Friday, April 26, 2013

You Really Don't Want To Miss This


... to this year's graduating MFAs. They gave a terrific reading last night and were appropriately praised by their teachers. Also, we got to meet their families: always so interesting!

Here they are: (left to right) Andi Stout, Connie Pan, Rebecca Thomas, Shane Stricker, Rebecca Childers, Ben Bishop, Melissa Atkinson, and Sara Kearns.

Now write those names down and be on the lookout for these authors. We're expecting big things.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The PWE Poster Exhibition 2013

On Tuesday the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program hosted the biannual PWE Poster Exhibition. PWE concentrators are required to complete a capstone in professional or technical communication, and their posters are an opportunity for them to showcase their work for the university community. This year, fourteen students shared posters at the event, representing a diverse range of internships, from a community medical center and legal advocacy, to electronic publishing and social media marketing.

Prizes are awarded for the best posters, and this semester the top prize went to Terri Parlett for her poster "Fit to Print," which showcased her work at Fitness Information Technology (FiT). 

                                Second runner up was Stephanie Barbian

                                    Third runner up went to Angel Ninan.

                            The displays were fantastic. What great talent! 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring, Part 2

Sorry, no cartoon rabbit on this one, just a shot of what greets the Tenants when they take a stroll through the English Garden to the left of The Great Lawn.

Madeline Levine Talk Tomorrow (April 25) at 6:30

WVDP Reports
From August to January…
From August 2012 to January 2013, the West Virginia Dialect Project (WVDP) spent hundreds of hours submerged in Phase Two of their three-phase NSF plan. Phase Two consists of a study of phonetic variation in Appalachia.

Phonetic variation in any region is a daily event. Language is constantly changing to cope with social, geographic, and linguistic pressures. The WVDP is researching the changes in language that have occurred throughout the years, specifically in Appalachia. To get a better social viewpoint on this change, the WVDP is carefully investigating 67 speakers in the West Virginia Corpus of English in Appalachia (WVCEA). These speakers are evenly distributed by age, gender, and geographic location.

During Phase One of the WVDP, each speaker in the WVCEA participated in an interview.  The WVDP team then manually time-aligned each audio file with its transcript, so that the written words flow along with the sounds.  Each time-aligned interview is divided into thousands of utterances; these sound slides can then be analyzed with computer software to assess their acoustic qualities. The time-aligned files are stored on the Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project (SLAAP) database at the NC State Library.

The first step of Phase Two was to search and organize these sound slides from the SLAAP database. The database can be searched based on the orthographic spelling of words spoken within the audio file. Specifically, the team worked with files containing [h]-initial words and [w]-initial words.

Figure 1: A sample view of the SLAAP database
What we’re working on now….
Once the proper audio files were identified, the WVDP then began the process of acoustic analysis. Using a acoustic analysis software called Praat, the WVDP primarily focused on the study of two different variations: h-lenition and w/wh-merger.
H-lenition is a change of the [h] sound in words like huge and Houston. The [h] was occasionally lost in such words; instead of having a strong, breathy sound, the words might start with the sound. The loss of [h] might also be happening in words like hope and head.

The w/wh-merger is a change where the historically voiceless sound of which is becoming more voiced like the sound of witch. Historically, - and -initial words have had different pronunciations. The [w]-initial sounds in and are examples of how these two sounds are merging.  The WVDP is in the process of analyzing this merger and how this variation has changed over time. Below, the picture shows the w-merger analysis process for one particular speaker in the WVCEA.

Figure 2: Praat windows and resulting data

Friday, April 19, 2013

Faculty Research Talk: Professor Gouge on April 24th

The Department of English presents:
The Faculty Research Colloquium

What Patient-Centered Care Needs to Learn from Posthumanism

by Catherine Gouge

"When all else fails, nothing hits a patient between the eyes like a photo of amputated toes."
~"Facilitating Improved Compliance among Patients with Diabetes," Podiatry Today, May 2006

Patient-centered care methodologies have organized most efforts to improve patient communication in the last 30+ years. Scholars in medical rhetoric, medical anthropology and sociology, disability and feminist studies, narrative medicine, health communication, and more have criticized the culture of compliance in medicine that expects patients to simply follow doctors’ orders. In so doing, they have condemned the use of compliance rhetoric among health care professionals as well as practices like using photos of amputation to "facilitate" compliance from a person with diabetes—arguing that such strategies are coercive and ought to draw our attention to power imbalances and the insidious pretense of choice in clinical encounters. In spite of such work and broad efforts to insist on empathetic, patient-centered care practices, critical documents given to patients when they are discharged from care facilities such as those listing medications are notoriously ineffective for the patients they are meant to serve, and studies designed to measure the usefulness of discharge communication with patients have not been effective. This presentation will talk about why extensive efforts to improve such documents have failed and what scholarship in technical communication and posthumanism can do to help.

April 24, 2013

2:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Yep: this is what it looks like around here these days. If you're here, you know. If you're not, consider this a postcard from everyone at Colson Hall to you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Post Colloquium Report

Well, this past Saturday was the 2013 EGO Colloquium, and I think it went well overall. We decided to have the colloquium in Colson Hall this year, which (according to the survey monkey survey about colloquium reactions) seems to have garnered a mixed response. Some people liked being in our own space, but some people feel that the mountainlair is a more professional locale. But in general the responses to the keynote address, plenary session, and panels have been mostly positive, though there were complaints about low panel attendance (which seems run of the mill for the colloquium).

Anyway, here are some pictures from a couple of panels, the plenary session, and the keynote address:

Monday, April 15, 2013

World Languages Spring Spectacular

From our friends over at World Languages:
"Please join the students and faculty of the World Languages Department in celebrating the seventh annual Spring Spectacular, Friday, April 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the Metropolitan Theater on High Street.  Skits, songs, dances, and poems in Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish will be performed by our talented students.  There will be subtitles, so don't worry about comprehension.  The event is free, but we are collecting donations at the door for the Rack, which feeds needy WVU students.  You can bring a canned good or other non-perishable, or simply donate cash.

Come out and enjoy an evening of culture and languages!"

Isn't this the cutest photo?

Check out this super cute pic of four of this year's Bolton Workshop leaders—Christina Seymour, Rebecca Doverspike, Rebecca Thomas, and Connie Pan—with their much-deserved leftover pizza (yep: nothing better than good leftover pizza) after Sunday's Bolton reading featuring undergraduate writers and special guest Jim Daniels. For more photos, click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 Writing Contest Winners

Jon Scott Nelson Freshmen Creative Writing Contest


First Place
Shana Burleson
Instructor: Tom Sura

Second Place
Caleb Milne
Instructor: Amanda Cobb

Third Place
Ifunanya Okonkwo
“Multi−Angle Personal Narrative”
Instructor: Christina Seymour


Jon Scott Nelson First-Year Writing Award


Samantha Clarkson
“What’s Up Broski?!”
Instructor: Marianne Casey

Alyssa Noe
“69th Street”
Instructor: Jessica Guzman

James O’Hara
“The Price of Parity”
Instructor: (not listed on entry)


Jon Scott Nelson Professional Writing and Editing Award


Celeste Lantz
Zoos: Pure Entertainment or Source for Humanity?
Instructor: Teresa Pershing


Waitman Barbe Creative Writing Contest


Fiction Division
Sarah Hartman
“The Old Man and the Whelks”
Instructor: Rebecca Thomas

Honorable Mention:
Allison Eckman
Instructor: Shane Stricker


Non-fiction Division
Katie Quinnelly
“The Insecurities of Fungi”
Instructor: Ellesa High

Honorable Mention:
Stephanie Anderson
“The Big Farm”
Instructor: Kevin Oderman

Poetry Division
Caleb Stacy
Various poems
Instructors: Mark Brazaitis and Glenn Taylor

Honorable Mention:
Travis Mersing
Various poems
Instructors: Mary Ann Samyn and Glenn Taylor


James Paul Brawner Expository Writing Contest


Undergraduate Division

First Place
Jennifer Head
“Rake Reformation as Performative in Richardson’s Pamela: Exploring Gendered Notions of Sexuality and Reputation in the Eighteenth Century
Instructor:  Marilyn Francus

Second Place
Jordan Lovejoy
“On the Bright Side, I’m Not an Illiterate Virgin Anymore: Challenges to Sexual Content in the Young Adult Novels Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging and Speak
Instructor:  Rosemary Hathaway

Third Place
Shana Burleson
“Remarks on Remarks”
Instructor: Tom Sura


102 Division

First Place
Logan Michael
“Dying Environment or Just Dead Space?”
Instructor: Erin Johns Speese

Second Place
Christopher Seal
Undoing the American Females Sexual Stigmas to Reduce Gender-Based Inequality
Instructor: Teresa Pershing

Third Place
Jasmine Gonzalez
“The Cost of Success: An Educational Encumbrance in the American Dream”
Instructor: Anne Cain

Graduate Division

First Place
Aaron Percich
“I sea.  The See: Envisioning the Postcolonial in ‘Proteus’”
Instructor: Lisa Weihman

Second Place

Dibyadyuti (Dibs) Roy
“Reassessing the Nuclear Public Sphere: Nuclear Counterpublics and Deabstracting the ‘Secret’ Bomb through Nucliteracy
Instructor: Adam Komisaruk



Russ MacDonald Graduate Creative Writing Contest

Fiction Division
Shane Stricker

“Every Animal Which Parts the Hoof and Is Not Cloven-Footed”
Instructor: Glenn Taylor

Honorable Mention:
Rebecca Thomas
“Stage Three”
Instructor: Mark Brazaitis


 Nonfiction Division
Rebecca Doverspike
“If it Were Mine to Give”
Instructor: Ethel Morgan Smith

Honorable Mention:
Hannah McPherson
“A Psalm for my Father”
Instructor: Ethel Morgan Smith

Poetry Division
Melissa Atkinson
Various Poems
Instructor: James Harms

Honorable Mention:
Sara Kearns
Various poems
Instructors: James Harms and Mary Ann Samyn


Appalachian Writing Award

Caleb Stacy
“The Burning of Wilsondale”
Instructors: Mark Brazaitis (English 318) and Glenn Taylor (English 418)

2013 EGO Colloquium Poster and Schedule

Please join us for the 2013 English Graduate Organization Colloquium on the theme of Memory.
This year’s keynote address will be:
“The Novelist as Prophet: Memory in Don Delillo’s Falling Man
Given by Daniel Shank Cruz of Westminster College

The Colloquium will also feature panels, roundtables, creative writing readings, and a plenary session of WVU faculty.

Saturday 13 Apr. 2013
Colson Hall (Registration outside 130)

West Virginia University English Graduate Organization
2013 Graduate Colloquium
Sat. 13 Apr. 2013


8:30-8:45: Meet & Greet, Coffee Time

8:45-9: Welcome & Official Opening of Colloquium, Colson 130

9-10:20: First Session

Colson 130—Something that Stands Still: A Creative Writing Panel of Collected Memories
            Moderator—Sadie Shorr-Parks
  • Christina Seymour, West Virginia University
  • Rebecca Childers, West Virginia University
  • Morgan O’Grady, West Virginia University
  • Sadie Shorr-Parks, West Virginia University

Colson G06—(Traumatic) Encounters
            Moderator—Crystal Harper
  • Amanda Bailey, West Virginia University —“Ghosts from the Past: Memory-making and the Sensual Experience”
  • Mallory Findlay, Georgetown University—“Bearing Witness: Trauma and Narration in Melmoth the Wanderer
  • Shaunté Montgomery, Howard University—“‘Look Closely on His [or Her] Body’: The Cycle of Trauma in David Chariandy’s Soucouyant

Colson 223—Prosem Roundtable
            Moderator—Ryan Fletcher

10:30-11:30: Plenary Session, Colson 130
  • John Jones
  • Jim Harms
  • Sarah Neville
  • Lowell Duckert
  • Kevin Oderman
  • Catherine Gouge

11:30-1: Lunch Break, Morgantown

1-2:20: Second Session

Colson 130—Literary Memory
            Moderator—Valerie Surrett
  • Ryan Fletcher, West Virginia University—“‘O Cursed Folk of Herodes al Newe’: Navigating the Anti-Semitism of Chaucer’s Prioress”
  • Jeff Yeager, West Virginia University—“‘The Horses Share a Common Soul’: Myth, Identity, & Deep Ecology in John Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown & Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses

Colson G06— Carried Countenances: Issues of Identity and Memory in the Work of Charles Dickens
            Moderator: Dominique Bruno
  • Phillip Zapkin, West Virginia University—“‘Rewriting His Destiny’: Jack Maggs, Competing Writers, and Narrative Discourse”
  • Dominique Bruno, West Virginia University—“‘As if I was your Doll or Puppet’: Ventriloquism and Identity in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend
  • Kayla Kreuger McKinney, West Virginia University—“In that bony light: Museum and Marriage Networks in Our Mutual Friend

Colson G18—Rhetoric and Style
            Moderator—Bonnie Thibodeau
  • Andi Stout, West Virginia University—“Couch Burners Serving Pineapple Upside-down Cake: Talking about Disruption in the Composition Classroom”
  • Amanda Berardi, Carnegie Mellon University—“Deconstructing the Urban Frontier: An Analysis of the Role of Media Discourse in the Revitalization of Braddock, Pennsylvania”
  • Nita Shippy, West Virginia University—“Styling Your Space: The Influence of Cognitive Spaces on Style-Shifting”
  • Jay Kirby, West Virginia University—“As We Think: Examining Memory in Electronically Mediated Work”

2:30-3:30: Keynote Address, Colson 130
  • Daniel Shank Cruz, Westminster College—“The Novelist as Prophet: Memory in Don Delillo’s Falling Man

3:40-5: Session Three

Colson 130—Film
            Moderator—Ryan Fletcher
  • Autumn Athey, West Virginia University—“Black Power and Patriarchy in Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood”
  • Maureen Pearson, Howard University—“‘The Exceptional Negro’: Phrenology and Cultural Memory in Django Unchained
  • Yvonne Hammond, West Virginia University—“‘Get Some’: Fact-Finding, History, and Waiting for Someday in Jarhead, Stuff Happens, & Generation Kill

Colson G06—Creative Writing
            Moderator—Kelly Sundberg
  • Jesse Kalvitis, West Virginia University
  • Rebecca Thomas, West Virginia University
  • Rebecca Doverspike, West Virginia University

Colson G18— The Novel Novel: Form, Discourse, and the Emergence of the Early Novel
            Moderator—Harrington Weihl
  • Will Van Camp, Independent Scholar—“The Silent Language of Love: Silence and Satire in Oroonoko
  • Whitney Sandin, West Virginia University—“(Re)Defining the Novel: From Fantomina to Pamela
  • Harrington Weihl, West Virginia University—“The Shift from Epistolary to Gothic Novels in Colonial North America”

Colson 223—Recalling the Surveys: Various Approaches to Teaching the Literature Survey Course, Roundtable
·        Andrea Bebell, West Virginia University
  • Jessica Queener, West Virginia University
  • Teresa Pershing, West Virginia University
  • Kate Ridinger, West Virginia University

Monday, April 1, 2013

Graduate Academy Summer Courses

Even more professionalization opportunities from the Office of Graduate Education and Life:

Grad students! Celebrate the summer by building your resume and exploring career directions.     

Graduate Career Symposium: May 14, 2013

This 1-day event offers sessions on careers and job search skills for graduate students. Learn about careers in academia, industry, and policy while polishing your interviewing skills and business etiquette. Free lunch is included! Register by May 1 at      

The Versatile PhD: online forums

This website provides valuable job information for careers outside academia. Through panel discussions, career biographies, and examples of real job search documents, you can gain a more complete picture of different career paths available with a graduate degree. To access the premium content, log in the first time through the Versatile PhD button on

Workshops This Week From the Office of Graduate Education

Monday, April 1 and Thursday, April 4:

"Developing a Personal Marketing Strategy to Be Successful in your Job Search" 
Dr. Diana Martinelli, P.I. Reed School of Journalism

April 1, 6:00-7:00 PM, Oglebay Hall 106 
April 4, 2:00-3:00 PM, Evansdale Library Electronic Classroom 130 (main floor of library)

Wednesday, April 3: 5:00-6:00 PM, Cacapon Room, Mountainlair

"Introduction to Pivot for Researchers"

This new research tool helps you find funding opportunities for external fellowships and grants. Dr. Anne Hatfield will provide an introduction to this new program at WVU and help you learn to navigate its resources. Presented by the Graduate Student Advancement Society. Let us ( know if you plan to come to the workshop, so Dr. Hatfield can prepare an information packet for you.