The Graduate Scholars in English Association(GSEA) Conference 2023

April 13, 2023 |

The Graduate Scholars in English Association (GSEA) hosted a conference with the theme of Inclusive Resilience on March 31. The GSEA conference, first offered in 2013, had been an annual event until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now—three years after the pandemic fundamentally shifted students’ work practices and means to build community—the GSEA officers wanted this year’s event to reflect the perseverance of the organization and the graduate student community and to demonstrate that resilience is strongest when we respect, honor, and collaborate. The team is proud and grateful to note that the 2023 conference had the most in-person and online participants to date, with sixty-seven people in attendance.  

Twenty-six students, both undergraduate, and graduate, shared their creative and academic work with fellow students, faculty members, and even family members. The program included thesis and oral capstone presentations, poetry and fiction readings, and generative writing workshops by Composition, Creative Writing, Literature and English Studies, Film, English Education, and TESOL students. The program also featured a book launch and three plenary speakers, including:  

Robyn Katona, a 2022 alum of the MFA in Creative Writing program at MNSU, Mankato, a Robert C. Wright Award winner, and a current Toni Randolph Fellow for MPR News, opened the conference with a talk considering the tradition of land acknowledgments. As a nonbinary and Cree person, Robyn highlighted how March 31 is the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility and called for increased awareness and responsibility for Indigenous advocacy.  

During the lunch keynote session, Professor Michael Torres—whose debut collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press, 2020), was selected by Raquel Salas Rivera for the National Poetry Series and named one of NPR’s best books of 2020—gave a talk about how he prioritizes community-building in his creative writing classrooms and literary life. Additionally, he introduced the launch of a poetry chapbook entitled Classroom Creations: War Poems by Minnesota State University, Mankato Students Written at the Mankato Campus and Faribault and Shakopee Correctional Facilities, edited by Dr. Sam A. S. Kamara. A video of incarcerated students reading their poetry was presented, and two Mankato campus students read their poetry in person. If you would like a copy of the chapbook, please contact Dr. Nancy Drescher at  

Dr. Glen Poupore, a professor in TESOL and the current TESOL program director at MNSU, Mankato, closed the conference with remarks about the benefits of multilingualism as a strategy to support interpersonal growth, cultural diversity, and academic resilience and inclusivity. His scholarship has appeared widely in journals and edited collections such as the Modern Language Journal, Language Teaching Research, the Canadian Modern Language Review, the Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, and Teachers Exploring Tasks in English Language Teaching.    

Thanks to the Department of English, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Graduate Studies and Research, the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, and the attendees who donated to the conference, allowing the team to host everyone at no out-of-pocket cost to conference goers.   

For more information, visit GSEA 

Adelia Giving Opening Comments at GSEA Conference. a person standing at a podium with a person standing behind her Book Launch at GSEA Conference.
Adelia Giving Opening Comments at GSEA Conference. Graduate Student Discussion at GSEA Conference. Discussion at GSEA Conference.
Michael Torres Graffiti Artist Robyn speaking at GSEA Conference. Ailee Singing at GSEA Conference.