Thursday, May 28, 2009

Student's Tribute to John Stasny

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

Doctoral Student Profiles Online

These are not quite finished (there will be pictures), but the first of our new doctoral student profile pages are now online. You can check them out at:

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.

Alice Munro Wins the Man Booker International Prize

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

Mascot Update

As regular readers of TCH know, the department's proposed mascot is a scone, and yes, the costume is coming along nicely.

Would-be wearers of the costume (select untenured professors and specially chosen graduate students) who have expressed reservations might consider the hardships of other mascots.

For example, Drumstick.

Like many animals who advertise their brethren, Drumstick is keenly aware that things could have gone otherwise for him, and thus he cheerfully performs his duties, serving (no pun intended) as the mascot for Zehnder's Restaurant---world famous for chicken dinners!---in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Scones, take note! After all, given the choice being being poultry and being pastry, who would choose the former?

Monday, May 25, 2009


In the spirit of Memorial Day weekend, TCH would like to present the following candidates for the Top Five songs that best encapsulate the essence of summer:

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


...a new online course for Summer II:

CRN 53326
Meets GEC 4 and 7
June 29 –August 26
Instructor: Melissa Chesanko

Volunteer with the Center for Civic Engagement

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) works with community agencies to give students volunteer opportunities. The specific project needed currently is from the Shack Neighborhood House. The Shack hosts a summer program for kids and would like WVU students to help with a "Poolside Reading Program." If you are interested, please contact:

Kristi D. Wood-Turner
Program Coordinator
WVU Center for Civic Engagement
356 Stansbury Hall
Morgantown, WV 26506

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jim Harms Will Be on the Joe Milford Show This Sunday

If you're in the mood for a postmodern fireside chat, Joe Milford will host Jim Harms this Sunday (May 24th) on Blog Talk RadioSource:

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

Contest for Graduate 18th-Centurists

Eighteenth-Century Fiction
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 Contact the journal editors at Mail two copies of the essay by 31 August 2009, with confirmation of graduate status and complete contact information, to:

The Editor
Eighteenth-Century Fiction
McMaster University
Hamilton ON Canada L8S 4L9

Commencement photos

Forty-seven English B.A. graduates walked in the Eberly College Commencement Ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 17. Representing the faculty were Laura Brady, Pat Conner, Lara Farina, and Tim Sweet. In the photo are some of the B.A. grads with Professors Farina and Sweet. (Photo: Marsha Bissett.)

Two Ph.D graduates and one M.A. graduate were hooded at the Eberly College Hooding Ceremony Sunday morning. In the photo from left to right are: Rebecca Skidmore (Ph.D. 09), John Ernest, Pat Conner, Tim Sweet, Aparajita De (Ph.D. 09), Liz Faber (M.A. 09), and Gwen Bergner. (Photo: Laura Brady.)

Robert McRuer Lecture

"Global Bodies: Representing
Disability and Gender”

a public lecture by
Robert McRuer

Thursday, May 21, 2009
7:30 p.m.
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

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Coastal Carolina University: Department of English, Assistant Professor of English--Early Modern British Literature, Two (2) Positions

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 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 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: 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 ( ). 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.

Meritorious Waivers for Fall 2009

If you are a NON-GTA, Graduate English student and would like to apply for a tuition waiver here is your chance. Please send me an email with the following information, the number of hours you are requesting and your 700 #.

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

Summer Reading: Theory

As promised, here's the list of suggested theoretical readings for the Proseminar, just in case you want to spend the summer learning about money.

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

Summer Reading

Just in case you haven't planned your summer reading yet, you might consider the books selected for the Proseminar for incoming Doctoral Students:

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

Pre-Moderns you know . . .

Last week was the 47th International Congress of Medieval Studies meeting held annually at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.  A fun and fine time was had by all.  At least five folk who labor or have labored in this fair field now tilled by the Tenants of Colson presented talks. Dean Almasy spoke on the Scottish Reformation, which he knows more about than anyone living except one guy somewhere beyond Hadrian's wall who plays bagpipes. Tom Bredehoft was on a roundtable concerning how to teach the difficult subject of Old English metrics (without a knowledge of which you'll find it hard to hear the poetry in the poetry) with illuminaries in the field like Geoffrey (Call-me-Rick) Russom at Brown, Daniel Donoghue at Harvard, and Peter Baker at UVa. I didn't get to the session, but heard from all of the participants and some auditors that it was excellent.  (I think I was admiring Peter Robinson's little 15-month-old daughter at his "Scholarly Digital Editions" booth in the book exhibits.) I gave a paper using the language of subjectivity to examine the genre of the Old English Elegy, which was pretty well-received. (I had to be present for that.)  Sunday morning, when no one goes to sessions, our alumnus, Eddie Christie (now at Georgia State University), unfolded to a good-sized crowd one of the best sessions I attendedAnglo-Saxon Matter and Materialism, (I presided, so my presence was required, in spite of the fact that the big annual dance of medievalists had taken place the night before . . .). Eddie gave an excellent paper on the cultural notion of  "gold" connected with its physical properties in "Golden Signs and Gold as Matter in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints," which was very well received in the session.  Steven Harris, who taught here for a year a few years back and made many friends at the time, gave a terrific paper on the Anglo-Saxon concept of "beauty" in "Beautiful Old English," by analyzing the descriptions of Rachel in Genesis in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, and O.E., and Johanna Kramer--the Anglo-Saxonist at U. Missouri whom Eddie got to know when he and Crystal (his wife and an M.A. alumna here) were in Columbia where she took her Ph.D.--spoke on "Material Theology in Anglo-Saxon Literature" by focusing on the relics of the ascension. Martin Foys, the first speaker here at our Medieval/Renaissance Studies Union, provided a response that showed the links in the whole session and allowed us to leave with a sense of discovery. I apologize to anyone I've left out, and for my superficial comments on those I included, an apology I feel I especially owe to myself, given how magisterial my own paper really was. 

Really, it could be worse...

"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."

Adam Kirsch, "Back To Basics: How Gerard Manley Hopkins remade English poetry"
New Yorker, May 11, 2009, 105.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Upon reflection, TCH has come to the conclusion that, since it's hard to imagine the English Department without Tim Adams, the entire Department will have to move to Texas with him. Bunk assignments at the ranch will be distributed in the near future. In the meantime, to get you in the mood:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tim Adams Retires

After 27 years, two books (Telling Lies in Modern American Autobiography, University of North Carolina Press, 1990 and Light Writing and Life Writing: Photography in Autobiography, also from UNC Press, 2000), 34 articles, numerous awards for outstanding research and teaching, and service in a variety of administrative postions, including MA Supervisor, PhD Supervisor, Associate Chair, and, from 2000-2007, Department Chair, Tim Adams is retiring, and he and his wife Gail will be settling down on a spread in Texas. While it is difficult to imagine life in the English Department without him, TCH takes some comfort in picturing Tim dividing his time between cutting brush and pondering his next article.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Congratulations to Wilson Grantees

Please offer your congratulations to the three winners of two Summer Grants for Doctoral Research. Nevena Stojanovic will spend the summer working on "Coming to One's Own through the Fire in the Contact Zone: Self-Revelation in Henry James's The Europeans" while Andrea Bebell and Teresa Pershing will conduct research on "Under/Grad(uate) Bodies: Liminal Spaces and the Role of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants in the Writing Classroom." Each grant amounts top $250 to support this ongoing work. Please congratulate these scholars on their innovative work.

CFP: Graduate Student Conference at CUNY

Footnotes: New Directions in David Foster Wallace Studies

"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] .

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

Celebrating The Loop

In celebration of The Loop's "Faking It" projects, TCH presents the following informational video:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Graduate Students and Listservs

It was brought to my attention at the recent GPC meeting that several of the graduate students aren't receiving all the emails that they should throughout the semester. It was discussed and we have decided to take several steps to ensure that everyone is on all of the listservs that they should be on.

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.



The CLC's annual creative multimedia project, the Loop, was completed near the end of the semester. Now that the blog is going strong, I figured I should mention it again.

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

Doctoral Conference Presentations, Part 5

Possibly the last entry in this year's series, but hardly the least:

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

Make Way for Ducklings

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...

Ph.D. Graduates, Spring, 2009 Part IV

Having successfully defended her dissertation, "Mapping Subjectivities: The Cultural Poetics of Mobility and Identity in South Asian Diasporic Literature," Aparajita De will graduate in May. Her dissertation was directed by Gwen Bergner, with Jonathan Burton, Lisa Weihman, Ann Oberhauser (Department of Geography), and Dennis Allen as members of the committee.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Infinite Promise of May, Part II

Sir Cedric Hardwicke and two Assistant Professors celebrate the end of the semester.

Recent Achievements in English: May 2009

JOHN ERNEST's proposal for the Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative has been approved. The Handbook will feature roughly thirty original essays from both emerging and leading scholars in the field covering a range of historical, literary, theoretical, and methodological approaches to African American slave narratives.

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

EGO Election Results

Introducing your officers for the '09-'10 academic year:

PhD Rep., President: Jessica Queener

MFA Rep., Vice-President: Rebecca Schwab

MA Rep.: Lindsey Joyce

MA-PWE Rep.: Bryan Coyle

Activities Coordinators: Andrea Bebell, Erin Johns, and Teresa Pershing

Congratulations officers, and thanks to all who ran and voted this year.  In addition to planning events like the fall book sale and the colloquium, the degree representatives will serve on the Graduate Program Committee. This means if you'd like an issue brought up for discussion at a GPC meeting in the '09-'10 academic year, you can contact your degree rep with your concerns. Or, attend an EGO meeting and join the discussion.

Friday, May 1, 2009

MFA reading recordings

If you missed the MFA reading last night, or if you want to relive it, check out the CLC's Creative Readings page:

Scroll to the bottom to see the latest recordings.

It really was the best reading of the year...

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---

The Infinite Promise of May

In celebration of May Day and the last day of Spring Semester classes, it seems apt to invoke one of my favorite concepts: the Infinite Promise of May.

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.