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“Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.”

— William Stafford

The English Department’s rigorous curriculum introduces students to a shared literary tradition while encouraging intellectual independence. Our classes acquaint students with a wide range of British and American literature, teaching students to engage with the texts through close reading and literary analysis. Small class sizes allow students to build close relationships with our dynamic faculty of active scholars and creative writers, and ensure that students receive individual attention during class time and office hours. In the classroom, students participate in an interactive process of discussion and collaborative interpretation. Professors continually challenge students to argue thoughtfully and communicate effectively, both on the page and in real time.

We are a community beyond our classes, sponsoring many literary events open to the public throughout the year.  In addition to hosting nationally recognized authors and critics as Mark Edmundson, Geoffrey O’Brien, and Lyn Hejinian, we regularly showcase the scholarly and creative work of our own faculty and students in colloquia and readings. Many students are also involved with the Lewis & Clark Literary Review, a student-produced literary magazine sponsored by the English Department. See Wordsworth, our department newsletter, to learn more.


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The Department of English is pleased to co-sponsor the
Visiting Writer’s Series with Watzek Library.


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December 2nd, 2015

  • Image preview 6:30pm: A Fiction Reading by Willy Vlautin

    Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published four novels: The Motel Life (2007–NYT Editor’s choice and notable book, made into a major motion picture starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsh, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson), Northline (2008), Lean on Pete (2010-Winner of the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, short-listed for the IMPAC award), and The Free (2014-Winner of the Oregon People’s Choice Award).

January 27th, 2016

  • Image preview 7:00pm: A Fiction Reading by Natalie Serber

    Natalie Serber is the author of Shout Her Lovely Name, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, a summer reading selection from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest. Community Chest, (Two Sylvias Press), a memoir, was released in the fall of 2015. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, Inkwell, and Hunger Mountain.  Essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, the Oregonian, The Rumpus, Salon, and Fourth Genre.  She lives in Portland with her family.

February 11th, 2016

  • Image preview 6:00pm: A Poetry Reading by Linda Gregerson
    Linda Gregerson’s books of poetry include Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976 to 2014 (Mariner Books, 2015);The Selvage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012); Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), a finalist for the National Book Award; Waterborne (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996), a finalist for both The Poet’s Prize and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Fire in the Conservatory (Dragon Gate Press, 1982).

    In 2015, Gregerson was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches American poetry and Renaissance literature at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the MFA program in creative writing.

February 24th, 2016

  • Image preview 6:00pm: A Poetry Reading by David Baker

    David Baker is author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Never-Ending Birds (Norton), which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize in 2011, and a forthcoming volume, Scavenger Loop.  His five books of prose include Show Me Your Environment: Essays on Poetry, Poets, and Poems (Michigan, 2014) and, with Ann Townsend, Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (Graywolf, 2007).  Among his awards are prizes and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, and Society of Midland Authors.  He holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and is Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review.

March 3rd, 2016

  • Image preview 7:00pm: A Poetry Reading by D.A. Powell
    D. A. Powell’s most recent books are Repast (2014) and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (2012) which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. His honors include the Kingsley Tufts Prize in Poetry, the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and an Arts & Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A former Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard, Powell has taught at University of Iowa, UT-Austin, Columbia, Davidson and Stanford. He lives in San Francisco.

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