Lion Rock Visiting Writers 2022-2023


The Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series schedules readings every quarter and features nationally known writers reading their own work. We have hosted  winners of the MacArthur Genius Award, WA State Poets Laureate, and recipients of Catamundo, Whiting, Guggenheim, Lannan, and NEA Fellowships, and other major prizes.

Each spring, students enrolled in ENG 568 and ENG 468: Contemporary Writers Colloquium (graduate and upper-level multi-genre writing workshops, respectively), meet with three visiting writers from the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series. We also sponsor talks by professional editors and publishers, readings by faculty and students, including open mics, and an annual reading for students who have their work published in CWU's literary magazine, Manastash.

Past readers in the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series include Natalie Diaz, Eduardo Corral, Elissa Washuta, Lucia Perillo, Anthony Doerr, Jos Charles, Major Jackson, Kim Barnes, Linda Bierds, David Guterson, David Wojahn, Prageeta Sharma, and many others.

The Series wishes to thank our many generous sponsors, including the College of Arts and Humanities, CWU Libraries, Museum of Culture and Environment, The Wildcat Shop, Karen Gookin, Len Thayer Grants, Humanities Washington, S&A, President's Office/Diversity and Inclusivity, the WGSS Program, The Douglas Honors College, and many partnerships across departments, schools, and the Kittitas Community, including those with Kittitas County Regional Library Board, One Book One County Program, Ellensburg Public Library, and Gallery One.

Fall Student Reading

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 6:00 PM PST
Shaw-Smyser Hall, room 115 or via Zoom
Poster for the Fall Student Reading November 15. 2022


Luther Hughes & Jane Wong

Friday, February 10, 2023 
1:30—3:00 PM PST Poetry Craft Talk: "Voltas" & "Vulnerability"
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Student Commons
Q&A to follow — Refreshments will be served.

Friday, February 10, 2023
6:00—7:30 PM PST Poetry Reading
Featuring introductions by Michael Puni & Janelle Serio
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Student Commons
Q&A and book signing to follow
The Friends of the Library will be distributing both authors' books for free. While supplies last.

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series presents a poetry reading by Luther Hughes and Jane Wong.

Portrait of Luther Hughes staring into the camera wearing tan and gray shirtLuther Hughes (he/him) is the author of the debut poetry collection, A Shiver in the Leaves (BOA Editions, 2022), and the chapbook Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018), recommended by the American Library Association. He is the founder of Shade Literary Arts, a literary organization for queer writers of color, and co-hosts The Poet Salon podcast. Recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg Fellowship and 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize, his writing has been published in American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Orion, and more. He was born and raised in Seattle, where he currently lives.

Portrait of Jane Wong wearing a blue blouse and holding a bouquetJane Wong (she/her/hers) is the author of two poetry collections: How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James Books, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). Her debut memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, is forthcoming from Tin House in May 2023. She grew up in a Chinese American restaurant and is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University.

Portrait of Michael Puni wearing a black puffer jacketMichael Puni is an undergraduate at Central Washington University, where he plans to graduate in the upcoming spring term with a Bachelor of Arts. He plans to become a freelance writer and work along music publications, such as The Guardian and Pitchfork, as well as continue his aspirations as a model

Photo of Janelle Serio smiling while wearing multicolor glasses and scarfJanelle Serio is a story-loving dental hygienist who enjoys writing poems and stories containing themes surrounding identity and gender. She is a lover of human beings and an avid fiber artist. She has 6 kids, a husband, and a chiweenie. Janelle is from Portland, Oregon.

Winter Student Reading

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 
6:00 PM PST
Shaw Smyser 115 or via Zoom

Poster of Winter Student Reading on February 22, 2023


Taylor Brorby

Monday, March 6, 2023
3:00 PM PST 
Craft Talk: The Politics of Place and the Landscape of Imagination
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Student Commons

Monday, March 6, 2023 
6:00 PM PST 
Reading/Lecture and Book Signing
Featuring reading and introduction by Austin Fricke
Museum of Culture and Environment, Dean Hall Lobby

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series presents a prose reading/lecture and craft talk by Taylor Brorby, co-sponsored with the CWU President's office.

Portrait of Taylor Brorby looking at the camera wearing black glasses and black t-shirtTaylor Brorby is the author of a memoir BOYS AND OIL: GROWING UP GAY IN A FRACTURED LAND, poetry collection CRUDE, nonfiction essay COMING ALIVE: ACTION AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, and edited anthology FRACTURE: ESSAYS, POEMS, AND STORIES ON FRACKING IN AMERICA. He will give a craft talk on "The Politics of Place and the Landscape of Imagination" and a public reading/lecture on topics addressed in his memoir, including extractive economies, queerness, disability, and climate change. Brorby is the Annie Tanner Clark Fellow in Environmental Humanities Center at the University of Utah.
Photo credit: Carroll Foster. You can learn more about Taylor on his website.
Portrait of Austin Fricke smiling at the camera while leaning against a building with snow and trees in the backgroundAustin Fricke is a graduate student in the MA English: Professional and Creative Writing program. He has a background in secondary English education with major influences from his Arikara and Sioux heritages, writing prose speculative fiction, surrealism, dreamscapes, magical realism, and abstract nonfiction. He will be reading from his book A DECOLONIZING OF THE COSMOS.

Alyssa Songsiridej

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 
6:00—7:00 PM PST Reading

Featuring reading and introduction by Khoa Le
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Commons

Thursday, April 6, 2023
12:00—1:00 PM PST Craft Talk

CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Commons

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series presents a reading by Alyssa Songsiridej.

Portrait of Alyssa Songsiridej looking into the camera framed by her dark hair and a dark blouseAlyssa Songsiridej (she/her) is the author of the novel Little Rabbit, a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award for Best Debut. A 2022 National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree, she lives in Philadelphia. She is also an editor at Electric Literature. You can learn more about Alyssa on her website.
Portrait of Khoa Le in front of a brick wall, wearing glasses and a brown sweaterKhoa Le will be introducing Alyssa. I started writing during my freshman year mostly, fiction and nonfiction. That was my first personal essay in English classes in my first year of college. Recently I am just working on my first book. I write a lot of short stories about family, and romance themes. Growing up watching Anime, K-drama, books, movies that involve; they all have some source of romance element in the story. I am currently working on a romance novel.

Taneum Bambrick

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 
6:00—7:00 PM PST Poetry Reading

Featuring reading and introduction by Seanse Ducken
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Commons

Thursday, April 20, 2023 
12:00—1:00 PM PST Craft Talk
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Commons

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series presents a reading by Taneum Bambrick. 

Portrait of Taneum Bambrick looking down while smiling, wearing a black blouseTaneum Bambrick (she/they) is the author of Intimacies, Received (Copper Canyon Press, Sept 2022) and Vantage, which was selected by Sharon Olds for the 2019 American Poetry Review/Honickman first book award (Apr 2019). Her chapbook, Reservoir, was selected by Ocean Vuong for the 2017 Yemassee Chapbook Prize. A graduate of the University of Arizona's MFA program, she is the winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, an Environmental Writing Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Arts Center, and the 2018 BOOTH Nonfiction Contest. Their essay, "Sturgeon," was named a notable essay of 2019. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in The Nation, The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, PEN, Narrative, The Missouri Review, 32 Poems, West Branch, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. A 2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she is a Dornsife Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California, and Co-Book Reviews Editor for Pleiades Magazine Photo credit: Joshua David Watson. You can learn more about Taneum on their website.

Photo of Seanse Ducken grinning at the camera with one hand up near her face while sitting below a globe lampSeanse Lynch Ducken's work has appeared in Ecotone, New Limestone Review, Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Mudfish 19and Noble/Gas Qrtly. Seanse received her MFA in Poetry at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and currently teaches in the English Department at Central Washington University.

Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry

Edited by Elizabeth Bradfield, CMarie Fuhrman, and Derek Sheffield
Featuring English Faculty: Xavier Cavazos, Katharine Whitcomb, Maya Jewell Zeller
Thursday, April 20, 2023
7:00 PM PST

Gallery One, Ellensburg, WA

Cascadia Field Guide Book CoverCascadia Field Guide brings together art, poetry, and stories holding scientific, sensory, and cultural knowledge to celebrate and illuminate Cascadia, the diverse ecoregion stretching from Alaska's Price William Sound to Northern California and from the Pacific Coast to the Continental Divide. This unique book contains 13 communities (from Tidewater Glacier to Shrub-Steppe) and 128 beings (from Geoduck to Cassia Crossbill), offering any reader, local or visitor, a new way of connecting—with heart and mind and body—to place. Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry. A reading and celebration with Elizabeth Bradfield, Andrew Gottlieb, CMarie Fuhrman, Maya Jewell Zeller, Justin Gibbens, Jack Johnson, Katharine Whitcomb, and Xavier Cavazos.

Ross Gay

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 
12:00—1:00 PM PST Craft Talk
CWU Brooks Library, 2nd Floor Commons

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 
6:00—7:00 PM Public Reading
SURC Theatre

Attendees of both events will receive a free copy of Gay's Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude - limited quantities available, items will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Poster introducing Ross Gay's eventsRoss Gay has authored four books of poetry: Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006); Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011); Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015); and Be Holding (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020). His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019; and his new book of essays, Inciting Joy [was released] by Algonquin Books in October, 2022. Through his writing, he explores both the sweetness and tenderness of joy, and its wildness and labor. 'It's rigorous, more rigorous I think than misery. To me, joy is as much about being able to hold each others sorrows as it is having a good day' (Wisconsin Public Radio). Now a professor at Indiana University, Gay lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy program.

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