Monday, November 30, 2009

Sedgwick CFP Deadline Extended

This just in:

"Although we've received many excellent submissions, we are extending the call for papers to January 1, 2010. If you were intending to submit a proposal but missed the deadline, please consider sending your abstract by January 1.

Please disseminate widely to potential participants.

"Spanking and Poetry": A Conference on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
English Student Association Conference, Feb 25-26, 2010
The Graduate Center
The City University of New York
New York, New York

Submit abstracts of 300 words or less to by January 1, 2010. Check for further information as the conference approaches."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Take Emily Mitchell With You Wherever You Go

This just in from the Center for Literary Computing:

Emily Mitchell gave an excellent reading tonight at the MAC from her novel The Last Summer of the World, and now the recording is available for download! Thanks to the Morgantown Poets for allowing us the opportunity to hear some of our talented faculty reading off campus.

If you've got a long car ride tomorrow, put this on your ipod or burn it to a CD in case you missed the reading.

Here's a direct link to the MP3 file:

Here's a link to subscribe to the RSS feed so you can stream or download any of our readings through iTunes:

And finally, here's the link to the CLC site that hosts all of our Creative Readings series.

I hope you like the recording, and have a great break!

Tony and the CLC

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

While We're Plugging Books...

Michael Germana's book Standards of Value:Money, Race, and Literature in America has just been published by U of Iowa Press, and is likely to make Dr. Germana a superstar. Especially if we can find a way to harvest the money out of the cover image of the book. Congrats, Michael!

Also, Catherine Gouge has a great essay on Web-based writing courses in Writing Against the Curriculum: Anti-Disciplinarity in the Writing and Cultural Studies Classroom, edited by Randi Kristensen and yours truly. EGO members who saw my Last Lecture in April will also recognize some ideas from my essay in the collection "Performing/Teaching/Writing."

Game Plan Continued

Those of you who have been following my game plan to become a minor celebrity through my academic writing will be interested to know that the book on which this all hinges, The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies, has just come out from Indiana University Press and is now rocketing its way up the Amazon charts (today: #13,827 in Books).

The Next Steps:

1. Get some people.
2. Have my people get me a cameo on Glee.
3. Wait for Robert Pattinson to call and ask me to be his wingman.

If everything goes as planned, I should soon be taking applications for members of my entourage. I'll keep you posted on the details. For now, you can just leave your 8 x 10 glossy with Amanda.

Nov. 20th update: Now #14,481 in Books. Slipping! No wonder Pattinson hasn't called.

Morgantown Dance Brings Christmas to the Tenants of Colson Hall

Irina Rodimtseva reports:

"On December 5 and 6, Morgantown Dance is presenting its biennial production of The Nutcracker. Because the Met is under renovation this year, the performance is going to be at MORGANTOWN HIGH SCHOOL.

Show times: Saturday 2:30 and 7:30, Sunday 2:30.

Another, more exciting change is new original choreography for the Snow variations by our own Renee Nicholson who is not only one of the directors of the show but will also appear in a cameo role. After a fifteen-year break and hundreds of graded papers, Renee is back on stage! Don't miss this great occasion!

Come and bring your kids--it's going to be great fun. Our young dancers have been working very hard on this show, while their parents have put many volunteer hours into sewing costumes and fundraising.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, students, and seniors. For groups of 10 and more, the rate is $10. To buy tickets, call (304) 292-3266, go to, or visit Kleeb's Music, Slight Indulgence, or Arts Monongahela.

Morgantown Dance is a non-profit non-competitive community organization that gives scholarships to students from low-income families."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grand New, Brand New Book

Tom Bredehoft's Authors, Audiences, and Old English Verse, really, really hot off the press, re-examines the Anglo-Saxon poetic tradition from the eighth to the eleventh centuries and reconsiders the significance of formulaic parallels and the nature of poetic authorship in Old English.

Toronto University Press, Tom's distinguished publisher in things Anglo-Saxon, wants us to know that Tom offers "a new vision of much of Old English literary history," by tracing "a tradition of 'literate-formulaic' composition in the period and contends that many phrases conventionally considered oral formulas are in fact borrowings or quotations. His identification of previously unrecognized Old English poems and his innovative arguments about the dates, places of composition, influences, and even possible authors for a variety of tenth- and eleventh-century poems illustrate that the failure of scholars to recognize the late Old English verse tradition has seriously hampered our literary understanding of the period. Provocative and bold, Authors, Audiences and Old English Verse has the potential to transform modern understandings of the classical Old English poetic tradition."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

English 102 Brownbag on Themed Courses Next Tuesday

Jason Stupp announces:

"Our English 102 special interest group has put together a brownbag, roundtable discussion on how to create a 102 course that focuses on a topic of interest to the instructor (and, hopefully, the students!). We will speak about how to set up a themed course as well as the many considerations that guide such a class. In addition, we will have sample assignments, syllabi, and other handouts to help those considering teaching a themed course get started. Everyone is welcome to attend, and we will have drinks, cookies, and more to bribe you with.

This brownbag will be held on Tuesday, 11/17 in Colson 223. We hope to see you there!"

Monday, November 9, 2009

First World War Poetry Archive

Some of you have met Stuart Lee and will be happy to read about the continued success of his First World War Poetry Archive at Oxford University, which was announced yesterday in the arts section of the New York Times. Siegfried Sassoon's manuscripts will come on line on Wednesday, 11 November, still called Armistice Day in England. The project includes similar collections of the work of Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Vera Brittain. The WWI Poetry Archive also includes the digitized Great War Archive, which collected and digitized over 65,000 items from members of the public, now in Second Life, also represented on YouTube with selected interviews and appropriate graphics. Even if you don't find yourselves teaching in the period, the manuscripts provide an excellent chance for your students to see poetry in process, as well as an excellent example of designing, building, and maintaining digitized literary materials.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jim Harms and the Poetic All-Stars

Kudos to Professor Jim Harms, who as guest editor (poetry) of this month's Connotation Press ( has put together a stellar lineup of poets from around the world.

Jim's special section leads off with work by Tomaz Salamun, frequently mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature and featured on the back of today's New York Times' Week in Review. Things hit a brief rough spot with poems by a fiction writer masquerading as a poet (whose name and mug shot are suspiciously similar to mine) before soaring again with poems by Professor Mary Ann Samyn, MFA graduate Maggie Glover, WVU BA in English graduate Ben Doyle (now Ben Doller), and a dozen (non-WVU-affiliated) others.

There's nothing more to want -- except, perhaps, for an acrostic poem or haiku—or, heck, even a grocery list—from the pen of Professor Dennis Allen. But then we'd be greedy.

Connotation Press is founded by WVU MFA in Creative Writing grad Ken Robidoux. Check it out.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

The 2nd Annual EGO and COW Book & Bake Sale

Take heart literature lovers, for reasonably priced books and baked goods will always sell. The English Graduate Student Organization and Council of Writers held their second annual fundraiser to great success, exceeding last year's total by nearly 600 big ones. Thanks to the efforts of the English Department and its supporters we managed to raise 1,500 dollars for this year's events! Every last penny will help ensure our grad student organization run events will continue to flourish and grow in scale. Even the Appalachian Prison Books Project made off with some new books, gratis.

EGO plans to put their funds toward the Spring 2010 Graduate Student Colloquium. Our event will bring a nationally recognized speaker to campus and host graduate students from parts near and far in a conference for the exchange of creative and critical work in fields of English. COW will be hosting the wonderful Dinty Moore for a reading and workshop this Spring.

It was an eventful twenty-four hours including, but not limited to: lifting, sorting, baking, pricing, tasting, wrapping, selling, running, raffling, adventuring in a cargo van after shopping carts (borrowed with PERMISSION), one man in a Guy Fawkes mask (identity unknown) and lots and lots of coffee. Many thanks are due to all those who baked, donated books, volunteered their time and shopped the sale and I'll do my best to credit them all here. If I overlook someone I promise it wasn't on purpose and beg you to add that person's due thanks in the comments.

Special thanks to: Rebecca Schwab, who organized a gorgeous bake sale (yes, it was gorgeous); Lindsey Joyce for designing and distributing our fetching flyer; Sarah Einstein, for making sure the volunteers were fed and caffeinated; Kori Frazier for PR services; Doug Terry, enlister of volunteers extraordinaire (second year running!); Andrea Bebell, van co-pilot and WVU Press liaison; Erin Johns, her husband Mike and Sohinee Roy, room set-up and table wranglers; Tim Adams for the mother-load of book donations and Amanda Riley for assistance with the locating and relocating of said cache.

Thanks goes to Macall Allen (our WBOY "in" and lovely wife of PhD student James Holsinger) for getting the sale on channel 12. To Rhonda Prisner (talented mother of PhD student Kayla Kreuger) for yet again making us the most beautiful baskets of homemade soaps and other goodies to raffle off. JoAnn Dadisman deserves special thanks from all of us and her students for treating the latter to the baked goods of their choice on her tab. JoAnn, they looked more than thrilled to be getting a sugar rush on the house. And thank you to Mary Ann Samyn for allowing us to sell copies of her new book Beauty Breaks In.

Thanks to the Talented Bakers of the department: Charity Gingerich, Jessica Duda, Ashley Kunsa, Jason Markins, Sohinee Roy, Erin Johns, Teresa Pershing, Heather Frese, Elissa Hoffman, Layla Al-Bedawi, Bryan Coyle, Christina Rothenbeck, Rachel King, Kelly Sundberg, Rebecca Schwab, Allison Hitt, Tori Moore, Cari Carpenter, and JoAnn Dadisman.

Thanks to all those who helped set-up, work, and tear down the sale: Maggie Hannan, Irina Rodimsteva, Nevena Stojanovic, Andrea Bebell, Danielle Ryle, James Greene, Kristen Davis, Patrick Faller, Katherine Harclerode, Micah Holmes, Courtney Novosat, Bryan Coyle, Teresa Pershing, Bryan Coyle, James Holsinger, Lisa Detweiler Miller, Lauren Reed, Kori Frazier, Jason Kapcala, James Greene, Aaron Percich, Rebecca Schwab and Joel, Kate Ridinger, Christina Rothenbeck, Layla Al-Bedawi, Jason Markins, Randi Smith and Brad Eddy.

Thank you, everyone, for your help and support with the sale. It shall return again next November!

Bright Star...

Yes, the poets went to the movies again, and yes, we were changed and we did stagger from the theater.

Before: photos on the stairs at the Warner. After: no photos, please—.

John Keats. Fanny Brawne. It was Romantic and romantic.

It wasn’t what happened—we knew what was going to happen—it was how. Just like with the best poems: it was how.

(Photo: Michael, Micah, Tori, Lauren, Mary Ann, Lisa. Also in attendance: Danielle and husband Justin, Charity, and Special Guest Poet/Photographer Erin Veith.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reminder: Graduate Application Seminar Tonight

Emily Mitchell reminds us that "the grad school application seminar is this evening at 7pm in Colson 130. Anyone who is thinking about pursuing graduate study in English is encouraged to attend."

A Genuine Letter from Santa

. . . to your little kid, or to your friend's little kid, will do wonders to combat the ugly rumors that the bewhiskered Victorian spirit of Xmas is dead. TO THAT END, there are applications in the English Department Mailroom which will be forwarded to the Jolly Old Elf himself (at $5.00 ea.) and which will guarantee that a letter arrives in the hands of its intended sometime around December 15, 2009, addressing the urchin by name and indicating his or her name for you (if that name is socially acceptable) composed and signed by Mr. Claus (no automatic pens are used to sign the letter). SC, being a socially responsible sort of fellow, allows the sawbuck to be kept by the Monongalia County Literacy Volunteers in conjunction with the United Way Corporate Volunteer Council. Remember: Literature can only come after Literacy, in life as in the dictionary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Structurally Sound Time to Die

"Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French anthropologist who transformed Western understanding of what was once called “primitive man” and who towered over the French intellectual scene in the 1960s and ’70s, has died at 100," reports the New York Times today. In the days when Structuralism was king (not the days of the Silent Movies, either) he reigned, as much for his work with myth and its contexts and contents as for his work with individual groups, most often in Brasil. A scholar like him should live and die once in a hundred years.

Monday, November 2, 2009

EJS ABD: Congratulations Erin

Lisa Weihman asks us to join in congratulating Erin Johns Speese "on the completion of her Examination for Formal Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy. Erin braved the potentially sublime experience of the exams with characteristic intelligence and enthusiasm. Brava!"

Panel on Applying to Grad School: Thursday at 7:00

If you are planning on applying to grad school in English, please consider coming to the grad panel this Thursday evening at 7pm in 130 Colson Hall. Patrick Conner, Mary Ann Samyn, Brian Ballentine, Emily Mitchell, and Michael Germana will be fielding questions you might have on the process and progress of graduate study in English. Take advantage of this great opportunity!