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The Printing Press is the English Department Newsletter. Its purpose is to inform majors and minors about programs and activities within the department. The Press will inform readers of activities and opportunities outside of Monmouth College. For any questions or submissions, contact or


One Man's Martyrdom is Another Man's Celebration

By Johnathan Skidmore

 Happy belated Valentine's Day!  This issue of The Printing Press has been dedicated in part to this holiday.  Valentine's Day marks the annual exchange of candied confectionaries, fragrant flowers, and grandiose gifts among friends and loved ones.  The origin of this holiday is rather hard to trace.  Some believe it is a commercialized event designed to increase flower sales, while others believe that it is related to the martyrdom of Saint Valentine.  There are several different variations of the latter tale, all revolving around a priest named Valentino or Valentine living in Rome around the third century.  So why do we celebrate this martyr?

One of the more common versions of the story is that the priest Valentine was disobeying a law set in place by Emperor Claudius II of Rome.  Claudius II was a relentless emperor who would stop at nothing to get his soldiers into the best combat mode as possible.  After noticing that most of his best soldiers were single, Claudius II came to the conclusion that his soldiers would lead him to more victories if they were single.  Acknowledging this trend, Claudius II decreed that none of his young soldiers would be married. 

Naturally, this made many of the young soldiers that were unmarried want to seek out illegally performed marriage ceremonies.  When doing so, many of them sought out Valentine.  Valentine, outraged at the audacity of the Emperor, continued to perform his marriage ceremonies in secret.  Like all martyrs, Saint Valentine was tried for this disobedience and put to death.

Prior to his execution, rumor has it that Valentine had fallen in love with a young girl while in prison.  During his brief prison stay, she visited many times, and Valentine had soon fallen smitten.  Before he was executed, Saint Valentine wrote a letter to his loved one supposedly signing it "From your Valentine."  This version of the story explains while that expression is still used today, in the modern context.

So Valentine's Day is a day that allegedly celebrates the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, a lowly priest who dared to defy the emperor of Rome.  Knowing this, it brings an ironic taint to the holiday.  Remember this next time you ask someone to be your Valentine.  Know then that you are really asking, "Will you die a horrible death for me?"


An Interview With Monie Hayes

By Megan Carlson

Deborah Appleman, a literacy education scholar is coming to Monmouth College to do a series of workshops and a presentation Feb 24-25th.  I spoke with Monie Hayes, assistant professor of education, about the importance of teaching and practicing critical reading, which is Appleman's topic of discussion while she is here. 

 Monie Hayes
Monie Hayes, Assistant Professor of Education


MC:  What are you hoping the students and faculty will get out of the presentation?

MH:  I think, for starters, they will just find their time well spent by just being there.  She is very engaging.  Mostly though, Iím just hoping that it will prompt students, in particular, to look at all kinds of texts from the classic texts theyíre assigned in class to popular culture they see everyday.  I hope that they will be in the moment while they listen to Deborah Appleman, but also put her advice to good use.

MC:  How does this approach differ from traditional methods?

MH:  It doesnít actually differ.  She says that there are some traditional methods of theoretically informed textual information that generally we save for junior-senior level.  Itís making available a critical repertoire for students who are early in their scholarly path.  I believe that reader response is a wonderful way to look at text as well, but we donít problematize it. 

MC: How does the teacher's use of this method impact student learning?

MH:  I think it gives a richer, more varied, and owned response.  Many texts ask people to see the world in a different way.  It gives students a way of starting someplace with the text and finding the message.  It also helps to find out whether you agree with the text and do all readers agree with the text. 

MC:  Does critical reading help students make an opinion about a text?  Should they keep their minds open or just go with what they think?

MH:  They should accept a range of opinions, but I think many instructors would like students to come to a considerate and informed opinion.  Defending and justifying the opinion is also important as well.

 MC:  Is there research that supports the text?

 MH:  This is all of Deborah Applemanís work.  Her research supports this, and she is groundbreaking.  This research has never been done.  She has been able to go to schools with various socioeconomic backgrounds.  If something is rich and intellectually challenging, and will foster their own critical capabilities, theyíll be able to do it.

 MC:  Is there any additional information that would be important to know?

 MH:  I find her work to be very adaptable to anything.  It gives people a critical and theoretical repertoire, but also fosters ownership. 


Famous People on Love
By Megan Carlson
and Johnathan Skidmore

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
-Carl Jung

Who so loves believes the impossible.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we doÖ?

-Friedrich Nietzsche

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever.
-Henry Drummond 

There is no remedy for love, but to love more.
-Henry David Thoreau

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
-Albert Einstein 

Passion makes the world go round.  Love just makes it a safer place.
-Ice T

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
-Robert Frost

Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke.
-Lynda Barry

 Love is my religion-I could die for it.
-John Keats 

Who, being loved, is poor?
-Oscar Wilde

It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
-H.L. Mencken

All mankind love a lover.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Love is life.  And if you miss love, you miss life.
-Leo Buscaglia

The little unremembered acts
of kindness and love are the best parts of a person's life.
-William Wordsworth

Click below to

Visit the Cultural Events Calendar

By Megan Carlson

The Cultural Events Calendar is a monthly update on the special activities going on at Monmouth College and other campuses such as Western, Knox, and Augustana.



  • President Giese is leaving Monmouth College after 8 years.  His resignation will be tendered June 30.
  • Deborah Appleman, a literacy education scholar from Carleton College will be here February 24-25 doing various workshops and a special presentation on teaching critical reading entitled, "Reading and Resisting Ideology, or What's a Theory For?" 
  • Poet and writer, Alan Michael Parker, will be visiting Monmouth College to discuss his work on March 3 and 4. Expect a special interview of him and more information on his event in the near future.
  • Rosanna Warren, poet, writer, and translator, as well as an English and Foreign Language teacher at Boston University, will be speaking at Monmouth college on March 22.  Warren will be delivering a keynote address entitled, "A Hidden Life in French."

What is your favorite love poem, and why?

This being a special Valentine's Day issue, we thought that we would bring literature and this "romantic holiday" together by asking people to explain their favorite poems that are related to love.


Kelly Winfrey-
"An Equal to the Gods"

I love this poem because it talks about unattainable love.  The speaker is watching one person that they canít have and it talks about all of the feelings that you have when you are in love.

Eric Seaman-
"A Decade"
Amy Lowell.

This poem is simply my favorite love poem because of the first line:  "When you came, you were like red wine and honey."


Chadd Kaiser-
"Sonnet 130"
William Shakespeare.

"My Mistressí Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" is a great love poem.  I like the couplet at the very end and how the poem shows that love can be unconditional as well as unconventional.


Mike Seufert-
"The Flea"
John Donne.

I enjoy this love poem because of the argumentative nature of the poem.  Donne is attempting to seduce the woman in the poem using a logical argument.  It is a very realistic take on love. 





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Johnathan Skidmore

Megan Carlson


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