Missouri State University
Department of English Blog

Moon City Student Invitational Reading

On Friday, November, 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the PSU Theater the English department at Missouri State University will be hosting the Moon City Student Invitational Reading.

Student SelectionMoonCityStudentInvitational

The selection process for this invitational is very competitive, and it is quite an honor for the six students chosen. This semester’s invitational will feature readings from the following individuals:

Bart Anders, Poetry
Zachary Fletcher, Fiction
Mary Henn, Poetry
Matthew Stewart, Fiction
Bill Stoner, Fiction
Brenna Womer, Nonfiction

Event Details

Date: November 6, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location:  Plaster Student Union Theater
Admission: Free and open to the public


Posted in Announcement, Current Events, Readings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Moon City Student Invitational Reading

Tour offers glimpse into MSU’s spooky past

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 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 7 and 9 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30.

Tickets are $4 per person or $10 for a group of three. They can be purchased the night of the event in the PSU across from Bear Necessities. Proceeds support the Folklore Club.

Event details

Dates: Oct. 29 and 30
Time: 7-9 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

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tour offers glimpse into MSU’s spooky past

MFAA students gain new artistic perspectives

Missouri State’s Missouri Fine Arts Academy, also known as MFAA,will begin accepting applications for its 2016 summer program several months earlier this year on Nov. 1. The application period will run until Jan. 15, 2016.

Changes on the horizon for summer 2016 academy

That is not the only change this year. Students who are accepted will be able to attend MFAA for free this year through a state appropriation given by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Director Ray Castrey, who has been with MFAA for two decades, retired at the end of summer 2015. Melissa Herr has taken over the position.

Lastly, Ellis Hall will be undergoing renovations during the summer, so daily assemblies and evening performances will be relocated to other MSU campus facilities.

A day in the life of MFAA students

Three students from the 2015 academy describe their artistic journeys in hopes to inspire others to join them for 2016.

MauraShimmens_webTransformation begins here

Maura Shimmens wakes up nearly three hours before her first class begins. Sometimes she goes for coffee with other students, but most days she finds a peaceful place to be alone, meditate on what she’s learning and get ready for a day of constant interactions and performances.

Shimmens, soon to be a junior at Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City, Missouri, is more than 130 miles from home living among 93 other high school juniors and seniors she’d never met. She’s soaking in the experiences at MFAA, and it’s transforming her, she said.

“Before I came here, I was slowly losing confidence. I’m learning how to not forget that I’m valid in whatever I do. I’m learning to not only show others how confident I am, but show myself.”

RayCastrey3MFAA is a three-week summer residential program for highly motivated student artists in visual arts, theatre, dance, creative writing and music. The academy, which celebrated its 20th year last summer, offers an intensive schedule of classes in interdisciplinary and discipline-specific arts, and a wide range of co-curricular activities.

Art from an interdisciplinary perspective

The interdisciplinary aspect is key, said former MFAA Director Ray Castrey, who has been with the program for all of its 20 years, starting as a part-time teacher after the academy’s inception in 1995.

“It is probably the most difficult to implement, but I have a pretty strong feeling that it is the most important part.”

BaylorBarnes_webBaylor Barnes, a senior at Springfield’s Parkview High School, can attest to its powerful effect. He came to MFAA with a focus in theatre, but he found a passion for painting, an art form he previously thought he was terrible at: “Growing up, I thought, ‘I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t do anything like that.’”

Barnes had five paintings in the works by the middle of the program’s second week.

“There’s no such things as bad art. I guess that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve learned,” he said.

LeahSutherlin_webLearning from one another

Leah Sutherlin will be a senior at McCluer North High School in Florissant, Missouri. She said her friends recommended she come to MFAA, and she’s glad she did.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get to know other people and their backgrounds, and incorporate their knowledge with yours. You learn a lot from the students. The teachers, too, but the students are the really big teachers in the program.”

Posted in News | Comments Off on MFAA students gain new artistic perspectives

‘King John vs. Magna Carta’: Professor debunks literary representations of famous document

Distinguished Professor Dr. James Baumlin will present a talk Oct. 19 on the Magna Carta and its representations in literature — from Shakespeare through Sir Walter Scott.


Baumlin’s presentation will be at 4 p.m. in Duane G. Meyer Library, room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

This talk is sponsored by the Missouri Center for the Book and the William Daggett Society. It coincides with a display at Meyer Library commemorating the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary.

Event details

Date: Oct. 19
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Duane G. Meyer Library 101
Admission: Free and open to public

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘King John vs. Magna Carta’: Professor debunks literary representations of famous document

Poetry Reading by Richard Newman

This Friday poet Richard Newman will be visiting Missouri State as a part of the Missouri Author Series. There will be both a Q&A session and a reading. The reading will take place in the Plaster Student Union Theater on October 16 at 7:00 p.m. The Q&A will be conducted in Siceluff Hall 127 before the reading from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

About Richard NewmanNewmanBook

Richard Newman is the author of three collections of poetry: All the Wasted Beauty in the WorldDomestic Fugues, and Borrowed Towns. His work has been featured in venues such as Best American PoetryAmerican Life in PoetryThe Writer’s AlmanacBoulevardNew LettersCrab Orchard Review, and Moon City Review.  Newman is also the longtime editor of the prestigious literary journal River Styx and teaches at Washington University and in the UMSL Honors College.

Q&A Details

Date: Friday, October 16
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Siceluff Hall 127
Admission: Free and open to the public

Reading Details

Date: Friday, October 16
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Missouri State University
Plaster Student Union Theater
1110 E. Madison St., Springfield, MO
Admission: Free and open to public


Posted in Announcement, Books, Readings | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Poetry Reading by Richard Newman

English Department’s Student Welcome

On Monday, October 5, the English Department will be hosting a welcome for all new and returning students interested in any area of English studies. The welcome will take place at the Union Club in the Plaster Student Union from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

About the welcome

The welcome allows English students to meet and connect with students and faculty across all disciplines within the English Department. President Clif Smart and Dean Gloria Galanes will be in attendance along with some amazing faculty members and experienced students. In addition to being a great mentorship opportunity for new students, the welcome also will have a delicious sundae bar for all of those who attend.

Event details

Plaster Student Union Club (PSU 400)
Date: Monday, October 5
Time: 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Location: 901 S National Ave, Springfield, MO 65897
Admission: Free and open to all students interested in English studies

Posted in Announcement, Current Events, News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on English Department’s Student Welcome

Ozarks Celebration Festival: Alumna reveals Ozarks’ underbelly

Nancy AllenNancy Allen has seen enough courtroom drama to write a book about it. In fact, she has written two!

The former Greene County assistant prosecutor will be on campus Sept. 17 to talk about her two published legal thrillers, “The Code of the Hills” (HarperCollins 2014) and “A Killing at the Creek” (HarperCollins 2015), as well as her upcoming third novel.

The presentation is part of the Ozarks Celebration Festival’s Ozarks Lecture Series.

Years of victim advocacy informed book series

Allen is native of the Missouri Ozarks and an MSU alumna with a degree in English. She is an attorney and senior instructor of business law at Missouri State. She lives in Springfield with her husband and two children.

She was only the second female prosecutor in Greene County where she tried more than 30 jury trials, including murder, rape and incest. She has serve on the Rape Crisis Board and the child protection team of the Child Advocacy Council. She is currently on the board of directors of the Victim Center, an agency which provides free counseling, crisis intervention, and advocacy services for children and adults who are victims of violent and sexual crime in Southwest Missouri.

Nancy Allen BooksOzarks Mysteries reveals complexities of Ozarks culture

Allen’s books are part of her Ozark Mysteries series which follows the career of fictional prosecutor Elsie Arnold who finds that life in the Ozarks — whose beautiful scenery is juxtaposed with a generational history of abuse and code of silence — is more complicated than she expected.

When will she present?

Date: Sept. 17
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union, Room 313

About the lecture series

The Ozarks Lecture Series occurs the week after the Ozarks Celebration Festival and features lectures on the history and culture of the Ozarks. Visit the festival website for more information about the festival including participants and a schedule of events.

Posted in Announcement, News | Comments Off on Ozarks Celebration Festival: Alumna reveals Ozarks’ underbelly

A Fiction Reading by Michael Czyzniejewski

Breakup_StoriesThis Friday Missouri State University’s own Associate Professor in the English Department Michael Czyzniejewski will be reading from his new collection, I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories. His reading will take place in Plaster Student Union Theater at 7:00 p.m.

About the New Collection

I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life by Michael Czyzniejewski examines 29 cases of human love at their most critical junctures, bearing witness to the absurdity of longing.

In a review for the Chicago Tribune, Hope Reese shares that the stories “detail the aftereffects of toxic relationships, traumas and delusions. Less concerned with actual breakups and “love” in any traditional sense, Czyzniejewski’s stories feature characters often desperate, pathetic and delusional. They flirt with danger, quavering on the border of mental instability.”

Czyzniejewski was recently interviewed for the Missouri State Journal in which he discusses what inspired this collection and what he hopes his readers will gain from reading his stories.

mcAbout Czyzniejewski

Michael Czyzniejewski is an assistant professor in the English Department at Missouri State University, teaching courses in fiction writing and literature. He is the author of three collections of short stories, Elephants in Our Bedroom (Dzanc Books, 2009), Chicago Stories (Curbside Splendor, 2012), and I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories (Curbside Splendor, 2015).

He is also the editor of Moon City Review and the Missouri Authors Series and contest series for Moon City Press. In 2010, he was awarded an NEA Fellowship in Fiction. For the past twenty-seven seasons, he has also worked as a beer vendor at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Event Details

Plaster Student Union Theater
Date: Friday, August 28
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: 901 S National Ave, Springfield, MO 65897
Admission: Free and open to public

Posted in Books, News, Readings | Tagged , | Comments Off on A Fiction Reading by Michael Czyzniejewski

English professor’s poem gets national airtime

Jane HWell-known radio show host Garrison Keillor recently read Dr. Jane Hoogestraat‘s poem “At the Edge of a Time Zone” on his program Writer’s Almanac.

Keillor, of “A Prairie Home Companion” fame, read Hoogestraat’s poem on his August 2 program (poem starts at 2:50). The poem is from her award-winning book “Border States,” published in December 2014.

Poetry collection inspired by rural upbringing

Jane H Book

“Border States” is a 72-page poetry collection that was inspired by her experiences growing up in rural South Dakota: “I’ve been writing poetry for a number of years, and I discovered more and more that I was writing about cultural geography. That’s how the landscape and culture of a place influences people in ways that they’re not even always aware of.

“I discovered a few years ago that I had enough poems that were place-based, so I started working to put them together in a collection.”

The book was published as a winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry by BkMk Press, a University of Missouri-Kansas City press. Hoogestraat also received a $1,000 award.

Posted in Books, News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on English professor’s poem gets national airtime