Monday, August 31, 2009

Dissertation Haiku

Who knows what he meant
When Bartleby said he would
Prefer not to? You?

---Robert Blair, University of Hawaii
Dissertation Title: The Doctrine of Assumptions: Narrator Bias in Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

Haunted by your dissertation, past, present or future?

Or maybe still reveling in the glory of your long-ago diss?

Why not exorcise those demons or relive the triumph by writing a Dissertation Haiku?

Check out more examples here.

Remember, "Dissertations are long and boring. By contrast, everybody likes haiku."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recent Achievements in English: August 2009

News of Student, Faculty, and Staff Professional Activity
Issue 2009 No. 5

GWEN BERGNER published "Black Children, White Preference: _Brown v.
Board_, the Doll Tests, and the Politics of Self-Esteem," American
Quarterly 61.2, June 2009: 299-332.
REBECCA SKIDMORE BIGGIO's article, "Violent Fraternities and White
The Complementary Fictions of Albion Tourgee and Thomas Dixon," has
accepted for publication in Arizona Quarterly.
HEATHER FRESE had a short story, "Kid Dynamite," placed with Fiction
Weekly. She also had a short story, "The Popular Girls' Guide to
Sticking it to Your Friends," accepted for publication in the fall issue
of the Los Angeles Review, and an essay, "Fatigue," in the summer issue
of the Michigan Quarterly Review.
Finally, she recently had a poem, "Not the Exotic European I Pretend
to Be," accepted for publication with the New York Quarterly, and
received an honorable mention for an MFA poetry contest
in The Honey Land Review.
BALLENTINE, BRIAN D. "Hacker Ethics & Firefox Extensions: Writing &
Teaching the ‘Grey’ Areas of Web 2.0." Computers and Composition
Online special issue. Randall McClure, Michael Day, and Mike Palmquist,
guest editors, Fall 2009.

MARY ANN SAMYN published an essay ("Bring Yourself Along") and four
poems ("A Girl Can Imagine, Can't She, a Girl Can Dream," "From The
LIttle Book of Female Mystics," "Incredibly Small and Impossibly
Lovely," and "What Have We Here") in the most recent issue of Zone 3
(Austin Peay State Universityj). Second year MFA Tori Moore also has
a poem, "Dying as a Change of Scenery," in this issue.
ELIZABETH JUCKETT's essay "Cross-Gendering the Underwoods: Christian
Subjection in Charlotte Yonge’s _Pillars of the House_" was
published in the book _Antifeminism and the Victorian Novel: Rereading
Nineteenth-Century Women Writers_ this May. The essay collection was
edited by Tamara S. Wagner and published by Cambria Press.

JASON KAPCALA's short story "Baby's Breath" is going to be published in
the June issue
of Summerset Review.
RUDY ALMASY presented "What Happened to the Mass Priest? Texts Which
Define the New Priest" at the 44th International Congress on Medieval
Studies (sessions sponsored by the Society of Reformation Research)--May
8 at Western Michigan University.
MICHAEL GERMANA's essay-review "Counterfeiters and Con Artists:
Money, Literature, and Subjectivity" appeared in the Summer 2009
issue of _American Literary History_.
PATRICK CONNER presented "Understanding the Scribes of the Old
English Exeter Book" before the College Book Arts Association
Conference on January 10, 2009, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
PATRICK CONNER presented "Legal Language and Poetry in the Abbotsbury
Guild Statutes" before the Medieval Academy of America on March 28,
2009, at the Academy’s annual meeting held this year in Chicago.
PATRICK CONNER presented "Identity Politics and Guild Performances of
the Old English Elegy" in one of two sessions honoring the work Joe
Harris of Harvard University, at the International Congress of Medieval
Studies held annually in Kalamazoo, MI, on May 9, 2009.
PATRICK CONNER led "Publishing, Open Access & ETDs, A Panel Session
on Student, Faculty & Publisher Perspectives, " a round-table
presentation, before ETD 2009: the 12th International Symposium on
Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Bridging the Knowledge Divide on
June 9, 2009.
PATRICK CONNER presented the keynote address to the annual London Old
and Middle English Research Seminar hosted by Royal Holloway University
London on June 19-20, 2009. The Seminar’s topic this year is "The
Exeter Book," and Pat’s address was titled, "Prolegomena to a
History of Exeter’s Marvelous Book," with an intentional nod to
Wordsworth’s reference to that eighteenth-century forger of medieval
texts, Thomas Chatterton.
CHARITY GINGERICH recently placed in 3 categories of the West Virginia
Competition: in the Long Poetry category she won second place for "St.
Vladamir's, Kiev"; in the Emerging Writer's category third place for
River My Witness"; and for Short Poetry she received First Honorable
for "Visiting Lenin in a Square in Izmail." Here is the link:

BETH STALEY published her essay "Voice Loops through Brenda Hillman's
Pieces of Air in the Epic--Articulating the Social Lyric" in Jacket
issue 37: A
companion to this piece, her poem "The first voice loop was an echo"
also appears in Jacket issue 37:
Students, Faculty, and Staff Members in English are encouraged to send
notices of all recent professional achievements to for collation and distribution to the
department in the next issue of "Recent Achievements in English,"
appearing soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jim Harms To Be Featured on Poetry Daily

Jim Harms poem "Our Fathers" from his recent book AFTER WEST will be the featured poem of the day on the Poetry Daily web site ( this coming Friday, August 28th. This is Harms' fourth appearance on Poetry Daily, one of the internet's most heavily trafficked web sites for poetry. Other poets featured on Poetry Daily in the last month include Seamus Heaney, Li-Young Lee, Ann Waldman, Robert Pinsky, and C.P. Cavafy, among others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Connotation Press Sponsors a Reading by Jim Harms

Event: Connotation Press Poetry Reading with JAMES HARMS!
"Jim Harms, Poetry, Reading, Connotation Press, ConPress, Debut Reading"
What: Performance
Host: Connotation Press
Start Time: Friday, August 28 at 7:30pm
End Time: Friday, August 28 at 9:30pm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This post on apartment therapy lets you guess which historic home belongs to which American writer. Sadly, there are no longer any peacocks to help you identify Flannery O'Connor's Milledgeville home from the crowd.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes, 1950-2009

The very best possible tribute you can imagine can be found here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Grants for Doctoral Research, Part 2

Beginning in 2008, the English Department inaugurated a grant program to assist doctoral students with their research and publication during the summers. Funded by contributions from faculty and alumni, each year the Department awards two Summer Grants for Doctoral Research of $250 each to help defray the costs of researching and writing scholarly articles and other academic work.

Last summer, Erin Johns received one of these grants to help her work on an essay on the Coen Brothers' movie No Country for Old Men, which had been accepted for an essay collection entitled No Country for Old Men: From Novel to Film, edited by Lynnea Chapman King, Rick Wallach, and Jim Welsh. Erin used the grant money to buy primary and secondary DVD and book sources as well as travel to and from the University of Pittsburgh's library in order to do research for the essay. The book in which her essay will appear is due out from Scarecrow Press in September.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Last Chance! ENGL 367W, Fall 2009

If you still need to complete your "W" requirement, are looking for an English elective, or just enjoy reading novels, consider taking ENGL 367W (Eighteenth-Century British Literature II) in Fall 2009. This course will soon be canceled if enrollment does not increase! Please take this opportunity to study one of the most fascinating periods in our discipline, as taught by the award-winning Prof. Marilyn Francus. A description is posted below.


Seduction. Revolution. Scandal. Horror. Bankruptcy.

Welcome to eighteenth-century Britain.

In English 367W we will examine British culture through the narrative lens of the novel, the dominant literary genre of the period. In a period defined by the American and French revolutions, increased urbanization and industrialization, the establishment of charitable institutions, and food riots, the novels show just how conscious the nation was of its accomplishments and failures. Eighteenth-century novels focus on issues of class - the fantasies of upward mobility as well as the anxieties of downward mobility. The eighteenth-century British novel is also characterized by discussions of gender, as definitions of sexuality, masculinity, and femininity are subject to debate. These novels range from romance (Pamela and Evelina) to gothic horror (The Castle of Otranto) to scandal literature (Fanny Hill) to social satire (Castle Rackrent) to comic adventure (Tom Jones) - as variable and expansive as the nation itself.

Primary Texts:

Samuel Richardson, Pamela
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
John Cleland, Fanny Hill
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto
Frances Burney, Evelina
Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent

This course fulfills the University’s “W” requirement, and elective requirements for the English major and minor.

CFP: International Conference on Narrative

*Call for Papers:
International Conference on Narrative
8-11 April 2010
Cleveland, Ohio*

Sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Narrative and hosted by Case Western Reserve University, the International Conference on Narrative is an interdisciplinary forum addressing all dimensions of narrative theory and practice. This year’s Conference will take place at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, at Case Western Reserve University, and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. (For more information, please see .)

Plenary speakers include Susan Stanford Friedman (University of Wisconsin Madison), author of /Mappings/, /Penelope’s Web/, and /Psyche Reborn/; Rita Charon (Columbia University), founder and director of the Program in Narrative Medicine, author of /Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness/, and co-editor of /Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics/; and Greil Marcus, author of /Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century/, /The Dustbin of History/, and /The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy in the American Voice/.

We welcome proposals for papers and panels on all aspects of narrative in any genre, period, nationality, discipline, and medium.


For individual paper proposals, please include an abstract (500 words max.) and a brief vita (no more than 2 pages). All paper proposals must include the title of the paper; presenter's name and institutional affiliation; mailing address, phone and fax number, and email address.

For panel proposals, please include an abstract (700 words max.) summarizing the panel's rationale and describing each paper. All panel proposals must include a title for the panel and a title for each paper.

In addition, please include each panel member's institutional affiliation; mailing address, phone and fax number, and email address, as well as a brief vita (no more than 2-3 pages) for each of the panel members.

This year, the Society will hold a poster session on the teaching of narrative. This session will enable poster presenters to share their approaches to teaching narrative. Posters may have multiple authors. To submit a proposal for a poster, please include an abstract (500 words max.) and brief vitas on all presenters.

Deadline for receipt of proposals: October 30th, 2009.
Please send all proposals by email in Word, WordPerfect, or PDF format to:

If you are unable to send your proposal by email, send two copies of all materials to:

Kurt Koenigsberger
Narrative Conference Coordinator
Department of English, Case Western Reserve University
11112 Bellflower Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44106-7117 USA

Please address all questions to Kurt Koenigsberger (

All participants must join the International Society for the Study of Narrative . For more information on the ISSN, please visit:

Summer Writing Contest: A warm-up for revising

She rushed downstairs to consult Shirley, who at that moment was holding a tete-a-tete with Dick on the sunny front porch.

The front porch was sunny, where Shirley and Dick held their tete-a-tete, which is precisely where she found them upon rushing downstairs for a consultation.

How she found them--well, we can call it a tete-a-tete--but the porch was sunny and she didn’t expect this when she rushed downstairs to consult with Shirley.

Downstairs, Shirley and Dick lounged on the sunny porch. This was not the consultation she hoped for.

Shirley’s tete-a-tete (or shall we say bouche-a-bouche?) with Dick was not the consultation she expected as she rushed down the stair of Shirley’s home to consult her about her ex-husband, now smooching on the sunny porch in front of her.

“Tete-a-tete? Is that what we’re calling it now?” she screamed at Dick and Shirley. “Well, I guess my ‘consultation’ here is over then.” The tabby stretched out across a sunny patch on the porch.

The sunny porch was hardly the ideal setting for this confrontation, pitting her against both Dick and Shirley. She rushed back upstairs in tears, hoping the tabby would join her.

Shirley and Dick stared blankly at each other on the sunny front porch, blindsided by her “consultation” after that sidelong rush down the stairs.

She thought that this might be a more fitting “consultation,” as she removed the pistol from her handbag.

Shirley and Dick suddenly had to consult on new ways to deal with her, and so their fleeting tryst on the sunny front porch became an honest tete-a-tete on how to proceed.

She checked the gun. It was loaded. She took a deep breath. She stepped out into the hallway.

The tabby rested quietly on the sunny front porch.

She rushed downstairs to consult Shirley, who at that moment was holding a tete-a-tete with Dick on the sunny front porch.

The sunny front porch.