Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dibs Roy, ABD

Mr. Roy, contemplating the prospect of a nuclear apocalypse
There was a lot of noise coming from 106 Colson yesterday afternoon, which considerably alarmed the staff, but it turned out just to be Dibs Roy recreating the hypermasculine ideology of the atomic bomb, including an enactment of a scenario of mutually assured nuclear destruction, for the benefit of his exam committee: Sandy Baldwin (Chair), Brian Ballentine, Ryan Claycomb, Patrick Sharp of Cal State (who was able to watch the whole thing from a safe distance via Skype), and yours truly. In the aftermath, the committee unanimously agreed the Dibs had passed his Qualifying Exam for Doctoral Candidacy and that he was now Dibs Roy, ABD. Congratulations, Dibs. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cheat River Review Launch Party

This past Friday, the editors, staff, and friends of our online literary journal, Cheat River Review, gathered to celebrate the launch of the inaugural issue. The photos are not the best—sorry about that—but everyone worked so hard, that pics are required, even if some of them are blurry.

Here's editor-in-chief Patric Nuttall telling us that the issue "dropped" that day and showing us around the website. As he said, "check out our blog... it's pretty sweet."

We also heard selections from the journal... read by fiction editor Mari Casey (in costume, for this was a Halloween party too)...

poetry editor Jessica Guzman (not in costume, and, as she said, surprisingly nervous to read someone else's work)... 

and nonfiction editor Sadie Shorr-Parks (dressed as "the old country" and wearing "all the babushkas" her grandma left behind when she moved to Florida).

We also ate Dirty Bird chicken (actual quote from Glenn Taylor who really should be their spokesman: "God, I love this chicken."), and the post-launch festivities included more discussion of costumes and, believe it or not, the playing of board games.

Yep. That's how we roll in creative writing. In the now-famous words of Patric Nuttall, it's pretty sweet. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


Last night Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary, had its annual induction ceremony. Department Chair Jim Harms sent along these pics of the impressively large group of students and of the ever-lovely E. Moore Hall.

That's such a tranquil blue on the walls, don't you think?

That's Sigma Tau Delta President Ken Heitmeyer at the podium in those first two pics. Special thanks to him for all his work on this event. And special thanks to faculty advisor Anna Elfenbein. Anna, why are you not in these photos? Event planning is one of Anna's talents, and I'm quite sure last night's ceremony was an elegant celebration thanks to her.

Congratulations to all our inductees!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Finally, some art on the walls!

When you come to The Gathering next week, you'll see that we've finally brightened the place up with some poems and art by middle schoolers from Putnam and Preston counties. These pieces were the result of workshops sponsored by McGraw-Hill/CTB. We hope you enjoy the work of these young artists and writers. Actually, we know you will, and we think you'll be impressed, too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Second Annual Department of English Gathering

The Department of English at West Virginia University is excited to announce its Second English Gathering, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 1 in Colson Hall on the downtown campus.  The event is part of WVU’s Mountaineer Week.

The Gathering is an opportunity for graduates and former faculty of the department to convene in celebration of all things literary.  Current students in the department’s four graduate programs (PhD, MFA, MAPWE and MA) will give informal talks on their research, creative writing and teaching practices, and guests will have the opportunity to roam the halls of historic Colson Hall and meet with current and former faculty and students.   

A celebratory wine and hors d’oeuvre reception will begin at 6:00, to be followed by a special program in honor and memory of the distinguished West Virginia poet Tom Andrews.  The program will feature readings of Andrews’ poems, a personal reflection on his life by Creative Writing Program Director Mary Ann Samyn, and a talk by the distinguished poet, translator, scholar and editor David Young, who is Longman Professor of English at Oberlin College.  Professor Young is the author of countless books of poetry, translation, nonfiction and criticism, including most recently, Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times:  Selected Haiku of Basho (Knopf, 2013), and Field of Light and Shadow:  Selected and New Poems (Knopf, 2010). 

A special announcement will conclude the celebratory event.

The Second English Gathering is free and open to the public.  A book signing will follow. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

This Week's Workshops from the Office of Graduate Education


Higher Education Administration
Presenter: Dr. Christopher B. Howard

Please join us for the 2013 Neil S. Bucklew Lecture on Higher Education Administration, featuring Dr. Christopher B. Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College. Dr. Howard's talk will take place Tuesday, October 22 at 1:00 p.m. at The Erickson Alumni Center. One of the youngest college presidents in the nation, Dr. Howard is a rising star in higher education leadership. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Air Force Academy, was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a doctorate in politics at Oxford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Graduate Academy Workshops:

Creating Effective Scientific Poster Presentation: A Guide to Preparing and Presenting your Data.
Presenter: Dr. Joseph McFadden

This workshop will discuss how to prepare and present your scientific poster presentation. Topics will include poster content evaluation and organization, artistic design, oral presentation, how to avoid common mistakes, title creation, and winning a national competition. Previously used posters will be used for critique. All participants will receive a Do's and Don'ts Guide to Scientific Poster Presentation that includes a checklist and essential tips to success. Participants are encouraged to bring a copy of their own poster for review.

October 24, 2-3pm Evansdale Library Room 130

Teaching in Large Group Lecture Classes
Presenter: Dr. Mark Paternostro

Presentation will offer practical take-home strategies for creating engaging, interactive large group lectures.

October 28, 6-7pm Oglebay Hall Room 107

Becoming a Teaching Professor: PROS and CONS
Presenter: Dr. Lizzie Santiago

More universities are hiring faculty as "teaching professors" or full-time "lecturers." These faculty have higher teaching loads and lower research commitments than traditional tenure-track faculty at research universities. Come and learn about the career path of a Teaching Assistant Professor at WVU to learn more about this potential career.

October 31, 2-3pm Evansdale Library Room 130


Diversity Week 2013:

The Power of Privilege
Presenters: Sarah Erb, Stephanie McGraw, and Amanda McKinner, Doctoral Interns from the Carruth Center and Psychological Services

Discuss ways people can be privileged or discriminated against. Learn how people can use their privilege in positive ways.

October 21, 2pm Mountaineer Room, Mountainlair


Assistive Technology
Presenters: Barbara Judy, ADA Director and Founder of Job Accommodation Network (JAN), Lisa Dorinzi, MA, Trainer (JAN)

Learn how everyday apps and assistive technologies can help persons with disabilities in the workplace or academic setting.

October 21, 7pm Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair

For more information about Diversity Week 2013, please visit the following link:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Faculty Research Colloquium

A Sunday Afternoon in the Park with William

by Julia Daniel

Book II of William Carlos Williams’s Paterson follows Dr. Paterson on a Sunday stroll through the scenic mountaintop landscape of Garrett Park. Analyses of this episode often treat the natural elements of the park as just that: natural, pre-human, and pristine. However, Garrett Park is in fact a carefully sculpted zone designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, for use by a working-class public in sore need of green spaces. The park thus serves as the living arena in which Williams plays out his dreams of union between the human and the natural as his speaker wanders through this work of green architecture, where the very materiality of the space blurs neat distinctions between the organic and the crafted. As I will demonstrate, Williams’s presentation of the complex interplay of man and nature in the park relies on the literary heritage of a commonplace act: walking. Specifically, in the kinetic body of Dr. Paterson, Williams conflates two iconic literary figures often associated with urban and natural environments respectively: the flâneur and the nature writer. The arc for both figures follows a stroll that concludes with a spectacle viewed by the privileged and sensitive witness-speaker. The difference between the two is largely a question of their environment, and in the comingled zone of the park, the figure of Dr. Paterson inhabits the role of urban voyeur and amateur naturalist simultaneously. By foregrounding the artifice of the park and its function as an object of urban consumption, Williams undermines our continued treatment of these spaces as “natural” and thereby invites the reader to reconsider how her steps both shape and are shaped by the park environment.

October 23, 2013

2:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jimmy Fortuna: An English Major Makes Good

Mr. Fortuna
Some of the Tenants were sitting in the Billiards Room the other night talking about what the undergraduate majors were up to, and one of the first names to come up was Jimmy Fortuna's. In addition to being a double major in English and History (although, in Colson Hall, our voices drop to a whisper at the "and" point of that), Jimmy is Music Director of WWVU FM, the WVU radio station better known as U92 and perhaps even better known as The Moose, and it seems that CMJ (the College Music Journal) has nominated him as one of the five best music directors in the country along with nominations for the station as Best Community Resource and as Most Improved. There's even an awards ceremony in New York City this week, which, we gather, is sort of like the Emmys of college radio. Rest assured that the Tenants will be at the train station to see him off. We've already sent his tux out to be cleaned.

The nominations can be found here. There's a whole feature on Jimmy in, which is here and which even discusses the epiphanic moment in which he realized he wanted to major in English (and History). And, especially if you're an alum suffused with nostalgia, you might be interested in checking out U92's webpage, which is here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Postdoctoral Fellowships at the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

Postdoctoral fellowship opportunity at the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies:

Ahmanson-Getty Postdoctoral Fellowships
This theme-based resident fellowship program, established with the
support of the Ahmanson Foundation of Los Angeles and the J. Paul Getty
Trust, is designed to encourage the participation of junior scholars in
the Center's yearlong core programs. The core program for the academic
year 2014–2015 will be:

“Explorations, Encounters, and the Circulation of Knowledge,
Directed by Adriana Craciun (UC Riverside) and Mary Terrall (UCLA).

The circulation of knowledge, objects, and people has attracted
scholarly attention in recent years from a variety of disciplines.  The
core program for 2014-15 will draw on several strands of this
scholarship to examine how knowledge and culture were shaped by
long-distance voyages and encounters in the global seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries.  We are particularly interested in the
possibilities of transcultural analyses that explore how knowledge and
culture were transformed by the entanglements of voyagers and locals, in
Europe and beyond. The program will bring together scholars of the
history of science, art history, literature, anthropology, geography,
maritime history, and material texts to discuss new approaches to these

Session 1. Explorations and Encounters: New Directions
November 14-15, 2014
This conference considers the new directions emerging in studies of
exploration and encounters from roughly 1600-1830. Exploration history
has been transformed in the last decades of the twentieth century by a
welcome turn to postcolonial and feminist critiques of the grand
narratives of discovery and progress that had characterized the field in
the past. Increasingly in the twenty-first century, indigenous
perspectives of such encounters are no longer presented as a
counterhistory to that of mobile Europeans who initiated a "fatal
impact" into a static, local culture. Instead, practices of indigenous
people are often central to symmetrical approaches that consider
ambiguities, uncertain outcomes, and contingencies in these encounters.
This conference will bring together scholars conducting innovative work
on how diverse voyages and voyagers, indigenous and European, mutually
constituted (not without conflict) knowledge and aesthetic practices
across cultural lines.

Session 2. Geographies of Inscription
Feb. 6-7, 2015
The "geography of the book" has gained prominence in recent years as
the spatialized counterpart to the established field of the history of
the book. This conference places inscriptions printed or handwritten on
paper, bound or unbound, alongside inscriptions on skin, wood, stone,
monuments, metal, instruments, structures, earth and other materials.
Collectively participants will consider how the geography of such
inscriptions can contribute to current studies of 17th and 18th century
empire, trade, exploration, cosmopolitan exchange, scientific
collaboration, translation, and aesthetic collaboration. Through a
geography of inscription we hope to illuminate new contact zones,
including a transdisciplinary zone for creating innovative scholarship.
This will allow us to consider  how diverse agents, instruments, and
materials of inscriptions in turn reveal new insights about writers,
books, printers, publishers and their networks.  Can geographies of
inscription help in the larger efforts to work outside the paradigms of empire and
colonization, center/periphery, and national print culture, which do not
always serve 17th and 18th century studies well? Do they suggest
alternative networks for the circulations of goods, books, people, and
objects in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Session 3. Commerce, Culture, and Natural Knowledge
May 15-16, 2015
Recent work on global trade  in the early modern world has examined the
impact of commercial networks and the objects they exchanged on European
knowledge of nature.  Commercial concerns shaped the collection and
trade in artificial and natural curiosities (in the metropolis and in
the field), the enslavement and transportation of people, as well as the
transplantation of natural resources for exploitation in imperial sites.
This conference will gather scholars working on commerce, science and
material culture in the early modern world, with the specific goal of
addressing issues raised by the circumstances of encounter and exchange,
aiming to complicate this picture by developing some of the symmetries
outlined above.

Full details and application information available on the Postdoc
Fellowship pages of UCLA's Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Blog Favorite Wins the Nobel Prize

"Our" Alice Munro has won yet another award—and yet not "just another" but the Nobel Prize in Literature. Richly deserved, per usual.

If you're not already a Munro fan, what are you waiting for? She really is the best.

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Week's Office of Graduate Education Workshops

Teaching and Learning Primer:

Presenter: Dr. Michelle Richards-Babb

This workshop will provide an overview of teaching basics for the college level, including aspects of classroom control, grading policies, active vs. passive learning, and assessment.

Monday, October 7: 6-7 PM, Oglebay Hall 107

Thursday, October 10: 2-3 PM, Evansdale Library 130


Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Workshop:

Presenter: Librarian Molly Dolan

This workshop is designed for students who are preparing their manuscript for a treatise, thesis, or dissertation.

Tuesday, October 8, 2-3 PM, Downtown Campus Library 104

Wednesday, October 9, 6-7 PM, Evansdale Library 130


Friday, October 4, 2013

Recent Achievements

Recent Achievements in English (Fall 2013):

 Dennis Allen presented two papers recently, “Midnight in Paris: The Repression of Temporality in Modernist Cartography,” American Comparative Literature Association, April 4-7, 2013, Toronto, and  “Speculating on Queer Theory,” MMLA, Nov. 8-11, 2012, Cincinnati.

Rudy Almasy presented a paper on John Knox the Early Years at one of the sessions sponsored by the Society for Reformation Research at the May International Congress on Medieval Studies.  He's also been selected as a reviewer for ALAN Picks Online.  And Almasy is now certified as a QM (Quality Matters) peer reviewer.  Finally, Rudy has a chapter on Richard Hooker in the recently published Oxford Handbook on English Prose 1500-1640, edited by Andrew Hatfield.

In May, Sandy Baldwin took four PhD students to the University of Bangor, Wales, where they presented research and participated in meetings on the British Council-funded project "Computer Gaming Across Cultures." In August, Baldwin took three MFA students to the University of Bergen, Norway, where they participated in an intensive short course (co-taught by Baldwin) on "Collaborative Creativity in New Media" (sponsored by the government of Norway). In July, Baldwin published "The Idiocy of the Digital Literary" in Digital Humanities Quarterly 7:1.

David Beach wrote and directed the short play Say Hi to Mick Jagger which took first place at M. T. Pockets Ten-Minute Play Festival.  He also directed Glenn Clifton's short play Souvenir in the Ten-Minute Festival, directed Fully Committed in June and will directed Art in September.  He also published the first edition of My Morgantown.

Cari Carpenter was invited to speak to the Society for the Study of Women Writers Midatlantic Study Group in Washington, DC this September about her edited collection Selected Writings of Victoria Woodhull: Suffrage, Free Love, and Eugenics (U Nebraska, 2010).

Patrick Conner published "The Exeter Book" in Medieval Studies: Oxford Bibliographies. Ed. Paul E. Szarmach. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. [Completed article of 12,300 words with embedded links to many items named therein is out now from OUP]

Conner's theatrical credits include the following:  Select Theatre: Head Priest, Oedipus Rex (Throughline Theater); Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet (South Park [PA] Theatre); Pat also functioned as dramaturg for both of these productions.   

Lowell Duckert’s article "Exit, Pursued by a Polar Bear (More to Follow)" was published in Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies (Clemson University Press).  Full URL if anyone's interested:  Lowell and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen signed a contract with University of Minnesota Press for a collection of essays they're editing together, Elemental Ecocriticism.  Lowell will contribute "Earth" and co-write the introduction.  And finally, Lowell served a plenary speaker at the 30th Alabama Symposium on English and American Literature, and gave papers at two conferences: the International Congress on Medieval Studies and the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.

Katie Fallon’s essay, "Rebirth," is in the fall's issue of River Teeth. It's about vultures and babies, but don't worry--no babies are eaten by vultures in the essay!

Melissa Ferrone’s essay, "An Unusual Thing" was published in Brevity's May issue.

WVU alumnus Robert Long Foreman has received a Pushcart Prize and is scheduled to be published in this year's Pushcart Prize edition.

Marilyn Francus published a brief essay entitled "Shaping a Legacy: Alicia Lefanu's Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs.Frances Sheridan" in The Female Spectator (Volume 17, Winter 2013). Marilyn presented three papers in July 2013: "Trying to Set the Record Straight: Alicia Lefanu, Frances Burney D'Arblay, and the Limits of Family Biography" at the Chawton House Library 10th Anniversary Conference in Chawton, UK; "Austen in Cyberspace: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" at the Locations in Austen Conference, which was held at the University of Hertfordshire; and "Learning to Mother: Frances Burney Becomes a Parent," at the 5th International Conference of the Burney Society of Great Britain, at the University of Cambridge.

Kirk Hazen had a Research Experience for Undergraduates proposal funded by the National Science Foundation. This grant will support Emily Vandevender, a Foundation Scholar, for the 2013-2012 year while she does research with the West Virginia Dialect Project.  

Kirk also has had a co-edited book published by Wiley-Blackwell. The book, Research Methods in Sociolinguistics: A Practical Guide, is a comprehensive how-to book for sociolinguistic researchers and students, and Kirk was very fortunate to work with his co-editor, Janet Holmes (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ). The 21 authors in the book come from a wide-range of countries, including Finland, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, England, Switzerland, the US, and even Canada.

John Jones' article "Networked Activism, Hybrid Structures, and Networked Power" was published in August by Currents in Electronic Literacy.  His article "Switching in Twitter's Hashtag Exchanges"  has passed the editing stage for the Journal of Business and Technical Communication and is now available in the journal's Online First section ahead of its print publication.   

Xin Tian Koh’s poem "Sea Burial" appears in the Seminary Ridge Review's Autumn issue this year.  

Renée K. Nicholson’s book of poems Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center will be published Spring 2014 by Urban Farmhouse Press (in Indianapolis).   

Renée also recently started writing a weekly column for the career advice and employment resource Career Thoughts. She also accepted a position as Teaching Assistant Professor in the Multidisciplinary Studies Program at WVU starting with the 2013-2014 academic year. SummerBooks, the book podcast she co-created and co-hosts with Natalie Sypolt, was featured at the Press 53 Gathering of Writers in early August 2013 and will be featured at the Winter Wheat Writing Conference sponsored by Mid American Review in November 2013.

Sadie Shorr-Parks’s essay "The Language of Boxes" is in the next issue of Defunct.

Tom Sura published “Reconsidering Our Products: The Use of Engagement Portfolios in Service Learning Courses” in the journal WPA: Writing Program Administration 36.2 (2013): 59-74.  

Natalie Sypolt has been asked to be the guest prose editor of the journal Banango Street Literature.  The issue will be out sometime this month.  Natalie has also been added to the book review staff of Fjords Review.  Her story "Watching" was a finalist in the fiction contest (judged by Chris Offutt) and will be published in the magazine this fall. Additionally, Natalie will be teaching an Appalachian Literature class for WVU Extended Learning this October.

Harrington Weihl will present his paper “The Horror of the New: Tradition And Novelty in H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu” at the 2013 Midwest MLA Convention in Milwaukee in November.  He also has two entries -- Elizabeth Bowen and Henry James -- forthcoming in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, and a book review -- Antonio Negri's Trilogy of Resistance -- forthcoming in The Marx and Philosophy Review of Books.

Clint Wilson reports the following recent publications: 

"A Good Shave" (July 2013) - Short Story, Print and Digital Whisperings Magazine (Vol 2, Iss 2); "Blood & Belief" (March 2013) - Essay, Digital only
Curator Magazine; "Glass Fire" (December 2012) - A Poem Series, Print only
The Poetry Bus (Vol 1, Iss 4)