Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Have We Fallen and Can't Get Up?

Cari first posted the link on our list for this article, "The Decline of the English Department: How it happened and what could be done to reverse it," by William M. Chace, who has taught at Berkeley, Stanford, Wesleyan, and Emory, and served as president of the last two. He is the author of 100 Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned Along the Way.Chace is old enough in the profession to be labeled a "grumpy ol' man," but there's more in the article to discuss, if we choose to, than that. I love his ending simply as a piece of writing:

If nothing is done to put an end to the process of disintegration, the numbers will continue in a steady downward spiral. More and more of the teaching jobs in the humanities will be occupied by untenured part-timers (in English, it is now one in six). But the good news is that certain forms of intellectual history will still be written and will still be accessible to ordinary readers. Shakespeare’s plays will still be performed, even if largely unsponsored by departments of English. Literary biography will still command an appreciative readership. The better private institutions, aware of noblesse oblige, will prove kinder than large public institutions to the literary humanities, but even this solicitude will have its limits.

The study of literature will then take on the profile now held, with moderate dignity, by the study of the classics, Greek and Latin. For those of us who care about literature and teaching, this is a depressing prospect, but not everyone will share the sense of loss. As the Auden poem about another failure has it, “the expensive delicate ship that must have seen / Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, / had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.”

But we can, we must, do better. At stake are the books themselves and what they can mean to the young. Yes, it is just a literary tradition. That’s all. But without such traditions, civil societies have no compass to guide them. That boy falling out of the sky is not to be neglected.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doctoral Graduate Makes Good

The Tenants are very pleased to hear that Dr. Virginia Broaddus (Ph.D. '02) has just been appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Trinity (Trinity Washington University in D.C.), having previously served as Interim Provost and, before that, as Senior Associate Provost and as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Tenants wish Ginger the very best of luck in her new position.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jim Harms Wins Caperton Award for Teaching Excellence

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Jim Harms has won (another!) award for his teaching: The Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing. There's a lovely writeup here, which mentions his many other teaching awards and his 14 year tenure as Director of the Creative Writing Program.

In other words, if anyone asks, yes, this professor thing does seem to be working out for him.

Congratulations, Jim!

Medieval Studies IS relevant, after all!

I need to sell my house so that I have money to host events like this:

sponsored by my colleague at Brooklyn College, Nicola Masciandro, who seems way too sweet to be that into black metal.


Monday, December 21, 2009

House For Sale

The old Farina place is going on the market..... 227 Hagans St. is a three-story brick house, built in 1920, with hardwood floors throughout (except for kitchen and bathroom which have ceramic tile) and original oak built-ins. It has eight rooms, including a finished attic. The kitchen and bathroom were recently remodeled; the kitchen has new stainless steel appliances and soapstone countertops.
The furnace and gas lines were also replaced recently, and the chimneys have been recently re-pointed. There is a working gas log fireplace in the living room. The house is in great condition and has no moisture in the basement or structural issues. It is located on a quiet, flat,one-way one-block street in South Park (between Park and Grand), within 15 minutes’ walking distance to campus.
(Cat not included.)

Asking price is $205,000. Anyone interested can contact Lara Farina at

N.B. In deference to her neighbors, Professor Farina would prefer to sell to a family rather than to students or parents of students. Prospective buyers will be asked to spell "existentialism." If they look particularly young, they will be asked to define it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Congratulations to Dennis Allen

Congratulations to Dennis Allen who was recently named one of the Eberly College's Outstanding Teachers for 2009-2010.

As one student wrote about Professor Allen's teaching, "somewhere the baby Jesus is smiling..." We at TCH heartily concur. And we definitely agree: "he's a charmer... [and] looks like [a] Swami, only without the saffron robe."

Congratulations, Dennis!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Donde Esta Las Bibliotecas?

I'm pretty sure many of the tenants have dreamed of a library with a spiral staircase. Did anyone else re-watch the scene in the Beauty and the Beast Disney Movie where the eponymous Beast gives Belle the library as a gift? No? ... never-mind.

Anyway, on the blog "Oddee" you can view a collection of "20 of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries," find a link to more, and view additional pictures of libraries readers felt had been left out. A fun distraction from grading finals!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Poets, Again

So, yes, this really is how poets dress for pizza parties. Pretty fancy, huh? Of course there were gifts, too. From the Dollar Store. Why? Just because we like each other so much.

From left to right: Michael Belknap, Danielle Ryle, Lisa Beans, Christina Rothenbeck, Tori Moore, Lauren Reed, Micah Holmes, Aaron Rote, Matt London, Mary Ann Samyn, Charity Gingerich.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Poets

The gentlemen: Aaron Rote, Micah Holmes, Michael Belknap, Matthew London.

And, of course, the ladies: Lisa Beans, Tori Moore, Lauren Reed, Mary Ann Samyn, Danielle Ryle, Christina Rothenbeck, Charity Gingerich.

Need I say more?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Broadway Comes to Colson Hall

Katy Ryan suggests that you:

Come enjoy original performances of drama, music, and online political creativity by graduate students in ENG 693 & the Center for Literary Computing!

7PM Tonight--Friday, Dec 11
Colson 130

(Performance by Lea Michele not guaranteed.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Creative Nonfiction Job at Emerson College

Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts

The Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing seeks a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor in the area of Creative Nonfiction writing. An M.F.A. or other terminal degree, or equivalent professional experience, with a significant national publication record including at least one published book, are required. Essential to the position will be the teaching of undergraduate workshops, graduate level workshops in a thriving M.F.A. Program, as well as courses in column writing, feature writing, and the literature of narrative nonfiction. Ability to teach literature courses that focus on minority and diverse cultures is also essential. Additional faculty responsibilities will include maintaining professional development and scholarship activities, academic advising and participation on faculty and College committees.

Emerson College values campus multiculturalism as demonstrated by the diversity of its faculty, staff, student body, and constantly evolving curriculum. The successful candidate must have the ability to work effectively with faculty, students, and staff from diverse backgrounds. Members of historically under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

Emerson College is an Equal Opportunity Employer that encourages diversity in its workplace. Please visit our web site for a full listing of academic positions:

Send a letter of application, a curriculum vita, and writing sample to Search Chair, Nonfiction Writer, The Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, Emerson College, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116. Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2009 and continue until the position is filled.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jess Queener, ABD

This afternoon, Jess Queener successfully passed the Qualifying Exam for Admission to Doctoral Candidacy. In the words of Donald Hall, her committee chair, she was "very poised, very smart, very excellent!"

As an added bonus, if you need someone to explain how to satirize a person's subjectivity in a periodical publication, Jess can help you out.

I'll Make Book You'll Be Interested . . .

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Creative Writing Capstone Readings

---yep, that's right: there'll be two chances to hear undergrad creative writers read their work this week: Tuesday, December 8, 2:30-3:45 p.m., and Thursday, December 10, 2:30-3:45 p.m., G11 Woodburn Hall for both dates.

Hope to see you at *both* readings. Flying WV cookies provided (probably).