Published January 24, 2017

Distinguished writers

First to campus in spring is Thom Caraway on Jan. 26
  • Thom Caraway

The Monmouth College English Department will welcome five distinguished writers to campus during the spring semester. As they have in past years, each visiting writer will give a public reading and will work with students in creative writing courses and classes.

The first visiting writer will be Thom Caraway, who was the poet laureate of Spokane, Wash., the past two years. Caraway will read from his work at 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the Mellinger Center Lounge before spending the next day meeting with student writers and editors. His reading is free and open to the public.

“Our students love getting a chance to interact with working writers,” said Assistant Professor of English David Wright. “We read their work, ask them questions about their process, and get a glimpse into how a writer makes art on a daily basis.”

Wright said that having a variety of visitors to campus allows students to hear different voices and perspectives. The poets and prose writers invited to the College this semester are diverse in approach, subject matter and what they can teach students through their own writing careers.

Caraway’s poems and short fiction have been posted in several prominent literary journals. His books include A Visitor’s Guide to North Dakota and No Secrets to Sell. Wright said that students will enjoy Caraway’s “weird, poetic mind.”

In addition to teaching book design, editing and writing at Whitworth University in Spokane, Caraway is publisher and founder of Sage Hill Press and editor-in-chief of Rock & Sling, a journal of witness, a literary magazine staffed almost entirely by Whitworth undergraduates.

“I’m excited to get a magazine and small press publishing expert here on campus to meet with editors of COIL (Monmouth’s literary journal) and to help all of us understand better how diverse and rewarding the literary publishing world can be,” Wright said.

Other guests scheduled for the spring include Janice Harrington, Sandra Longhorn, Dave Griffith and Jessica Mesman Griffith. The readings from those writers will also be free and open to the public.

* Feb. 28: Janice Harrington, a poet, children’s author and former librarian who teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois. Her first book of poetry, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (2007), won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her second book of poetry, The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, came out in 2011, and her third book, Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin, was published last year.

* March 20: Poet and essayist Sandra Longhorn directs and teaches in the University of Central Arkansas master of fine arts program and is the author of The Alchemy of My Mortal Form (Trio House), The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths (Jacar Press) and Blood Almanac (Anhinga Press). She also directs the Central Arkansas’ C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference.

April 5: Dave Griffith and Jessica Mesman Griffith will visit from Interlochen, Mich., where Dave teaches creative writing at Interlochen and Jessica edits the publication Sick Pilgrim for Patheos. Dave is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America (Soft Skull, 2006). His essays and reviews have appeared in the Utne Reader, The Normal School, IMAGE, Creative Nonfiction and Killing the Buddha. Widely published, Jessica’s work has been noted in Best American Essays and her memoir, Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters, co-authored with Amy Andrews, won the 2014 Christopher Award for “literature that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” She is also the author of Grace Filled Days (2016, Loyola Press).

For more information, contact David Wright at

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