TWU Professor Melinda Dewsbury and global literature students use poetry to explore cultural heritage and personal identity

Excepted with permission from The Ekphrastic Review:

Professor Melinda Dewsbury grew up in rural Bruce Township, Ontario, where she lived as a farm girl and spent much of her time in contemplation. She now lives in Langley, B.C. and teaches at Trinity Western University. She is a poet and contributor to The Ekphrastic Review.

ENGL 102 is an introductory course in global literature at Trinity Western University. In this course, participants examine literature as an anthropological tool to discover both universals and cultural particulars. The literary works span ancient to current contexts and communicate diverse perspectives and themes from every continent. Students learn to analyze and respond to literature but also probe their own personal, family, and cultural histories. 

In the summer of 2020, with the educational disruption caused by COVID 19 and the shift to online delivery, Melinda looked for creative ways to engage students. The result was this final project. Students participated in an ekphrastic workshop led by Lorette C. Luzajic. By the conclusion of the course, students applied ekphrastic writing techniques together with the literary and cultural concepts of the course to create poetry that enquires into their cultural heritage and personal identity. This collection explores nationalism and political tensions, war and conflict, religious diversity, mental health, gender, sense of place, family, and personal history.

The poetry we share here represents a portion of the contributions. The first poem is by Professor Melinda Dewsbury. Those that follow are by the students. It is worth noting that these students are all first-time poets.
Lilacs in the Sun, by Claude Monet (France) 1872


I caught the first fragrance 
Upon tonight’s walk
Both gentle and abrupt
The scent of legend and folklore,
Mysteries, ghost stories, and romance
Nostalgia enters my pace
Bringing me to early spring solitude 
A little wispy girl giving
Fingertip to purple blossom
Gently shaking the slender canes
To pour their perfume into damp air.
I am back there
And I find that little girl inside me
And smile. 

Melinda Dewsbury

See the full article on The Ekphrastic Review:
TWU in The Ekphrastic Review

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust via Unsplash.


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