English Special Opportunities

The Writing Underground & Word of Mouth

The Writing Underground meets weekly to conduct student-run writing workshops and collaborative writing projects. The club also sponsors open-mike readings as well as readings by writers visiting the campus. In Spring Term, members constitute the editorial board of the college literary magazine Word of Mouth, an anthology of student poetry, prose, and artwork. The club’s activities are shaped by the members every year and have included informal play production, radio programming, letterpress printing, publication design, and performance poetry.


Hilltops, the newspaper written for and by students

The reporters, editors, and photographers who compose the Hilltops staff are an eclectic group of students from various disciplines, but traditionally a substantial number have been English majors, many of whom have gone on to internships at larger newspapers or to similar positions in radio or television. Interested parties can attend the annual organizational meeting and workshop in early September: previous experience in journalism is not a prerequisite. In addition to its print run, Hilltops is also published online and can be followed on Twitter.


Visiting Writers Series and New American Writing Festival

Hartwick’s Visiting Writing Series and New American Writing Festival bring noted and diverse writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to campus for readings, lectures, and performances. Visiting writers frequently engage directly with students via class visits and workshops. Previous visitors have been Nobel Prize Laureates, U.S. Poet Laureates, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Queen’s Medal for Literature (U.K.), and many others. Recent readers include Derek Walcott, Marilynne Robinson, and Robert Pinsky.


The Anna Sonder Prize

Each Spring, the Department holds a competition for the best poem by a Hartwick student. The prize is cooperatively administered by the Department and the Academy of American Poets in New York City and is awarded in memory of Anna Sonder, the mother of Professor Otto Sonder of the Sociology Department, who has generously endowed the prize forever in her name. Established in 1979, the competition awards $100 to the writer of the poem that is judged best by a committee of department faculty members. The winner also receives a one-year membership to the Academy of American Poets. The winning poem is published in the college literary magazine Word of Mouth. To see the announcement of the most recent winners, click here.


The Writing Center

Students with strong writing ability and who have been recommended by faculty have the opportunity to gain valuable language and teaching skills by serving as tutors in the Writing Center. The Center provides a range of editorial services to students of all majors who desire extra help with a writing project—be it a paper for class, an application for graduate school, a cover letter for employment, or any other writing-related need. Tutors work closely with the Writing Center Coordinator to gain practical strategies for providing editorial assistance to fellow students as well as to improve their own language skills. To learn more, please visit the Writing Center webpage.


Sigma Tau Delta

As a declared major or minor in English or Writing, you may be invited to join the Gamma Pi chapter of the International English Honorary Society, Sigma Tau Delta (established 1981). The requirements for membership in Sigma Tau are as follows:

  • declared major or minor in English/Writing
  • completion of at least three units of English (excluding Composition 110)
  • a 3.0 minimum GPA in all classes
  • a 3.0 minimum GPA in English classes

The purpose of Sigma Tau is not only to honor students who appreciate good writing but to help promote that love in others. Sigma Tau has sponsored readings by guest writers and our own talent, celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday and Walt Whitman Day, and hosted October campfire readings.

Every year Sigma Tau awards national scholarships to English majors. Members in good standing are also allowed to wear honor cords in the Sigma Tau Delta colors at Commencement.

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