The English Department of Dordt College believes that "nothing matters but the kingdom of God, but because of the kingdom, everything, literally everything, matters." (Gordon Spykman, Dordt College commencement 1988, "Kingdoms in Conflict")

From that perspective, we teach students how to read poems, stories, plays, and essays. Such reading requires examining how an author uses language to create imagined worlds and to communicate meaning. It also requires that the reader examine how literature from a variety of time periods and cultures challenges or affirms our values and enriches our lives. We aim to foster life-long reading in all our students.

We also demand that students respond to specific selections they read as well as to the broader world in which they live. Thus we teach our students to write poems, stories, essays, and research papers, all of which may help them articulate their Christian understanding of literature and life.

Because we expect all of our graduates will write for publication, we aim to teach them to write clearly, concisely, and forcefully so that the ideas they express and the causes they represent will be advanced.

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Faculty Work from 2011

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Good Writing: The Problem of Ethics, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Student Writers as Problem Solvers in Literature Classrooms, Jonathan Bush, Leah A. Zuidema, Dawn Reed, and Katie Greene

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Rather Enjoying Myself, Thanks, Bob De Smith

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Richard III, Mary Dengler

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Ring-necked Pheasant, Howard Schaap

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Scratch Tickets, Howard Schaap

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Single-Heartedness, David Schelhaas

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Sixth Street Symphony, Leah A. Zuidema

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Stubbornness, James C. Schaap

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Tee Ball, Howard Schaap

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Warriors, Shades, and Nymph, Mary Dengler

Submissions from 2010

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After Getting the Mail, Howard Schaap

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City of Tranquil Light (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Devil Reads Derrida (and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts) (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Eating at Neruda's Table, Bob De Smith

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Emily Dickinson, Peter De Vries, and the Strangely Unshakeable Calvinist Character, James C. Schaap

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Emotion Recollected in Tranquility, Howard Schaap

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Eviction, Mary Dengler

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Faith in Fiction? Solzhenitsyn's One Day as a Practical Defense of Fiction, Bob De Smith

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Family Reunion, Howard Schaap

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Holding Steady, Bill Elgersma

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January 26: 28 Degrees and a Bright Red Sunshine, David Schelhaas

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November 5 Cold and Clear, David Schelhaas

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Phantom Braking, Bob De Smith

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Presumptions, Mary Dengler

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Professional Writing: What You Already Know, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Re-Hearing "Every Square Inch": Anthropocentrism in Neo-Calvinist Rhetoric, Howard Schaap

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Rehoboth, A Place for Us: An Album of Family Stories, James C. Schaap

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What You Got to Hear, James C. Schaap

Submissions from 2009

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Arriving, Bill Elgersma

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Calvinist Foibles on Massachusetts Bay: Review Essay, James C. Schaap

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Fallen Pride, Mary Dengler

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Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace, James C. Schaap

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Geese Leave Summit Lake, Howard Schaap

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Home (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Interracial Marriage, Howard Schaap

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January Thaw, David Schelhaas

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My Best Hour of the Week, Bob De Smith

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Nightmare of Christmas, James C. Schaap

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No Truth But in Things, Howard Schaap

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Oh, Brother, Mary Dengler

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Paradise in Wal-Mart, Mary Dengler

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Reaping, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Retired, David Schelhaas

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Reverence, Mystery, and Christian Education, James C. Schaap

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Seeing Literature Through Students’ Eyes: The Text Preview, Leah A. Zuidema

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Six Hundred Sermons: A Closer Look at One Pastor's Writing Practices, Leah A. Zuidema

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Space, James C, Schaap

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What Will You Name It? Dordt College Commencement Address, May 9, 2008, Jeri Schelhaas

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Word Made Flesh, David Schelhaas

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Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Book Review), Leah A. Zuidema and Todd M. Zuidema

Submissions from 2008

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Amsterdam Diaries, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Crossing Barbwire Fences, Howard Schaap

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Dog Days, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Earth Blood, Howard Schaap

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Family Farm, Howard Schaap

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Finding Mother in Busan, Mary Dengler

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First Day of Summer, Leah A. Zuidema

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Flippant Joke Reveals Callous Mindset, Luke DeKoster

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Go Ahead, Take My Freedom - I'm not a Terrorist, Luke DeKoster

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Guard, Bob De Smith

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Hearing Things, Bob De Smith

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His Holy Temples, David Schelhaas

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Lincoln County, Bill Elgersma

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Me and My Tribe, James C. Schaap

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Mother's Day, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Near Unto God, James C. Schaap and Abraham Kuyper

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Nonrockaboatus, Bill Elgersma

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November Rock, Bill Elgersma

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Simple Breath, Howard Schaap

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Sixty at Sixty: A Boomer Reflects on the Psalms, James C. Schaap

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So Here We Two are at 50, Bob De Smith

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West Meets East in Grace Beyond Belief, Mary Dengler

Submissions from 2007

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Aguacero, Lorna Van Gilst

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Always, James C. Schaap

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Apprentices, Bill Elgersma

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Aujourd'hui, Bill Elgersma

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Canto, Mary Dengler

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Crossed Sticks, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Divided by a Common Heritage: The Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America at the Beginning of the New Millennium (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Forever, James C. Schaap

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Fresh Harbor, Mary Dengler

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Frost Like Ashes: Review Essay of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, James C. Schaap

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God of Material Things, David Schelhaas

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Gone Gentle, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Hair, 1956, David Schelhaas

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Lorna, Mary Dengler

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Mixed Blood, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Mortality, Leah A. Zuidema

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Old Country, Bill Elgersma

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Old Glory, Mary Dengler

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On Planning a Daily Poetry Class Schedule for the Last Third of the Semester, David Schelhaas

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Reformed Defense of Literature: An Apology for Literature's Place in Christian Higher Education, Mary Dengler

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Still Waters, James C. Schaap

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What About a Bicentennial? Mr. and Mrs. CRC, James C. Schaap

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What People Say, James C. Schaap

Books from 2006

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Crossing Over: Stories of Asian Refugee Christians, James C. Schaap

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Death Promises, Mike Vanden Bosch

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English Rose, Lorna Van Gilst

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Garden a Tire, Lorna Van Gilst