructor, Larry B. Williams, has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since the sale of his first feature film in 1984.  He has credits as Writer, Director and/or Producer on over 700 hours of broadcast television including nationally distributed television, episodic, documentary, home video, feature and reality-based programming.  As a screenwriter, Williams has been under contract with and delivered feature scripts to every major studio including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Lorimar/MGM, Electric Pictures, Universal/MCA, Orion, PBS, Fox, ABC, CBS Theatrical.

For more information or questions, please contact Brad Tice at

Spring 2021 Holder Lecture

Daniel Willingham

On April 22 at noon, Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, will discuss “Digital Technology and the Future of Education.

Willingham writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator Magazine, and is the author of Why Don’t Students Like School?When Can You Trust the Experts?Raising Kids Who Read, and The Reading Mind. His writing on education has appeared in 16 languages. In 2017, Willingham was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. He earned his B.A. from Duke University and his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Harvard University.  Join this virtual lecture at

Visiting Writer Series Presents: 

Jillian Weise

February 26, 2020 at 6:00pm

Callen Conference Center

Event is free and open to the public!

Book Signing will follow her reading.

Jillian Weise [pronounced VICE-uh] is a poet, performance artist and disability rights activist. Her first book, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, was reissued in a 10th anniversary Picture2edition with a new preface. The Book of Goodbyes won the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the 2013 Isabella Gardner Award from BOA Editions. Her speculative novel, The Colony, features Darwin, James Watson and Peter SingerWeise’s essays have appeared in A Public SpaceGranta, The New York Times and Tin House. Her work is anthologized in About Us, The Writers PresenceThe Manifesto ProjectDisability Studies ReaderPlease Excuse this Poem and elsewhere. She’s been awarded residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center, the Fulbright Program and the Lannan Foundation. She worked in editorial at The Paris Review and The Iowa Review. She performs as Tipsy Tullivan across social media. Her fourth book is Cyborg Detective (BOA, 2019).

Visiting Writer Series Presents: 

Maria Dahvana Headley

February 6, 2020 at 6:00pm

Callen Conference Center

Event is free and open to the public!

Book Signing will follow her reading.

Picture1Maria Dahvana Headley is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author and editor of seven books in a variety of genres, including The Mere Wife (2018) a contemporary retelling of Beowulf. Her new translation of Beowulf will be released in August, 2020, by FSG in the USA, and Scribe in the UK. Magonia and Aerie (HarperCollins) are young adult adventure
novels set in an imaginary sky kingdom, and she co-edited Unnatural Creatures, a monster story anthology, with Neil Gaiman. Her work has been nominated for The Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize, The World Fantasy Award, the Nebula Award, The Shirley Jackson Award, and The Otherwise Award (formerly The Tiptree Award), among others. Her nonfiction and cultural critique has been seen everywhere from The Daily Beast to the New York Times. In addition to her career as a writer, she’s been a pirate negotiator, a corset maker, and a bartender at the Threesome Tollbooth, a bar built for exactly two guests and one cocktail expert, in a tiny Brooklyn closet. Her work has been supported by The MacDowell Colony, and several remote Italian island airbnbs. and @mariadahvana on Twitter

(Photo is by Beowulf Sheehan)

Flintlock Release Party & English Awards


May 2, 2019 at 4:00pm

Alabaster Lounge – Old Main 2nd Floor

Please attend the official release party for this year’s Flintlock magazine.  English Department awards and Boatright prose, poetry, and art Awards announced and presented.

There will be prizes, food, and music! And, of course, magazines!!

Kenneth Holder Memorial Lecture Presents

Endangered Languages 

By Dr. K. David Harrison

April 25, 2019


Callen Conference Room – Smith Curtis

harrison copyHalf of the world’s languages are endangered and may go extinct in this century. The loss of these languages will have dire consequences not only for their speakers, but also for culture, science, and the environment. Around the world, speakers of endangered languages are mounting strategic efforts to save their languages.  

This presentation features photos and video clips of speakers of some of the world’s most endangered languages, from Siberia, India, the USA and other locations, and will demonstrate how indigenous activists and linguists are working to sustain languages through technology and art.

Visiting Writers Series

Anjali Sachdiva

April 24, 2019 at 6 p.m.
Callen Conference Center

Event is free and open to the public!

 Book Signing will follow her reading.

Anjali Sachdeva’s short story collection All the Names They Used for God, was published by Spiegel and Grau in 2018.  It was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot, longlisted for the Story Prize, and chosen as the 2018 Fiction Book of the Year by the Reading Women podcast. Anjali-Sachdeva-Feature_860x480Sachdeva is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Carnegie Mellon University. She also worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs.  She has hiked through the backcountry of Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States, and spent much of her childhood reading fantasy novels and waiting to be whisked away to an alternate universe. Instead, she lives in Pittsburgh, which is pretty wonderful as far as places in this universe go.

Visiting Writers Series

Julia Whicker

February 21, 2019 at 6 p.m.
Callen Conference Center

Event is free and open to the public!

 Book Signing will follow her reading.

Julia Whicker is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she won both the Capote Fellowship and the Teaching-Writing Fellowship.  She’s had her poetry and essays published in the Iowa Review, Word Riot and The Millions, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Wonderblood  was named on of the best science fiction books for April 2018 by the Washington Post.

Visiting Writers Series

Ishmael Klein (Poet/Playwright)

February 5, 2019 at 6 p.m.
Callen Conference Center

Ish Klein’s published books are: Consolation and MirthMoving Day, and Union! and the chapbook “Every Animal Is Your Mother”. She attended the Iowa Writers Workshop for Poetry and Columbia University where she was a student of Kenneth Koch. Her poems have appeared on the Poetry Foundation website, Fence magazine, Epiphany Magazine and Jubilat among others.1461176499447

Ish is a founding member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets Theater or CRVPT. Her play, “In A Word, Faust” has been performed internationally; it was published by the Cambridge Literary Review. Her play, The Orchids, was a finalist for the Leslie Scalapino Award. She is also the author of the plays The Dee Men, Drummer 41, and The Storm (a play based on the Tempestas told from the point of view of the island). She and her partner Greg Purcell live in Chicago.

The 2018 Kenneth R. Holder Memorial Lecture Presents

Spehk thuh speech uh preh yuh: Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation 

holder lecture 2018

Shakespeare actor, author, and producer Ben Crystal spoke at this year’s Holder lecture about exploration of the 400 year old sound of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. He revealed the rhythms, subtle humor, and rhymes our modern readings disguise.

Crystal was born in Ascot, United Kingdom and attended Lancaster University where he studied English and linguistics before beginning his acting career. He is best known for his work with Shakespeare’s Globe, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Shakespeare Society. Crystal also produced his own plays through Passion in Practice. His book, Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion, which he co-authored with his father David Crystal, was published in 2002. Since the first publication, Crystal has written three more books and travels the world giving workshops and speaking about his work.

March 20, 2018 Visiting Writers Series:

Sandy Longhorn at 6:00pm – Callen Conference Center

Event is free and open to the public!                                                            Book Signing will follow her reading.

longhorn-sandySandy Longhorn is the 2016 recipient of the Porter Fund Literary Prize and the author of 3 books of poetry.  The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, her latest book, won the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press.  Her other books are The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths  and Blood Almanac.  Longhorn holds a BA in English from the College of St. Benedict and an MFA in poetry from the University of Arkansas.  She teaches in the Arkansas Writers MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas, where she directs the C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference.

Seeking Freedom

March 21-24

Sigma Tau Delta’s 2018 International Convention

NWU’s English honorary, Sigma Tau Delta, will be recognized with a special plaque at the convention in Cincinnati, Ohio for its 40 year anniversary. In a letter to the honorary’s faculty leader, “[NWU’s Sigma Tau Delta is] to be congratulated for [its] contribution to the legacy of quality. We are proud to be affiliated with student-oriented, actively-involved, faculty such as [Sandra McBride], and with schools such as Nebraska Wesleyan University, where a real commitment to excellence is both obvious and ongoing,” Sigma Tau Delta Executive Director, William Johnson said.

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Students in the honorary across the country can go to the convention to share some of their work, hear prestigious speakers (such as Mary Norris, the Comma Queen), and network during activities throughout the four days. The event is a great opportunity to meet more English majors, see what creative writing projects they are working on, and how other honoraries are participating within their community.
The NWU honorary members have done more in the last year to connect with the community. Starting in the spring of 2017, the group began a continuous story with a group of 8th graders at Dawes Middle School. One of the NWU students starts the story and each week it bounces between middle schoolers and college students. In addition to the continuous story, the honorary hosts various events throughout the school year, such as a party for Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday and a halloween reading in Alabaster Lounge. Stay tuned for more events in the upcoming semester.
To be a member of the honorary, an English major or minor must have a qualifying GPA and a certain number of credits in English courses. Official induction occurs at the end of the spring semester each year, and if there is interest another is held before Christmas break.

November 14, Visiting Writers Series: Carol Guess at 6:00pm

Event is free and open to the public!                                                            Book Signing will follow her reading.

IMG_1207-copyPoet, fiction writer, and essayist Carol Guess will read for the NWU Visiting Writers Series.

Carol Guess is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered, Doll Studies: Forensics, and Tinderbox Lawn.  A frequent collaborator, she has co-authored several books, most recently The Reckless Remainder and With Animal (both with Kelly Magee).  In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University.  She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.

November 2: Kloefkorn Lecture, 7:30pm Professors Ken Keith, John Walker

Two long-time NWU professors will return to campus on Thursday, November 2, to deliver the annual William C. Kloefkorn Nebraska Writers Series lecture.

The free lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prairie Wolf A&B, located on the lower level of Story Student Center.

ken_keith_photoKeith is Professor Emeritus of Psychological Sciences at the University of San Diego. He is author or editor of a dozen books and more than 150 book chapters and articles. Keith is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Western Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science, and recipient of numerousawards for teaching and for service to people with intellectual disabilities. He lived in Nebraska from 1969-1999, teaching for 20 years at NWU. After 13 years at the University of San Diego, he and wife Connie returned to Nebraska, retiring in Omaha in 2012.

51e5c5b9153ee.imageWalker taught philosophy at Nebraska Wesleyan University for over 30 years and is the author of What the Hoops Junkie Saw: Poems, Stories, and Reflections on the Passing Scene. He is also a songwriter and musician, performing his brand of country-blues music for more than 40 years. He is a long-time traveler with the Nebraska Arts Council’s Touring Artists program and has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as Nebraska’s representative in the Center’s State Days concert series.

The lecture series honors William Kloefkorn who taught English at Nebraska Wesleyan for 35 years from 1962 to 1997. He died in May 2011.

April 29: Flintlock Release Party & Sigma Tau Delta Induction IMG_9187

The English department and students celebrated the launch of the 2016-2017 Flintlock. The journal features only Wesleyan students and their immense talent. During the event, professors Mary Hickman and Scott Stanfield announced the winners of the Boatright prize (in prose, art and poetry), Promising Writer award, and Hudson Scholar award. Each of the winners read and spoke about their pieces (names can be found under the “Our Students” tab). Entertainment was graciously provided by Larry McClain and Scott Stanfield during the reception. The launch is always a great event for those of the department to mingle and reminisce the year as it comes to a close. Each year we look forward to seeing new talent in the journal as well as the department.

The Flintlock launch was immediately followed by the Sigma Tau Delta induction, in which six new members were accepted into the honorary including: Mitchell Heavican, IMG_1316Madeline Warrick, Sarah Bailey, Renae Schwenk, Anthony Anderson, and Julia Gomez. Previously a group of five, the new members more than doubled their size. After receiving certificates and pins, new officers were elected for the upcoming year. Julia Gomez is the new president, Abby Feden the Vice President, Sarah Bailey the Historian, Madeline Warrick the Secretary, and Emmalie Harris is in charge of Philanthropies. They look forward to hosting more events and activities in the 2017-2018 school year.

 April 20: Holder Lecture: Tess Jolls


On Thursday April 20 at 4 p.m., Tessa Jolls, director of the Center for Media Literacy, will host a conversation called “Powershift: Redefining our Media Relationships and Culture.” The event will be held in the Learning Commons area on the first floor of Cochrane-Woods Library. 

Tessa Jolls is President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy, a position she has held since 1999. She also founded the Consortium for Media Literacy, a non-profit which provides research and a monthly newsletter publication.

During her tenure at CML, Jolls’s primary focus has been working in partnership to demonstrate how media literacy works through school and community-based implementation programs.

She actively contributes to the development of the media literacy field internationally through her speaking, writing and consulting, with curriculum development and research projects, and through publishing and disseminating new curricular and training materials.

April 13: Visiting Writer Brian Blanchfield

Like Brenda Shaughnessy and Mary Hickman, Brian BlanchfieldPicture1 is a recipient of the James Laughlin Award, which he received for his 2014 collection of poetry, A Several World. The poems in that book and in his first, Not Even Then, are ambitious but also vulnerable, formidably intelligent while also risking exposure.

His most recent book, Proxies: Essays Near Knowing (a reckoning), is an audacious experiment. Following a path blazed by 16th century French essayist Michel de Montaigne, he writes short essays on heterogeneous topics (sardines, tumbleweeds, house-sitting) “with the internet off,” relying only on “thinking personal unease, a site of vulnerability, and keep unpacking from there.” Proxies, like his poetry, continually delights, surprises, and challenges.

April 3: Kloefkorn Lecture, Robert Fernandez

Robert Fernandez, who holds the Reynolds Chair of Poetry at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, returns to our campus this April as part of the William C. Kloefkorn Lecture series, which is devoted to writers who live in or have written about Nebraska.

robertHe was last on our campus in the spring of 2015, giving a joint reading with his spouse Mary Hickman—a name you very likely recognize.

Mr. Fernandez does dazzling (We Are Pharaoh, 2011); he does intense (Pink Reef, 2013); he does incantatory (Scarecrow, 2016); as if all that were not plenty, he also translates the famously enigmatic 19th century French symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé (Azure, 2015, with
Blake Bronson-Bartlett).

March 30: Visiting Writer Brenda Shaughnessybrenda

Brenda Shaughnessy’s four volumes are all must-reads, from her 1999 debut Interior with Sudden Joy (“I’ve been so lovingly breathed into it appears I can’t move”) to her James Laughlin award winning volume of 2008, Human Dark with Sugar (“How long do I try to get water from a stone? / It’s like having a bad boyfriend in a good band”), to the searingly honest Our Andromeda in 2012 (“But what about my baby? How weak does / a newborn have to be to escape God’s burdens?”) to, just last year, an unforgettable portrait of  adolescence in the 1980s in So Much Synth (“When you learn that you are supposed / to feel lucky and happy because you weren’t raped and killed, / you are already, in this, being truly brutally hurt // in a central, deep, and formative place”).

Poe Party

The English honorary, Sigma Tau Delta, hosted a party on January 19th to commemorate Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday.  


Poe-themed snacks and beverages were provided in Alabaster Lounge by the members and adviser Sandy McBride, such as blood-orange juice and Tell-Tale Heart cookies. They listened to readings of Poe’s work and humorous YouTube tributes, played card games, and colored Poe-inspired coloring pages.It was an entertaining night for English majors and minors to visit in Old Main and bond over mutual appreciation of an excellent poet.007) was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune “Fall’s Best,” and 2007 California Book Award winner. Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was named a “best book of 2014” by Kirkus, Buzzfeed, and NPR. In 2014, she was also named one of Dazed’s “Top 10 American Writers You Need to Read This Year.”