Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tribute to John Stasny:
The first graduate course I took was Professor John Stasny’s seminar on Victorian Humanism. Of the many fine assigned readings, John Ruskin’s essay “Of Kings’ Treasuries” has become, for me, one of the most memorable. After all, Ruskin’s deliciously digressive piece was about what we graduate students assumed we knew how to do: namely, read well. Many of us soon realized that pride in our reading gifts was a bit misplaced. When, for instance, a weary student would occasionally confess that he had not read all of Pater’s Marius the Epicurean, Prof. Stasny would often respond, with avuncular playfulness, that “Graduate students don’t read; they re-read.” Of course, we would mutter to ourselves that only if Prof. Stasny had to read so many freshman essays would he then understand the readerly torpor brought on by meandering Marius. Then, Ruskin’s words on reading rightly would chime in our minds: “No book is worth anything which is not worth much; nor is it serviceable, until it has been read, and re-read, and loved, and loved again.” Prof. Stasny was redeemed again.
Further in “Of Kings’ Treasuries,” Ruskin reminds us of the rewards of close reading, particularly of reducing our personality. Ruskin might as well have been describing Prof. Stasny, as an inspiring “pastor,” or teacher:
“Having then faithfully listened to the great teachers, that you may enter into their Thoughts, you have yet this higher advance to make;--you have to enter into their Hearts. As you go to them first for clear sight, so you must stay with them, that you may share at last their just and mighty Passion.”
I like to think that I have always stayed with my mentor Prof. Stasny, sharing his passion for Victorian literature and teaching. In fact, as I now look up at the top shelf of the bookcase before me in my study, I see several of the “books of all times” that Prof. Stasny assigned in my first seminar 28 years ago. I am reminded that Prof. Stasny remains a vibrant presence in my life, as a just steward of what Ruskin calls the “aristocracy of companionship” of true books. Moreover, when I take down some of these books and observe the underlining, annotating, and other evidence of re-reading, I also recall John Ruskin’s apt eloquence: “Well, whatever bit of a wise man’s work is honestly and benevolently done, that bit is his book or piece of art.” Thus, the signs of careful reading and its delights found on the pages of my books remind me that Prof. Stasny, as co-founding editor or Victorian Poetry, engaged teacher, and gracious community servant, has indeed written a worthy book of life.
contributed by Peter O'Neill
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Thanks to Teresa Pershing for suggesting this and to the Strategic Planning Committee for okaying it. Additional thanks to Teresa for compiling all the information, Kristen Davis for taking some of the photographs, and Marsha Bissett for putting everything online.
Canadian author Alice Munro was selected from among a rather esteemed group of writers (E.L. Doctorow, V.S. Naipaul, Joyce Carol Oates, and Mario Vargas Llosa) as this year’s recipient of the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement.
Munro is a master of the (long) short story, and TCH cannot recommend her work enough.
No quote can quite do justice to Munro. Her sentence rhythm alone deserves its own post on the blog. Nonetheless, consider the final passage from “Meneseteung,” a wow story if ever there was one (Friend of My Youth, 1990). The narrator has just located the grave of Almeda Roth, a “lady-poet” living in frontier Ontario in the late 1800’s, a world that is genteel out the front door and rough-and-tumble out the back.
I made sure I had got to the edge of the stone. That was all the name there was---Meda. So it was true that she was called by that name in the family. Not just in the poem. Or perhaps she chose her name from the poem, to be written on her stone.
I thought that there wasn’t anybody alive in the world but me who would know this, who would make the connection. And I would be the last person to do so. But perhaps this isn’t so. People are curious. A few people are. They will be driven to find things out, even trivial things. They will put things together, knowing all along that they may be mistaken. You see them going around with notebooks, scraping the dirt off gravestones, reading microfilm, just in the hope of seeing this trickle in time, making a connection, rescuing one thing from the rubbish.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
1. Frank Sinatra, "Summer Wind"
2. Smashing Pumpkins, "1979"
3. Everything, "Hooch"
4. Sugar Ray, "Every Morning"
5. Snoop, "Gin and Juice" (or The Gourds' cover version)
Honorable Mention: Len, "Steal My Sunshine"; The B-52's, "Summer of Love"
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Kristi D. Wood-Turner
WVU Center for Civic Engagement
356 Stansbury Hall
Morgantown, WV 26506
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
James Harms is the author of five books of poetry from Carnegie Mellon University Press, including, most recently, After West (2008).
Here's the link to the show: you can listen to it live from 5:00 to 6:30 this Sunday or access the archives (also at this site) at a later date:
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Graduate Essay Prize 2009
The editors invite graduate students to enter the fifth annual Eighteenth-Century Fiction graduate essay contest. Anyone working towards a graduate degree at the time of submission, 1 September 2008–31 August 2009, may enter. The winning author will receive a prize of US$100 and publication of the essay in the journal. Articles (5,000–8,000 words and written in English or French) may deal with any aspect of eighteenth-century international fiction. Please prepare the manuscript for an anonymous reading.
Details about submission can be found at http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~ecf/editorialpolicy.html. Contact the journal editors at
Hamilton ON Canada L8S 4L9
Disability and Gender”
a public lecture by
Thursday, May 21, 2009
130 Colson Hall
Free and Open to the Public
Reception to Follow
A WVU Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies, “Global Bodies: Representing Disability and Gender,” will be held from May 21-24, 2009. Robert McRuer, Associate Professor of English at George Washington University, will lead this seminar, which will be attended by independent scholars, faculty, and graduate students from various universities. The public is invited to hear his opening talk. The seminar is sponsored by the Department of English, and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. For additional information or conference registration or materials, contact the Department of English at 304-293-3107.
Monday, May 18, 2009
The Department of English at Coastal Carolina University invites applications for appointments at the rank of Assistant Professor (tenure track) effective August 16, 2009. The department seeks candidates with research agendas and teaching expertise in Early Modern British literature (1500-1830). Candidates with a record of excellent teaching in first-year composition and literature courses preferred. Desirable secondary strengths include: critical theory, transatlantic studies, children’s literature, and/or new media.
Teaching assignments may include evening/weekend courses, courses taught offcampus and distance learning courses. The successful candidate will hold a Ph.D.in English and preference will be given to candidates with an emerging record of research and publication, evidence of ongoing scholarly activity, and participation at conferences. Other responsibilities will include academic advising and university service. Candidates should submit a letter of application (outlining interest in the position, qualifications, and approach to teaching), a current resume and transcripts of all graduate work (unofficial copies acceptable at this time) electronically at www.coastal.edu/hreo. Applications will be reviewed until the positions are filled.
Coastal Carolina University is a public mid-sized, comprehensive liberal arts-oriented institution. Coastal Carolina University is located in Conway, South Carolina, just nine miles from the Atlantic coastal resort of Myrtle Beach, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation. It has an enrollment of 8,400 students and is expected to have continued growth for the next several years. Coastal Carolina University is a part of the South Carolina system of public education and has close ties with its founder, the Horry County Higher Education Commission.
Candidates should submit electronically a letter of application (outlining interest in the position, qualifications, and approach to teaching), a currentCV, and transcripts of all graduate work (copies acceptable at this time) at: http://jobs.coastal.edu/. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. It is possible that the appointment can be on a "visiting" basis for one year. Coastal Carolina University is building a culturally diverse faculty and strongly encourages applications from women and minority candidates. CCU is an EO/AA employer.
UMBC--Fulltime Lecturer Positions
The Department of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County seeks to hire two full-time Lecturers to teach first-year composition. These will be three-year appointments beginning in the Fall Term 2009, with benefits and with the possibility of renewal. The successful candidates will have demonstrated experience in teaching composition at the university level, proven excellence in the classroom, as evidenced by high teaching evaluations, and commitment to advising and mentoring undergraduates. M.A. in English Composition/ Rhetoric or another relevant field required. Normal course assignment will be 24 credits per academic year. UMBC is a dynamic public research university located in the Baltimore-Washington corridor (http://www.umbc.edu/ ). Please send letter of application, C.V., three letters of reference, and no more than 20 pages of supporting materials (i.e. sample syllabi, assignments, teaching evaluations) to be received by June 1, 2009 to Jessica Berman, Chair, English Department, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore Md. 21250. UMBC is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.
Please keep in mind that these are NOT guaranteed waivers. I will do my very best to give everyone at least something. Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in a meritorious waiver.
I won't take any requests after July 1. I really pushed my luck with the Summer waivers so please don't wait until after the deadline to ask me for them. I had this happen several times for the Summer sessions . I am kindly asking all of you not to put me in that position again for the Fall semester.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Mary McAleer Balkun. The American Counterfeit. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2006.
Jacques Derrida. Given Time. I. Counterfeit Money. Chicago, IL: Chicago UP, 1994.
Jean-Joseph Goux. Symbolic Economies. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1990.
Frederic Jameson. The Political Unconscious. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1981.
Mary Poovey. Genres of the Credit Economy. Chicago, IL: Chicago UP, 2008.
Marc Shell. Money, Language, and Thought. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1993
Martha Woodmansee and Mark Osteen, eds. The New Economic Criticism: Studies at the Intersection of Literature and Economics. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Anonymous. The Croxton Play of the Sacrament in Early English Drama: An Anthology, ed. by John C. Coldewey. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993. This is available online at:
Frances (Fanny) Burney. The Wanderer. New York: Oxford UP, 2001.
Frank Norris. McTeague. New York: Signet Classics, 2003.
George Saunders. Pastoralia. New York: Riverhead Books, 2000.
Dorothy West. The Living is Easy. New York: The Feminist Press, 1982.
If you actually are an incoming doctoral student, it would be useful to know that this year's proseminar topic is:
Economics, Exchange, and the Literary Imagination
"The committee can imagine papers that would discuss the function of money in literary texts, the inter-implication of economic systems and aesthetic forms, or the relationship between political economy and the politics of identity, for starters, and students can probably find other ways to unite two of the five primary texts under this theme."
Tomorrow: some theoretical reading....
Thursday, May 14, 2009
"It was because Hopkins's superiors in England had so little use for him, Mariaini shows, that they encouraged him to take a position as Professor of Greek and Examiner in Classics at the Royal University of Ireland, in Dublin. This prestigious-sounding post actually involved teaching elementary Latin and grading a truly staggering number of tests: six examinations times seven hundred and fifty students, according to Hopkins, for a total of forty-five hundred papers every year."
New Yorker, May 11, 2009, 105.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
"These academics' arguments seem sound as far as they go..." -Infinite Jest
The critical discussion of David Foster Wallace has thus far been limited to a few aspects of his most popular works. Our conference seeks to expand the response beyond the popular imagination's categories of "difficult," "postmodern," and "genius," and beyond the author's own articulation of his project as a response to irony. We invite a reconsideration of Wallace with an emphasis on new perspectives of his entire oeuvre.
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York is pleased to announce a one-day conference devoted to the discussion of Wallace's work, to be held Friday, November 20th 2009, from 9 am to 5 pm. Please send your abstracts of no more than 250-words by August 15th, along with contact info and institutional affiliation (if any), to: footnotesconference[at]gmail.com .
We welcome papers exploring any aspect of Wallace's work. Some suggested directions:
1) Reconsideration of Wallace's Oeuvre: Papers examining Wallace's neglected early works Broom of the System and Girl with Curious Hair; new perspectives on Infinite Jest; the direction of Wallace's later work.
2) Wallace's Literary Context: The reception of Wallace's work and the way his image has been shaped by his fans, the media, and the academy; examinations of Wallace's relation to his literary forebears, both 20th century and earlier; Wallace outside the bounds of "postmodernism"; Wallace's influence on contemporary literature.
3) Theorizing Wallace: Wallace's treatment of language and formal or figurative qualities in Wallace's writing; applications of narrative theory to Wallace's texts or consideration of his narrative innovations; Wallace's analytic, phenomenological, or existential contexts; treatment of the self and subjectivity; relation to ethics/values/morality; feminism and gender issues.
4) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Wallace: The use of math, logic, philosophy, science, technology, politics, sociology, psychology, law, etc. in Wallace's work; pedagogical issues related to Wallace's work.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
As a graduate student you should be on the main listserv, the graduate listserv, and/or the Ph.D./MFA listserv, and/or the 101/102 listserv.
For the incoming graduate students there will be a memo prepared for them that indicates which listservs they should be on. Hopefully, this will help them determine if they are or are not receiving the appropriate emails.
The other step that is going to be taken is that there will be a scheduled "test" email sent out to all the listservs at least twice a semester. This will help everyone determine if they are on the correct listservs and therefore receiving the correct emails.
If you think that you are not on all of the listservs please let someone know ASAP. There are several listservs and they all have different managers.
Main listserv: Michele Marshall
Graduate, MFA, and Ph.D. listserv: Amanda Riley
101 and 102 listserv (these are two separate listservs): Mary Vasquez
All of this is still in the planning stages and will go in to effect the beginning of the Fall semester. If you are ever in doubt about being on the correct listservs please ask.
This past year's theme was "faking it." So we have a number of projects to suit this theme: Fakebook, by Emily Watson; Monongazon, by John Shumate and Matt Buchanan; Doll Baby Soul Angels, by Beth Staley; and a mysterious film featuring the song-and-dance stylings of Rick Astley...
These projects were arranged and designed with the help of CLC denizens Jeremy Justus, Nick Hales, Sandy Baldwin, and Jon Harvey.
Click on the link below to go directly to Fakebook and browse the other projects via the “banner ads” to the right:
Or check out our own Myspace page which acts as a homepage for all the projects:
Have a great summer!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Erin Johns Speese, “Raping Prejudice: Mary Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice, Gender, and Rape,” The 2008 International Conference on Romanticism, Rochester, MI, Oct. 16-19, 2008.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
For more proof that English grad students are worthy every penny we pay them---and more!---just read this duck-saving experience, as narrated by Charity Gingerich:
Danielle Ryle and I were ambling up University Ave., our destination being the Starbucks/bookstore, our reason for ambling the pile of grading back at the library. Imagine our delight when a momma duck quite literally popped out of the bushes with her brood of twelve--still wobbly on the legs! What struck me was momma duck's nonchalance. She seemed unconcerned that her kiddos couldn't hop the curbs with her as she foraged for food. Many a little guy would try to make the leap and then tumble down on his still surely-sticky backside with nary a quack of solace. I kept saying "they look like giant bumblebees!" And I'm sure those around me thought me quite nuts. Danielle and I were so worried they'd try to cross the street... which they did, several times! We kept following them around, ready to protect and defend. Others felt the calling as well. I was rather touched and relieved to see the responses of other pedestrians, though momma duck wasn't. She showed one guy her bill in no uncertain terms (much as one would give "the finger") when he tried to get too helpful. And then a cop showed up! Danielle and I thought surely he had more important matters to attend to, though we meant to bring the ducks to his attention. Imagine our surprise when he seemed to be having a conversation with someone else about "the family at large." After this we felt it safe and morally Ok to move on, buy coffee, and get back to grading.
Good work! Now, finish reading those 101 portfolios...
Monday, May 4, 2009
JOHN ERNEST and Joycelyn K. Moody, the Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will co-edit a book series for WVU Press titled "Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture." The series will produce informative editions of nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century African American texts that either are out of print or are unavailable in good editions.
The Literature of the Scottish Reformation has just appeared from Ashgate Publishers with a contribution by RUDY ALMASY: "John Knox and A Godly Letter: Fashioning and refashioning the exilic 'I' "
JAMES HARMS' second book, The Joy Addict, has just been redesigned and reissued in the Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series.
In April JONATHAN BURTON ran a seminar entitled "High School Shakespeare," attended by academics, high school teachers, and professional development consultants at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America. He also gave a talk entitled "Found in Translation" at the University of Pennsylvania's one-day symposium on "Transnational Pasts."
JASON KAPCALA has had three poems ("Fishing with My Father: Promised Land Lake in December," "Fishing with My Father: The Delaware in April," and "Fishing with My Father: Bay of Quinte in August") accepted to the Fall 2009 issue of Yale Angler's Journal.
TERESA PERSHING presented a paper titled "Lesbian (Out)Skirts:
A Consideration of Lesbian Representation via Pop Culture Figures" at the Popular Culture
Association/American Culture Association joint national conference in New Orleans, LA from April 8-11.
MARY ANN SAMYN published two poems, "There's No Time Like the Present" and "Loud and Clear," in Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts (University of Missouri), and two poems, "Oceanic" and "Something about Vulnerability," in FIELD.
LORI D'ANGELO's poem "April in Iraq" was published in The New Verse News and her poem "Visions of Sugarplums" will be published there at the end of April.
NATALIE SYPOLT and RENEE K. NICHOLSON presented their paper "The Writing's On The Web: Technology In The Creative Writing Classroom" at the recent WVACET conference at Glenville State College.
KIRSTEN BEACHY, who graduated from our MFA program in 2007 has an essay in the newest edition of Shenandoah called "Selling the Farm".
SCOTT WIBLE published "Composing Alternatives to a National Security Language Policy" in the May 2009 issue of College English.
Former MA student Sarah Hamilton and KIRK HAZEN published "Dialect Research in Appalachia: A Family Case Study" in the Spring 2009 issue of West Virginia History (3.1: 81-107).
WVU Outstanding Senior Sarah Vacovsky and Kirk made three trips to Glenville State College this spring semester to train GSC students in sociolinguistics fieldwork. Sarah and Kirk guest lectured in an upper division English class for future teachers, expounding on English linguistics, American dialectology, and sociolinguistic interviewing/transcribing skills. The West Virginia Dialect Project loaned out recording equipment and 17 interviews were conducted and transcribed.
Kirk gave two talks on May 1 to social workers at the WV chapter of the National Association of Social Workers in Charleston, WV. The first lecture, "Language in the Twenty-First Century," was presented in a networking session to 110 social workers. The second lecture, "Dialects in West Virginia", was presented to 250 social workers in a longer workshop.
DONALD E. HALL finished his last year of service on the MLA Convention Program committee by reviewing and judging app. 250 possible special sessions for the convention in Philadelphia (he has to recuse himself from considering any of the fine proposals that included papers by members of our department). Donald has been nominated as a candidate in this year's election to serve on the Association of Departments of English Executive Committee. He has also been appointed to the national peer review board for the Fulbright Specialist Program, administered by CIES.
Donald E. Hall
Chair, Department of English
Friday, May 1, 2009
Scroll to the bottom to see the latest recordings.
Though Professor Gouge failed to show after signing up to wear the scone costume, the MFA reading proceeded as planned and was, of course, a rousing success.
Listeners were treated to readings by poet Matt Buchanan, who dazzled us with his Indiana wit and his willingness to enter the imagination of a “scuzzoid kid”; nonfiction writer Sarah Beth Childers, who reminded us of the value of maps and the importance of keeping out of the line of fire; fiction writer Lori D’Angelo, who bravely read a brand new piece about a one-time jock and his kind of dead, kind of ex-girlfriend, and to whose dog, Maggie, we send our regards; nonfiction writer Rachel Rosolina, whose essay no doubt brought a tear to her dad’s eye and taught us a thing or two about church organs and what’s inside them; fiction writer John Shumate, who explored the challenges of interior decorating and the problems of art school, which he left---we’re so glad---to be with us; and poet Erin Veith, whose poems, like origami, were folded just so.
The “emerging writers” graciously thanked their committee members---Mark Brazaitis, Jim Harms, Ellesa High, John Lamb, Emily Mitchell, Kevin Oderman, Mary Ann Samyn, and Ethel Morgan Smith---all of whom were in attendance in person or in spirit (or both!).
In addition to the creative writing faculty, the audience included many parents and other picture-takers, along with Professors Brady, Allen, and Ballentine, all of whom looked on with appropriate awe. And the hooding---the most anxiety-provoking part of the evening (at least for this blogger)---was accomplished with something like elegance.
Congratulations Matt, Sarah Beth, Lori, Rachel, John, and Erin! We’re proud of all you’ve accomplished so far and we’re pleased to have worked with you. Here’s wishing you lots of happiness and good writing ahead. We’ll be reading your work---
This refers to that moment in academic life when, as school falls away, almost anything seems possible. You could, if you wanted to, spend the next three months driving Route 66 from Chicago to LA. or reading all of Proust. Two weeks in Dar es Salaam? Building a garage? The itinerant life of a rodeo clown? Anything could happen. There might even be time just to focus on your writing.
Okay, sure, there may be a summer class to teach or fall courses to prep or dissertation chapters to read, and the Infinite Promise of May will inevitably turn into the Diminished Expectations of August, but, once that last paper is graded, for just a little while, all of that recedes from view as you catch a glimpse of the horizon.