Senior auditor obtains book deal

Adam White

Ruth Maus is a senior auditor who frequently enrolls in English classes around campus. She has taken many poetry classes, some more than once, and has recently scored a book deal with Meadowlark Books who will be publishing her first collection of poems, ‘Valentine.’

Maus credits English Professor Eric McHenry for helping guide her writing and giving her the necessary tools to revise, edit and think critically about her own writing. In obtaining her book deal, Maus has expressed deep gratitude toward both the Washburn community in general, and Professor McHenry.

“I heard about classes at Washburn for auditors and I looked at the catalog and saw there was poetry, and I’ve always loved poetry so I signed up as an auditor. Never done any auditing before. I didn’t know Eric, but I was pleased to learn he was the former poet-laureate. So, I took his beginning poetry class, then the next semester I took the advanced poetry class, then I went back the next fall and repeated it again, both of those. I’ve been writing poems like that ever since.” said Maus.

Maus is quite excited about the book. She wanted to thank McHenry specifically for giving her encouragement. Maus said that no matter what one’s age is, one can always use the extra encouragement.

McHenry has been able to witness the formation of some of Maus’ poetry, and is pleased to see her advance and grow in her writing.

“I think it’s a terrific collection of poetry, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing parts of it emerge over several years of Ruth taking my classes and workshopping some of the poems in there. I’ve seen her style sort of develop and mature, she’s been a fantastic poet since day one, but I hope that she felt she’s really made some strides discovering what her voice is as a poet by being able to workshop the poems in that class and in her writing groups with other poets in the Topeka community.” said McHenry.

McHenry also was impressed with how bold and unafraid Maus is to tackle new kinds of poetry and how she makes them her own.

“She has some pretty long-standing, pretty firm ideas about poetry and art that serve her well. She’s a show don’t tell poet. Her poems reflect that. They’re very image rich and full of specific particular things. I think one reason people will be struck by the variety in her book is because she takes new challenges and assignments and really runs with them even if they lead her in a direction that may be different from her natural inclinations.”

‘Valentine’ is available for pre-purchase at and will soon be available at both the Ichabod Shop and the Mabee Library. Be sure to keep an eye out for a future reading of the book.

Edited by Jason Morrison, Jessica Galvin