Thursday, April 28, 2011
This summer's topic is "American Magic: The Fates of Folk and Fairy Tales in the Appalachians," and the seminar will run from June 9-12. Carl Lindahl of the University of Houston, whose scholarship in both medieval literature and folklore has been highly praised, is the seminar leader.
The seminar explores the Appalachian märchen tradition, with emphasis on the disjunctions, gaps, and misunderstandings in much of the work on these traditions: in particular, we'll consider why most of the documented examples of such tales come from men, when women seem to have been the more active tellers of these stories, and also why West Virginia is underrepresented in collections of Appalachian märchen.
If your only exposure to Appalachian folktales is through Richard Chase's Jack Tales, join us to discover how much more complex and varied this tradition really is. This is a non-credit seminar, so you only need to do the readings and enjoy the discussions--no papers, no exams, no stress.
Details and a downloadable registration form are available here. Grad students in the English Department can register at the discounted rate of $125!
*Well, OK. Realistically, we can probably take registrations for another week or so. But please, don't delay!
Monday, April 25, 2011
· Teach two sections of ASP 220 Introduction to Africana Studies in the fall 2011 semester and two sections in the spring 2012 semester
· Maintain at least three office hours each week for students
· Grade Examinations and Assignments
· Assist Coordinator of Africana Studies with program lectures and events
· Enrolled at WVU in a full-time graduate program 2011-12. Minimum GPA 3.0. Preference given to Eberly College of Arts and Sciences students.
· Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with a mastery of the English language
· Previous experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or Graduate Instructor teaching undergraduate students in highly desirable
· Experience working with diverse populations is highly desirable
Please send a cover letter describing your qualifications, a resume, and contact information for two faculty members who are willing to discuss your qualifications for the position to:
Joseph Hodge, Coordinator of the Africana Studies Program
220 Woodburn Hall,
P.O. Box 6303
Applicant reviews will begin on Monday, May 9st, 2011. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.
"We would like to announce that Vanja Duka has successfully passed her MA thesis defense. Her thesis, 'Towards a New Understanding of ESL Students in the Classroom,' proposed ways of modifying composition pedagogy to support learning in classrooms with increasingly diverse language(s). The final product, weighing in at a svelte 102 pages, is a testament to Vanja's hard work and passion for better education.
Nathalie [Singh-Corcoran), Catherine [Gouge], and I congratulate Vanja on this accomplishment." TCH adds its own congratulations.
Friday, April 22, 2011
The other evening someone mentioned that the kids these days seemed to like those video games, and that got the Tenants thinking about becoming rich by creating a new game. A lot of ideas were tossed around, including something called Professors vs. Zombies and Grand Theft Auto: Morgantown, but the most profitable suggestions came down to two ideas.
The first was a Facebook game called Colsonville, but we quickly abandoned that idea when we realized that this would lead to a spate of annoying status updates from the game:
1.) What were some of your favorite books as a kid?
I must have been about ten years old when I pulled a particular book out of a dime bin at a rummage sale. It was Somebody Up There Likes Me by Rocky Graziano. I still have it, though it’s in a rotten state -- unglued spine, the whole thing held together by rubber band. But I loved it as a boy, and in some ways, I still love it. It even inspired a story I published years ago in Chattahoochee Review. The story’s title? “Somebody Up There Hates Isaac Blizzard.”
2.) Tell us a bit about your family.
My father hails from Matewan, Mingo County, and my mother is from just down the road in Fairmont. I grew up in Huntington along with my two older sisters. My wife Margaret is also from Huntington, and we have three boys: Reece is seven, Thomas is five, and Eli is one. They were born in Chicago, but they have spent a good bit of time in West Virginia already, as their grandparents are all there. Reece is on the sixth Harry Potter book, Thomas (T-Bird to most) is closing in on his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, and Eli enjoys obsessively kissing his family members as well as pointing at round objects and loudly proclaiming “Bah.”
3.) Is there a writer you've particularly enjoyed studying with/under? Why?
While at Texas State, I had the privilege of enrolling in a few classes taught by Dagoberto Gilb. He is a hell of a writer, and he taught me the most about writing, in essence, by not teaching me. Instead, he instilled in me the idea that if a writer possesses an abundance of patience and a propensity to consistently put in hard work, good things may come.
4.) Is there a particular piece of writing advice that frequently comes to your mind?
There are many pieces of writing advice that come to mind. Advice comes from the blues, always the blues. Jerome Washington wrote, “The blues is our antidote,” and this is true for the writer if we can only learn to listen. Advice comes from poetry. Louise McNeill wrote, “I have gulled the pith from a sumac limb/ to play a tune that my blood remembers.” Indeed, as humans, we share blood that remembers, and it is the writer’s duty to recall the stories and remind everyone who we truly are.
5.) Tell us a bit about how you conduct a workshop and/or your goals/expectations in leading a workshop.
I suppose I’m somewhat traditional in terms of workshop format. My goals include the attempt to instill a consistent work ethic. My expectations include the attempt (on the part of the student) to truly understand what is meant by “storytelling.”
6.) What are you most looking forward to about moving back to West Virginia?
I look forward to the terrain (I’m no flatlander). I look forward to the closeness of extended family. And I look forward to becoming a full-fledged Tenant of Colson Hall.
Monday, April 18, 2011
|Lumi's Final Oral (Artist's Conception)|
Sarah Einstein: Mot (Kevin Oderman, Ryan Claycomb, Sara Pritchard)
Alex Berge: Mr. Bohemian (stories) (Mark Brazaitis, Jim Harms, Katy Ryan)
Heather Frese: The Baddest Girl on the Planet: A novel in stories (Mark Brazaitis, Kevin Oderman, Katy Ryan)
Aaron Hoover: Vinegar Ridge (novel) (Mark Brazaitis, Ellesa High, Jonathan Burton)
Rebecca Schwab: Dead and Wakeful Things (stories) (Mark Brazaitis, Kevin Oderman, Katie Fallon)
Charity Gingerich: Walking, with Blackberries (Mary Ann Samyn, Jim Harms, Brian Ballentine)
Tori Moore: Something Almost Necessary (Jim Harms, Mary Ann Samyn, Pat Conner)
Christina Rothenbeck: Girls in Art (Mary Ann Samyn, Jim Harms, Jay Dolmage)
Danielle Ryle: Consistency; Consistency (Mary Ann Samyn, Jim Harms, John Lamb)
And of course we're looking forward to hearing these writers read from their work at The Most Important Reading of the Year on Thursday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room. See you there!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Over the weekend, this poet had a spine-tingling experience. In a suburb of Baltimore, the 50-some year old relics of a childrens' park is being reconstructed. So we entered The Enchanted Forest, beginning with Rapunzel leaning out of her castle and ending with um, Jonah and Robin Hood. In between were the houses of the 3 little pigs, bears, and the Old Woman's Shoe. Mother Goose would be so proud!
Here is an excerpt, and may I stress excerpt, of the photos my wonderful sidekick took:
Monday, April 11, 2011
As the wise newly appointed Master of Fiction, Rebecca Schwab, once told us, “take as many extra workshops as you can, like the Sturm and the WVWW and mini-workshops with visiting writers. Every comment helps.”
So four of us did. On April fourth, four lucky fictioneers, Rachel King, Shane Stricker, and RebCon, got to participate in a mini-workshop with Mike Czyzniejewski. Since 2000, Mike has been the editor of Bowling Green State University’s Mid-American Review, a prestigious publication in the world of literary magazines. He received his MFA in fiction from the school and now teaches there in the General Studies Writing program. He published his first collection of stories, Elephants in Our Bedroom, in 2009.
In the mini-workshop, Mike was not only generous with his comments, but he was generous with his lit mag, giving each of us workshoppers a free copy of MAR. Those things aren’t cheap! After there is no longer space on our fridge and bulletin boards for our copious amounts of form rejection letters, it’s easy to think of editors as unapproachable, impersonal, soulless, people who obviously don’t know what’s best for their lit mags. However, Mike proved us wrong. From the moment he sat down, he was friendly and cracking jokes. He had a laid-back workshop style, focusing on what was working within our stories.
Here are some of the highlights. We hope these comments will tempt everyone to jump at the chance to workshop with visiting writers:
Mike “forced [Shane] to explore macguffins further.” According to Mike, a macguffin is an image or object that carries the story, but the object is left ambiguous. Mike referenced the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino represent!
Mike gave Rachel pointers for starting a journal (“1,000 dollars, a faculty advisor, and a lot of work,” Rachel says. [Wo]man up! RebCon says.). He also gave Rachel great advice on revisions. Rachel told us, “Mike mentioned that he reads his stories over and over, sometimes even a hundred times. If [you] don’t like [your] story on the twentieth read through, an editor probably won’t like it on his/her first read through. [She] was reminded to make her stories good enough to stand up to re-readings.”
Rebecca says that her favorite thing was when he called Connie Pan’s writing beautiful. She agrees with Mike! Mike was full of advice on making stories that stand out to an editor. She appreciated his comment about getting characters out of houses. In other words, getting characters moving.
Connie liked that he prescribed everyone stories to read that would inform their work. His comment about shelving stories for months and then revisiting them made Connie realize to not rush sending out her stories. “Marinate!” Connie says.
Mike’s style did not change when he was reading his own work in the beautiful Robinson Reading Room. He was funny, he pointed out the Dante bust, and he did a mean Mr. T impression. He led off his reading with his title story from Elephants in Our Bedroom, moving on to a brand new story still in the revision stages (because he read with a pen in hand) and a sample of short shorts about Chicago. Look for his chapbook, Chicago Stories, about the Windy City and its infamous citizens, ranging from Barack Obama discussing bowling to Mr. T hawking an erectile dysfunction medicine to the shared guilt between Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and Steve Bartman.
As the night ended, we went back home, our stories full of comments, reminding ourselves to thank Master of Fiction Alex Berge for making for suggesting that such a great writer visit WVU.