English Department

Student with book

English Department

Good reading and writing skills are valuable to everyone, whether you plan a business career or are studying nursing. The English Department teaches students to think critically, understand the materials they read and express their ideas in writing.

Who We Are

English Department faculty are accomplished writers, poets and literary critics. Many have published books. Others have been nominated to Best New American Writers, served on the National Endowment for the Humanities board and read their poems on A Writer’s Almanac.

Course Descriptions
Department Directory
Admissions | 763-433-1300
Dean Greg Rathert | 763-433-1864

Meet Catherine Bean

Catherine Bean
Meet Catherine Bean
Instructor of English
Meet Catherine Bean
Instructor of English

Master of Arts (MA) in English - Film and Contemporary American Literature Studies, University of Florida; Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English - Film and Contemporary American Literature Studies, University of Florida

Meet Donny LaQue

Donny LaQue
Meet Donny LaQue
Creative Writing program
Meet Donny LaQue
Creative Writing program

Eugene, OR

Degrees & Certificates We Offer

Courses offered range from freshman composition classes to historical literature and creative writing classes.

The department offers three degrees:

  • Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis in Creative Writing

    Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis in English Literature

    Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degree in Creative Writing

    Both AA degrees articulate to Moorhead State and Hamline University.

    Our Associate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing gives students a variety of choices in literature and creative writing courses, a practicum in publishing, and a capstone manuscript independent study. The AFA in Creative Writing articulates to Metropolitan State University, Hamline University and Augsburg College.

  • The English Department presents students with a variety of engaging literary opportunities. (See Visiting Writers Series below.)

    Both campuses also host student and faculty readings and have active creative writing clubs that publish the student literary magazines.

  • The English Department presents two exciting series: The Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus, and the Minnesota Writers Series at the Cambridge Campus.

    Each semester these series bring acclaimed and award-winning local, regional, and nationally-known authors to campus. Students study these authors’ stories, novels, essays, plays, or poetry in their English or Reading courses. Students then attend the readings in person to meet the author, ask questions, and have their books signed. Readings are video recorded to enable online students access to these events.

    The English Division is pleased to offer these events free to Anoka-Ramsey students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public.

    We have been privileged to welcome the following writers to our campus for readings and discussions of their works and host the following events, all as part of the Two Rivers Reading Series on the Coon Rapids Campus:

    Fall 2017

    A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota
    Wednesday, Nov. 1
    12 to 12:50 pm & 2 to 2:50 pm
    Legacy Room
    Coon Rapids Campus

    View event poster for more details.

    Fall 2016

    Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota
    Featuring Alexs Pate, Shannon Gibney, Taiyon Coleman
    Nov. 2, 2016
    12 to 12:50 pm & 2 to 2:50 pm
    Legacy Room
    Coon Rapids Campus

    Spring 2016
    Bao Phi read from his book of poetry: Song I Sing.

    Here is the recording of his reading:

    https://youtu.be/TZpBD4ed84g


    Fall 2015
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Pamela Carter Joern read from her collection In Reach, which was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award in fiction, and whose short stories are interconnected.

    Here are the links to her two sessions:

    Session 1: https://youtu.be/PeRQ_MHZdqw
    Session 2: https://youtu.be/aRvgIt_dtlc

    Spring 2015
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Ethan Rutherford read from his collection of stories, The Peripatetic Coffin, which was named Best Book of Summer by Publisher’s Weekly. Rutherford was also selected as a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Pick and has won the Minnesota Book Award.

    Here are his two sessions:
    Session 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBMHjb5VEz0&feature=youtu.be
    Session 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Yjcie4-Vg&feature=youtu.be 

    Fall 2014
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Poet Matt Rasmussen discussed his award-winning book, Black Aperture, which explores his brother’s suicide from various angles in poems that have been called "transformative" and an "exquisite labor of [. . .] witness." Rasmussen won the Walt Whitman Award and the Minnesota Book Award. He was also a finalist for the National Book Award.

    You can watch his presentations at these links:

    http://youtu.be/L91aHdVJnws
    http://youtu.be/tfWuSyfuaiQ

    Spring 2014
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Graphic novelist Tyler Page read from and discussed Nothing Better.

    Watch his presentation here: http://youtu.be/Q6WTDZKN3XA

    Fall 2013
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Poet Cary Waterman read from her collection, Book of Fire.

    Watch her presentation at these two links:
    Session 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb8nEsi7fDU
    Session 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=whDHaO7wOhg

    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Marya Hornbacher read from her memoir, Madness: A Bipolar Life, which discusses the challenges and hopes of living with mental illness.

    Here are two videos of her presentation:
    Session 1: http://youtu.be/mbhwfHMIIjk
    Session 2: http://youtu.be/h29q1jtHsjQ

    Spring 2013
    Two Rivers Reading Series at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Scott Wrobel, Anoka-Ramsey instructor, read from and discussed his short story collection Cul de Sac.

    Watch the reading here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkrtj_b6vvg

    Penumbra Theater Event at the Coon Rapids Campus
    Penumbra Theater presented a reading and discussion of Spunk, a play based on three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston.

    Here's the video of the presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFiR5swYJwI

    Fall 2012
    Kate Kysar read from and discussed her poetry book Pretend the World. The event was exceptionally well-attended, with nearly 200 students in the audience.

    Watch Kate Kysar's two sessions at these links:
    Session 1: http://youtu.be/s6cYIL7GlVE
    Session 2: http://youtu.be/u647Q19eGs8

    Diane Wilson discussed Spirit Car, her memoir, which combines fictional stories with historical facts.

    Watch her two sessions at the college here:
    Session 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re9B5zgRmY4&feature=youtu.be
    Session 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV8YBu7VmrI&feature=youtu.be

    Spring 2012
    Swati Avasthi read from and discussed her new novel Split, a Minnesota Book Award nominee. One reviewer stated that Split is “a great novel, full of compelling characters and a knock-your-socks-off plot.” Split is a New Voices Pick, a Young Adult Fiction Winner (International Reading Association Award), and a Best Fiction for Young Adults Award Winner (YALSA).

    Jim Moore read from and discuss his seventh poetry collection, Invisible Strings. The Star Tribune said about Moore’s poetry, “With his simple poems that celebrate humanity and articulate pain, Jim Moore elevates economy of phrase to an art.” His poems have appeared in numerous publications and journals, including American Poetry Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology.

    Spring 2011
    Wang Ping, the award-winning writer of poetry, fiction, and essays, returned to Anoka-Ramsey to read from her book of short stories, The Last Communist Virgin, a Minnesota Book Award-winning story collection about modern China and the contemporary Chinese-American experience.

    See the video of her talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv16DAHB82Q

    A Reading/Discussion of August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Penumbra Theatre
    Associate Director Dominic Taylor, Education Director Sarah Bellamy, and cast members from St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre Company lead a reading and discussion of this famous Wilson play. Additionally, students, alumni, faculty and staff enjoyed Anoka-Ramsey Day at the Guthrie, where they watched a performance of Wilson’s play and participated in a post-play discussion.

    Tracy Youngblom and Richard Broderick Poetry Reading
    Anoka-Ramsey Community College faculty Tracy Youngblom read from her collection of poetry titled Driving to Heaven. Former Anoka-Ramsey faculty Richard Broderick read from his two books of poetry titled Woman Lake and Rain Dance.

    Fall 2010
    Wang Ping read from her book of short stories, The Last Communist Virgin, a Minnesota Book Award-winning story collection about modern China and the contemporary Chinese-American experience.

    Patricia Smith read from her poetry collection, Blood Dazzler, a 2008 National Book Award finalist. Blood Dazzler chronicles the human, physical and emotional toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina. 

    Spring 2010
    Fiction on a Stick: An Anthology of Minnesota Writers, edited by Daniel Slager.

    Several writers presented at this session:
    John Reimringer, stories and upcoming novel
    Sarah Stonich, novels: These Granite Islands and The Ice Chorus
    Diane Wilson, essays and memoir
    Sean Hill, poetry: Blood Ties and Brown Liquor 

    Fall 2009
    Penumbra Theatre Company, Radio Golf by August Wilson
    Sandra Benitez, The Weight of All Things
    Geoff Herbach, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg

    Spring 2009
    Kao Kalia Yang, The Latehomecomer
    Heid Erdrich, National Monuments

    Fall 2008
    Penumbra Theatre Company, Fences by August Wilson

    Spring 2008
    Penumbra Theatre Company, The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

    Fall 2007
    Lawrence Sutin, Jack and Rochelle

    Spring 2007
    Ed-Bok Lee, Real Karaoke People
    Nicole Helget, The Summer of Ordinary Ways

    Fall 2006
    Jane Hamilton, Disobedience

    Spring 2006
    Susan Power, Roofwalker

    Fall 2005
    Deborah Keenan, Good Heart

    Spring 2005
    Sheila O’Connor, Where No Gods Came

    Fall 2004
    Anthony Bukoski, Time Between Trains

    Spring 2004
    Louise Erdrich, Tracks

    Fall 2003
    Lawrence Sutin, Jack and Rochelle

    Spring 2003
    Alison McGhee, Rainlight and Shadow Baby

    Fall 2002
    Diane Glancy, Pushing the Bear

    Spring 2002
    Mark Vinz, Late Night Calls: Prose Poems and Short Fiction and Minnesota Gothic and Affinities

    Spring 2001
    Robert Dana, Summer

    Spring 2000
    Robert Bly, Morning Poems and Collected Poems

    Fall 1999
    David Haynes, Right By My Side and Heathens

More About The Department

Students can explore their literary interests and develop their writing talents outside the classroom, too. The English Department presents students with a variety of engaging literary opportunities. On our Cambridge Campus, students can hear meet well-known writers through the citywide Minnesota Authors Reading Series. On the Coon Rapids Campus, the Two Rivers Reading Series allows students to study a book then interact with the published author. Both campuses host student and faculty readings and have active creative writing clubs that publish the student literary magazines.

Faculty Achievements and News

Melody Heide published a short essay called "First Gear" in the anthology Love and Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life. She also read from her piece at the book launch party at Addendum Books in March 2015. Melody Heide read from her nonfiction work-in-progress, Christ-Haunted, at the Twin Cities Creative Writing Revue at North Central University in November 2015.

Kathryn Kysar performed with Sonoglyph, a poetry/music collective, at the Hamline Midway Library in Saint Paul in February 2016 She was a workshop instructor and trivia master at the North Shore Readers and Writer’s Festival in Grand Marais in November 2015, and she will be a featured speaker at the 2016 National Federation of State Poets Societies National Convention hosted by The League of Minnesota Poets in June 2016 at the Oak Ridge Conference Center in Chaska. She has a book review and several articles forthcoming in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Meet Our Students and Alumni