Dr. Sandra Ellston

Contact Information

Email: sellston@eou.edu
Phone: 541-563-6263
Websites: http://www.eou.edu/~sellston/ & http://sites.google.com/site/sandraellston

About Dr. Ellston

Dr. Ellston has been in the higher education classroom since 1974, when she offered her first course in writing at West Los Angeles College.  Since then she has served over 10,000 students!  She believes in active and engaged learning and in learning through doing.  Her courses are challenging and popular, with several “repeat customers.”  She is a scholar and a poet and is active in both the local arts community and the state-wide literary scene.  Her field of expertise is Shakespeare Studies along with poetry, film, and literary theory.

Professional Credentials

  • Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in English Renaissance Literature, University of Oregon, 1980
  • M.A. in English, U.C.L.A., 1974
  • B.A. in English and Twentieth-Century Thought & Expression, California State University, 1972


I offer one course per term online.

An extraordinary experience for students is the weekend college in spring term that takes place at the Northwest Poets’ Concord the first weekend in May in Newport, Oregon (2 credits). Students work with and learn from up to 150 living poets. You should be ready for upper division work to enroll.

Selected Publications

Books (as Sandra K. Fischer)

Econolingua: A Glossary of Coins and Economic Language in Renaissance Drama (Newark, Del.: Univ. of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated Univ. Presses, 1985), 180 pp.

Creative Writing

“Heritage Tree,” featured poem in Sunday Oregonian (January 14, 2007).

“Postmodern Erotics” and “Earthwork” (poems) in The Pregnant Moon Review (2008).

“Patients First” (creative non-fiction), The Propell Group Anthology (2008).

“Primrose” and “The Garden” (poems) in Thresholds, November (2008).

“Fort Clatsop.” “Climbing Mt. Angel,” “Hillwriting: Grande Ronde Valley” (poems), and “Pickin’” (story) in Oregon150 (web), December (2008).

“A Prayer for Ellen” (poem), 13th Moon, volume 21 (2009).

“Birdmen” (poem) & “Snow” (poem), Thresholds, Fall and Winter (2009).

“Fort Clatsop” and “Pickin’” in Oregon Stories (Ooligan Press, 2010).

“How I Learned About Jazz,” “The Writing Life,” “Imago,” “A Love Story,” and “Context: An Etheree,” in Tuesday (2011).

“Kneading Dough,” published on Haiku Society of America’s Wall at the Art Walk, Bend (2011).

Oregon Poetic Voices project reading for website and CD: “Baywalking,” “I Walk the Arduous Road,” “Heritage Tree,” and “Birdmen” (August 2011).

“A Taoist Considers Her Own Death,” Concord (2012).

Scholarly articles

“‘Cut my heart in sums’: Shakespeare’s Economics and Timon of Athens,” in Money: Lure, Lore, and Literature, ed. John L. DiGaetani (London: Greenwood Press, 1994): 187-96.

Richard Crashaw’s “On the Wounds of Our Crucified Lord,” Poetry (Los Angeles: Salem Press, 1992), 2: 1596-98.

“Work to do: Humanities Centers in the ‘Nineties,” Rereading 3 (1991): i-vii.

“Hearing Ophelia: Gender and Tragic Discourse in Hamlet,” Renaissance & Reformation, n.s. 14 (Feb. 1990): 1-10.

“‘He means to pay’: Value and Metaphor in the Lancastrian Tetralogy,”
Shakespeare Quarterly 40 (1989): 149-64.

“Isabel Archer and the Enclosed Chamber: A Phenomenological Reading,” Henry James Review 7.2-3 (Winter-Spring 1986): 48-58. (Selected for special Portrait of a Lady issue.)

“Elizabeth Cary and Tyranny, Domestic and Religious,” in Silent but for the Word: Tudor Women as Patrons, Translators, and Writers of Religious Works, ed. Margaret Hannay (Kent, Ohio: Kent State Univ. Press, 1985), 225-37, 287-89.

Selected Awards:

  • 2009, North Salem HS Hall of Fame for “Distinguished Lifetime Work”
  • 2008, Oregon Writers’ Colony award in Poetry
  • 2006, EOU, Woman of Vision & Courage, for “working toward a just & equal world”
  • 2006, Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship Award for Drama
  • 1983, President’s and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching, State University of New York

What literary study is to me

Literature and film are arrangements of words or images in formal structures. We find beauty and meaning by analyzing how form works to express and carry content. The effect of a work of art is more than the sum of its parts, yet satisfaction comes through understanding “why these particular words or images, in this particular order?” Every time we read or view film, we grow in both experience and understanding. Both literature and film allow us to live many lives in one. Experiencing how humans have created meaning enables us to become creators ourselves.

Literary theory goes a step further in offering us contexts for approaching meaning. Like other fields of study, it ultimately plumbs the basis of the search for meaning in human existence and expression.