Missouri State University
Department of English Blog

Tour offers glimpse into MSU’s spooky legends

folklore club logoMissouri State’s English students have collected campus ghost stories for the last 15 years, and this week those stories will be told during the MSU Folklore Club’s 9th annual Haunted Tour.

Hauntings reported across campus

The tour winds through campus for 50 minutes of storytelling. You can learn about the Fountain Ghost, the Hag of Wells Hall, the haunted rooms of Freddy, the Dorm Mom and more!

haunted tour_fountainMore about the tour

Tours begin at the Plaster Student Union and leave every 20 minutes between 6 and 9 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 29.

Tickets are $4 per person or $10 for a group of three. They can be purchased the night of the event on the second floor of the PSU, by the blue lockers under the stairs, or reserve tickets by email.  Proceeds support the Folklore Club.

Event details

Dates: Oct. 28 and 29
Time: 6-9 p.m., tours leave every 20 minutes
Tour length: 50 minutes
Location: Begins at Plaster Student Union
Admission: Open to public; $4 per person, or $10 per group of 3

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Alumna releases second novel with campus book signing

Alumna Annie England Noblin (’05, ’07) will sign copies of her recently released second novel, “Just Fine with Caroline,” on Oct. 11 at Paw Prints in the Plaster Student Union.

Photo courtesy HarperCollins.
Photo courtesy HarperCollins.

Book synopsis

From the author of “Sit! Stay! Speak!” comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.

*Synopsis provided by HarperCollins.

More about Noblin

A former MSU Bookstore employee, Annie has authored two novels published by HarperCollins Publishers. Their bio section about her reads:

“Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.”

Event details

Date: Oct. 11
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Paw Prints, Plaster Student Union

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English department welcomes new faculty

Please help us welcome the following professors who joined us this fall.

Dr. Suneeta Thomas, TESOL


Dr. Thomas was born in India and raised in United Arab Emirates. She specializes in different styles of English spoken throughout world.

Dr. Jonathan Newman, English before the 1800s


Dr. Newman is currently working on a book project that focuses on the practical connections between literary competence, masculinity and professional identity from which humanistic authorship emerged in the Middle Ages.

Dr. Leslie Seawright, technical and professional writing


Dr. Seawright has been teaching at the Texas A&M University at Qatar. She specializes in police report analysis and how those reports affect the legal system.

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Mind’s Eye features Keri Franklin’s research on writing instruction

Dr. Keri Franklin leads the newly formed Center for Writing in College, Career and Community at Missouri State. The organization houses the Ozarks Writing Project and College-Ready Writers Program.

Dr. Franklin and her team is dedicating to improving writing instruction across the region. Her research will be featured in the Missouri State’s next Mind’s Eye magazine.

Transforming student writing in the Ozarks

How does a person become a writer? How does a teacher teach writing rather than assign it? How can a school-university partnership make an impact on improving student writing in high schools?

Those are the research questions Dr. Franklin hopes to answer.

Over the last decade, Franklin has secured $1.3 million in grants to carry out the organization’s mission: to impact student writing outcomes as well as teachers’ beliefs and practices.

“I love getting community partners together and seeing people achieve and grow. To create a network that could go on without me — that’s bigger than me — I’m really proud of that.”

Read more about Franklin and her research in the 2016 Mind’s Eye magazine. 

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Students reveal creative writing in biannual Student Invitational Reading

The creative writing faculty has chosen six writers, spanning four genres, to represent the student creative force at the Spring 2016 Student Invitational Reading.



Who will read?

This semester’s readers include the following students:

  • Terry Belew, poetry
  • Christopher Crabtree, poetry
  • Kevin Grzybowski, fiction
  • Heather Gunnett, fiction
  • Olivia Libby, comics
  • Genevieve Richards, nonfiction

The reading is sponsored by the creative writing program, the English department and the College of Arts and Letters.

You’re invited!

April 22

7 p.m.
Plaster Student Union Theater
The event is free and open to the public.

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MSU Undergraduate Literature Conference

This weekend the English Department will be hosting the second annual Undergraduate Literature Conference on April 22-23, 2016.

About the Conference

There will be 18 undergraduate presenters speaking on a wide range of literary and cultural texts along with the new American Poetry Specialist, Dr. Erin Kapppeler, who will give a talk, “Playing Games with Poetry,” based on her current research into late nineteenth-century American poetry clubs.

Event Details

Date: Friday, April 22, 2016
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Kentwood Crystal Room, Kentwood Hall, 700 E. St. Louis Street, Springfield, MO.
Admission: Free and open to the public

Date: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Location: Meyer Library 101, Duane G. Meyer Library, 850 S John Q Hammons Pkwy, Springfield, MO
Admission: Free and open to the public

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 22, 2016 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kentwood Crystal Room

12:00-1:00 Gender and Sexuality

Paige Whitcomb, “Guerilla Warfare: Combating Sexist Stereotypes through Art”
Sarah Shepard, “Looking Deeper: Underlying Intentions of Mankiewicz’s All About Eve
Moderators: TBA

1:00-2:00 Popular Culture

Tori York, “Feminism and Firefly: How One Unconventional Western Challenges Traditional Gender Roles”
Abigail Eskew, “Thematic Binaries in Spirited Away: Chihiro’s Choice”
Sun Jones, “One Girl in All the World: Storytelling through Environment and Exploration in Metroid Prime
Moderators: TBA

2:00-3:00 Personal Identity

Aundrea Davis, “Phantom Pains: Reclamation of Identity, Power, and Anger in the Works of Octavia Butler and Adrienne Rich”
Mary Roccaro, “Hermione Granger as a Complex Female Character in Harry Potter
Emily Joshu, “Within the Minds of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson”
Moderators: TBA

3:30-4:30 Keynote Address

Erin Kappeler, new Assistant Professor of American Poetry at MSU, “Playing Games with Poetry”

Dr. Kappeler is a new Assistant Professor of English who specializes in American poetry. In her talk, she will use her current research into late nineteenth-century American poetry clubs to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by archival research.

Saturday, April 23, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Meyer Library 101

10:00-11:00 Memory, History, Time

Michelle Trantham, “Photography and Postmemory: Imagining the Past in Modiano’s Dora Bruder and Missing Person
Zachary Rea, “The Brevity of Time: Answers to Carpe Diem in ‘Mutability’”
Shelby Preston, “Competing Temporalities in Romeo and Juliet
Moderators: TBA

11:00-12:00 National Identity

Jenica Hawkins, “The Borderless American Identity”
Matthew Jones, “New Slaves: A Marxist Critique of Kanye West’s Yeezus
Genevieve Richards, “A Survey of the Suffering of Women in Modern Europe through Literature and Film”
Moderators: TBA

12:00-1:15 Gender and Race

Emily Gillespie, “Racism and Sexism: Winston Groom’s Forrest Gump Compared to Hollywood’s Forrest Gump
Anja Schilmoeller, “Do You Permit It? Same-Sex Attraction in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables
Brenna Lightsey, Rejection of Tradition and Form in James Joyce’s Ulysses
Courtney Price, “An Infinite Variety of Meaning: The Language of Conquering in Antony and Cleopatra
Moderators: TBA


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