Chris Anderson is professor of English at Oregon State University and a Catholic deacon. He has written 14 books, including poetry and nonfiction.
Born in 1955 in Colville, Washington, Chris is the son of a policeman and the oldest of three boys. He was the president of the student body in high school, and the editor of the school newspaper, and an Eagle Scout. He met his wife, Barb, in the marching band and soon asked her to read some of his poems. “I find your imagery imprecise,” Barb told him, and Chris thought: O mystery of life, I have found you!
Chris went to Gonzaga University in Spokane, where Barb’s father, Franz Schneider, was a poet and English professor. Professor Schneider’s freshman poetry class introduced Chris to a world in which people really cared about poetry and believed in the truths that only poetry can express. It was at Gonzaga, too, under the influence of the Jesuits, that he converted to Catholicism.
After he and Barb were married, Chris went on to graduate school at the University of Washington, receiving his Ph.D. in English in 1983. His first job as a professor was at the University of North Carolina,Greensboro. He came to Oregon State University in 1986 and served for twenty years as the Composition Coordinator.
In 1993, on a sabbatical at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary, he heard again the call to ministry that he’d been hearing all his life. After receiving a master’s degree in theology at Mount Angel, he was ordained a Catholic deacon and began doing the work of a deacon–baptizing, marrying, burying and preaching–while continuing to teach full-time at Oregon State.
Chris lives with Barb, the Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s, and their dog, Pip, on the edge of the university research forest north of Corvallis, Oregon. He and Barb have three grown children: John, a highway worker; Maggie, a filmmaker; and Tim, an elementary teacher.
M.A., Theology, Mount Angel Seminary, 1997
Ph.D., English, University of Washington, 1983
M.A., English, University of Washington, 1979
B.A., Honors (English), Gonzaga University, 1977
2005-present: Professor of English, Oregon State University
1996-2005: Professor of English and Composition Coordinator, Oregon State
1989-1996: Associate Professor of English and Composition Coordinator,
Oregon State University
1986-1989: Assistant Professor of English and Composition Coordinator,
Oregon State University
1982-1986: Assistant Professor of English and Assistant Director of Freshman
English, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Advanced Composition, the Personal Essay, the Essay as Literature, Nature
Writing, Autobiography, Rhetoric and Composition Theory, Composition
Pedagogy, the Bible as Literature, Religion and Literature, Dante, Augustine,
Introduction to Literature, Survey of English and American Literature, World
Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Studies in Poetry
Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything, Eerdmans Publishing, 2016
The Next Thing Always Belongs (poems), Airlie Press, 2011
Teaching as Believing: Faith in the University, Baylor University Press, 2004
With Lex Runciman, Open Questions: Critical Thinking, Ethical Writing, St.Martins Press, 2004
My Problem with the Truth (poems), Cloudbank Books, 2003
with Lex Runciman, Asking Questions: A Rhetoric for the Intellectual Life, Allyn-Bacon, 2000
with Lex Runciman, Forest of Voices: Reading and Writing the Environment, Mayfield Publishing, 1995. Second Edition, 2000
Edge Effects: Notes from an Oregon Forest, University of Iowa Press, 1993 (finalist, Oregon Book Award, 1994)
Free/Style: A Direct Approach to Writing, Houghton-Mifflin, 1992
ed., with Mary-Louise Buley Meissner and Virginia Chappell, Balancing Acts: Essays on the Teaching of Writing in Honor William Irmscher, Southern Illinois University Press, 1991
ed., The Tyrannies of Virtue: The Cultural Criticism of John Sisk. University of Oklahoma Press, 1990
ed., with Carl Klaus and Rebecca Fairy, In-Depth: Essayists for Our Time, Harcourt Brace, 1989. Second Edition, 1992
ed., Literary Nonfiction: Theory, Criticism, Pedagogy, Southern Illinois University Press, 1989
Style as Argument: Contemporary American Nonfiction, Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Honors and Awards
2005: Commencement Poet, Oregon State University commencement
2001-2003: Master Teacher, College of Liberal Arts
2000: Oregon Excellence Award for Teaching English Language Arts, for “years
of exemplary classroom practice,” Oregon Council of Teachers of English
1994: Finalist, Oregon Book Awards, Creative Nonfiction, for Edge Effects
1991: Burlington Resources Foundation Faculty Achievement Award
1989: Phi Kappa Phi Emerging Scholar Award
1997: ordination as a deacon for the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland