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 University 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, No Secrets to Sell, and most recently, What the Sky Lacks.
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.
- Guest Poetry Editor: John Allen Taylor
John is the author of the chapbook Unmonstrous (YesYes Books, 2019). His poems appear in DIAGRAM, Nashville Review, The Common, Pleiades, and other places. In addition to his role as the co-director of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, John serves as the senior poetry reader for Ploughshares, coordinates the writing center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and bakes sourdough bread. For more, visit johnallentaylor.com.
- 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: Alanna Carlson
Alanna is a senior at Whitworth University, majoring in English Literature and Writing, with minors in Editing and Publishing and Medieval and Early Modern Literature. She has loved reading since she was old enough to hold a book and has fond memories of her parents reading to her all through her childhood. She’ll read just about any genre, but historical fantasy and memoir hold a special place in her heart. Her idea of a perfect afternoon is curling up with a cup of tea, a good book, and her Pomeranian, Ruth(ie) Bader Ginsbark. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she’s normally practicing yoga or chasing her son around the house.
- Web Editor: Jenn Rudsit
Jennifer graduated from Whitworth in 2016 after working with Rock & Sling as an Editorial Assistant. She now lives in Seattle and is the Publishing Coordinator at Sasquatch Books. Her current reading obsessions include historical fiction, angsty Christian memoirs, and books about quirky introverts. She also enjoys stress baking, exploring Seattle, and discussing what she’s reading on bookstagram.
- Managing Editor: Allie Shook-Shoup
Allie works as the Program Assistant in Whitworth’s English department as well as supporting other programs on campus including Women and Gender Studies and the Honors Program. She attended Bethel College as a Bible and Religion major and her eclectic involvement on campus also included work as the design editor on their literary magazine YAWP! Professionally she has worked as an admissions counselor at Hesston College and in other administrative roles, but hopes to one day take her place behind the pulpit. A born-and-raised Kansan, Allie has spent most of her life as a person of the tallgrass prairie but also lived with her family in Papua New Guinea while her parents worked with Wycliff Bible Translators for two years in the early 2000s. Allie and her spouse, Will, relocated from Kansas to Spokane for his attendance at Eastern Washington University as he continues to hone his craft of poetry. She is a lover of folk music and vegetarian food, she writes sermons, is a Hufflepuff, is Scuba certified, is opinionated about font usage, and can’t keep plants alive but will continue to try.
The persistent voice of the Spirit has whispered to me in this season of life: “We must do the work to which we are called and we must do it with as much love as we can.”
- 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.”