Missouri State University
Department of English Blog

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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MSU celebrates National Poetry Month with distinguished poets

The English department is partnering with the creative writing program and College of Arts and Letters to celebrate National Poetry Month with an April 8 poetry reading.

The reading will feature notable poets Sarah Freligh and Hadara Bar-Nadav. The event is part of Missouri State’s 2016 Reading Series and the Moon City Press Missouri Authors Series.

Sarah Freligh

sarah-frelighSarah Freligh is the author of three books of poetry, including “Sad Math” (Moon City Press, 2015), winner of the 2014 Moon City Poetry Award.

Freligh’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals. Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a poetry grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006 and a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts in 1997.

Hear an interview with Freligh on KSMU’s Missouri State Journal:


Hadara-Bar-Nadav-250x158Hadara Bar-Nadav

Hadara Bar-Nadav is the author of four collections, most recently “Fountain and Furnace: Poems” (Tupelo Press, 2015). Her work has earned numerous awards, including the Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, the Sunken Garden Prize and fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Bar-Nadav is co-author of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. She is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Come to the reading

Date: April 8
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater
Admission: Free and open to the public

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Students to learn about technical communication careers at 14th annual conference

The Society for Technical Communication will host its 14th annual Student Conference on March 19 in Plaster Student Union, room 313.


Professional writing faculty will join with former Missouri State students to offer current students insights into technical and professional writing careers.

The event starts at 8:30 a.m., and registration costs covers a continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.

Event sponsors include:

For more information, contact Professor Kris Sutliff by email or at 417-836-4804.


8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

9 a.m.

Keynote Address

“Scripting the Context of Culture and Care: Dynamics of Health and Medical Communication in International Settings”

Kirk St. Amant (East Carolina University, Greenville, NC)

9:45 a.m.

Panel Discussion

“Writing Creatively Technical”

Joe Donohue (Mostly Serious, Springfield, MO)
Matt Frauenhoffer (Notion LLC, St. Louis, MO)
Price Horn (UMB Financial, Kansas City, MO)
Sarah Nord (Happy Food Co., Kansas City, MO)
Fawn Rechkemmer (Social Media Consultant, Springfield, MO)
Jenny West (Drury University, Springfield, MO)

10:45 a.m.


“Information Design: More Than Manipulating Text”

Tom Warren (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK)

11:30 a.m.

Lunch & Poster Session—PSU 400

1 p.m.

Panel Discussion

“A Day in the Life”

Hunter Auman (BKD CPAs & Advisors, Springfield, MO)
Dan Charles (Tyson Foods, Springdale, AR)
Price Horn (UMB Financial, Kansas City, MO)
Jonathan Kitchin (OrangePoint LLC, Overland Park, KS)
Emily Saltsgaver (Jack Henry, Springfield, MO)
Jennifer Sutliff (New Horizons, Anaheim, CA)

2 p.m.

Panel Discussion

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Nick Carrington (Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH)
Kelly Grist (Garmin, Olathe, KS)
Sabre Nap (Jack Henry, Springfield, MO)
Alyssa Parker (Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.)
Linda Chadwick Wirth (Critical Mass, Delta, CO)

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Moon City Press book on homeless teens making debut at diversity conference

On March 15 and 16, a series of events will celebrate the Moon City Press Book, “Throwaway Youth,” including a jazz performance, readings and a book signing.


Book tells stories of homeless teens in Springfield

The book offers real accounts of homeless teenagers who’ve used the services of Springfield’s Rare Breed Youth Services.

nancy-fairbank-throwaway-youth-490x326Its writer, Nancy Fairbank, was a Central High School student volunteering at the teen center at the time. She is now a student at University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. James Baumlin, MSU English professor and Moon City Press editor, told KSMU he’d heard about Fairbank’s work through a colleague and he approached her about compiling the stories into a book.

Now, Fairbank said, those stories can help the public see the resilience of the area’s struggling teens and hopefully find a way to help them. This week’s events provide an avenue to contribute

Proceeds from events benefit The Kitchen, Inc.

The Center for Community Engagement is hosting two events this week to celebrate the book as part of the Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference.

March 15

7 p.m.
Plaster Student Union Auditorium

Dr. James Baumlin, English professor and Moon City Press editor
Dr. James Baumlin, English professor and Moon City Press editor

Missouri State’s Jazz Ensemble will headline the event, followed by the Untamed Tongues student poetry collective and the Giving Voice student troupe who will perform readings from Fairbank’s book. The event is free and open to the public.

March 16

4:15 p.m.
Plaster Student Union Ballroom West

The authors, editors, book designers and underwriters of the book will be at this book-signing reception to raise money for The Kitchen, Inc.’s Rare Breed Youth Services. The silent auction and raffle will also benefit the Center for Community Engagement.

Underwriting partners include The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, The College of Arts and Letters, MSU Printing Services, The Corbett Law Firm Literacy Outreach and Moon City Press.

Local guitarist, singer and songwriter Mark Barger will provide entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

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