Category Archives: English

Professional Practices class helps student find a job

By Bryce Bullins

As part of the BFA in Creative Writing at SNC, students take a course entitled “Professional Practices” in their senior year. According to the Sierra Nevada College 2013 – 2014 catalog, Professional Practices “focuses on a culminating review and portfolio of all work in the field during the junior and senior years. [This includes] publication of the student’s original writing, editorial work on college or other publications, participation in readings, literary events, conferences, field trips, internships, tutoring and other types of direct experience.”  In addition, there is a segment in the class regarding research into job markets.

Professional Practices

Marcela DeLira Astorga

Recent BFA graduate Marcela DeLira Astorga has found great success thanks in a large part to Professional Practices. In her research, she found a job which suited her taste and her interest perfectly. Thanks to her expansive portfolio she created and the fine tuning it received in Professional Practices, Marcela now has her job.

“I finally got the job with the Truckee Unified District. I am officially the Bilingual Translator-Interpreter for the district. I am working at the district office twice a week and three times a week in Tahoe City,” Marcela said.

Congratulations to Marcela!

New poetry center to feature works by contemporary poets

By Bryce Bullins

Mark your calendars students and poetry enthusiasts: coming March 2014, the Sierra Nevada College Poetry Center will be celebrating its grand opening. Thanks to a well-written grant and a brilliant idea, Betts Markle will bring thousands of new books and several famous poets to Prim Library to make poetry accessible to the students, faculty, and citizens of Incline Village.

Prim Library

Prim Library will be adding a poetry center in March.

Just this past year, Markle, the dibrary director for SNC, applied for a federal block grant from the Museum and Library Services in Washington D.C., through the Library and Technology Services Act. Because of her hard work, SNC was awarded $48,750 to purchase books, supplies, and to contract a consultant to make sure the Poetry Center is a success. Gail Brown from the University of Arizona Poetry Center, which contains over 70,000 volumes and is widely regarded as one of the most successful in the country, is coming to SNC to help Markle create the Poetry Center.

Continue reading

Writers in the Woods: Spoken Word

By Beth Portesi

Rhythm, rhyme, sound, words and meaning encompassed the second of the Writers in the Woods series. The evening included a one hour spoken word presentation followed by an open mic on Friday, Sept. 20, at Sierra Nevada College. This served as a platform for individuals to express their personal philosophies and life experiences through poetry and narratives.

In a generation where communicating is done through anything that has a touch screen or news feed, the Spoken Word was a breath of fresh air. A reminder of how connected we are as humans, how we all experience love and tragedy, peace and chaos. I was mesmerized by each word of the roughly 10 speakers who reflected on personal growth, expressed dissatisfaction with modern society, and playfully expanded on random thoughts.

If someone had suggested I attend a poetry reading on a Friday night, chances are I would have declined because I have never taken much interest in it. After attending the event, you can find “slam poetry” in my Youtube history and an email subscription to the local Spoken Views Collective newsletter. And extra credit had nothing to do with it. Each of these beings humbled my heart as they bravely and openly explored the truest of human experiences.

Creative Writing Club sets pen to the page

By Bryce Bullins

The Sierra Nevada College Creative Writing Club is now in its second year and looking for new members! The club is growing and now has a more permanent presence in Prim Library. With the opening of the new Poetry Center (more on that later), the club is looking to have a much larger presence on and off campus. The club meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays in Prim Library 214.

Chris Muravez

Chris Muravez

“I’m really excited about the club this year. We have had an influx of new students in the English Department, and I believe that with this new blood into our fold we will see some exciting things happening.” – Chris Muravez, Club President




If you or anyone else you know would like to be part of this club, please contact:

Bryce Bullins is the English Program assistant, editor of the Sierra Nevada Review, and secretary of the Creative Writing Club.

Professor Patricia Smith wins major book award


Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith, distinguished visiting professor and writer in residence, has won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for her latest book, “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah.” The prize, given by the Academy of American Poets, is in recognition of the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year. Established in 1975, the award includes an honorarium of $25,000 and is one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the US. Past recipients include Philip Levine, Adrienne Rich, Thom Gunn, W. S. Merwin, Marilyn Hacker, and Charles Wright. This year’s contest judges were poets Cornelius Eady, Claudia Emerson, and Gregory Orr.

The award will be officially presented to Mrs. Smith at a ceremony in New York City on Oct. 25.

Read the Eagle’s Eye article about Patricia Smith, published May 2, 2013, by student Samantha Marquardt.

Writers in the Woods kicks off season with Tobias Wolff

By Bryce Bullins

The 2013 – 2014 Writers in the Woods literary series kicked off this September with a reading and craft talk by Tobias Wolff. Wolff’s book Old School was the Common Read for the 2013 – 2014 year at Sierra Nevada College.

Tobias WolffWolff’s craft talk was particularly interesting because temporality and its effects within short stories guided some of the conversation. Of note, Wolff selected two Anton Chekov stories to help elucidate his points on narrative structure and how the voice of the narrator, be it third or first person, is crucial to telling a great story.

Innovation in Composition

Interested in reading work by SNC freshman composition students?  You should be!  Students in Professor Chris Anderson’s freshman comp. classes select the best writing produced each semester then publish it on the student driven blog,  For their final project, students work in editorial panels to select pieces from multiple composition genres, including personal narrative, argument, and research, for publication on the site.  The project gives students a purpose for writing and a sense of audience (that goes beyond the teacher) bringing their writing into the real world of public consumption – a scary, but motivating thought!   Reading, analyzing, and commenting on the work of their predecessors gives later students the opportunity to not just find inspiration in the work of their peers, but to build on that work and hopefully challenge themselves to produce something even better.  The work published is often moving and always entertaining.   Give it a read today!