Contact or visit us

English Department
Stephanie Loos, Staff Assistant
Old Main, Room 102
Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 465-2343
sloos [at]

Holder Lecture

Each Spring semester, the Kenneth R. Holder Memorial Lecture brings a scholar in language theory, writing, or education to meet with classes and to deliver a lecture open to the public.

The Holder Lecture was established in 1991 by the Department of English to honor the life of Dr. Kenneth R. Holder, Professor of English and Provost at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Dr. Holder joined the faculty in 1972, and served as Provost from 1987 to 1991. His specialties in the English Department were linguistics—which he introduced as a course to the department—history of English, writing, and English Education. As Provost, he focused on strengthening instructional practices through technology and writing among the faculty.

Close up picture of Twyla Hansen

Spring 2023 Holder Lecture

On April 19 at 5:30 p.m., Twyla Hansen, an independent writer and speaker, will discuss “Nibbling at the Edge of Something Vast” The title of the talk is based on a quotation, defining poetry, from Professor Bill Kloefkorn, Nebraska State Poet and faculty member emeritus of the Nebraska Wesleyan University English Department.

Ms. Hansen, who served as Nebraska State Poet from 2013-2018, is author of eight books of poetry, including Feeding the Fire, Rock * Tree * Bird, and Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet, the last in collaboration with Linda Hasselstrom. Approximately 250 of her poems have been published in journals and periodicals around the country, many included in print anthologies. She has been awarded the Nebraska Literary Heritage Award, the President’s Award by the Nebraska Center for the Book and has been the winner of awards such as the Nebraska Book Award in Poetry, and the WILLA Literary Award in Poetry. She has given reading presentations and conducted writing workshops around the state, both carrying on the work of her friend and mentor Bill Kloefkorn and bringing her unique talents to the citizens of Nebraska.

The lecture will be held in Callen Conference Room located on the 1st floor of the Smith Curtis building at Nebraska Wesleyan University. The event is free and open to the public.


Past Holder Lecturers

Year Lecturers Topic
2021-22 Douglas Hesse
professor of writing in the Department of English at the University of Denver
"“The Creative Coordinates of Contemporary Nonfiction: Matters for Readers and Writers”
2020-21 Daniel Willingham
professor of psychology at the University of Virginia
"Digital Technology and the Future of Education"
2018-19 K. David Harrison
associate provost, professor of linguistics, Swarthmore College
"Endangered Languages"
2017-18 Ben Crystal
Actor, author and producer
"Spehk thuh speech uh press yuh Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation"
2016-17 Tessa Jolls
President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy
“Powershift: Redefining our Media Relationships and Culture”
2015-16 Dr. Stephen Buhler
University of Nebraksa – Lincoln
“Eloquence in Action: Rhetorics of Response in Shakespeare”
2014-15 Joan Hughes
University of Texas – Austin
“iPads and Their Impact on Literacy”
2013-14 Carole Levine and Patricia Sullivan
University of Nebraska and State University of New York, New Paltz
"Powerful Women in the Renaissance and Today: The Rhetoric of Queen Elizabeth I and Hillary Clinton"
2012-13 Malea Powell
Michigan State University
“Rhetorical Powwows: Making American Indian Rhetorics”
2011-12 LuMing Mao
Miami University
“Beyond Bias, Binary, and Border
Enacting a Discursive Third in Comparative Rhetoric”
2010-11 Maha Baddar
Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ
“From Athens (Via Alexander) to Baghdad: Medieval Arabic Rhetoric as Dialogic”
2009-10 Jennifer Cognard-Black
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
“Eat My Words: Teaching Writing through the Literatures of Food”
2008-09 Sid Dobrin
University of Florida
"Ecoseeing: Rhetoric, Writing, Images, and Nature”
2007-08 Jeffrey Hammond
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
“Hugging the Shore: Reflections on Creative Nonfiction”
2006-07 John McWhorter
Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow in Public Policy Contributing Editor to City Journal
“Language is a Lava Lamp”
2005-06 Daryl Baldwin
Miami University
“The Myaamia Project: Language and Culture Reclamation”
2004-05 Robert Jensen
University of Texas – Austin
“The Myth of Neutrality: Journalists, Academics and Power”
2003-04 Susan Swan
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
“Civic Engagement and Rhetorical Praxis: Strategies for Making Social Justice Work”
2002-03 Jan Swearingen
Texas A&M University
“Rhetorical Traditions and the Contemporary Academy: the Past Meets the Present, Once Again”
2001-02 Peter Vandenberg
DePaul University
“Intentions in Tension: Advanced Composition As Literate Practice”
2000-01 William Thelin
University of Cincinnati
“Issues of Class and Composition Theory”
1999-00 Mary Rose O’Reilley
Saint Thomas University
“Taking the Moi Out of Memoir”
1998-99 Richard Leo Enos
Texas Christian University
“Recovering the Lost Art of Researching the History of Rhetoric”
1997-98 Jim Corder
Texas Christian University
"How Many Rhetorics Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?”
1996-97 Andrea Lunsford
The Ohio State University
“Women and the Rhetorical Tradition”
1995-96 Jeanne Gunner
Chapman University
“The Story of Basic Writing”
1994-95 Cynthia Selfe
Michigan Technological University
“The Practice, Instruction, Politics, and Study of Literacy in Computer Supported Environments”
1993-94 Christina Murphy
Texas Christian University; now Marshall University
1992-93 Fern Kupfer
Iowa State University, with husband Joe Geha
1991-92 Joy Ritchie
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
1990-91 Les Whipp
University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Inaugural Lecture