Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Hiring News....

...which is sort of like The Shipping News, except that it's about hiring.

The Tenants are very pleased to announce that, in the words of Placement Director John Ernest:

"Matt Ferrence has accepted a [tenure-track] position as Assistant Professor at Allegheny College, which he says is 'truly a perfect fit.'  As many of you know, Matt has both an MFA and a PhD, and he will teach both nonfiction writing and literature."


"Sohinee Roy has accepted a [tenure-track] position as Assistant Professor at North Central College, an outstanding institution.  This is a great job, and Sohinee was their first and unanimous choice for the position."

The Tenants extend their congratulations not only to Matt and Sohinee but also to Sohinee's mother, who has been sworn to secrecy until the signed contract was returned and who now can tell anyone she wants.

Monday, February 21, 2011

There Will Be Creepy Raffle Items: MFA Spring Reading

Mark your calendars, Tenants (perhaps with a smiley face sticker, perhaps with a gold star, I'll leave that up to you), for Friday, March 4th from 6 to 8 pm, as that is the date and time to come to Zenclay for COW's Spring MFA Reading. Huzzah! Featured readers and Joinery rockstars are Aaron Hoover, Elissa Hoffman, and Christina Rothenbeck, along with an exceptional smattering (back-up dancers, if you will) of fictioneers, poets, and non-fic wonders.

This semester's reading includes a very special feature I like to call RAFFLEMANIA! All caps. Exclamation point. For the low, low price of $1 per ticket or $5 for 10 tickets, you too can enter RAFFLEMANIA!, setting yourself up for a chance to win books by Mark Brazaitis, Jim Harms, Mary Ann Samyn, Ethel Morgan-Smith, and Erin Tocknell. But that's not all! As fabulous as those prizes are, your book will be paired with either a gift certificate from a local merchant, an IOU for Katie Fallon's book due out this fall, a wicker duck holding tiny wine, a sparkly monarch butterfly wall hanging, or this deer made of twigs:

Behold, googly eyes and one antler! You know you want it.

Or how about this...thing?

Creepy, right? In a rare and wonderful I-must-have-it sort of way?

And that's just a teaser. More to come, folks, more to come. Tickets for RAFFLEMANIA! will go on sale a week before the event, and you don't have to be present to win. (Although, if you are present you get to come into posession of your creepy twig-deer that much sooner, along with winning the love and affection of your MFAs.) Seek out Rebecca Schwab to buy your advance tickets, and we hope to see you at the reading!

Call for Papers: Grad Student Conference at Penn

"The Power of Stories: Authority and Narrative in Early America" An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference

Hosted by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
September 29 - October 1, 2011

This conference will bring together a diverse group of graduate students to discuss the power of stories and their relationship to authority in early America and the Atlantic world before 1850. Addressing written, pictorial, oral, or other narratives, papers might consider examples of how groups or individuals decide what stories to tell about themselves; why some narratives come to predominate over others; how narratives change over time and across generations; and the ways in which stories can strengthen or undermine political, ethnic, religious, economic, or other communities. At a broader level, papers might address how scholars can harness the power of stories in their own writing as a means of evoking past worlds.

We seek papers that will engage a wide range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, Native American studies, literature, American studies, African American studies, political science, art history, geography, material culture, and race and gender studies. In order to be considered, applicants should email their proposals to mceas.stories.2011@gmail.com by March 15, 2011. Proposals should include a one-page c.v. and a prospectus of no more than 250 words. Paper presentations will be limited to 20 minutes. Limited financial support is available for participants' travel and housing expenses. Decisions will be announced by May 15, 2011.
Please direct conference-related questions to Whitney Martinko at mceas.stories.2011@gmail.com.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Tenants!

Remember decorating shoe boxes so that they became---ta da!---very special Valentine mailboxes? Yep, those were the days. Fun *and* stressful! But never fear, Tenants, no matter what else the day brings, you already have this little Valentine; you will not go unloved.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

There Will Be Canvas Bags: AWP 2011 in DC

We brought four civilians to AWP in DC. We stood outside the doors of the Marriott and prepped them. "Now, we just want you to be prepared for what's inside. You are going to see a lot of glasses. About a 3 to 1 ratio. Mostly thick, black-rimmed glasses. RayBan preferred. You are going to see so many pashminas, you're going to feel like a New York City street vendor cart blew up and its merchandise landed on everybody's neck. There will be book bags and canvas bags and messenger bags and they all will be full of books. These people are awkward, always staring at their bookfair map or their AWP programs or the man with the corduroy suit with patches on his elbows--is that Robert Bly? So you are going to get hit with these maps (ouch! papercuts), these programs, and the sour smell of sweaty armpits because all these kids hate crowds.

"Why would your put yourself through all that torture?" the civilians ask.

And we, MFA candidates, answer, "Duh, because it's AW-fricken-P."

AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, hosts an annual conference filled with readings, panels, and the infamous bookfair. Every year, thousands of word lovers trek the country to attend this four day event. West Virginia University is one of the sponsors and sent some lucky MFAers to represent. We asked these lucky MFAers what their AWP experience was like beyond the initial shock of thousands of writers emerging from hermitage. These are their responses:

Kelly Sundberg on the book fair and rubbing elbows: "I brought home 2 bags full of books, and I don't regret a dime of it . . . Personal Highlights? Well, buying my friend, Alan Heathcock's book, Volt, from the Graywolf booth at the bookfair, talking to Pam Houston about living in the West, meeting Benjamin Percy in line at the coffee shop, [and] talking to editors (and fellow MFA students) from the Black Warrior Review at the Black Squirrel over a pint."

Heather Frese on panels and pimping her working book: "I . . . went to some great panels on first-time publishing, travel writing, and fashion writing, because, yes, I'm just that girly . . . I also got to meet with an agent for 10 minutes, and I'm eternally grateful to Shane [Stricker], Ben [Bishop], and Micah [Holmes], who calmed me down beforehand by telling me anecdotes of goats on the highway."

Shane Stricker on maintaining and forging friendships with people in high places: "I would say the highlights of my trip were catching up with my editor from BkMk Press in Kansas City, meeting Kelly Cherry whose book, Girl in a Library, I worked so hard on (even extending my internship to try and finish it), officially meeting Jim Clark from Greensboro (who has been so very nice to me over the last few years for reasons I can't explain), [and] spending too much money at the bookfair . . . All in all, I had a wonderful time."

And we, too, had a wonderful time, Shane! We got the chance to attend the Keynote Address by Jhumpa Lahiri (Jhumpa Lahiri!). She reminded us to ignore the statistics and the familial urges to get a "real job" and to write, write, write ourselves into being writers. We also attended Junot Diaz's reading. The man, Junot Diaz, kept it real with a "snuggie draft" (a draft that you know is cute but unfinished) and a short story, "Alma," which is in the second person. Man, we love the "you" perspective!

All in all, we all had a great time and if we scared you too much with tales of armies of canvas bags and anxiety bursting out of skinny jeans, you at least have to join us in Chicago next year to get yourself a "Write like a Motherf*er" coffee (or tea) mug--whichever your poison.

PS Kelly Sundberg attended a panel, "Agents and Authors Share Strategies for Falling in Literary Love." She took notes on finding the agent that's right for your book. She has offered up her notes for anyone who is interested. Thanks, Kelly!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Summer Jobs: Victory Congressional Internship Offered by the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute

M.A. alumna Mandi Frederick, who is now working for the federal government, and who, any day now, we expect to see standing behind the President at a press conference, has sent along the following announcement of summer internship opportunities for LGBT students:

Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute www.glli.org/vci

Victory Congressional Internship

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute’s Victory Congressional Internship is developing the next generation of out public leaders. This summer we’ll bring five outstanding LGBTQ college students to Washington, D.C., for an intensive summer leadership program, including:

 An eight-week Congressional internship with a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus

 A structured curriculum to learn about the legislative process and careers in the policy-making process

 A community service project

The VCI program will prepare young LGBTQ people to become informed decision-makers and influential leaders who can change their communities and our world.

Following the summer program, students will apply their learning during the fall semester and, in December, will attend GLLI’s annual international conference for three days of training, skills building, networking and discussion alongside hundreds of openly LGBT leaders in government, politics, advocacy, business and community organizations.

2011 Program

 March 7, 2011 Applications and letters of recommendation due – apply now at http://bit.ly/vci2011

 March 25, 2011 Participants selected, all applicants notified of selection status

 June 3, 2011 Participants arrive in DC, program begins

 July 31, 2011 Summer program ends, participants leave

 Fall 2011 Participants are encouraged to find an internship working with a local campaign, elected official’s office, or advocacy organization

 December 1-4, 2011 GLLI 2011 International Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas


 $2,000 stipend to cover expenses in DC for the summer

 Airfare or other transportation to and from Washington, DC, at the beginning and end of the program

 Academic credit for the summer internship (depending on each participant’s college or university)

 Airfare, hotel and conference fees for the GLLI 2011 International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference in December.

Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute www.glli.org/vci


 Work a minimum of 32 hours a week in a congressional office assignment for eight weeks

 Participate in all GLLI-sponsored activities, including program orientation, weekly leadership development sessions, and program wrap-up

 Participate in a community service project

 Identify a focus area/question to guide your summer experience, and for which you will complete 2-3 short writing assignments during the course of the summer


 U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident or permit to work in the U.S.

 Currently enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program (note: students graduating in May/June 2011 are not eligible); applicants need not be pursuing majors in social sciences

 Demonstrated interest in public service, governance, and policy-making process

 Active participation in public and/or community service activities


Apply now at http://bit.ly/vci2011. You will be asked for the following information and materials:

 Contact Information

 Academic Information

 Demographic Information & Financial Need (optional)

 Statements of Interest

 Where do you see yourself in five years and how would the Victory Congressional Internship help you get there? (Maximum 750 words)

 Talk about two policy issues of importance to you. (Maximum 500 words)

 Resume – attached to your application

In addition to submitting an application online, please obtain two letters of reference, including at least one from a professor or academic advisor from your academic institution. Ask your references to send their letters directly to vci@glli.org. All letters of reference must be received by March 7, 2011.

Selection Process

The Victory Congressional Internship is open to students of all genders, orientations, abilities, races, and political affiliations. We are actively searching for LGBTQ college students who will bring diverse perspectives to Capitol Hill, and who will also benefit from the opportunity, as determined by our selection committee. All applicants are submitted to, reviewed by, selected by and will be notified by GLLI. Participants are selected based on:

 Solid scholastic achievement

 Strong analytical and writing skills

 Public / community service

 Evidence of leadership skills and interest in the political process

 Quality of application and, in some instances, interview performance

For more information, contact vci@glli.org.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cara Snider, ABD

It would seem to be ABD season at Colson Hall. The Tenants were very pleased to get the following message from Professor Ernest:

"Congratulations to Cara Snider who has passed her comprehensive exams.  She was impressively well prepared, and a historically sound and theologically good time was had by all.  Good job, Cara!"

Congratulations, Cara!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scholarships and Financial Awards in Women's Studies

From our friends in Women's Studies:

"We are pleased to announce our 2011 awards and scholarships available to faculty and students in women's studies and related fields.

This year, we have awards for returning women students, students in math and sciences, and graduate students. In addition, we encourage you to consider applying for the Judith Gold Stitzel Award for Excellence in Women's Studies Teaching and Learning.

Details about the awards and the application forms are available on the WMST website at http://wmst.wvu.edu/students/scholarships_and_awards. The deadline for application is Monday, March 14, 2011."

Regards, Dr. Ann Oberhauser

Courtney Novosat, ABD

This just in from Professor Ernest: "Congratulations to Courtney Novosat, who established beyond all doubt that passing one's comprehensive exams is not just a utopian dream.  Courtney's ambitious project led to an equally ambitious and rigorous discussion, a great platform for the work ahead, work for which Courtney is clearly well prepared.  Great job, Courtney!"

The Tenants are happy to add their congratulations too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Even James Franco Knows Not to Skip Out on Byron, Keats, and Shelley

It's nice to know that even famous, Oscar winning graduate students fear the consequences of missing a seminar meeting. Check out James Franco's January 25th appearance on the Daily Show! I think Romanticism and English Studies just a got a little sexier...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
James Franco
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

2011 Summer Seminar

The Department of English at West Virginia University announces its 2011 Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies, "American Magic: The Fates of Folk & Fairy Tales in the Appalachians," June 9-12, 2011.

The seminar will be led by Carl Lindahl, Martha Gano Houstoun Research Professor of English and Folklore at the University of Houston, who has emerged as a champion of the Appalachian folk- and fairy-tale (märchen) tradition, both in historical context and contemporary performance.

This non-credit seminar addresses several issues in the history and conceptions of Appalachian oral fiction. Why did American märchen go almost totally undocumented for two centuries, between the time it was first attested and the publication of Richard Chase's The Jack Tales (1943)? Why did American märchen collectors concentrate almost exclusively upon male narrators and tales in which the protagonists were males? Why has the collection and study of märchen thrived in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, but not in fifth core Appalachian state, West Virginia? Most importantly, what is the nature of the märchen tradition as it has actually been practiced, and largely ignored, in recent generations?

To assess Appalachia's oral märchen traditions, the seminar will draw upon the collections of Leonard W. Roberts (1912-1983), who assembled the nations' largest corpus of field-recorded märchen (now housed at Berea College) as well as Lindahl's own collection, recorded in the same region where Roberts worked and sometimes from the same narrators whom Roberts recorded. The vast majority of Roberts's published tales were recorded in southeastern Kentucky near the Virginia border, but Roberts conducted substantial unpublished research at West Virginia Wesleyan University, and that work will be discussed in the seminar.

Registration is $350 for faculty and $250 for graduate students, and is open until April 29, 2011.

Format: The seminar will begin with a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9th and conclude at noon on Sunday, June 12th. There are five, two-hour sessions during the seminar. By mid-May, registered participants will be provided with a list of readings to be completed before arrival at the seminar.

Seminar Site: West Virginia University is located in scenic north central West Virginia about 75 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA and 200 miles west of Washington, DC. Housing will be available on campus, and one local hotel is close by for those who prefer non-dormitory housing.

Please join us for all the pleasures of an academic seminar--provocative readings, great discussion, and expert leadership--without the stress: no papers, no final projects, no grades!

For more information, please visit http://english.wvu.edu/centers/projects/summer_seminar or contact marsha.bissett@mail.wvu.edu.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Congrats to alum Ida Stewart

Congratulations to Ida Stewart (BA 2004) for winning the 2011 Perugia Press Prize for a First or Second Book by a Woman! An awkward name, perhaps, but a wonderful award that you can learn more about by clicking right here. After gracing us with her presence, Ida went on to the MFA program at Ohio State (oops: I mean The Ohio State University) and is now completing a PhD at the University of Georgia. As you may recall, Ida was one of the best of the best here at WVU: an Outstanding Senior in both the Honors College and Eberly College and, drum roll please, an Order of Augusta recipient. She also won the Waitman Barbe Contest for poetry and, after she completed her BA, took grad workshop with both Jim Harms and me before moving on to OSU.

This honor for one of our grads is especially meaningful now as many of us head to AWP this weekend in DC to hobnob (oh yeah) and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MFA program—and, clearly, the success of our former undergrad creative writers too.

On a personal note and by way of anecdotal evidence of just how terrific Ida is, I have to say, too, that she was a well above average cat-sitter and my pretty-famous Key Lime pie is, I admit, from her recipe.

So thank you, Ida, and congratulations! This piece of pie, with its rather fancy whipped cream topping and jaunty lime, is just for you.