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English Department Spring Reading

2022 English Department Spring Reading (Virtual Event)

Join the English Department as we celebrate recently published creative writing (and recently completed MFA and PhD degrees in creative writing) by GRCC English Department Faculty.

We are a department that writes!

This Spring’s Reading will “double” as a GRCC Pre-English Majors advising event. Faculty readers will discuss their writing as well as their education as writers.

The 2022 Spring Reading will be presented virtually on Thursday, March 31.

  • 7 p.m. - Readings begin, featuring five GRCC faculty writers, listed below.
  • 7:45 p.m. - Q & A with Authors: On Writing and a Writer’s Education.

Join via Zoom

This virtual reading features poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by:

Valerie Amante

Valerie Amante has been an English professor at Grand Rapids Community College since Fall of 2021. She recently graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with her Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a specialty in Romance Fiction. She has been writing since she was a young girl, whether that be poems or short stories. That developed into her pursuing a career in teaching writing to others, what she describes as her calling in life. She has self-published a book a poetry “Life Beyond a Label” and a paranormal romance novel “The Chronicles of a Modern Witch: Leading a Double Life” and is currently working on editing her thesis novel “I Need You To Breathe” to get ready for publication. Valerie lives in Cedar Springs with her loving husband and two pups Snowy and Riley and when she is not writing, she’s enjoying spending time with her family.

Valerie’s Published Works:

Jessica Blandford

Jessica Blandford graduated from the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte in May of 2020. She was born and raised in the greater Grand Rapids area, where she now lives with her partner. When she isn't writing Jessica can be found riding old state highways on her motorcycle. Jessica has three dogs, Sami, Ryder, and Jaxx. She often contributes to the Southern Review of Books and currently works as an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Community College. Her work has appeared in Marathon Literacy Review, Honey Fire Literary Magazine, HYYPE Online, and Display Magazine. Jessica's work is often focused on the modern female perspective. Visit her webpage or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Jessica is currently in the process of completing her first novel. She has recently completed her first chapbook, which she will be reading from, entitled “Letters for Dead Lovers” which focuses on the various forms of love lost through toxic masculinity, domestic abuse, and suicide.

Jessica’s Published Works:

Alyssa Jewell

Alyssa Jewell graduated with an M.Ed. TESOL from Grand Valley State University and an MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from Western Michigan University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English & Creative Writing from WMU and is the coordinator of the Poets in Print Reading Series at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. She is co-editor of poetry for Waxwing as well as Third Coast where she also serves as co-editor in chief. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2016, Colorado Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Witness, Hayden’s Ferry Review, North American Review, Poet Lore, and Tupelo Quarterly, among other publications.

Alyssa will be reading newer poems from a second collection that is currently taking shape. Her recent work tends to focus on themes of aging, friendship, bodies of water, forms of displacement, and further metaphysical considerations.

Alyssa’s most recent or forthcoming poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Crab Creek Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, New South, and Witness.

Rachel Lutwick-Deaner

Although Rachel currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI, she has lived in many places, from California, to the New York Island. She earned her BA at Colgate University (1997) and a MA in English at North Carolina State University (1999). Rachel is in the process of completing a MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her expected graduation date is May 2023. 

Rachel’s work outside academia is varied. She is a co-host of two podcasts: Eat ‘Em and Weep (in which she and her sister analyze competitive cooking shows) and Speaking of Teaching, a GRCC DLIT Podcast. Additionally, she writes reviews for Southern Review of Books.

In her spare time, she is a parent to three children and a needy dog. She enjoys cooking, reading, drinking coffee, and throwing things out. 

Her work in Creative NonFiction ranges from humorous memoir to cultural commentary. Rachel’s book in progress is entitled (Not Your) Nice Midwestern Lady. The dominant theme is dislocation.

You can find Rachel’s published book reviews on The Southern Review of Books website.

Michael Sikkema

Michael Sikkema holds an MFA from St. Mary's College of California, as well as an MA and BS from Central Michigan University. He is the author of six full length collections with one more forthcoming from Trembling Pillow Press. He is also the author of several chapbooks with one forthcoming from Sigilist Press. He is interested in concrete and visual poetry, speculative poetry, and ecopoetics. 

Michael will be reading a poem celebrating Nic Cage and his film career. The poem uses anaphora and captures moments from different films, real and imaginary. 

Alien Buddha recently published his book: