Monthly Archives: September 2014

Reading Series: Patrick Madden and Kristen Eliason

The English Reading Series kicked off with a bang with readings from Patrick Madden and Kristen Eliason!

Pat Madden 2 Pat Madden, a professor here at BYU, kept us laughing by reading from his personal essays. A master of hyperbole, Madden apologized to the reader for the few tiny factual errors in his personal essay collection (now, was it Helen who sang the alto part, or was it Mary?–we may never know). He discussed and read from some purposefully unfinished essays, complete with pictures of Kiss and music clips. To finish off, he read his own eBay listing for a writer’s unfinished bottle of water, surprising the audience by planting his own students in the audience to interrupt and ask questions. (I was one of those lucky students.)

Kristen Eliason read to us primarily from her book Picture Dictionary, an unusual work of Kristen Eliasoncreative non-fiction written in the form of a Japanese picture dictionary. In Picture Dictionary and in the haiku from her chapbook Yours, she enthralled us with her fascinating use of language and form. My favorite part, though, was hearing her poem about cuddling (which, as she pointed out, is perfect for students at BYU, who are preoccupied with cuddling), describing the predicament of having to figure out what to do with your arm when cuddling. When she described the out-of-place arm as a “chicken wing,” she spoke to my soul.

If you missed the readings by these fantastic authors, don’t make the same mistake again–the Reading Series takes place every Friday at noon in the library auditorium, with different authors each time! And you really don’t want to miss out this week–ROBERT PINSKY, former poet laureate, aka one of the very best poets currently living in the United States, is reading (this reading only will be in the JSB auditorium–after this week the Reading Series will return to the library auditorium). Be there or be square! (Or, I should say, miss out on an amazing opportunity that you may never have again!)

Tanner Schenewark

I’m an older brother, a Harvard Business School Enthusiast, and a classical music aficionado. And I’m an English Major.

Taylor Scheneweck

The Triumph of Life

I want to be a better reader and a better writer. That’s why I’m an English major. I believe that these two things are our best help during life’s quest, whatever that may be. My quest leads me variably in the direction of constitutional questions, for-profit philanthropy, and a great mortal purpose I haven’t completely discovered. I have a blog of my own writing, but it’s hidden: ) I’ve been published at least twice and questionably a third time, and would love to start my own business, as long as it’s fun and helps people. I discover myself through teaching.

One of my favorite books is John Henry Cardinal Newman’s The Idea of a University.




Hi, I’m Kate!

I’m a musician, a gamer, a fan of stormy weather, and a film lover. And I’m an English major.

Katie Neish

Me and my adorable husband.

For a long time I wanted to be a music major, but I ended up finding my true calling in English. When I was just three or four years old, I would pull my yellow wagon over to the bookshelf, pull every single book off and place it in the wagon, and “read” them for hours and hours. I suppose I should have seen my English major coming a long way off! In all seriousness, I love words, and I love learning how to use them. I like all kinds of writing, but I love that the skills I’m learning in the English program are applicable to almost everything else I do. Isn’t language wonderful?

One of my favorite books is Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Hi, I’m Kurt, son of Thor!

I’m a writer (burgeoning), an epic fantasy reader (avid), a Utahn, and a fighter. And I’m an English major.

Kurt Anderson

I’m actually a panda masquerading as a human.

Sadly, my surname does not follow the Scandinavian tradition and is actually Anderson, after a much more distant ancestor. But a little bit about me…I thought that I was a Biochemistry major, but last semester I discovered my true destiny as an English major. This has led to a whirlwind of change as I have redefined my professional career plans, but I’m ready to get involved. I love to read, mostly epic fantasy (Brandon Sanderson is a big role model), I’m learning to write and loving it. And I do fight, but not to kill.

I’ve grown up most of my life in Utah, with only a short stint in California (it was wacky). I hope that I can get to know many more people who share my irrational love of epic fantasy books, such as the Wheel of Time or pretty much anything from Brandon Sanderson. I love the classics, too, though I know far too few. You’ll have to bear with me until I can fully expound on the virtues of Milton or Virgil.

And that’s about it. You can amuse yourself by visiting my blog, which I recently made due to peer pressure AKA seeing everyone else on here with a blog. But I do try and talk about (semi)relevant things from a witty point of view.

P.S. I’m a rather eligible bachelor, in case you were wondering

P.P.S. That post-script was in no way influenced by prevailing social and cultural norms, or my mother. Also just in case you were wondering.

One of my favorite books is Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s Memory of Light.



Hello, I am Kekai Gonsalves

I am an ever growing poem. I am a knot of stubborn hair. I am a daughter of a rock in the ocean. I am an English major.

Kekai Gonsalves

Kaua’i, Hawai’i

My eyes are dark as the shadows of reef under the deep ocean. My thin collarbones extend as hands do when they serve. My skin has an inherited tan with a golden tint from the sun’s presence of day. My lips are left bronzed by humid air. My hair is a dark brown and to care for it, I bend my neck forward for my chocolate curls to follow. I twirl it between my hands eight times, place it at the top of my head, spiral the ringlets, and tuck the strands’ ends into the ring of brunette hair. Attributes do not define me, yet the messy, relaxed bun I form is a depiction of my culture and an image I live to parallel. I form my bun as natives pound and shape a local plant into a paste. It is shaped as I balance on my bicycle, tires colliding with my beaten path home. It is shaped as I contend passionately for a ball on a youthful soccer field of grass, sweat, and bruise. It is shaped as I hold a pencil between my pressed lips and smooth teeth in haste of writing an essay. It is shaped as I park my cherry pick up at the beach. It is shaped as I feel leather binding in my palms and embrace scripture. The bun enables me to do many things. Without hair flowing freely, I am able to execute any labor or toil. I hope to always be able to hold myself together and fulfill a duty. The best way to put my shoulder to the wheel is to put my hair in a knot at the top of my head first. I seek to be beautiful, hold my head high, and hold my bun higher.

One of my favorite books is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.


Disney and the English Major by Eliza Schow

In all my life, I don’t think I’ve ever been among so many Disnerds. If you don’t know that term, or if you do and you simply don’t think it’s a title that apples to you, shame on you. Go watch Aladdin. I come from Kansas, a land of people that find my love for Disney amusing. To them, Disney is classified as a genre of fantastical films that give children unrealistic expectations for life. When I came to BYU, I was ecstatic to find that if one stood in a group of students and randomly started singing “LET’s get down to business”, everyone would respond with “To deFEAT… the Huns!” At last, I had found my people.

I will admit up front that my love for Disney was founded on the catchy musical numbers, the pretty princess dresses and the even prettier boys these princesses ended up with that enraptured my seven-year old psyche. Gradually, my love for Disney became based on a personal investment I felt for the characters’ well being, (and perhaps it didn’t hurt that I still wanted to dance around in a pink ball-gown with a smiling prince looking down at me while “Once Upon a Dream” played in the background). However, it wasn’t until I wrote a 1,000-word analysis on the themes of self-fulfillment, objectification of women, and self-identity in Tangled that I realized how important it was for me as an English major to appreciate the messages woven into the stories that we think we know so well.

I feel like there is a stereotype for English majors, that in our efforts to look at a side to life with “a fresh eye”, we tend to present human nature as selfish, scheming, or hypocritical, giving off the message “Life is awful because humans are awful and that’s all there is to it”. What we’re missing, or perhaps what we’ve lost, is something that Disney can give back to us. For decades, Disney films haven’t just been entertaining and uplifting humans, but enlightening and inspiring us as well. If we English majors can take a leaf out of Disney’s book and try to present human nature as both flawed and inherently good, I do believe we can do so much more for the human spirit by giving the gift of hope, something that perhaps we are the most capable of doing.


Amanda Breck

I’m a military brat, a reader, a writer, a golfer, and I’m an English major.

Breck, Amanda

These are a few of my favorite things.

I haven’t been in the English program for very long, but so far I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve been reading and writing since before I can remember. My mom occasionally pulls out stories I wrote in elementary school to embarrass me with. I always carry a little notebook, and my hands are always covered in ink from how much I write. I started a blog in 2010 to share my short stories, but I quickly moved into the world of book blogging. I fell in love with reading young adult literature, and post reviews whenever I have time. If you’re looking for a great YA book to read, I hope you’ll check out my blog, Amanda’s Writings.

One of my favorite books is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Stance: Studies on the Family

 Your stance is important. We want to hear what you have to say!

Stance: Studies on the Family is a student journal associated with Brigham Young University. This student journal was created to encourage students from all disciplines to research and to write about the institution of marriage and family. Our journal emphasizes the impact that marriage and family have on society and increases awareness of current issues affecting the family. We encourage professionalism, respect, and tolerance.

By joining our staff, you can improve your skills with blogging, editing, design, and so much more. Our staff works on a student journal, a magazine, and a blog in addition to various social media sites. You’ll gain experience valuable to potential employers and make lasting friendships.

Want to get published? Right now, we are looking for creative writing to academic papers to personal essays. It doesn’t matter what your major is or the length of your work or how informal/formal you think it is—we want to hear what you have to say! Submit to Stance: Studies on the Family today! Go to the following link for more information:

Deadline: Submit by 10/10/2014 at midnight. If you have any questions, please email (

Whether you join our staff or submit your work to be published, we hope to hear from you soon!

Katie Hollingsworth, Editor-in-Chief of Stance: Studies on the Family

Stance, Weekly meeting info

Hi, I’m Rachel Knecht.

I’m a casual fashionista, a dessert-lover, a passionate road-tripper, and a comedy enthusiast. And I’m an English major.

Knecht, Rachel

Rachel thinking about life.

I’m an indecisive student, which I think actually opens up a world of possibilities. English has always seemed right, as I love words, reading, talking, writing, texting, emailing, song lyrics, smart dialogue in movies, TV, plays, etc., and good conversation and debate (basically any variation and usage of language). I’m still discovering what I’m most passionate about, but the way human nature is so vulnerably portrayed in writing gets me every time; I can’t help but get chills when words teach me, or reveal something about me and others.


Ashley Rowe

I’m a Southern Utahan, an animal and people lover, a swimmer and a historical fiction reader. And I’m an English Teaching major.

Ashley Rowe

Life’s good, isn’t it?

I can’t believe that my years as an undergraduate at BYU are almost over, but I’ve loved each second of it! I have grown to love English more than I ever thought possible, and to be able to have the experience of teaching it to students is more amazing that I ever imagined! After I leave, I’m going to still actively seek out opportunities for book groups, creative writing outlets, and other events and meetings having to do with literature and English. Literature is a huge part of my life, and if I didn’t have it, I don’t know where I would be!

One of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables.