The editors of Rock & Sling believe that the act of writing and of reading literature is a way of witnessing to the truth of experience, drilling down to the core of language’s vitality, and accepting an understanding of artistic language as a kind of testimony. The word “Witness” means to testify: to tell the truth. The demands of the word are bracing in its charge to the writer to understand that his and her work matters not just as expressions of experiences and responses but as an active language engaged morally as well as aesthetically. To tell the truth is an act of responsibility as well as an expression of hope. To testify is an act of responsibility as well as an expression of faith.
Rock & Sling is a literary journal of witness, published twice a year at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Rock & Sling was founded in 2004 by Susan Cowger, and came to Whitworth in 2010. We are a member of the CLMP and distributed nationwide by Ubiquity Distribution.
- Editor-in-chief: Thom Caraway
Thom is an associate professor in the English department at Whitworth and teaches a variety of creative writing, literature, and publishing and editing courses. His poems have appeared in Ascent, Redivider, Smartish Pace, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. His books include A Visitor’s Guide to North Dakota and No Secrets to Sell.
The work I prefer rarely takes a single form. It is often work that blurs traditional lines, either culturally or structurally. I want the magazine to embrace complexity, to be afraid of nothing, to push our understanding of ourselves and the ways we think about literature. I like art that takes risks, but still remembers to be good art. I realize this is vague, so let me provide a couple of my favorite lines:
“Suddenly I realize / that if I stepped out of my body I would break / into blossom” James Wright, “A Blessing.”
“The soul’s growlspeak / is strange- // prisoned / in foot-arch // in laurels” Carly Joy Miller, “apostle drives the coastline” (Rock & Sling issue 9.2, 2014).
“If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, / we should give thanks that the end had magnitude” Jack Gilbert, “A Brief for the Defense.”
- Poetry Editor: Laurie Lamon
Laurie has lived in the Pacific Northwest and taught poetry workshops and literature seminars at Whitworth since 1985 (where she is a professor in English and the Amy M. Ryan Endowed Professor of the Liberal Arts). She received her doctorate from the University of Utah and her MFA from the University of Montana. Her poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Arts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture, Primavera, and Poetry Northwest. She is the recipient of a Washington State Artist Trust Award in 2005, a Graves Award in 2002, and a Pushcart Prize in 2001 for the poem “Pain Thinks of the Beautiful Table.” Her books include The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings, both published by CavanKerry Press.
- Assistant Poetry Editor: Emily Hanson
Emily is a Junior at Whitworth University, majoring in English Literature and Writing, with minors in Women and Gender Studies, Spanish, and Editing and Publishing. Emily discovered her love of reading in kindergarten when she decided she wanted to become Nancy Drew. Sadly, she never achieved this goal, and now lives vicariously through the characters in her books. Emily can usually be found with a cup of coffee and a book, reading in a corner of the English department when she has a moment of free time. She is an advocate for the Oxford Comma, her guilty pleasure is Supernatural, and she will argue the importance and the literary value of horror novels with anyone, anytime.
- Nonfiction Editor: Julie Riddle
Julie is senior development writer at Whitworth University and editor of Whitworth Today magazine. She also serves as the craft-essay editor for Brevity. She is the author of a memoir, The Solace of Stones: Finding a Way through Wilderness (University of Nebraska Press). Her essay, “Shadow Animals,” appeared in The Georgia Review (the essay received a Special Mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXIX: Best of the Small Presses and was nominated for a National Magazine Award). She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
I love being part of the Rock & Sling crew as the journal’s creative-nonfiction editor. A great day is when I read a submitted essay that surprises me with fresh language and an assured voice, and that seeks to deepen a question rather than simply answer the question, and does so with honesty and authenticity.
- Fiction Editor: Jake Andrews
Jake is an assistant professor in the English Department at Whitworth University where he teaches a range of creative writing and literature courses. He was a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and before that he taught theology at universities in the U.K. His story, “Tu quoque,” won the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, and his novel, Fiat Vita, was an honorable mention in competition for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.
I look for stories that are precisely that: stories first, whose significance, or “meaning,” only appears in retrospect, ones that make me feel something before they make me think something. For me, great stories are grounded in place, with full-blooded characters who experience the world as it is, not as it should be. Perhaps the characters are quiet, introspective; perhaps they act rather than speak or think. What I want is to forget I’m reading and be caught up in a world so real, so well imagined, that – after finishing – I need a moment to reorient myself to life off the page.
- Assistant Fiction Editor: Meghan Foulk
Meghan is a junior studying Communications at Whitworth University with minors in English, Editing and Publishing, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She also works at the campus library, which is no surprise to her friends and family. Meghan’s love of reading skyrocketed after discovering the sci-fi and fantasy genres, particularly The Hobbit. She also dabbles in art and design, with experience in designing t-shirts, graphics, and painting murals. Her free time is usually consumed by coffee and debating the next season of Game of Thrones or getting emotional about Star Wars.
- Web Editor: Jenn Rudsit
Jennifer is a Whitworth English Department grad, where she was involved with Rock & Sling as an Editorial Assistant. She holds a Certificate of Publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute and is currently an Administrative Assistant/Associate Registrar at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her current reading obsessions include historical fiction, angsty Christian memoirs, and rereading books she read in middle school. When she is not reading she enjoys watching dance choreographed to poetry, exploring Seattle’s various parks, and venturing into the world of bookstagram.
- Managing Editor: Allie Shook-Shoup
- Assistant Managing Editor: Bryn Cavin
Bryn is a junior at Whitworth University with a major in English Literature and Writing and a minor in Editing & Publishing. She was pulled into the wonderful world of poetry during her freshman year by Laurie Lamon and joined Rock & Sling’s editorial board the following year. When she isn’t doing school-type things, Bryn can be found chasing sunsets, plotting new adventures, or curled up in a cozy chair with a book, a dog, and a cup of coffee.
For questions, email Allie at ashoup [at] whitworth [dot] edu.
About Whitworth University
Since 1890, Whitworth has held fast to its founding mission of providing “an education of mind and heart” through rigorous intellectual inquiry guided by dedicated Christian scholars. Recognized as one of the top regional colleges and universities in the West, Whitworth University has an enrollment of 2,700 students and offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In recent years, Whitworth has enjoyed record levels of student enrollment and retention, the strongest financial position in the university’s history, and increased external visibility.
Whitworth University’s 200-acre campus of red-brick buildings and tall pines offers a beautiful, inviting and secure learning environment. More than $83 million in campus improvements have been made over the past decade, including a new center for the visual arts, a landmark general academic building, three new residence halls and several outdoor athletics facilities.
In all of these endeavors, the university seeks to advance its founder’s mission of equipping students to “honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.”