Friday, April 30, 2010

In Honor of our New MFAs

Don't stop 'til you see your name on the blimp....

Congratulations to our Graduating MFAs

And thanks for reading to us last night! It was an impressive showing, and on behalf of your fellow MFAs, the entire English department, and, especially, Mark, Jim, Kevin, Ethel, Ellesa, and Emily, I want to say that we’re proud of you and you’ll be missed. And we’ll be reading your work, we’re pretty sure.

Pictured above are the soon-to-be-famous writers: back row: Patrick Faller, Jason Kapcala, Aaron Rote, Tony Clavelli, Jason Freeman; front row: Ann Claycomb, Emily Watson, Kori Frazier, Lauren Reed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is that a poem in your pocket...?

What? Get your mind out the gutter. It’s national Poem in Your Pocket Day. Brought to you by the Academy of American Poets. Don't believe me? Check it out here. And you thought they had no sense of humor. Tsk tsk! Now you know.

And isn’t it serendipitous that today is also the day of Our Favorite Reading of the Year?! Yep: the graduating MFAs will read their work tonight at 7:30 in the Rhododendron Room. That’s the room—I think—with all the interesting old photos of WVU and Morgantown. Always good to look at during boring events. But this reading won’t be one of those, so you’ll just have to ponder yesteryear some other time.

Our readers, in order of appearance: Lauren Reed, Jason Freeman, Kori Frazier, Aaron Rote, Patrick Faller, Jason Kapcala, Ann Claycomb, Tony Clavelli, Emily Watson.

See you there… and don’t forget to read all about it tomorrow right here! Photos, too, of course.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hot off the presses...

Congratulations to the staff of this year's issue of Calliope, WVU's undergraduate literary magazine, and, of course, to all the writers and artists whose work appears in the journal. Not only is the issue really nice, inside and out, but tonight's reading was well attended and well received.

Pictured above are the women who made it happen: Hayley Burdett (editor), Erin Clemens (managing editor), Brandy Hoover (poetry editor), Danielle Clements (prose editor), and Liz Toler (art editor). Thank you for your hard work and congratulations on a very fine publication! You made us proud.

Thanks to the Boltoneers...

and their amazing teachers, pictured above (front: Tori Moore and Lauren Reed; back: Heather Frese, Emily Watson, Charity Gingerich, Danielle Ryle, Alex Berge, Mary Ann Samyn, Jason Freeman), this year’s Bolton Creative Writing Workshops were a big success, culminating in last night’s reading (and ice cream social!) in the Honors Hall. Undergrads from five different residence halls (Arnold, Bennett, Dadisman/Stalnaker, Honors, Summit) read from their work and we hope to see many of them in future Bolton workshops and creative writing classes. I sat next to Lauren Reed and we gave each other a knowing look whenever we heard something we really liked, which meant we were pretty much doing that the whole time. Congratulations to the students who wrote such amazing work, thanks to the MFAs who participated and the RAs and RFLs who made it all happen, and see you next year!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Word up: African American English

A new blog is alive at .

It is built by Renee Blake at NYU and many of her talented students. If you have questions or relevant video to post about African American English, this is the place to go.

Monday, April 26, 2010

EGO Elections

To all Graduate Students: To cast your vote for the new group of EGO officers, please email Professor Cari Carpenter at Cari.Carpenter@MAIL.WVU.EDU

Ph.D. representative to the GPC, who typically also serves as president: (vote for 1)
*James Holsinger
*Aaron Perich

MFA Rep, who typically serves as Vice-president: (vote for 1)
*Micah Holmes
*Rebecca Schwab

MA Rep: (vote for 1)
*Jason Markins

MA-PWE rep: (vote for 1)
*Allison Hitt
*Ben Myers

Three activity chairs, whose primary responsibility is to organize events, i.e., the colloquium. (vote for UP TO 3)
*Kristen Davis
*Lisa Detweiler Miller
*Kate Ridinger
*Doug Terry

"It's not easy to write simple and clear documents"

Today's episode of NPR's "Morning Edition" featured a story on the Center for Plain Language and its awards for the most convoluted writing in business and government documents. The online version of the story includes links to and critiques of the award "winners." More importantly, the story ends with one of the contest judges, cartoonist David Malki, speaking to the increasingly important role that professional writers will play in improving the quality of communication between government agencies and businesses and their publics: "It's not easy to write simple and clear documents, especially if they tackle complicated subjects. However, there are a lot of freelance writers who need some work, and they could easily be hired." WVU's Professional Writing and Editing program, of course, prepares both undergraduate and M.A.-level students for just this type of work.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Professional Writing and Editing Capstone Poster Exhibit

On Thursday, April 22, in 130 Colson Hall, fifteen Professional Writing and Editing students presented posters that highlighted the writing they've done for their internships.

Over fifty people attended the poster session through the course of the day, including many internship sponsors. The students' posters and oral presentations were judged by Bryan Coyle, Allison Hitt, Virginia Lance, and Danielle Zahoran, four students in the department's M.A. program in Professional Writing and Editing. They awarded second place to Joseph Heister, who redesigned websites for M.P.H. Communications. First place went to Amanda Berardi, who worked on the curriculum development team for the National White Collar Crime Center.

The poster session fulfilled one of the requirements for the PWE capstone course, English 491A: Professional Field Experience, in which students work 140 hours as a professional writer for an organization. Students interned at a variety of on-campus offices and local organizations and businesses this semester, including the National White Collar Crime Center, National Environmental Services Center, Fitness Information Technology, Caritas House, M.T. Pockets Theatre Company, Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau, local law offices, the WVU ALumni Association, the WVU Community Design Team, and the WVU Business Incubator.

Congratulations to Amanda, Joe, and all of the PWE interns on a successful event!

In 4th Grade We Sat in Pods

Indeed, we did. And we wrote poems about summer in Morgantown and what might be in the little yellow box I brought and what things will be like when we “get our own lives.” This was Woodburn Elementary, Miss Dennison’s class, and MFA students Christina Rothenbeck, Lisa Beans, Aaron Rote, and I felt very tall. And wow, was there a lot of stuff in that room. Talk about sensory overload. Did anyone else notice the microscopes lined up on that table in the corner? Should have used those to talk about poetry…

And I can now say for certain that 4th graders really do know how to write—spelling and grammar and sensory details and surprising juxtapositions and everything. What happens between 4th grade and college, I have no idea, but nine- and ten-year-olds are poets. As one boy in my pod wrote, summer is fun, growing up might be cool, but even now “I am rejoicing."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

“Morgantown sure looks pretty from up here…”

—said Aaron Rote. Or at least I think he said it. Could have been someone else. We were on the patio at Montmartre (yes, I know: that name), the bar on the 8th floor at the Hotel Morgan, with visiting writer Dinty Moore, who had just given an amazing reading, and Morgantown was awfully sparkly. And just who was this “we”? Well, Dinty, of course, and several of our most, um, personable MFA students: Aaron Rote, Lauren Reed, and Jason Freeman, all recent defenders of their theses, and up-and-comers Rebecca Schwab, Heather Frese, and Alex Berge, and late-comer to the party Rachel King. We had a grand time. And I, for one, learned lots o’ things that I probably shouldn’t know. But don’t worry, I’m forgetting everything already. And why no picture? Well, because it was dark, and we were busy, especially Rebecca and Heather who, it seemed, ordered one dish after another, and some things are better left to the imagination anyway, no?

But the point is, we had fun. Next time, you should come with us.

If you've never been to Spain....or Russia....or Italy

Lisa Di Bartolomeo sends us the following announcement from our friends in Foreign Languages: just a friendly reminder about the Fourth Annual Spring Spectacular, Friday, 23 April from 6-8:30pm in G-24 Eiesland Hall. Enjoy an evening of foreign languages and cultures as students of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and Spanish entertain and enlighten you. This evening is free and open to the public, and students are especially encouraged to attend. Join us for an evening celebrating the exciting possibilties that open up when you study a foreign language! We hope to see you there!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Congratulations to Our Very Talented MFA Students...

... who recently defended their theses. We’re in awe of you. And yes, you may now buy us drinks and name your children after us.

In creative nonfiction:

Emily Watson: Still Life. Committee: Kevin Oderman (chair), Mary Ann Samyn, Jay Dolmage

In fiction:

Tony Clavelli: Your Silver Nose. Committee: Mark Brazaitis (chair), Emily Mitchell, Jim Harms

Ann Claycomb: Artists’ Engagements. Committee: Emily Mitchell (chair), Kevin Oderman, Mark Brazaitis

Patrick Faller: Karaoke: a novel. Committee: Mark Brazaitis (chair), Kevin Oderman, Jim Harms

Kori Frazier: My City Was Gone. Committee: Emily Mitchell (chair), Mark Brazaitis, Ellesa High

Jason Freeman: Intersect. Committee: Emily Mitchell (chair), Ethel Morgan Smith, Mary Ann Samyn

Jason Kapcala: Lodi. Committee: Kevin Oderman (chair), Emily Mitchell, Jim Harms

In poetry:

Lauren Reed: The Wonder Is Why. Committee: Mary Ann Samyn (chair), Jim Harms, Mark Brazaitis

Aaron Rote: the last look out! Committee: Jim Harms (chair), Mary Ann Samyn, Michael Germana

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You're going to be very busy...

Lots 'o readings coming up. Mark your calendars!

* Dinty Moore reading: Monday, April 19, Robinson Reading Room, 7:30 p.m.

* Bolton Writing Workshops reading: Tuesday, April 27, Honors Dorm Media Room, 7:30 p.m.

* Calliope reading: Wednesday, April 28, 130 Colson, 7:30 p.m.

* English 418 reading (Ethel’s class): Thursday, April 29, 130 Colson, 4:00 p.m.

* MFA reading: Thursday, April 29, Rhododendron Room, 7:30 p.m.

* English 418 reading (Jim’s class): Thursday, May 6, 130 Colson, 11:00 a.m.

And why a picture of a dogwood? Because dogwoods mean spring and so do all these readings.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is TCH's one-year anniversary. And you thought we had forgotten! And before that, you probably wondered if we could even make it one full year. But we did and we were mostly witty and charming and in a generally good mood the whole time. Impressive, huh? Now, as for what we'd like as a gift: sure, paper is traditional but we're writers and readers and teachers and we've kind of had enough of that. So how 'bout champagne and roses and diamonds. Lots and lots of diamonds.

And of course we couldn't have done it without you, our loyal readers. So diamonds for you, too. Smaller ones, but still.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anticipating Summer, Part 2

It was this or "Sleepyhead," but that sounds more like Summer in Munchkinland.

2010 Writing Contest Winners

Jon Scott Nelson Freshmen Creative Writing Contest

First Place
Kiah Harpool
“Family in the Forest”
Instructor: Patrick Herald (English 101)

Second Place
Maggie Matthews
Instructor: Mary Angel Blount (English 103)

Third Place
Natalie Carpini
“Wings of Stolen Feathers”
Instructor: Amanda Cobb (English 213)

Jon Scott Nelson First-Year Writing Award

Thomas Siedlecki
“Closets are for Clothes”
Instructor: Jason Kapcala

Emily Spickler
“You Get What You Need”
Instructor: Jo Ann Dadisman

Samuel Viggiano
“Orchestrating an Orchestra”
Instructor: Christina Rothenbeck

Jon Scott Nelson Professional Writing and Editing Award

First Place
Jessica Murphy
“Basic Professional Writing Project”
Instructor: Elizabeth Juckett (English 304)

Second Place
Sarah Beth Yoder
“Polyvore: The Win-Win in Multimedia Authorship”
Instructor: Sandy Baldwin (English 303 and 305)

Third Place
Elizabeth Osborne
“A Study of a Communications Manager at the WVU Extension Service”
Instructor: Scott Wible (English 301)

Waitman Barbe Creative Writing Contest

Fiction Division
Brianna Lovell
“A Date with the Past”
Instructor: Jim Harms (English 418)

Honorable Mention:
Hayley Burdett
“Selecting Her Own Society”
Instructor: Kevin Oderman (English 418)

Non-fiction Division
Ahna Lewis
“Chinese Leeks”
Instructor: Emily Watson (English 201)

Honorable Mention:
Elliott Iannello
“Lifing Mjollnir”
Instructor: Ellesa High (English 214)

Poetry Division
Michael McCune
A series of poems
Instructor: Jim Harms (English 418)

Honorable Mention:
Andi Stout
A series of poems
Instructors: Jim Harms (English 495)

James Paul Brawner Expository Writing Contest

Undergraduate Division

First Place
Brianna Lovell
“The Enduring Stereotype: Mary Naoilles Murfree’s Mountaineer”
Instructor: Kenneth Fones-Wolf (History 473)

Second Place
Jessica Murphy
Instructor: Kevin Oderman (English 418)

Third Place
Sarah Beth Yoder
“Dachshund Technical Description”
Instructor: Sandy Baldwin (English 305)

102 Division

First Place
Cody Nieman
“Church Politicking: The Problem and the Solution”
Instructor: Lori Zerne

Second Place
Maggie Matthews
“Delivering Democracy to Defend Equality: A Rhetorical Analysis of John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Civil Rights Address to the American People”
Instructor: Mary Angel Blount

Third Place
Michelle McGinley
“Reading, Writing, and . . . Obesity?: The Effect of School Lunches on Childhood Obesity”
Instructor: Ami Schiffbauer

Graduate Division

First Place
Aaron Percich
“Famished Legacies: Imperialism and Race Imagined in Ben Okri’s The Famished Road”
Instructor: Kayode Ogunfolabi

Second Place
Teresa Pershing
“The Laboring Romantics: Population Debates as Prophylactics”
Instructor: Adam Komisaruk (English 768)

Russ MacDonald Graduate Creative Writing Contest

Fiction Division
Kori Frazier
“The Girl from Chippewa Lake”
Instructor: Emily Mitchell

Honorable Mention:
Heather Frese
“An Open Letter Written to Patricia Balance (and Her Stupid Fat-Headed Son Ronnie . . .)”
Instructor: Emily Mitchell

Nonfiction Division
Emily Watson
“Sweetie Sweetie”
Instructor: Kevin Oderman (English 618)

Honorable Mention:
Sarah Einstein
Instructor: Kevin Oderman (English 618)

Poetry Division
Lauren Reed
“A Lot of Noticing”
Instructor: Mary Ann Samyn (English 618)

Honorable Mention:
Charity Gingerich
Various poems
Instructors: Jim Harms and Mary Ann Samyn

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fashion With The Tenants

I'm thinking if the tenants ever start a kick ball team (can we? please, please?) we'll have to invest in some jerseys--and what better than tees based on literary characters?

The LA Times recently did a round up on literary shirts, (read it here) but the stand out seems to be these sports team style shirts (flip through the company's look book here).

I've seen these on a couple different blogs so far (from the fug girls and also academic cog)
but figured it was still worth sharing here. I'm especially in love with the Bartelby insignia--that good ole' Scrivener, but the Captain Ahab and Poe (the number 13, naturally) have their own charm.

Monday, April 12, 2010

WVU at AWP, or Aren't our students interesting and accomplished?

Who knew our former students were doing such exciting things in such far-flung places? Yours truly is just back from the monstrosity that is known as the AWP conference in altitude sickness-inducing Denver (yes, really, unfortunately) and I bring with me Exciting Alumni News! But, first, what does AWP stand for, I know you want to know. I’ll tell you. It’s the mildly perplexing acronym for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Yes, that’s two w’s, not one. Alas, it wasn’t always this way; writers were an afterthought. I know! Anyway, long story short, it was and is and always will be AWP and the conference is very big and very overwhelming and I for one needed a cookie and a nap every afternoon just to get through it.

But, and here’s the first exciting part, I saw Tim and Gail Adams! (see kind of terrible photo... we were surrounded by drunk Colorado Rockies fans... can you tell?) And can you believe they boarded the very same shuttle bus from the airport that I was already on?! Talk about coincidence. We had, of course, the most delightful conversation and, finally, got the driver to turn on the a/c and the ride was only somewhat alarming, as those rides always are, and then the conference really began.

In the former MFA student category… I can report actual conversations with Maggie Glover, who looked darling as always and was in attendance on behalf of Mod Cloth (a super cool thing you’ll just need look up for yourself); Katie Fallon, who, truth be told, was hanging with some Virginia Tech people, but she's recently returned to Morgantown and we love her and so we forgive her; and Matt Hass, now gainfully employed at some school in Oregon the name of which I can’t seem to remember. Matt, it should be noted, grew a mustache just for me (he claimed) and looked less like his former Abercrombie model self and more like some guy from the Urban Outfitters catalogue. So, like, different, but still good. I also saw from a distance but did not get a chance to chat with Matt Vandermeulen and James Engelhardt.

In the former undergrad student category… I’m pleased to have seen the ever-effervescent Whitney Holmes, recently graduated from the MFA program at Alabama and now living in Chicago, and Bobby Jagger, now happily in the second year of his MFA at UNLV.

I certainly hope I’m not forgetting anyone.

And in the wow-those-were-the-days category… I met one-time WVU faculty member Marcia Aldrich. I’m sure some of you (older, ahem, than this blogger) remember Marcia. I heard many fascinating tales of yesteryear from my three senior colleagues, and, by all accounts, it sounds like things are a bit tamer nowadays…

And now, so you can really feel like you were there, a poem from Jean Valentine, one of our very finest poets, who was the somewhat shy subject of a lovely series of tributes. This poem, one of her best known, was quoted repeatedly. I think you’ll see why… and why the conference, for all its silliness, is worth going to. Sometimes, at least. As when a real poet like Jean Valentine shows up. And one’s former students, all shiny and successful, are there, too.

The Pen

The sandy road, the bright green two-inch lizard

little light on the road

the pen that writes by itself

the mist that blows by, through itself

the gourd I drink from in my sleep

that also drinks from me

—Who taught me to know instead of not to know?

And this pen its thought

lying on the thought of the table

a bow lying across the strings

not moving


Dissertation Fellows 2010-2011

The Tenants are pleased to announce that Erin Johns, Jessica Queener, and Irina Rodimtseva will receive Dissertation Fellowships for the coming academic year.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mark Brazaitis Named Benedum Distinguished Scholar

Mark Brazaitis has been chosen to receive the 2009-2010 Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award in the Humanities and Arts category. The award celebrates Mark's prolific publication record, which includes four award-winning books, more than 40 short stories, over 50 poems, half a dozen essays, and a screenplay, not to mention his juvenilia.

This highly prestigious award is always inaugurated by a public lecture. Mark will give a talk, "The Incurables: Writing Madness, Hopelessness, and Hope," on Tuesday, April 13, at 4:00 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room, at the Mountainlair. A reception will follow.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Anticipating Summer, Part 1

A classic, despite the absence of any reference to spending the summer reading 18th-century epistolary fiction: