Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Calvin Student and Grad in Perspectives

In this month's issue of Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought, two essays begun in Calvin English classes are going public.

"One Hundred Pages Waiting," a piece by first-year writing major Bob Vander Lugt, describes his journey back to college after 30 years away. The piece began as an assignment in English 295.

"Everything That Rises," by Alissa Goudswaard (2010 grad), is a meditation on breadmaking and place that began as part of Alissa's creative honors project in 2009.

Are Calvin student writers taking over this fine magazine, with its distinguished history rooted in Calvin's brilliant tradition of Reformed thought? Yeah, probably.

Congrats to Bob and Alissa!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Schmidt Brings Home the Bling

Our own Prof. Schmidt appeared in the department again this morning after spending several days in New York for festivities surrounding the National Book Award announcements.

Alas, he didn't win. But in his Craft of Writing class last week, he did correctly predict the winner in the Young People's Literature category. So that counts for something.

Actually, the nomination is a huge honor, as all the Calvin media coverage rightly suggests. With two Newbery nominations and now this--along with many, many other honors and awards--you would think he would get a little cocky. Not so. As he himself remarked this morning, "I live in Alto."

The National Book Nomination festivities required Schmidt to wear a tux and enjoy a lamb dinner at a swanky New York ballroom, to which he was delivered in a limousine. He also brought home a gorgeous plaque and rather impressive medal. Look for them in a department display case soon. This indicates how the rest of us are attempting to take credit for Gary's accomplishments.

For more coverage of the National Book Awards and video of interviews with Schmidt and the other nominees, check out the NBA website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Calvin Student in The Banner

Our own Sarah Vander Molen is making her publication debut this month with a lovely piece called "World Sorrow," appearing in the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church, The Banner.

Sarah is an English Secondary Ed major/Linguistics minor. Congratulations, Sarah!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Congrats to Prof. Klatt

Prof. Lew Klatt's poem "Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91" has just appeared in the new Best American Poetry 2011 collection.

The poem contains a reference to a "cloud of ink," the title of Klatt's Iowa Poetry Prize-winning collection.

Read the full text of the poem here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A writer? But how will you make a living??

Have a ready answer for your relatives--attend some English Department vocation panels this semester!

The department has invited off-campus guests to address working in their fields and to offer tips for how to prepare for such work.

We're also planning a hands-on workshop to help assist all of you who are looking for internships to use the career services database; at that same workshop, we'll be unveiling some of the new internships that have been developed this summer.

So please put these on your calendar. And plan to join us next Thursday for finding out more about working in publishing. There may even be treats!!

"Working in Publishing"

Thursday, Sept 15

3:30 p.m.

CFAC 264

"Finding Internships as an English Major: Practical Help"

Thursday, October 6

3:30 p.m.

Room TBA

"Working with Books" (aka libraries, the book trade, etc)

Thursday, November 10

3:30 p.m.

Room TBA

Job Opening at Nature Preserve

These job opportunities are coming fast and furious now. The Program Manager at the ecosystem preserve is looking for an assistant to do writing and communications for their programs. Evidently feeding animals is also involved. This is a work-study opportunity.

Contact person is Jeanette M. Henderson, Program Manager.

Check out the job description and this website.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Opening: Internship at COS

If you are looking for an internship this fall, either for the internship course or otherwise, consider this opportunity. (Within walking distance of campus, too.)

Job title: Ministry Assistant
Duties: Research various church websites and Assist with the re-design of COS church website. Research and help create a database of various levels of Basic English songs, liturgies, etc. Research VBS Curriculum. Research and evaluate our ESL assessment tools.

Interact and work with a variety of church ministries/staff.
Assist with event planning,: promotion, press releases, etc.
Develop Resource Lists and Bibliographies.
Work on other tasks/projects as time allows.

Qualifications: Follows instructions, team player, responsible, attention to detail, excellent writing skills, good people skills, meets project deadlines.

Contact: Lori Wiersma
Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church
3835 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Job Openings at Calvin for Writers

We occasionally get notice in the department about job openings at Calvin that especially call for good writers. If you are looking for a great work-study job, take a look at these announcements:

Enrollment communications at Calvin is currently seeking two talented students to work with our small team.

-Communications assistant - student writer and editor for Web, e-mail and print publications (including VERGE magazine - )
-Social media assistant - student strategist to utilize Facebook, and other social media platforms to recruit students

Qualifications for both of these positions include excellent written communication skills and ability to use or learn new technologies.

These positions will include plenty of hands-on training in new technologies, and mentoring in writing and editing for businesses.

Please contact:
Allison Graff
Communications Coordinator
Enrollment Communications | Calvin College

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Montessori Poetry Project

Writers, we need you!

You have already received (probably) an e-mail about this, so this is a second call for volunteers.

Please consider joining us for a short afternoon on April 29, about 2-4 p.m.

We will be working with fifth graders at the Montessori Public School, helping them write poems and prepare their work for their very own publication.

This year will be our fifth collaboration with this school, and it always turn out to be a great experience. It's a simple volunteer opportunity for us (how many volunteer opportunities involve poetry??), but it has such a nice result for these young people.

If you are interested, please contact Prof. Rienstra at Thanks!

Monday, April 11, 2011

CCL Contest Ready to Roll

Forget the basketball rivalries. Let's beat the other Christian colleges at WRITING! Here's our chance to show the mighty power of Calvin writers. It's time to enter the Conference on Christianity and Literature writing contest. Deadline is May 13. Categories are poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and academic essay. Look around the English department for posters to get all the details or check out the rules here. Prizes are modest but very nice. Mostly this is about honor and glory. To God. Of course.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writers Market Online Now Available to You

Did you know that the library now subscribes to Writers Market online? You know that enormous tome that lists all the places you can publish your writing? Yeah, the one you hardly dare look through because it's so intimidating? Well, we do have a physical copy of that, but we now have a Calvin subscription to the searchable website as well.

If you would like to use it, just ask one of the librarians for the access codes. Or you could talk to Prof. Rienstra in the department.

Of course, we hope that you will also try out Calvin Writers Recommend, our own Calvin-student-oriented version of Writers Market. Much less overwhelming and aimed specifically at Calvin student writers. Check it out here.

Hamlet Happenings

In keen anticipation of CTC's production of Hamlet, which opens next weekend, the CAS department is sponsoring two events that may be of interest to writers and sundry Hamlet fans. First, the 2009 RSC film production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant as Hamlet and Patrick Stewart as both Claudius and the ghost (!), will be shown Friday, April 1, from 2-5 in the Bytwerk Theater. Second, calling all photographers: look for the Hamlet photo contest running this weekend on campus. On Friday, a table will be set up in Johnny's to explain how it will work. Upload a Hamlet-related photo to CTC's Facebook page and you could win one of several really good prizes. There will be some suggested categories, but inventiveness will be rewarded. For more details, you might contact Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cash Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction writers, here's a chance to earn a summer free of that summer job. Earn your college funds by writing instead.

Check out the 2011 Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Awards for
Creative Nonfiction. Cash prizes of $5,000 to $10,000 will be awarded to
National Winners.

Visit for more info and to download
a brochure.

The submission deadline is April 28, 2011, Noon CST.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Apply to be a Festival of Faith and Writing Volunteer

In just over a year (April 19-21, 2012), Calvin College will hold its biennial Festival of Faith and Writing ( This event hosts more than seventy speakers and 2,000 attendees on Calvin's campus. Past Festival's have welcomed such luminaries as Anne Lamott, Salman Rushdie, Michael Chabon, Maya Angelou, Elie Wiesel, John Updike, Katherine Paterson, and Madeline LEngle, among many, many others.

In order to put this event on, we need a great deal of assistance from dedicated student volunteers willing to serve on the Festival's Student Committee. In return for this help, volunteers are given free admission to the Festival, and will have the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the writers involved in this event.

As a student interested in writing, you are invited to apply for the Student Committee for Festival 2012! Please pick up an application from the Festival office (CFAC 232). Students off-campus this semester may write to for more information.

Applications are due Friday, March 18, 2011. Applicants will be contacted after spring break for an interview. Questions can be directed to Shannon Jammal-Hollemans in the Festival office at


The 2012 Festival of Faith and Writing Planning Committee

Lew Klatt
Deb Rienstra
Dean Ward
Shelly LeMahieu Dunn, Director
Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Festival Assistant
Kristin Otte, Festival Assistant

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writers' Retreat Coming Up in March

Get ready to register for the Writers' Retreat, coming up March 11-13. Come join a group of serious student writers for a time of focus, flights of fancy, food, friendship, and frivolity.

The retreat takes place in northern Michigan at the University of Michigan biological station. Profs. Schmidt, Vande Kopple, Hull, Rienstra, and Fondse will provide leadership--or something like that. We'll leave on Friday afternoon and return Sunday afternoon. In between: writing, workshopping, relaxation, adventure, and the occasional stray snowball.

Cost will be $30, which covers everything, including meals and transportation.

Registration will open February 21 in the English Department. Be ready to sign up and pay right away, as space is limited (24 students) and we will accept people on a first pay, first served basis.

Dialogue: Submit!

The editors of Dialogue have asked me to remind you that they are always always looking for good submissions. Please rummage through your drafts, ideas, musings, and see if you have something that can be polished up for publication. They are looking for essays, fiction, poetry, and visual art. The Dialogue folk do a nice job of laying out your work beautifully on a printed page. Fame, glory: what's not to love?

For details on how to prep a submission, you can go to the Dialogue blog.

If you have questions, you can contact the editors at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruminate Nonfiction prize announced

Student writers of nonfiction, please consider this opportunity. The deadline is soon, so look through those English 301 essays and your other archives and see if you have anything that could work.

Here is the announcement from the magazine:

"RUMINATE Magazine is thrilled to announce our first annual Ruminate Nonfiction Prize. The first place essay will win a $500 prize and the runner-up will win a $50 prize. The entry deadline is February 15, 2011, and the finalist judge is award-winning author Al Haley (Haley is the published author of Home Ground: Stories of Two Families and The Land and Exotic: A Novel, winner of the John Irving First Novel Award, and his work has been published in publications including The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly.) For more details please visit our website.

We are also currently accepting short stories, poems, and artwork for Issue 20: Eat and Drink. The deadline for Issue 20 is also February 15.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Poetry Prize: Time to Get Your Entry Together

The English Department sponsors a poetry prize for Calvin poets in connection with the Academy of American Poets. Please consider entering this year's competition.

The 2011 contest is open to any current undergraduate at Calvin.

To enter:
SUBMIT up to 3 poems.

MANUSCRIPTS should be typewritten (one side only, please), and each poem should be titled.


Instead, the manuscript should be accompanied by a cover sheet with the following information: author's name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if available), and titles of the poems submitted.

Submissions that do not follow this format will be disqualified.

DEADLINE: Friday, March 4, 2011.

LOCATION: English Dept., CFAC; turn in submissions to Becky Moon at the front desk.

The winner will receive a cash award and a one-year membership to the Academy of American Poets.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Summer Writing Opportunity

We just received an invitation for Calvin Students to consider a summer-long writing residence. Great for folks who thrive on the outdoors in Michigan. Check it out!

From Director Matthew Dykstra:
Pierce Cedar Creek Environmental Institute is pleased to announce Nature in Words, an exciting writing opportunity for undergraduate students modeled after the Institute's science research program (URGE). This new program will provide an undergraduate student, in conjunction with a faculty mentor, the opportunity to spend the summer at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, utilizing the close interaction with the natural world available here to inspire and develop their writing skills. The undergraduate fellow is eligible for a stipend, on-site housing, and partial meal support during their full-time 10-12 week experience. Faculty advisors are also eligible for a stipend that can be used for time, supplies, travel, or other project support. More information about the program is found in the application, which is available at the Nature in Words webpage on the Institute website.

I or another Institute staff member will be contacting you by phone in early January to answer any questions you may have about the program. We hope that you will share this information with students and other faculty at Calvin. We hope that you will help us to ensure this new program is a success and look forward to working with a new group of students and faculty. Please feel free to contact me at or 269-721-4473 if you have any questions about the Nature in Words Fellowship or about the Institute.

Matthew Dykstra
Education Director
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
701 W. Cloverdale Rd. Hastings, MI 49058