Recent News

Morgan Condict Wins Academy Of American Poets Prize.

May 14, 2018

English major Morgan Condict (Paso Robles, CA) has won Cal Poly’s Academy of American Poets Contest for his poem “To an Old Coworker,” which investigates the homelessness crisis in San Francisco through a compelling, personal perspective. He will receive a $100 award from the Academy. 

Judging this year’s contest, poet Rachel Richardson said, “‘To an Old Coworker’ delicately and vividly describes both complexity of feeling and of the world. I was moved by its compassionate observation and the precision of its details.” 

Cal Poly English professor Mira Rosenthal said, “Morgan Condict’s poetry provides social critique, but always with a subtle touch and surprising point of view. His often allegorical poetry gives us powerful metaphors for some of our most pressing questions.” 

First honorable mention goes to English major Vanya Truong (Pacific Grove, CA) for “Diasporic,” a concise poem that deftly explores the effects of immigration. Richardson described it as “a tiny poem that accomplishes a huge feat. Not a single word is out of place or unnecessary, and the solitary metaphor resonates deeply in the empty space.” 

Second honorable mention goes to Jacob Lopez (Huntington Beach, CA) for his poem “Notes on Bull Creek Trail South.” Lopez’s poem, the judge said, is “gorgeously vivid in evoking its place through sound, smell, taste, and touch. I'm mesmerized by the sounds of this poem and the rich world it creates.” 

Rachel Richardson is the author of two collections, Copperhead (2011) and Hundred-Year Wave (2016), both in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series. She is the Co-Founder of Left Margin LIT, a literary arts center in Berkeley, California. She also directs poetry programming for the Bay Area Book Festival.

Morgan Condict
Academy of American Poets Prize
Winner—Cal Poly, San Luis

To An Old Coworker 

We were mostly voices  
to each other during the eight 
hours in which our eyes 

were fixed on work 
or peering out the breakroom
windows over Potrero Hill 

as midnight came and went. 
We traced with our bleary vision 
the signal from Sutro Tower’s 

four tiers of flashing lights 
into hotel rooms, apartments, 
the manager’s office, 

where it swelled from screens 
in a synchronous flicker 
as you said 

“just to see what it’s like” 
of your coming trip to China, 
before going and staying for good. 

I had told others at work 
the story of the tent 
pitched in the middle of a sidewalk

across from a swanky gym. 
How I’d seen it often walking to work,
but how like a nightmare it was 

when one day from within 
its tenant cursed and howled 
as if in the throes of amputation.

And how plainly the flow 
of foot traffic, tinted rotten
yellow by the wailing, 

festered in confusion before
rechanneling away 
from the noise. 

How brokers on phones maintained
businesslike tones  
with index fingers stuffed 

in their ears practically 
to the knuckle. Only to you 
did I, with regret, 

place myself  
among the flowing 

English major Lauren Miller receives Academic Excellence Award

English Major Receives 2018 Academic Excellence Award

Apr 25, 2018

English major Lauren Miller has been named one of two CLA recipients for the University's Academic Excellence Award. Congratulations, Lauren!

Academy of American Poets contest

Academy of American Poets Contest

Apr 13, 2018

The Academy of American Poets contest is open to all Cal Poly students! The first place prize is $100. Apply by Friday, April 27, at 4 p.m.

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CLA Diversity & Inclusion Flyer Design Competition

Apr 6, 2018

The College of Liberal Arts invites you to design a flyer you believe communicates a meaningful and inclusive message that aligns with the CLA value of promoting diversity and inclusion.

  • The first place flyer will receive a prize of $200
  • The second place flyer will receive a prize of $100

Contest is open to CLA students only. Flyers must be 8.5 by 11 inches and submitted in PDF form to by April 20. Include "Flyer Design" in the subject line. All entries may be used for distribution by the CLA.



Writers-at-Work Reading Series Presents Piotr Florczyk

Apr 2, 2018

Writers-at-Work Reading Series Presents a Conversation with Translator

Piotr Florczyk

Wednesday, April 11 10:10 am-12:00 pm
Cotchett Education Bldg. 02-205

“Anna Świrszczyńska's elemental, extractive accountings of the Warsaw Uprising present a history of pain and of personhood so irremediable and unembellished that neither can be stripped from even the dead. Building the Barricade, harrowing and demanding, here takes its place in English among the twentieth century's master works of war-witness.” —Jane Hirshfield

*2017 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award winner
*2017 Found in Translation Award winner

This event is free and open to the public, generously sponsored by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts.
Questions? Email Mira Rosenthal at

The American Scholar Prize Application Is Now Open!

Apr 2, 2018

The American Scholar Prize Application Is Now Open! The annual American Scholar Prize is a $750 prize awarded to a Cal Poly English major who meets outlined criteria.

Writers-at-Work Reading Series Presents Maggie Anderson

Jan 18, 2018


Thursday, February 8th - 2:10 - 4:00 PM
Cotchett Education Building 02 Room 203

Maggie Anderson is the author of five books of poems, most recently Dear All. Her awards and honors include two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Isabella Gardner Fellowship, and the B.B. Maurer WV Folklife Scholar Award for her outstanding contribution to the preservation and perpetuation of Appalachian cultural heritage. She is Professor Emerita at Kent State University and the founding director of the Wick Poetry Center.

This event is free and open to the public, generously sponsored by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts.

Questions? Email Mira Rosenthal at

CLA Speaks presents Tony Baxter

Jan 11, 2018

Tony Baxter
Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Disney Imagineering, Retired

Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 7PM
Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre (bldg. 44)

A Disney fan since his youth, Tony Baxter was hired as a Disney Imagineer in 1970 at age 23. He began his tenure as field art director for the Magic Kingdom's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In the following decade, Baxter helped define the modern Disney park landscape with attractions such as Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979), Imagination pavilion at EPCOT Center and Splash Mountain (1989). 

After serving as executive producer of Disneyland Paris in 1992, he returned stateside to redesign Tomorrowland at Disneyland (1998) and for 50th anniversary projects including the restoration of the Disneyland submarines with Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (2007), the re-opening of an enhanced Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (2008), an upgraded restoration of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (2009), Star Tours — The Adventures Continue (2011) and Fantasy Faire (2013).

Tony retired in February 2013, but continues to serve as a creative advisor and mentor of a new generation of Imagineers.

Refreshments provided.

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English Department Advisory Board

Career Connections in Search of Alumni Connectors

Dec 15, 2017

The English Department is excited to announce a new program designed to help our English majors and graduate students explore careers that interest them. Called Career Connections, this program draws on alumni “connectors” (like you!) who have contacts in any of a number of fields that might interest an English major. 

Robert Hass Reading

Sep 21, 2017

Robert Hass
National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, Teacher and Environmentalist; U.S. Poet Laureate (1995-97)

7:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 27
Multi-Activity Center (Bldg. 43)
Poet Robert Hass will give a reading, followed by an on-stage conversation with English Professor Mira Rosenthal on the poet’s life, activism, creativity, and formal imagination. He will be on hand after the event to sign copies of his books, including the newly-released “A Little Book on Form.”
This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the English Department.
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