Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Grants for Doctoral Research, Part 1

Beginning in 2008, the English Department inaugurated a grant program to assist doctoral students with their research and publication during the summers. Funded by contributions from faculty and alumni, each year the Department awards two Summer Grants for Doctoral Research of $250 each to help defray the costs of researching and writing scholarly articles and other academic work.

Last summer, one of the grants allowed Rebecca (“Becca”) Skidmore Biggio to buy the books she needed to revise part of a chapter of her dissertation into a conference paper on Their Shadows Before (1899), a nineteenth-century novel by understudied American author Pauline Bouvé. Becca presented the paper at the Modern Language Association convention in San Francisco in December, 2008. Having just received her doctorate this spring, Becca is currently revising the presentation into a journal article, and she eventually plans to submit a proposal to academic presses for a scholarly edition of Bouvé’s novel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Popular American Culture

Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson's wedding video. Why? Well, because we haven't had a video for awhile and because they really did it and because it may save Chris Brown's career and because... um, it was in St. Paul, F. Scott Fitzgerald's hometown, and's Cultural Studies. Yup, Cultural Studies. That's why.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

WVU Press Author Interview

For those of you teaching Glenn Taylor's The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart in Appalachian Literature courses, or who've read the novel for fun, or who wanted to hear Glenn read at the Blue Moose and couldn't, or who just wonder what he looks like, well, here's a decent interview.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Web-erview with Jim Harms

An interview with Jim Harms has just been posted at:

The Tenants have it on good authority that this is one of the ten best and most visited poetry blogs on the web. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

West Virginia Writers' Workshop

West Virginia Writers’ Workshop Features All-Star Lineup

The 13th West Virginia Writers’ Workshop, to be held in the Mountainlair on the downtown campus of West Virginia University July 16-19, will feature writers who have won the Pen/Faulkner Award, the Pen/Revson Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and other prestigious national and international prizes.

The writers will conduct workshops, present lectures, and give readings during the four-day event. Readings are free and open to the public.

The Workshop will kick off at 1 p.m. on July 16 with a reading by Renée Nicholson, a graduate of WVU’s MFA program. Nicholson, a former professional ballet dancer, has been published in the Gettysburg Review, Chelsea, and other literary magazines.

At 8 p.m. on July 16, Richard Wiley, the winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award for the novel Soldiers In Hiding, and Paula McLain, a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the author of the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, will read.

On July 17, at 1:30 p.m., poet John Hoppenthaler, a professor at East Carolina University and the author of the poetry collection Lives of Water, and the fiction writer Natalie Sypolt, a graduate of WVU’s MFA program, will read.

At 8 p.m. on July 17, Mark Brazaitis, the author of The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award and the director of WVU’s Creative Writing Program, and Shara McCallum, the winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize for The Water Between Us, will read.

On July 18 at 1:30 p.m, Kevin Oderman, a WVU English professor and the author of the novel Going, and Kelly Moffett, a graduate of WVU’s MFA program and the author of the poetry collection Waiting for a Warm Body to Fill It, will read.

The Workshop will conclude at 8 p.m. on July 18 with readings by WVU Professor James Harms, the author of five collections of poetry and the winner of the PEN/Revson Fellowship, and Patricia Henley, whose first novel, Hummingbird House, was a finalist for the National Book Award.

The West Virginia Writers’ Workshop draws writers fron all over the country to Morgantown and the campus of WVU for four days of workshops, lectures, readings, and conversation about writing.
Contact: Mark Brazaitis, 304-293-9707

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Writing Contest

Entries for the summer writing contest to produce the best continuation of this new novel can be posted on the blog (if you have posting privileges) or in the comments, and Mary Ann will judge them. There will be prizes if the Tenants can rouse themselves from their hammocks and go into the house to find some.

My entry, which repositions the characters slightly and adds only the second sentence:

"She rushed downstairs to consult Shirley, who at that moment was holding a tete-a-tete with Dick on the sunny front porch."

As yet unaware of Mabel's imminent arrival, Dicky, for his part, was slowly coming to the realization that he seemed to be trapped in yet another of Shirley's famous "tete a tetes" and was finding himself, as was so often the case with Mrs. Murchland, increasingly stupified by Shirley's famously insistent conversational style, which, on this occasion as on so many others, was turning out to be a rather unpleasant blend of the whimsical and the morbid in almost exactly the wrong proportions, not to mention that he had always found the range of her interests to be a bit overly democratic in the sense that, whether the topic was the family of voles that she was certain had taken up residence in her hedgerow or the recent series of suspicious and often near fatal accidents in the vicinity of Crumbleton Manor, everything was treated with the same light, glancing attention before the next conversational bauble was produced in its turn, so that, as he felt the familiar Shirley-induced ennui stealing over him, he could hardly be blamed, he thought, for glancing at the roadster parked at the curb and wondering if he might still be able to disengage himself in time to have tea with the Major at the Athletic Club.

The Academic Blogosophere: Moria Studies for her Exams

Moria in Excelsis is a great little blog from a PhD student working in the early modern period. She's smart and observant and thoughtful, and alternates between posts (like the one linked above) that cover real academic territory, those that detail the life of graduate work, and personal reflection.

The post I've linked to here is a good one to check out for those reading for booklist exams or those considering what a booklist exam process might look like. The process that she is detailing here is one where the reader not only has to consume and process large quantities of material, but also begin to manufacture some real knowledge out of that material.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our First Ever Contest!

TCH invites readers to participate in a summer writing contest!

Here is your chance to dazzle us by taking a last sentence and making it the opening to a new piece.

The sentence comes from one of the series books discussed here some weeks ago: The Blue Grass Seminary Girls on the Water, or Exciting Adventures on a Summer Cruise through the Panama Canal by Carolyn Judson Burnett, published in 1916.

And here is that last sentence:

"She rushed downstairs to consult Shirley, who at that moment was holding a tete-a-tete with Dick on the sunny front porch."

And The End.

Yes, we know.  Take a moment.  We'll wait.

The "she," in case you were wondering, is Mabel Ashton, "life chum" of Shirley Willing (yep, that's her name).  They're just two Kentucky girls, "slender of figure, vivacious of manner, and extremely pretty."

So!  Your task: use the tete-a-tete sentence as the opening to a piece of fiction. Give us a paragraph or two.  And feel free to adapt the characters of Mabel and Shirley and, ahem, even good ol' Dick any way you see fit.  

All entries will be read with delight and the most dazzling one(s) will appear on our site.  And no matter what, you'll have the feeling of pride that comes with knowing you did your very best.

Deadline: oh, soonish... we'll post good entries as we receive them.  

Now off you go.

Monday, July 6, 2009

CFP: Barthelme Prize for Short Prose--Gulf Coast

Announcing the Second Annual Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose:

Named in honor of Gulf Coast's founder, the Donald Barthelme Prize awards $500 and publication in the upcoming issue of Gulf Coast for one prose poem, micro-essay, or piece of flash fiction.

The 2009 prize-winning entry will be selected by Mary Robison, author of Why Did I Ever? and One D.O.A, One on the Way.

Guidelines: Submit up to 3 previously unpublished prose poems, short stories, or micro-essays, each no more than 500 words in length. Your name and address should appear on the cover letter only. All entries will be considered for publication, though only one will receive our $500 prize. Include an SASE for results. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Your $15 reading fee, payable to "Gulf Coast," will include a one-year subscription.

Postmark deadline: August 31, 2009.

Send Entries to:

Barthelme Prize
Gulf Coast Journal
Department of English
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3013

Barthelme Contest Guidelines

Friday, July 3, 2009

More summer songs for your ipod (or turntable, maybe)

What’s with this weather, huh? Here’s something to lift you out of the doldrums, with a few annotations.

Seals and Crofts: “Summer Breeze” (so 1970’s)

Chicago: “Saturday in the Park” (in honor of the 4th of July)

Player (the name says it all): “Baby Come Back” (according to YouTube: “late 70’s smooth rock at it’s best” [sic])

The Rolling Stones: “Miss You” (or lots of other Stones songs; you choose)

Rick Springfield: “Jessie’s Girl” (come on: it’s amazing: you know it is)

Don Henley: “Boys of Summer” ---or, better yet, the same song by The Ataris (really, an end of summer song, of course; maybe you should hold off on this one)

Garbage: “You Look So Fine” (don’t know this song? ---oh, it's good...)

The Offspring: “Come Out and Play” or “Want You Bad” or “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

Foo Fighters: it’s all good, but let’s go with something atmospheric: “Aurora” or “Everlong” (original and acoustic). Or, if you prefer something faster, the Foos do a version of “Drive Me Wild.”

and one especially for Dennis Allen: Katy Perry: “Waking Up in Vegas” (note the awesome eye makeup in the video)

---that's enough. Now, get off the sofa.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Go Medieval! Be a Mello' Fello' for Our Lady!

I'm not sure that any new Ph.D.s are out there who can apply for this, but if you're thinking about the most exciting journey into the unknown that is medieval studies, then it will be good for you to know about this. This was in the big posting I put on the list this morning, which I've been ask to enblog for you all. 

Here's the addy:

A.W. Mellon Fellow in Medieval Studies
University of Notre Dame
Medieval Institute
Notre Dame, IN
Date Posted: Mar. 10th, 2009

There's more info here:  

Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowships at Rice

For those of you looking for inspiration to finish that diss or who are suffering post-partum thesis depression (disspression?), you might want to take a look at the application information for Mellon Postdocs at Rice starting July, 2010. Diss must have been/be completed between 2007 and July 1, 2010. Applications aren't due until November.

Here's the link: