Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Professional Development Course for MFA and PhD Students

New course for Spring 2011! GRAD 694A: Preparing Future Faculty in the Humanities

Preparing Future Faculty in the Humanities is a 1-credit seminar that will demystify the transition from graduate student to faculty member. Participants will be expected to complete weekly readings and foster lively discussion on course topics, including the following:

· How to apply for academic jobs
· Teaching, research, and service responsibilities of an assistant professor
· Preparing for tenure and promotion review
· Current issues in the humanities job market and higher education
· Considering non-academic jobs

1 credit
Time: Thursdays, 2:30-3:20
Grading: pass/fail

Instructor: Dr. Jenny Douglas, PhD in English from the University of Rochester, Program Director for Professional Development in the Office of Graduate Education & Life

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a temporary one-year faculty position as Honors Program Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow to begin August 2011. Duties include teaching first year writing in an Honors Program. A comprehensive regional institution of higher education and member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, California University of Pennsylvania is a diverse caring and scholarly learning community dedicated to excellence in teacher preparation, liberal arts, science and technology, and professional studies and devoted to building character and building careers, broadly defined. The University enrolls more than 9,000 students in graduate and undergraduate programs taught by 280-full-time faculty. Visit for more information about the University. Rank is dependent upon qualifications and experience. Salary is competitive and commensurate with academic preparation and experience. An excellent fringe benefits package is included.


A PhD in composition, English or related field is required. Also, in order to be a leading candidate, the applicant minimally must be fluent in the English language and be able to communicate well. Candidates will demonstrate outstanding potential for excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship through successful interviews and classroom teaching demonstrations; and be experienced in the use of innovative instructional approaches that are student-centered, inquiry-based and hands-on oriented. The primary assignment will be to teach first year composition in the University's honors program.

In accordance with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and APSCUF, the successful candidate may be assigned to perform work at regional sites, in the Evening/Weekend College and/or to provide instruction through distance learning formats.

The application deadline is November 19, 2010 for all positions. To review the complete job description and to apply, visit: Position contingent upon funding.

Integrity, Civility and Responsibility are the official core values of California University of Pennsylvania, an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Three Bests

Triple congratulations to Professor Kevin Oderman and MFA students Sarah Einstein and Heather Frese for having their essays recognized as distinguished in the most recent volume of Best American Essays.

This is something of an annual occurrence for Kevin. How nice he could share the spotlight this year with two outstanding writers in our ever-impressive MFA program.

Way to go! And—way to write!


Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses of Books and/or Brownies

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) is still accepting book donations for the Fall Booksale/Bakesale (October 20th). If you have books you are willing to part with (for a good cause!) please contact James Holsinger ( For those graduate students willing to volunteer their time for the event, please sign up outside of Colson 344. If you'd rather bake something for the sale, please contact Rebecca Schwab (

Monday, September 27, 2010

News Roundup

For your reading pleasure and because we don't want you to be embarrassed when you don't know what's going on, we now present a roundup of the latest news and neighborhood happenings. Also, one poem and one very good word.


Gail Adams, retired WVU English professor and one of TCH's most favorite fiction writers, emails to say that she and husband Tim, our former department chair, as most of you will recall, are keeping busy in and around ever-smaller Florence, Texas (population down this past year to 987): "
Tim and I sneak away for long weekends or short - Galveston and then Waco where we ate at the Elite Cafe made infamous by journalists covering Branch Davidians' stand-off and he's biking 25 - 50 miles on these charity rides and while he does I swim in the hotel pools and read." Sounds pretty nice to the Tenants whose parents never let them do fun stuff like hang out in former Branch Davidian-related hot spots.


The Sigma Tau Delta "So You Want to Go to Graduate School?" meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 12, 8:00 p.m. in the Mountain Room in the 'lair. This is the sobering and essential and sometimes inspiring information session for all undergraduates—literature, professional writing, creative writing—interested in graduate study in English. Professors Conner, Ballentine, and Samyn will enlighten and delight attendees with tales of applying and getting accepted and actually going to graduate programs... and then getting the heck out of them.


This past Saturday's "Boobapalooza" benefit concert for the fight against breast cancer was quite a success and your favorite bloggers attended. Professor Allen drank pink lemonade; Professor Samyn had some iced tea; they both enjoyed rather yummy sugar cookies decorated with a pink ribbon of icing. Professor Claycomb and family were also in attendance, but, alas, this blogger cannot recall what fascinating things they ate or drank. Next time she promises to pay better attention.


Heard on the street, in South Park, during a football "game":

Pre-teen boy #1: I want to tackle someone really bad. Can I tackle you?

Pre-teen boys #2 & 3: (silence)

Ok, have at it, theorists and fiction writers. Surely you can do something with this.


And now, a poem appropriate to the season, by Lisa Russ Spaar, who will be reading on campus on Thursday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Reading Room.

The Geese

Just as God is not my sorrow,
neither does this prow

above our gable where a dream
has died owe me any more than life

has promised us an ending. Though it has.
Is it true the sadder we are, the more things stand still?

Rudder of dusk, perhaps this love
of shape betrays my taste for death.

Even more, I love their going—pioneers—
beyond my knowing.

Isn't that gorgeous? From Lisa's most recent book, Satin Cash (Persea 2008). That's a Dickinson reference, in case you were wondering: "I pay — in Satin Cash — / You did not state — your price —"


Finally, a word we're fond of just now: cavalcade. Something about roundups and Gail in Texas brought this to mind. An old movie word too, right? Anyway, a very pleasing crash of sounds. Something icy in the middle of it. But not in a bad way. More like the sound ice makes as it's tumbled into a glass. More like "let's sit around and talk about it."

It's already Week 6 of the semester. Can you believe it? Make it a good one, Tenants.

On the Internet No One Can Hear You Scream: Two Online (Truly) Silent Auctions

First, the Center for Women's Studies' auction to support their Difference Fund is here. Items range from art to books to dinner at Sargasso.

Second, it's not for as good a cause, but the Feds are auctioning off items seized from Raffaello Follieri, convicted swindler and former Anne Hathaway boyfriend, here.  The Tenants hate to admit it, but, frankly, the jewelry is better on this one.

Next They Need to Talk to Snooki

Rutgers University has just begun a two year program to improve student behavior and encourage better manners on campus. The opening lecture is entitled "Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct." Given the student body president's explanation of the need for such a program ("It's because we're college students and we're paying for services...we're paying the professor so we should be able to leave class whenever we feel like it."), the Tenants think it would be a good idea to cover the main points in the first ten minutes of the talk.

Ethel Smith Celebrates Lucille Clifton

Ethel Smith is just back from James Madison University and shares the following report on the Celebration in honor of Lucille Clifton:

Trudier Harris, Sandy Govan, Opal Moore, and Ethel Smith
73 Poems for 73 years: Celebrating the life of poet Lucille Clifton was a literary-studded event of poets and poetry lovers from across the country, gathered at James Madison University’s Furious Flower Poetry Center on Sept 22, 2010. Such a gala event could have only been successful with the leadership of Professors Nikki Giovanni and Joanne Gabbin. Other dignitaries included, Rita Dove, Mari Evans, Maryemma Graham, Opal Moore, Lucinda Roy, Sonia San Chez Val Gray Ward, and so many others. I read the poem “Amazon,” from the book Blessing the Boats.

Her poem “homage to my hips” read by Professor Trudier Harris stole the reading part of the show:

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do
these hips are magic hips.
I have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

In between poetry readings the packed audience was entertained by the music of The Elliot Family String Quartet, Mr. Jefferson Bones (and I did not make that up), Treasurer Williams, and the Madison Singers.

And in the end Lucille’s beautiful daughters joined in the celebration. It was a grand send off for and grand poet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


No, homophones are not about sexuality, but they are fascinating. This homophonous shirt was recently spotted in Colson Hall. {For disambiguation see here and here}

Homophones happen when a form is attached to two separate meanings. In normal dictionaries, the meanings are listed under a single head term, but in the mind, homophones are most likely stored as separate items. In other words, the lexicon tolerates two (or more) meanings that are represented by the same form (like "bat" as 'piece of wood' and "bat" as 'flying mammal'). What the lexicon seems not to tolerate is the same meaning represented by two different forms (i.e. synonyms). So for homework, oh Tenants followers, see if you can post in the comments pairs of true synonyms. And keep an eye out for those homophones.

New MFA Class -- Give Them an 'M' for Marvelous

And reason number 784 that the new MFA in Creative Writing class is fabulous (which is to say just as fabulous as the other two MFA classes currently gracing us with their words):

Connie Pan, a first-year fiction writer, recently published a short story in Rosebud: The Magazine for People Who Enjoy Good Writing. The opening of "The Patron Saint of Exits":

I don't know if she was a figment of my imagination. Most instances point to yes. From what I can remember, even in the moments she was there—when my world revolved around her—she was like a ghost.

To read on, buy the magazine. Or ask Connie for an impromptu summary.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Benefit Concert For The Fight Against Breast Cancer on Saturday in South Park

This just in from Malayna Bernstein in C & I:

"My great friend, Leigh LaSala, is participating in the Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure in Washington, D.C.  The Red Hot Pepperoni Rollers [featuring Josh Arthurs of the History Department] is putting on a free concert in support of Leigh and the cause. We'd love it if you could join us. Bring your friends and family, a picnic and drinks, and if you'd like to throw a few dollars in the jar in support of Leigh's goal, that would be wonderful.

We'll be gathering in the LaSala's beautiful yard, at 323 Demain Ave in South Park, this Saturday, September 25, from 4-7. If it rains, we'll meet at the same time on Sunday.

A few of us will be making treats, and several young women from UHS will be providing free child care as part of a service learning project."

If you cannot join us, but you'd like to make a contribution, you can visit Leigh's donation site at

Grad Students: Chance to Attend the ECASECS Conference

Pittsburgh in 1795
The annual conference of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies will be in Pittsburgh this year on Friday November 5th and Saturday November 6th, and the conference organizers have generously offered a special deal for local graduate students who aren't presenting to attend and hear about the latest work in the field. Instead of paying the $160 registration fee, you can pay $20 for one of the days or $35 for both days -- coffee, snacks, and the plenary reception are included, the lunches are not.

Conference information, with a link to the program is here

If you're interested, e-mail Marilyn Francus at, and she will tell you how to register.

Let's Hope He Isn't an English Major

The Daily Athenaeum meets Stephen Colbert.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive Media Coverage
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Graduate Students in Their Natural Habitat

I couldn't resist snapping this picture today in the 2nd floor resource room. Don't they look innocent and industrious? Weird, huh?

From left to right: Lisa Beans (2nd year MFA), Christina Rothenbeck (3rd year MFA), & Danielle Ryle (3rd year MFA). All poets... which just goes to show, once again, how good looking we are.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Calliope, WVU's Undergraduate Lit Magazine - Sign Up!

Hello, lovers of the written word --

A meeting of all students interested in working on Calliope, WVU's award-winning undergraduate literary magazine, will be held on Wednesday, September 29, at 7:30 in room 130 of Colson Hall. Students interested in the top editorial positions (editor-in-chief, managing editor, fiction editor, poetry editor, etc.) as well as students interested in contributing in other ways to the editorial and publication process are encouraged to attend. No experience is necessary! Enthusiasm is a plus!

Students who are not able to attend the meeting but would like to be on the Calliope staff should email or call the magazine's faculty sponsor, yours truly, Mark Brazaitis, at

Questions should be addressed to me.

I look forward to seeing you on September 29!


CFP: Panel for International Congress on Medieval Studies

Call for Papers for the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 12-15, 2011, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Sponsoring organization: Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS)
Panel Title: “Flaming Bodies in Ken Russell’s The Devils

Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) depicts a trial for witchcraft and heresyfrom early seventeenth-century France. Based on the book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley, Russell’s film recounts thehistorical case of cleric Urbain Grandier, accused by the Prioress of Loudon’sUrsline nuns of assuming various shapes of incubi, to seduce her and hersisters, leading to demonic possession throughout the convent. Articulating desire, the nuns endure torture and exorcism at the hands of a deputy of Cardinal Richelieu, who seeks to destroy the autonomy of Loudun, in an attempt tosolidify the power of the Catholic church and to unify France as a nation. Asprotector of Loundon--a city which deliberately maintains its medieval walls and its medieval style of governance--Grandier is burned at the stake,ultimately because of his tolerance for Huguenots and his insistence on thecity’s autonomy rather than capitulating to the developing nation-state.

This panel provides a forum for investigating a nexus of issues surrounding bodies, gender, and sexuality in Russell’s The Devils. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following: Speakers could scruntinize the film’s representation of intersections between early nation-building and female bodies. With the prioress, the lead female role, played by a character who isphysically deformed, a deformity central to her subjectivity, the panel offers a forum for scholars of disability studies. With celebrated queer filmmaker Derek Jarmen as the head of art production for The Devils and with the clearly queer possibilities throughout Ken Russell's oeuvre, which, although obvious, have been understudied by film scholars, The Devils--offering autoerotic and lesbian nuns, drag-queen courtiers, and an opening scene of King Louis appearing as Botticelli's “Birth of Venus”--is ripe for queer analyses.The panel also provides a venue for topics of even longer-standing interest to medievalists and early modern scholars, such as mysticism and erotics, Jesus as Mother, and ritualssurrounding female bodies in witchcraft ordeals. In short, this panel welcomes paper proposals on gender and/or sexuality in The Devils from scholars of medieval or early modern studies, queer theory, and/or film studies.

Papers should be 20 minutes.Because SMFS will screen The Devils at the conference, speakers can assume that the panel’s audience members will have viewed the film. Please send proposals, along with the “Participant Information Form” (available at, by September 20, 2010 {Later submissions are welcome}, to

Dr. Lynn Arner
Centre for Women’s Studies
Department of English
Brock University
St.Catharines, ON L2S 3A1 Canada

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CFP: Gender Studies Conference at Idaho State University

ISU Campus March 10th & 11th, 2011.

POCATELLO, 06/10/10 - A multidisciplinary conference, The Art of Gender in Everyday Life VIII, will take place at Idaho State University (ISU), March 10th & 11th, 2011. In addition to sessions, the conference will include: a keynote, by Andi Zeisler, the cofounder and editorial/creative director of Bitch Magazine on the evening of March 11th. A Friday lunchtime talk, "Gender, Popular Culture, and Media," by ISU faculty member, Nancy Legg; and a screening of LUNAFEST on Thursday, March 10th, at 8:00 in the evening in the Bengal Theater. All conference sessions and keynote are FREE and open to the public. We encourage people to drop by for as much or as little of the conference as they like. A complete final list of conference sessions, schedules, and other details will be posted on our website at

During our annual conference, we welcome gender scholars from across the country to Pocatello. The conference is an opportunity for scholars and students to present current research on gender issues. Participants from past years have consistently commented on the friendly atmosphere at The Art of Gender in Everyday Life conferences, and it is our principal mission to continue our tradition of creating a collegial, supportive and nurturing environment for the discussion of gender issues from across the disciplines.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Technology Talk

Looking for new ways to integrate eCampus into your classroom? Are there just a few things on your page that you can't figure out? Do you wish you could set up your grade book quickly and easily and prevent all of those "What was my grade on quiz/short write 5?" emails? Would you like to find an alternative way to assess your students? Want to offer additional office hours via eCampus chat?

On Monday, September 20 I'll be discussing the details of eCampus. Please join me from 3:00-4:00 in G06 Colson hall for this eCampus technology workshop. Feel free to arrive late or leave early based on your schedule and needs. I'll discuss a few eCampus tricks and tools; then, we'll have a group discussion-- offering everyone an opportunity to share their eCampus knowledge and ask questions. If we have time we'll also explore alternative technology tools such as Prezi, Dropbox, and Google tools (...and we'll continue this helpful conversation about technology beyond eCampus with Sarah Einstein on Mon., Nov. 29th).

Please email me @ if you have any questions or suggestions for the session.

I hope to see all of you Monday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ethel Morgan Smith Reading

Wednesday, September 15
7:30-9:00 p.m.
130 Colson Hall

Smith is a WVU associate professor of English and the author of From Whence Cometh My Help: The African American Community at Hollins College. Her essay “Love Means Nothing” was the winner of the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Award. Smith has published in national and international journals, including Callaloo and African American Review. She is also the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Bellagio, Italy, a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany, a Visiting Artist Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome, a DuPont Fellowship, and a fellowship from Brandeis University’s Women’s Research Center.

First EGO Meeting of the Semester

If you attend just one EGO meeting this month, let it be this one!

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) will hold its first meeting of the semester this Friday, September 17th at 4pm in Colson 130. All graduate students are encouraged to attend for a lively discussion and some of Allison Hitt's world famous cookies (while supplies last).

Hope to see you all there on Friday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Job Search Informational Meeting

The annual informational meeting for graduate students interested in the academic job market will be this Thursday, September 9, at 4 p.m. in 106 Colson Hall.

John Ernest, Brian Ballentine, and Mary Ann Samyn will share their insights into this always-daunting process.

Students in all the grad programs—MA, MA-PWE, MFA, and PhD—are welcome to attend.

Though many of your questions are no doubt answered by the above comic (courtesy of The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College: yes, really!), all other concerns about the what, when, where, how, and maybe even why of the academic job search will be addressed by your trusted faculty. If you hope to go on the market this year or in the near future, you should plan to attend.

CLC Hours for Fall

The Center for Literary Computing, located in the ground floor of Colson Hall, will offer English department students drop-in computing services (email, word processing, printing etc.) on a limited schedule during the fall 2010 semester.


Monday 230-430p

Wednesday 230-430pm

Thursday 230-430pm

Friday 1100-100pm

Friday, September 3, 2010

The "Last of the Summer" Whine

"Winter and summer, then, were two hostile lives, and bred two separate natures. Winter was always the effort to live; summer was tropical license. Whether the Tenants rolled in the grass, or waded in the brook, or swam in the salt ocean, or sailed in the bay, or fished for smelts in the creeks, or netted minnows in the salt-marshes, or took to the pine-woods and the granite quarries, or chased muskrats and hunted snapping-turtles in the swamps, or mushrooms or nuts on the autumn hills, summer and country were always sensual living, while winter was always compulsory learning. Summer was the multiplicity of nature; winter was school."

Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams

CFP: 19th Annual British Women Writers Conference

19th Annual British Women Writers Conference
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
March 31-April 3, 2011

Call for Papers:

The theme for this year’s conference is “Curiosities.” We encourage submissions that consider how the concept of curiosity—in its dual meaning of intellectual pursuit and particular material objects—influenced the lives and work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers, and continues to drive our scholarship today. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches to this topic, and are especially interested in both the ways in which women of this period expressed curiosity about their world through science, politics, philosophy, travel, religion, and art, and the ways in which these same questing, curious women became the subjects and objects of inquiry themselves. We encourage proposals for panels and individual papers that consider, but are not limited to, the following issues:

Curious Explorations
• Travel writings/art; ethnographies
• Colonialism and Empire
• Immigration and emigration
• Adventure stories
• Self-exploration: memoir, autobiography, biography
• Imaginative Exploration: fantasy, dreams

Curious Bodies
• Maternity; Sexuality; Race and ethnicity
• Women and disability
• “Freak” studies
• Bodies on display: actresses, dancers, “public women”

Morbid Curiosity
• The Gothic
• Supernatural investigations; spiritualism; afterlife
• Scandal; roman à clef
• Bluebeard Tales: the “dangers” of female curiosity

Shameful Curiosities & Curious Feelings
• Suspense and Sensation
• Affect; Desire; Disgust
• Forbidden Texts/ Banned Books
• Pornography

Curiosity vs. Privacy
• Voyeurism and eavesdropping
• Gossip
• “Private” Genres: letters, diary, closet drama
• Epistolary novels
• The private sphere
• Private legacies: wills, estates, inheritance

Cabinets of Curiosities
• Collections and collectors
• Women and/as commodities
• Domestic objects
• Consumerism; shopping; possessions
• Exhibitions and museums

Curious Inquiries
• Science and medicine; The Case Study
• Education/the pursuit of knowledge
• Philosophical and religious investigations
• “The Woman Question”
• Journalism
• Crime and investigation: women’s crime fiction;
mystery writing; the female detective
• Experimentation (artistic, scientific, personal)

Individual proposals should be two pages: a cover sheet including name, presentation title, university affiliation, address, e-mail address, phone number, and brief biographical paragraph; and a 500-word abstract.

Panel proposals should include a coversheet—including panel title, presenters’ names, presentation titles, university affiliations, addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, brief biographical paragraphs, and the name of a moderator, followed by separate abstracts (500-word) that describe the significance of the panel topic and each presentation. Please do not include any identifying information on the abstracts.

Proposals must be submitted electronically as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format by Nov. 1, 2010 to the conference e-mail address at:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Job at Extension Service

The WVU Extension Service is seeking an experienced undergraduate or Graduate student worker to assist with writing and marketing for the WVU Extension Service. The WVU Extension Service distributes news and information on local, state, and national levels. The organization provides educational programs on 4-H, agriculture, home and families, and community development. The ideal candidate will have strong writing skills, will be a self-starter, and will be able to handle multiple assignments. It would be helpful for the candidate to have experience with Final Cut Pro. The hours will be up to 20 a week, and will be flexible to accommodate a student's schedule. The rate of pay will be $11.50 an hour. Interested parties should send a resume, two writing samples and any video links to Cassie Waugh at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MFA Success -- and a Friend of APBP's Stunning Work

Congratulations to Emily Watson, a May 2010 MFA graduate, who won the nonfiction division of the Iron Horse Discover Awards.


Iron Horse is an excellent literary magazine from Texas Tech University. MFA graduate Penny Zang was a previous winner in the fiction category.

And congratulations to current MFA student Rachel King, who finished in second place in the short story division (for "Our 1st Market Day") and received honorable mention in the children's book division (for "The Back Field") in the annual West Virginia Writers Inc. contest. Congratulations, too, to Charity Gingerich for finishing in third place in the short poetry division (for "Poem for a Late Summer Day") in the same contest.

Finally, check out the stunning visual work of West Virginia native and supporter of the Appalachian Prison Book Project Randi Ward at her Web site:

Nice work, everyone.


English Department Unveils New Website

Click to enlarge

The English Department's new website went online today, and the Tenants have spent most of the morning standing around and admiring it. It has a slide carousel and a video about the Writing Center and a lovely muted color scheme and a Spotlight feature (on Professor Conner at the moment) and, of course, News and an Events Calendar (Professor Smith will give a reading on September 10th at 7:30 in 130 Colson).

For its part, the old website was getting a bit antiquated and said it was glad to be retired. The Department gave it a small pension and put it on a bus to Florida. It said it would write, but most of the Tenants suspect that it will get involved in betting on jai alai and chatting up deleted Myspace pages from New York and forget all about us.