The Printing Press

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  The Printing Press is the English Department Newsletter. Its purpose it to inform major 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












In This Issue:

  • Who Comes Out on Top:  MC's English Department vs. Lake Forest's

  • A Mascot for the Writing Center and a Philosophy for Life

  • Growing Poetry: A look at the life and work of Dr. Sandra Steingraber

  • Survey Says?


Interview with Lake Forest’s Dr. Dozier

By Erik Davis

              Continuing in our series by comparing our department with the English departments at other Liberal Arts colleges in our conference, we move to Lake Forest College (LFC).  I interviewed Dr. Dozier, who is the chair of the English Department at Lake Forest College.  Dr. Dozier specializes in African American literature, gender studies, and 19th century American literature.  Lake Forest’s department is structured in much the same way as our department is.  Students can choose to specialize in creative writing or in literature.  If students choose creative writing, they must further specialize in fiction, creative non-fiction, or in poetry.  One unique thing about LFC that Dr. Dozier cited is that LFC is currently developing a creative writing program that will provide undergrad students with a chance to get published. 

               LFC also offers many courses in African American literature.  This is something that Monmouth College students are not necessarily exposed to.  Dr. Dozier said that, “We would like to add some courses in Native American literature.”  Both Lake Forest and Monmouth offer a wide variety of theme based courses.  Dr. Dozier also explained that LFC emphasizes literary theory.  She said, “We have a literary criticism survey and a postmodern theory course.”  LFC students are not required to take these courses, and Dr. Dozier did not comment on how many students did take advantage of these opportunities.  Monmouth College requires that all majors learn some general information about many different types of literary criticism in 200, and then asks students to build upon and apply that knowledge in everybody’s favorite capstone course, Senior Seminar.

LFC students are also required to take a series of survey courses, much like students here at Monmouth.  Dr. Dozier commented on requiring students to take a series of survey courses saying that, “I’m not sure I can speak for students, but my feeling is that at times survey courses focus on so many areas, students don’t get a deep sense of any of them.”  At Monmouth, survey courses are at the heart of our major.  Dr. Rob Hale believes, “Surveys provide majors with a firm foundation and a clear sense of historical context on which they can build more specific knowledge."  The English Department, here at Monmouth, feels that surveys are essential to the education of any up and coming scholar of English, by requiring four survey courses for the major.

Lake Forest College’s proximity to Chicago provides many unique opportunities for English majors.  Dr. Dozier said, “…we take students into Chicago in many of our classes.  We also have a Center for Chicago program which focuses on activities in and around Chicago.”  Obviously Monmouth College cannot take advantage of all the opportunities that are in Chicago, but between Knox, Western, and Monmouth there are many opportunities for Monmouth College students.  In the past, Monmouth has been the host of creative writing students from the University of Iowa.  These presentations offer students a chance to hear creative fiction and poetry firsthand from students at one of the premier institutions for the study of creative writing.

          This year, the faculty at LFC are offering special topics courses in, “Medieval Studies: The Arthurian Tradition, 1857: The Year in American Lit, American Nature Writing, and Women in Theatre.”  Here at Monmouth our hard working faculty are offering courses in Chaucer, Contemporary American Fiction, Revolution and Reform 19th Century Literature, and my personal favorite, Victorian Culture.  I am not saying this just because I have a research paper coming up in Victorian Culture that I really need an A on.  Our courses are of a superior quality that is rarely encroached upon at the undergraduate level…especially Victorian Culture.

               Aside from our special topics courses, it looks like LFC and Monmouth College are on fairly even ground.  Monmouth gives students an excellent background in many different eras of literature.  Our professors are almost always available to chat with us about anything, and some of them are actually pretty fun to talk to.  So go see your English professors and get to know them because that is one of the biggest advantages that Monmouth College has to offer.

 For more information about Lake Forest College’s English department check out:

The Phoenix of Revision

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By:  Anne Stone

         A few weeks ago, Monmouth College held its annual mentoring week, where all students across campus meet in their respective majors to discuss courses, plans, and ideas with each other and faculty within that department.  At the English department meeting, younger students were advised by the older majors on many different issues of college life and the English major, but one suggestion made by a major received significant attention from Rob Hale, Chair of the English department at MC.  Hale explained to the majors, “If there is one thing I want to stress to all of you, it is that revision is so important.”  As students of process writing, revision should play a large role in the lives of MC English majors, and there are many reasons why.

          Since writing is a process, it is only fitting to assume that a polished draft will not be produced from the first draft.  The proper process begins with pre-writing, where the writer can explore several different ideas.  This first step can take any form as long as the ideas appear on paper.  Many students also opt to make an outline before writing the first draft.  What might come as a surprise to many students is that these steps are all forms of revision.  Looking over ideas, refining them, and reorganizing are all aspects of revision, and if revision is overlooked, a student’s essay will probably not receive as high a mark as could have been achieved.

          While the benefits of revising are significant, revision is not always a walk in the park.  When a writer puts his/her own ideas on paper, it is like losing a small piece of oneself, especially when a lot of time has gone into the work.  Dr. Mary Bruce has always described writing as one’s “baby,” but she agrees that revision is important, and analogizes that sometimes “you have to kill your babies.”  While it is hard to cut a piece of writing, sometimes the idea does not fit with the thesis, or the metaphor in a work of poetry does not fit a pattern.  The good news is that the English department has hundreds of writing assignments, and there will probably be another chance to use that idea.

          In the Writing Center, the tutors have adopted a mascot: the Phoenix of Revision.  Revision should be the large bird squawking incessantly from its perch on a student’s shoulder as he/she writes, constantly reminding to revise.  Revision is a tool that will aid students long after their Senior Seminar papers have been submitted and they have received diplomas.  If revision is a natural part of a students writing process, he/she has probably already seen the benefits of proofreading and editing.  For those students who do not practice revision, there is no better time than the present to begin.

Accomplished Biologist and Poet Visits Monmouth College

By: Megan Carlson


        Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and published poet, came to Monmouth College on Tuesday, November 6th.  Her talk was titled, “Biologists Wear White and Poets Wear Black.”  Her numerous books and poems have been an inspiration to those who seek change in how we take care of our bodies and our habitats.

       Sandra Steingraber was born in 1959 and was adopted by a family in Pekin, Illinois.  Her mother, who had dreams of becoming a biologist herself, influenced Steingraber in this field of study, noting that she had her first microscope at age 9.  When she got to high school, a love for the literary and dramatic arts started an inescapable bond between her and poetry.  She ultimately decided to get her Bachelor’s degree in biology at Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Illinois.  During her sophomore year, Steingraber was a victim of the unexpected.  She was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 20.  It was here that poetry and writing became important to her again.  She stated that she “needed poetry in her life as well because it tells the story of people who go through extraordinary things and literature makes these things profound.”  Her collection of poems written on living with cancer was published in 1995 and was titled Post-Diagnosis

          In 1997, she wrote the book, “Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment”.  This book is about the evidence that links cancer to environmental contamination.  In her hometown of Pekin and the surrounding areas, she had relatives (not by blood) who were being diagnosed with similar cancers as hers.  She realized that the pesticides and chemicals used in her environment growing up were a cause for cancer in her and her family.  Steingraber believes that the environment is our generation’s human rights issue in Living Downstream.

         In The Nation, they write that “Steingraber writes with the authority of a biologist and the imagination of a poet…weaving narrative and meditation together with compelling scientific explanations… Making the public aware is the first step toward changing the situation. Steingraber makes us feel the urgency of this problem in our bones and blood.”  More recently, this book is now being turned into a documentary.  Her most recent book, Having Faith, published in 2001, follows her fears of pregnancy after having cancer and also supplies ample information about the multiple ecological dangers that can occur to a child during and after pregnancy.

        It is hard to believe that someone would be impressively talented in two different fields.  She believes that biology and poetry provide a great balance.  To her, biology attempts to solve the mysteries surrounding our lives, whereas poetry has no final conclusion and loves contradiction.  While they obviously have their differences, Steingraber said that they are both “about the incredible mystery of life.”  This talk was especially great for those of us in college because Steingraber is a perfect example of someone who explored her interests and was able to incorporate the two things that she loved into a daily profession.  It also shows that the possibilities can be endless (however daunting that decision-making process may be) for an English major or minor.  Her books and poetry can be found online at, by following the links above, or at any neighborhood bookstore.


Survey Says Questions

1.) Would you like to attend a department Christmas party at Boone house on a date TBA?

2.) Do you think you can you get Mark Willhardt to come?


1.) Yes, I would like to attend the department party.

2.) Willhardt seems like he would come, but I doubt he will. I hear he is super-introverted even though he appears an extrovert! ~Samantha Morgan

Yes, I would love to attend the Christmas Professor Watson going to be there?~Melissa Gorski

1) Yes Anne, I have read a little bit about the Boone house and it sounds interesting.

 2) Does Mark not usually come? Were you hoping he does or that he doesn't?                 ~Suzanne Barber

I would LOVE to attend a Christmas party.

 We'll offer Mark good food...or just trick him into coming.

 Anne Stone, Erik Davis, and Megan Carlson, you guys rock! ~Paige Halpin

Thanks for the awesome comments Paige!-Printing Press Staff

1) Yes would love to go to English xmas party

2) We could trick him into coming by telling him its a Scottish poetry reading.           ~Kayt S. Griffith

1) In spirits--I mean spirit
2) Just tempt him with the idea that a gaggle of freshman will be there, ready to be demeaned by his wrath.
peace. kelsey.


Writing Labs 3:00-5:00 pm Monday - Thursday
  7:00-10:00 pm Sunday - Thursday

Anne Stone

Erik Davis

Megan Carlson                                                              


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