Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring 17 PWE Capstone Poster Winners Announced!

Yesterday, the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program hosted the biannual PWE Poster Exhibit, where PWE capstone students showcase their writing and editing internship work for the university community.

Judges' and attendees' votes have been tallied, and the winners of the top poster awards are:

First Place: Jordan Miller, WVU Office of the Provost

Second Place:  Kayla Birnie, Eberly College Office of Undergraduate Studies

Third Place:  Olivia Wheeler, Literacy Volunteers of Monongalia & Preston Counties

Congratulations to all of the interns on their accomplishments this term, including:
Thank you to everyone who supported these talented English majors by attending the poster exhibit and voting for their favorite posters. A special thanks to the events' three judges, as well: Cheryl Ball, John Jones, and Sarah Morris.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

CFP EGSU 2017 Conference: Finding Frontiers: Then, Now, and Beyond

Call for Papers for WVU EGSU Conference 2017

Finding Frontiers: Then, Now, and Beyond

Keynote speaker: Professor Holly Dugan, George Washington University

In 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Frederick Jackson Turner declared that “[by] moving westward, the frontier became more and more American…each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics.” For Turner, the frontier and the American pursuit of the ever shifting frontier line was the force that shaped our democracy. It left upon future generations a temporal residue that found its way onto coming frontier lines, and the future definitions that came out of them Where, then, is the frontier now? How do we identify it if/when we find it? Turner’s declaration, and the questions it elicits, recall parallel issues of space across ages, disciplines, and texts.

The students of the English Graduate Student Union (EGSU) at the West Virginia University Department of English invite you to explore the idea of frontiers and the complications that they entail. The conference this year will be titled Frontiers: Then, Now, and Beyond, and will be held March 11th, 2017 at the West Virginia University downtown campus in Colson Hall.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to look further at the unexplored, undefined, indefinite nature of frontiers like those that Turner describes in his thesis. Presenters should feel free to explore the idea of frontiers in some of its broadest terms. Guiding questions include: what are the implications of imagined borders within the frontier narratives of 19th century America? How do literary borders situate, sustain, and undermine the British empire during the same period–and where do we find additional historic, scientific, and cultural parallels?  How does the rise of post-apocalyptic fiction in popular culture speak to the constant search for new frontiers? How does the proposed Anthropocene affect the drawing back or expansion of sensual or ecological frontiers? We urge you to broadly explore all questions of, or pertaining to, frontiers. You may consider one of, but are not limited to, the following categories:
  • Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies
  • African American Literature
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Popular Culture
  • Liminality
  • Posthumanism
  • American Literature
  • British Literature
  • Transatlantic Studies
  • Hemispheric Studies
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, and Chicano/a Literature
  • Native American Literature
  • Postcolonial Literature
  • War and/or Trauma and Literature
  • Film Studies and Film Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Critical Theory and Aesthetics
  • Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Digital Humanities
Proposal abstracts of 250 words should be submitted electronically to by January 13th, 2017. All proposals should include the title of the work, presenter’s name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests. We also welcome and encourage panel proposals of three to four presenters. We encourage panel organizers to experiment with different formats, including more speakers and shorter papers, discussion groups, PechaKucha, etc. The subject line of your email should also indicate if your abstract is a proposing creative or academic work. Panels will run for one hour and fifteen minutes, and speakers should be prepared to give a presentation lasting approximately fifteen minutes. This allows for ample opportunity in the interim for discussion of each paper. Chairs will see that all panels start and end on time, and that no speaker or group goes over their allotted time. Notification of proposal status will be within two weeks of the submission deadline.

Creative writing panels are also encouraged. Possible panel topics for creative writers might include defying boundaries of genre and/or genre blending, the resurgence of fairy tales in contemporary creative writing, or influences on your work out of genre or that deal in any of the possible subjects listed above. Fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry panels should plan to read for 7-10 minutes per participant and field questions from their audience.

More information can be found at

Friday, November 18, 2016

PWE Capstone Poster Winners Announced!

Yesterday, the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program hosted the biannual PWE Poster Exhibit, where PWE capstone students showcase their writing and editing internship work for the university community.

Judges' and attendees' votes have been tallied, and the winners of the top poster awards are:

First Place: Abigail Humphreys, The Daily Athenaeum

Second Place:  Krislin Nuzum, WVU Office of Accessibility Services

Third Place:  Matt Jarrett, Digital Publishing Institute

Congratulations to all of the interns on their accomplishments this term, including:

Thank you to everyone who supported these talented English majors by attending the poster exhibit and voting for their favorite posters. A special thanks to the events' three judges, as well: Lydia Welker, Nathalie Singh-Corcoran and Tom Sura.

Nov. 29th Gathering to Affirm Diversity, Equality, and Justice

The English Department


Students, Colleagues, Alumni, Affiliates, and Friends

To our Affirmation of Diversity, Equality, and Justice

Tuesday, November 29th, 3:00-5:00 in Colson Hall

We will gather to voice our aspirations for a just, respectful, and humane community, one sustained by reflective engagements with language and literature. We affirm our support of the vulnerable, our commitment to fair-minded inquiry, and our facilitation of pluralism. Please join us to listen, learn, and share your words.

Everyone Welcome

Refreshments Served

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Post-It Power

Inspired by the post-it notes popping up along New York City subway walls and underground connections, our English department took over a space in the Lair (our student union building, and Chik-Fil-A hotspot) to encourage students to write their own messages, words of strength, hope, and affirmation in the wake of this election week.

“We are here for you in whatever way you need.”

People stepped up and came together in the best ways, offering supplies (a table cloth!) (a poster!) (candy!) as well as their company and presence.  Thank you.

“Un BESO, un abrazo, olo que sea que necesites. SI SE PUEDE.”


“You DESERVE to be here and have a voice. You aren’t ever alone.”

It’s tempting to trivialize or sentimentalize small actions of love or resistance. We like to claim that either they don’t matter in the grand scheme of the universe, or that somehow one post-it note will be the snowflake that causes the branch to fall—pat ourselves on the back, our work here is done!

“Love everyone, race, gender, sexual orientation. And this world would be a better place to live in.”

“People care about you.”

“We All Belong Here!”


Of course the truth is somewhere in the middle.  And we will “Be Resolute.”


Dr. Teresa Pershing, Ph.D.


The Tenants are pleased to announce that, as of 6:00 this afternoon, Ms. Teresa Pershing is now Dr. Teresa Pershing, following a chat with her dissertation committee: Lara Farina, Marilyn Francus, Adam Komisaruk, Richard Sha (American University), and yours truly.  The topics addressed in a meandering discussion of Teresa's dissertation, which argued for the critical value of making a distinction between erring (as non-normative mistake) and errancy (as a queer mode of escaping the norms), ranged from a lengthy discussion of Malthus to an even longer discussion of Smear the Queer. Congratulations to Dr. Pershing!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Oh, Nostalgia!

I've got nothing deep to say about nostalgia—I'll let Dennis and others handle that—but I do want to alert you to this article about—drumroll, please!—the Easy Bake Oven! Yes! I know! I love(d) it too! And here it is in all its glory:

Sure, Easy Bake cakes were not always edible, but, hey, lots of cakes aren't! The oven is a more sublime experience than that, providing true Nourishment. 

And, guess what: turns out, boys like the Easy Bake Oven too. Yep. It's all in the article. And lest you think the Oven has gone by the wayside, be assured that it has not. You may purchase one even today. 

Finally, this post would not be complete without a shout-out to MA student SJ Stout who, under my, um, direction, wrote a fascinating essay about log flumes (!) and lyric poetry (!) and who is now deep into nostalgia. SJ, I hope this post will service as the help I promised you.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hungry Poets 2016 Contest Call for Submissions

Coming up much earlier than usual this year is the deadline for the Hungry Poets contest in memory of Gabe Friedberg. Usually a spring activity, the contest this year has been shifted to the fall. If you are a poet under 30 years old who would like to participate in a great event please see the flyer below for details. And if you teach creative writing classes (or any English or humanities classes) please distribute this information to your students as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to emphasize that there are cash prizes for first, second, and third place.

Please note that entries must be emailed in on or before 29 August, so the deadline is coming up quickly. See the flyer below for more information, and again, please distribute this flyer to your students.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dispatches from the 20th Annual West Virginia Writers' Workshop: Day 4

Hello and welcome to the last day of the 20th Annual West Virginia Writers’ Workshop. We all came to Colson 130 at 9:30AM for our Panel on Publishing, with all of our Workshop Faculty.  This is always a fun morning, because we’re able to talk about what we can do with all of the writing that we have generated over the last three days (and that we got to enjoy last night at the Open Mic at Mother India).

Publishing panels can show us both sides of the literary arts. David Hassler and Jacinda Townsend talked more about the nitty gritty business side of what it means to be a writer, what it means to labor over revisions, and how to stay in the game even through all of the rejections that we will inevitably experience, while Shara McCallum talked about how the spirit of our creative desires should fuel and sustain us, because we love it. As I was having lunch with Natalie and Renee earlier, I realized that our Workshop has both of those elements. Each year we bring amazing authors to come in and be part of our Workshop Faculty, which is a very businesslike endeavor. But all of the authors come to do work and pay homage to the craft of writing, which supports and sustains and fulfills us. Each year, the Workshop is a labor of love. And twenty years in, it’s still the most magical weekend in July.  

These are Mark's Thank-You's to: 

all of you in the Department of English...and...

To our participants -- who came from Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the great state of West Virginia

To Jim Harms -- whose wonderful concluding poem Friday night now makes me think of our local diner as the "Existentialist Cafe, with Milkshake"

To Marsha Bissett -- whose management skills are second only to her grace under pressure

To Cindy Ulrich -- who handles so much so effortlessly

To Ethel Morgan Smith -- whose reading was topped only by the stunningly moving panel she served on

To Breon Batten, Kelly Johnson, and Amanda Tustin -- muchisimas gracias!

To our amazing Workshop faculty, who came from far (Jacinda Townsend, who is heading out for a teaching position in California) and near (relatively, in some cases; very in others): Dominique Bruno (social-media maestro extraordinaire), Ann Claycomb, David Hassler, Brent House, Alonzo LaMont, Shara McCallum, and Howard Owen

To Natalie Sypolt, who displayed her usual firm patience with (and inspired) 16 high-school participants

To Bonnie Thibodeau, who had the night-shift with the high-schoolers and lived to tell the tale

To our grad-student and undergraduate-student assistants: Megan Fahey, Bryce Berkowitz, Jordan Carter, and Amanda Gaines

To our dean, Greg Dunaway, whose enthusiastic support of the Workshop justly received enthusiastic applause from our participants and faculty Friday night 

To our president, Gordon Gee, who has talked up our Workshop frequently ever since his welcome (second) arrival at WVU

To the WVU bookstore, which came through

And of course to Renée Nicholson, whose commitment to the Workshop is unrivaled and deeply, deeply appreciated.

If I missed anyone -- please accept my absent-minded (but grateful) thank you!

Planning for next year's West Virginia Writers' Workshop is already under way. We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, be sure to "Like" and follow us on Facebook: @WVWritersWS

On Twitter: @WV_Workshop

And on Instagram: wv_writersworkshop

The hashtag that Renée came up with is #wvww20 for our 20th Anniversary.  You can do a search for that on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to re-live your favorite moments!

Thank you thank you thank you to all of the Workshop participants this year, and over the last twenty years. Doing the social media for this Workshop is the highlight of my summer, and I love every minute of it. 

'Until next year Tenants-