Our graduate faculty are dedicated to teaching, to scholarship, and to creative work. The faculty is energetic and active at Western and in the larger profession. Our faculty has developed innovative curriculum and consistently receives excellent student evaluations.
We firmly believe that our scholarship and creative writing make us better teachers. English Department faculty have received Fulbright scholarships, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grants for scholarly research, and national awards for their publications. Our faculty has published a wide range of books in a variety of genres and disciplines, and our work regularly appears in prestigious journals and magazines.
Our Department display of faculty publications reflects the diversity of our research and writing interests: anthologies, books of poetry, essay collections, linguistic studies, literary studies, memoirs, novels, pedagogical studies, textbooks, and more—all signal the lively mix of our faculty and their work.
Department of English
Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty 2016-2017
Bruce Beasley (1992), MFA, Columbia University; Ph.D., University of Virginia, Professor. He is the author of seven collections of poems: Spirituals (Wesleyan University Press); The Creation (winner of Ohio State University Press Award); Summer Mystagogia, winner of the Colorado Prize (selected by Charles Wright), from University Press of Colorado; Signs and Abominations (Wesleyan University Press); Lord Brain (winner of the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series competition); The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press); and Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012). His poems have also appeared in such journals as Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and New American Writing. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artists Trust and three Pushcart prizes in poetry. He teaches courses in creative writing and American literature.
Nicole R. Brown (2002), Ph.D., Purdue University, Associate Professor. An advocate for writing for social change, her areas of specialization include rhetoric, technical writing, sustainability studies, visual rhetoric, community-based writing and internships. She has presented scholarly papers and published articles on place-based writing, internships and identity, visual rhetoric, and the social construction of community online.
Jeremy Cushman (2013), Ph.D., Purdue University, Associate Professor and Director of Composition. His research and teaching interests include Rhetorical Theory, Workplace and Organizational Writing, New Media Studies, and Pedagogical Theory. He has published and presented on invention in the workplace, digital production in the classroom, and religious rhetorics. He is currently working through a large ethnographic inquiry centered on automotive technicians, which examines the relationship between workplace narratives and inventive workplace practices.
Kristin Denham (2000), Ph.D., University of Washington, Professor. Her teaching and research interests include grammatical structure; Native American language and literatures; dialect studies, including the use of dialect in literature; and applications of linguistics in K-12 education. She has published four books Linguistics for Everyone: An Introduction (Cengage/Wadsworth, 2010) and Navigating English Grammar (Blackwell 2013) (both co-authoredwith Anne Lobeck), Language in the Schools: Integrating Linguistics into K-12 Education (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005), and Linguistics at School: Language awareness in primary and secondary education (Cambridge University Press, 2010) (both co-edited with Anne Lobeck), and has also authored numerous journal articles and book chapters.
Dawn Dietrich (1992), Ph.D., University of Michigan, Associate Professor. A specialist in cinema, media studies, and literature and technology, she has published articles in journals such as Word & Image: A Journal of Visual/Verbal Enquiry, Contemporary Literature, Film Quarterly, and Arena Journal.
Marc Geisler (1992), Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, Chair and Associate Professor. As a specialist in British Renaissance literature and critical theory, he has published articles on John Milton, William Shakespeare, and early modern English culture. He is currently completing a book on the interplay between nationalism, popular protest, and seventeenth-century English literature. He teaches courses in contemporary critical and cultural theory, Milton and nonconformist literature, early modern feminism, early modern patronage and popular culture, Shakespeare, Spenser, politics and literature, and cultural studies.
Allison Giffen (2001), Ph.D., Columbia University, Associate Professor. A specialist in Early and Nineteenth-Century American literature, her research focuses on women writers, particularly American women poets. She has published articles in such journals as Women's Studies, American Transcendental Quarterly, and Early American Literature. She has edited a collection, Jewish First Wife, Divorced: The Correspondence of Ethel Gross and Harry Hopkins and is currently at work on a study of nineteenth-century popular literature.
Bruce Goebel (1996), Ph.D., University of Iowa, Professor. A specialist in American literature, postmodern literature, humor, and English education, he is the author of Humor Writing, Reading Native American Literature, an editor of Teaching a New Canon, and the author of articles appearing in English Journal, Philological Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, and others.
Carol Guess (1998), MA, Indiana University 1993; MFA Poetry, Indiana University 1994, Professor. She is the author of three novels: Seeing Dell, Switch, and Homeschooling; four poetry collections, Femme's Dictionary, Tinderbox Lawn, Love Is A Map I Must Not Set On Fire, and Doll Studies: Forensics; two essay collections, Gaslight and My Father In Water; and a flash fiction collection, Darling Endangered. Gaslight, Femme's Dictionary, and Homeschooling were Lambda Literary Award finalists. Forthcoming titles include a collaboration with Daniela Olszewska, How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents, and a flash fiction chapbook, Index Of Placebo Effects. She teaches courses in Creative Writing (with an emphasis on artistic experimentation and hybrid forms) and Queer Studies.
Nancy J. Johnson (1994), Ph.D., Michigan State University, Professor. A specialist in children's literature and English/language arts education, she has taught elementary and high school students. She is co-author of The Wonder of it All: When Literature and Literacy Intersect, Literature Circles Resource Guide, Getting Started with Literature Circles and co-editor of Literature Circles and Response. She served on the 2003 Newbery Award selection committee and that same year was awarded the Arbuthnot Award by the International Reading Association for teaching and advocacy of children’s literature. An active member of NCTE, IRA, and ALA, she works with teachers and students and in schools locally, nationally, and internationally (currently on leave teaching in Singapore). In addition, she coordinates Western Washington University’s annual children’s literature conference. Research interests include children’s/young adult literature and diverse forms of reader response. She also advises English majors concentrating in elementary education.
Kristiana Kahakauwila (2012), MFA, University of Michigan, Assistant Professor. She is the author of the forthcoming collection of short stories This is Paradise (Hogarth Press, 2013) and a founding editor of Raiding the Larder: A Journal at the Junction of Art and Food. She teaches fiction, editing and magazine publishing, and her interests include translation, literature of the Pacific, and Hawaiian studies.
Laura Laffrado (1993), Ph.D., SUNY/Buffalo, Professor. A specialist in early US literatures and cultures, her most recent book is Uncommon Women: Gender and Representation in Nineteenth-Century US Women’s Writing. Her essays on gender and genre have appeared in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, ESQ, Legacy, LEAR: Literature in the Early Republic, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, and other journals and collections.
Christopher Loar (2013), Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs. His research and teaching interests include the literature of the long eighteenth-century from both Britian and the Americas; critical theory; political philosophy; gender studies; imperialism; and eighteenth-century science writing. His essays have appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Genders, Studies in English Literature, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. His first book is entitled Political Magic: British Fictions of Savagery and Sovereignty, 1650-1750 (Fordham, 2014).
Anne Lobeck (1990), Ph.D. University of Washington, Professor. A linguist, her area of expertise is syntactic theory and linguistics and education, and her courses include introductory linguistics, English grammar, syntactic theory, American dialects, the history of the English language, and linguistics and education. Among her publications are the following books: Ellipsis: Functional Categories, Licensing and Identification, Oxford University Press 1995; Discovering Grammar: An Introduction to English Sentence Structure, Oxford University Press, 2000; Language in the Schools: Integrating Linguistic Knowledge into K-12 Teaching (co-editor with Kristin Denham), Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. 2005; Linguistics for Everyone (co-authored with Kristin Denham) Cengage, 2009; Linguistics at School: Language Awareness in Primary and Secondary Education (co-editor with Kristin Denham), Cambridge University Press 2010; Navigating English Grammar, (with Kristin Denham), Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
Andrew Lucchesi (2016), Ph.D., The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Assistant Professor. He received his BA from Pacific Lutheran University and MA from King's College London.
William Lyne (1995), Ph.D., University of Virginia, Professor. A specialist in American and African American Literature, he is the editor of Walking the Talk: An Anthology of African American Studies. His articles have appeared in PMLA, Arizona Quarterly, African American Review, Science and Society, and other journals and collections. He teaches courses in American literature, African American literature, and cultural studies.
Kelly Magee (2008), MFA, Ohio State University, Assistant Professor. She is the author of Body Language (University of North Texas Press), a story collection which won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize. Her stories have appeared in Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Cream City Review, and Quarterly West, among others, and her writing has won awards from Hotel Amerika, the Taos Summer Writers Conference, and AWP. She teaches creative writing (fiction and creative nonfiction) and literature.
Mary Janell Metzger (1995), Ph.D., University of Iowa, Professor. A specialist in early modern drama, critical theory, contemporary women's literature and the teaching of English literature, she is the author of Shakespeare Without Fear (Heinemann 2004) and has published articles in journals and edited volumes such as Genre, Feminist Teacher, PMLA, and Historical Formalism. She teaches courses in critical theory, women's literature, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and English Studies methodologies.
Brenda Miller (1999), Ph.D., University of Utah; MFA, University of Montana, Professor. Her latest book is The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World (Skinner House Books, 2012). She teaches creative nonfiction and multi-genre creative writing, as well as literature classes in autobiography, memoir, and the personal essay. She has received six Pushcart Prizes for her work, and her personal essays have appeared in such periodicals as The Georgia Review, Brevity, The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, and Fourth Genre. She is the author of Listening Against the Stone (Skinner House Books, 2011), Blessing of the Animals (EWU Press, 2009), and Season of the Body (Sarabande Books, 2002). She co-authored Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction (McGraw-Hill, 2003), with her colleague Suzanne Paola.
Suzanne Paola (1994), MFA, University of Virginia, Professor and Editor-in-Chief Bellingham Review. She teaches creative writing, Women’s Studies, and literature courses. Her book of nonfiction, Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir, was named a New York Times Notable Book of the year, also winning an American Book Award and placing in Amazon’s list of top ten memoirs. A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World, was published in 2005 by Penguin and also received numerous awards, including an Oprah’s Bookshelf pick. She is currently working on a book of nonfiction concerning the subject of adoption, forthcoming from Norton. Her last book of poetry, The Lives of the Saints, was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award for the best book of poems published that year, awarded by the Academy of American Poets. Other books include Bardo, winner of the Brittingham Prize for poetry, and Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction, a textbook published by McGraw-Hill. Individual pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Orion, The Wall Street Journal, Kenyon Review and many other journals and magazines. She has received other writing grants and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a grant from the state Artists Trust as well as a Pushcart prize.
Donna Qualley (1994), Ph.D. University of New Hampshire, Professor. A specialist in theories and practices of teaching and learning, she teaches courses in composition, composition theory and pedagogy, literacy studies, ethnographic writing and inquiry, and young adult literature. She is the author of Turns of Thought: Teaching Composition as Reflexive Inquiry and is the co-editor of Pedagogy in the Age of Politics, a collection of essay about the politics of reading and writing in the academy. She is also the author of essays on critical reading, collaborative writing, feminist theory, and writing program administration.
Lysa M. Rivera (2007), Ph.D., University of Washington, Associate Professor. She teaches courses in Chicano/a and African American literature and culture. Her current research project explores the science fiction of multicultural America, specifically as it emerges within Chicano/a and African American contexts. Her work has appeared in MELUS: Journal for the Study of Multiethnic Literature, Aztlán: Journal of Chicano Studies, and Science Fiction StudiesShe is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Far Out: The Science Fiction of Black America, which traces the history of African American science fiction from post-Reconstruction to the present. The manuscript is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. She is also an editorfor Femspec, an interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of speculative fiction within feminist contexts.
Ely Shipley (2017) Assistant Professor.
MFA, Purdue University; Ph.D, University of Utah. Ely Shipley is the author of Some Animal (Nightboat Books); Boy with Flowers, winner of the Barrow Street Press book prize judged by Carl Phillips, the Thom Gunn Award, and finalist for a Lambda Literary Award; and On Beards: A Memoir of Passing, a letterpress chapbook from speCt! Books. His poems and cross-genre work also appear in the Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, Interim, Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Witness, Diagram, Gulf Coast, Fugue, Third Coast, and elsewhere.
Kathryn Trueblood (2002), MFA, University of Washington, Associate Professor. Her novel, The Baby Lottery, was selected as a Book Sense Pick by the American Booksellers Association in 2007, and the paperback edition appeared in 2008 (The Permanent Press). Her recent articles about literary culture in the West have appeared in Poets & Writers Magazine. Her first book of fiction, The Sperm Donor’s Daughter, received a Special Mention for the Pushcart Prize 2000. She has co-edited two anthologies of contemporary multicultural literature, The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards (W.W. Norton 1992); and Home Ground, which won the Jurors' Choice Award at Bumbershoot. A graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Program, she has worked in editorial for both mainstream and small press publishers. She teaches creative writing, editing and publishing, and1960s literature.
Steven L. VanderStaay (1996), Ph.D., University of Iowa, Professor and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. An English Education specialist, he teaches courses in English methods, creative nonfiction, literature and linguistics. His publications include Street Lives: An Oral History of Homeless Americans and a broad range of articles and essays on English methods, teacher education, writing, narrative analysis, and urban affairs.
Kathryn Vulić (2004), Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, Associate Professor and Chair. A specialist in medieval literature, her teaching and research interests include devotional literature, manuscript studies, Chaucer and other Middle English poets, and vernacular writing. She has published and presented numerous papers on the audiences and circumstances of composition of late medieval writings, and the influence of prayer and meditative habits on the forms and content of Middle English texts.
Theresa Warburton (2014), Ph.D., SUNY-University at Buffalo, Assistant Professor. Her specialties include feminist theory, women's literature, Native literature, transnational and multiethnic literature, memoir, and anarchist studies.
Christopher Wise (1996), Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, Professor. Christopher teaches Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, and African Studies.
Jane Wong (2017) Assistant Professor. MFA, University of Iowa; PhD, University of Washington. Dr. Wong teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in creative writing (poetry and hybrid form) and literature. Her research interests include Asian American poetry and poetics, transnational studies, the digital humanities, and multiethnic literature. A former U.S. Fulbright and Kundiman Fellow, she is the recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Hedgebrook. The recipient of The American Poetry Review's 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize and a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in places such as Best American Poetry 2015, Pleiades, Third Coast, Black Warrior Review, jubilat, and others. She is the author of the book Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and curator of the digital project The Poetics of Haunting in Asian American Poetry.
Greg Youmans (2014), Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, Assistant Professor. His research and teaching interests include film and media studies, documentary, and experimental cinema, LGBTQ history and historiography, and queer and feminist theory.
Ning Yu (1993), Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Associate Professor. He is a specialist in nineteenth-century American literature with a focus on Thoreau, American nature writing, and ecocriticism. He is also interested in the study of the transformation of Asian myths in the works of Asian American authors.