Friday, March 25, 2011

The Archive: Original Victorian Source for The Wire Discovered

Illustration for the original version of The Wire by Baxter "Bubz" Black
In a triumph of scholarly research, Sean Michael Robinson has discovered the original source for the acclaimed television series The Wire, which turns out to be a long serially published novel of the same name by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden, a contemporary of Dickens. Please recalibrate your literary influence charts accordingly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summer Jobs: Graduate Assistant Position in ECAS Advising Office

Just in case you don't want to spend another summer working at McDonalds and then locking yourself in your bedroom and playing your Justin Bieber records over and over while you contemplate how your parents simply do not understand you. Keep in mind, though, that, at this job, I don't think they'll let you wear flip-flops to work.

The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office will be hiring a graduate assistant for summer 2011 (May 16 to August 12, average 20 hours per week).


Assist with New Student Orientation (June 1-24, must be available 11-3 Monday through Friday during this period):

• Organize files and information for advisers of incoming students with selected majors and pre-majors in Arts and Sciences

• Assist advisers during advising sessions with incoming students

• Provide advising for incoming students with a variety of majors and pre-majors

• Present information about advising and curriculum to groups of parents and incoming students

Assist with record keeping and other tasks in the Advising Office (dates and hours to be arranged):

• Assist with updating DegreeWorks and BANNER records for current students

• Assist with checking students for August graduation

• Help update recruiting materials for the College

• Other organizational and clerical tasks


• Enrolled at WVU in a graduate program 2010-11. Minimum GPA 3.0.

• Excellent organizational skills

• Excellent group presentation skills

• Excellent interpersonal interaction skills

• Ability to work effectively both independently and with supervision

• Ability to maintain confidentiality of student records

• Familiarity with Excel, Word, and e-mail, and ability to easily learn other computer applications

• Preference given to applicants with prior advising or undergraduate teaching experience

Application process:

• Submit a cover letter describing your qualifications, your resume, and contact information for two faculty members who are willing to discuss your qualifications for the position.

• Send information to Katherine Karraker, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies, at .

• Applicant reviews will begin on April 18, 2011. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Thought Before Spring Break

Yes, yes it does. And thanks to Tori Dobbs, a student in English 213, Poetry Workshop, for reminding us.

Outstanding GTA Teaching Awards Announced

Congratulations are in order for Teresa Pershing and Courtney Novosat.

Teresa Pershing will receive the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding GTA Award for 2011.

Courtney Novosat will receive the Department of English Exemplary Teaching Award for 2011.

Both awards recognize not only superb teaching but also excellence as a scholar and a community member.

Teresa and Courtney will both be honored at the Department Awards Lunch on April 20th, and Teresa's achievement will also be recognized at the ECAS Brunch on April 16th.*

*News You Can Use: This means that both of them can probably score you some Flying WV cookies if you ask them nicely.

Jobs: Senior Lecturer Position in the Center for Women's Studies

The West Virginia University Center for Women’s Studies invites applications for a Senior Lecturer with responsibility for teaching core women’s and gender studies courses, both on-campus and online. The full-time and benefits eligible position, with primary responsibility in instruction, will begin August 2011. This is a nine-month appointment renewable on an annualized basis with potential for additional summer support.

Preference will be given to candidates with excellent teaching skills, ability to develop and teach online courses, and willingness to contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies. A Master’s or Doctoral degree in a field related to Women’s and Gender Studies, or in Education with a significant Women’s Studies background, is required.

The anticipated teaching assignment will be four courses, or the equivalent, per semester during the academic year. The candidate will also be responsible for developing and teaching an online course. There may be additional opportunities for summer teaching, dependent on program needs.

We will begin reviewing applications April 15, 2011, and will accept applications until the position is filled. West Virginia University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and the recipient of an NSF ADVANCE award for gender equity.

Applicants should send a letter of application, teaching statement, C.V., and contact information for at least three references to Dr. Ann M. Oberhauser, Director, Center for Women’s Studies, 218 Eiesland Hall, WVU, Morgantown, WV 26506-6211,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CFP: disClosure: a Journal of Social Theory, Issue 21: Self/Story

CFP: disClosure: a Journal of Social Theory, Issue 21: Self/Story


The editorial collective of disClosure seeks submissions that explore SELF, STORY AND LIFE NARRATIVE as they are understood in a variety of areas and disciplines. Possible topics might include:

* Self Portraiture *Personality *Memoir/Autobiography

* Life Worlds and Spatiality *Duplicity/Performance *Race, Class, Gender and Self

* Avatars *Memory and Recollection *Agency*Voyeurism, Audience, and Consumption *Issues of Genre

*Intersubjectivity *Coded Data and Self Stories *Identity *Authenticity and Self

*Nationhood and Subjectivity *Pedagogical Personas*Disambiguation and Self

disClosure is a blind refereed journal produced in conjunction with the Committee on Social Theory at the University of Kentucky. We welcome submissions from all theoretical perspectives and genres (scholarly articles, interviews, reviews, short fiction, poetry, artwork) and from authors and artists (academically affiliated or not) concerned with social theory.


Scholarly Articles, Essays, Poetry, and Fiction: Please submit electronically in Word format to Submissions should be double-spaced with no more than 10,000 words. Manuscripts, notes, and bibliographies should follow Chicago format, where applicable.

Book Reviews: Please submit electronically in Word format to These should be approximately 1,000 words and should review works published no earlier than 2009.

Art and other graphic materials: Artists should submit digital or camera-ready material. Electronic submissions should be accompanied by a hard copy. Art cannot be returned, so do not send originals. Do not submit material that has been half-toned for publication (e.g., pictures in books or catalogues). All art will be published in B&W, so please submit accordingly.

**Authors are responsible for securing copyright and fair-use notices and must submit them prior to disClosure publication. All material accepted by disclosure for publication becomes property of the journal. disClosure is not responsible for loss or damage resulting from submission.
Inquiries and Submissions:

Eir-Anne Edgar and Tim Vatovec

Art and Other Graphic Materials:
C/O Naomi Norasak/Eir-Anne Edgar/Tim Vatovec
1613 Patterson Office Tower
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0027

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Graduate Student Colloquium a Success

On Saturday the English Graduate Organization (EGO) held its annual Colloquium. Saturday's panels offered sessions by graduate students from WVU, Pitt, and IUP. Panels covered a wide range of topics investigating literature and pedagogy, with creative readings from WVU MFA students as well.

Students and faculty enjoyed post-Colloquium refreshments on the Mountainlair terrace.

The day concluded with an excellent keynote lecture by Dr. Terry Myers Zawacki from George Mason University. Her presentation was entitled "Researching the Local/Writing the International: Developing Culturally Inclusive Writing Pedagogies."

Special thanks to Kate Ridinger Smorul, Doug Terry, and Josh Johnson for working so hard to organize the day's events.

Additional thanks to Dr. Laura Brady for her many contributions.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Colloquium Keynote moved to Saturday

The Graduate Student Colloquium keynote address by Terry Zawacki has been moved to Saturday, March 12th at 5:30pm in the Rhododendron room of the Mountainlair. Panels will run from 10-5 on Saturday, followed by refreshments at 5, and Dr. Zawacki's address at 5:30. Graduate students, staff, and faculty are all welcome to attend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Preparing Future Faculty Workshop

Preparing Future Faculty Workshop
May 10-11, 2011

This 2-day workshop will prepare advanced graduate students for all the phases of the academic job search and the transition into faculty positions.

The following sessions will be offered:

· The faculty job search from application to interview
· Preparing application materials
· How to interview over dinner: an etiquette luncheon
· Faculty responsibilities at different institutions
· Understanding university power structures
· Negotiating job offers
· Preparing your promotion and tenure package
· Achieving work/life balance

Time: May 10-11, 2011, 8:30-3:30
Place: Rhododendron Room, the Mountainlair

How to apply:

Because of limited seating for this event, a brief application is required. See our website for details:

The application deadline is April 1, 2011.

Jenny Douglas, Ph.D.
Program Director for Professional Development
Office of Graduate Education and Life

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 Writing Contests

Jon Scott Nelson Freshmen Creative Writing Contest
This contest is open to all WVU freshmen. Prizes are awarded for first ($100), second ($75), and third place ($50). Creative writing only. Please submit one entry in either fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry (a poetry entry should be 3-5 poems; a prose entry no more than 20 pages).

Jon Scott Nelson First-Year Writing Award
All students enrolled in English 101 (or English 103) during either the Fall 2010 or Spring 2011 semesters are eligible with up to three prizes awarded annually ($75 each). Please submit one essay written in an English 101 (or 103) class.

Jon Scott Nelson Professional Writing and Editing Award
This contest is open to all students enrolled in PWE courses. All essays must have been written for English 301, 302, 303, 304, and/or 305 for the 2010-11 academic year. Up to three prizes will be awarded (up to $75 each). An entry should be no more than 10 pages but may include more than one piece of professional writing. Funding for this contest comes from the James Paul Brawner Expository Writing Fund.

Waitman Barbe Creative Writing Contest
This contest is separated into three divisions (fiction, poetry, and non-fiction) and is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors only. One prize ($75) and one honorable mention ($25) are awarded in each division. Please submit one entry in either fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry (a poetry entry should be 3-5 poems; a prose entry no more than 20 pages). This contest is funded by the James Paul Brawner Endowed Writing Award Fund.

James Paul Brawner Expository Writing Contest
This contest is separated into three divisions—English 102, undergraduate writing (including English 103 and all WVU classes), and graduate writing from any course at WVU. First ($100), second ($75), and third ($25) place awards are normally awarded for each division. Please submit one example of expository writing from any class taken at WVU during 2010-11. Students may not submit more than one entry per division.

Russ MacDonald Graduate Creative Writing Contest
This is the only creative writing contest solely for WVU graduate students. Generally, three prizes are awarded annually ($75 each). Please submit one entry in either fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry (a poetry entry should be 3-5 poems; a prose entry no more than 25 pages). This contest is funded by the James Paul Brawner Endowed Writing Award Fund.

Appalachian Writing Award
This contest is open to all undergraduate students at WVU who grew up in Appalachia, which includes all of West Virgina, and whose work is set in Appalachia. The student will receive a scholarship ($350 value) to the West Virginia Writers' Workshop, which features writers of national reputation and will be held July 21 to July 24 in Morgantown. Submit one story or essay (up to 25 pages) or five poems. This contest is funded by writer Dwight Harshbarger.

Deadline for all contests:
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. in 100 Colson Hall

All submissions must have been written for classes at WVU; doctoral dissertations and MA theses not eligible. Students' names should be omitted from the entries. Attach a 3 x 5 card to the entry which lists: name, local address, email address, local telephone number, class rank (fr, soph, etc.), 700 number, title of entry, and name of contest entering (be sure to specify which division within the contest if applicable), and instructor/class for whom the paper was written. Students’ entries will be disqualified if information is missing from notecard. Winners will be notified by April 15 and will be invited to the Department’s annual Awards Luncheon held on Wednesday, April 20. Any WVU student is eligible for these contests; however, the student’s entry must have been written while the student was enrolled at WVU. Students may not submit the same entry for more than one contest or more than one entry per contest. For more information, email Marsha Bissett at

No entries submitted after the deadline will be accepted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Annual Graduate Student Colloquium

Friday, March 11, 2011

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Terry Myers Zawacki

(George Mason University)

“Researching the Local/Writing the International:

Developing Culturally Inclusive Writing Pedagogies”

7:00 PM

Colson 130

Terry Myers Zawacki directs George Mason University’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program, named as one of the top twenty programs in the U.S. and co-chairs the cross-university Writing Assessment Group charged with overseeing a state-mandated assessment of students’ writing competence across disciplines. Until stepping down this year, she also directed the University Writing Center.

As an associate professor in English, she regularly teaches courses in writing ethnography, advanced writing for the social sciences, first year composition, and graduate courses in composition theory and the teaching of composition. She also developed a peer tutoring in writing in the disciplines course and a writing fellows program, which she continues to oversee. Her publications include Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life, co-authored with Chris Thaiss, along with articles on writing centers and writing fellows, writing in the disciplines (WID), alternative discourses, writing in learning communities, feminism and composition, and writing assessment. Her current research interests focus on WAC/WID programs and writing instruction transnationally, global Englishes, and what WAC programs and writing centers need to learn from second language scholarship and practice to work effectively with multi-lingual writers. The latter was the focus of her keynote address at the 2010 Writing Across the Curriculum conference.

Prof. Zawacki is on the Consultants Board of the International WAC Network and a section editor for the Writing Fellows pages of the WAC Clearinghouse. She also serves on the editorial board of Across the Disciplines: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Academic Writing and is on the Publications Review Board for the Digital Books series on the WAC Clearinghouse. In addition, she is the WID specialist for the Diana Hacker series of handbooks published by Bedford/St. Martin’s, among these A Writer’s Reference and The Bedford Handbook.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yesterday's Department Reunion

... well, if you weren't visiting us yesterday in Colson Hall, you missed Your English Department Faculty presenting some of their research and programs and outreach activities and puppets.

Yes, puppets.

But you'll have to wait for that.

First, here are Rosemary Hathaway and Gwen Bergner looking like girlhood chums and discussing Rosemary's homemade poster for this year's Summer Seminar, which will focus on "American Magic: The Fates of Folk and Fairy Tales in the Appalachians."

Katy Ryan and son Vincent sat nearby, at the Appalachian Prison Book Project table, but Katy declined to have her picture taken, already fed up, no doubt, with fame (did you hear her on WV public radio recently?) and Vincent was, well, too busy jumping and falling down the stairs. But hi to them and keep up the good work and the jumping.

Among faculty lurking in the basement—I mean, ground floor—of Colson was Brian Ballentine, pictured here with his hot-off-the-presses Professional Writing and Editing poster.

The very photogenic-though-she-doesn't-think-so Laura Brady was also on hand, but scooted out as soon as I began taking pictures...

Back upstairs, I happened upon Gwen Bergner once again—this time with "favorite alum" David Foreman. TCH is still waiting for details on that favored status, but for now this picture, which seems to prove the point.

... while just down the hall, Cari Carpenter and students Casie Fox and Daniel Summers discussed their recent trip to Bolivia.

And, yes, there were puppets. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, to be exact, as, uh, played with here by Ryan Claycomb who leads the London Theatre Tour and who was more than happy to demonstrate just how Anne's beheading happens courtesy of Henry and then—ta da!—how her head resumes its rightful place atop her shoulders. Lovely.

So, yes, you missed a lot... and this truly is just a portion of what happened. Maybe you better put a big red circle around all the Saturdays in March 2012, just in case, and be sure to visit us next year. You don't want to miss out, do you?

And thanks to everyone, especially Rudy Almasy and his committee, Donald Hall, and Bill French, for working so hard to make this first annual event happen. And, most of all, thanks to our alumni and former faculty who stopped by and oohed and aahed just as we had hoped.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

Oh, Tenants! You know how it is: midterms and job candidates and receptions and conferences hither and yon and grad applications and snowy days and sunny days and the blooming of the pussy willow. But you've not been forgotten. Not one bit and here, now, is a little update on, well, everything.


First things first, today is the day of our Very Special March 5 Event. What?, you say. Yep, today is our not-exactly-a-reunion-but-kind-of when we get a chance to show off the department and all the neato stuff we're up to and then listen to former prof Bill French as he explains everything we need to know about Julius Caesar, the play not the guy, or the play and the guy, but definitely the play, which the CAC is performing this very evening.

So why not come to Colson Hall and hang out with us this afternoon? You know you want to.


In fact, people like hanging out with us so much, that a bunch of creative writing alumni and friends of the program joined us in DC in February for part one of our 10th anniversary celebration of the MFA program.

And guess what? We got to meet Mark Brazaitis' mom and see the house where he grew up! Yes! Fascinating! Mark's mom even told me a couple of stories about The Young Mark Brazaitis (kind of like Young Abe Lincoln or Young Thomas Edison... I'm thinkin' there could be a movie), but those are Top Secret, so you'll have to talk to me privately if you want to know any more.

Anyway, it was quite a party with lots of food (thanks, Mom!) and heartfelt testimonials by current and former MFAs and an appearance by the one and only Gail Adams. Isn't she the best? We certainly think so.


And speaking of creative writing, last night was the COW reading at Zenclay... and the turnout was truly impressive, as was the writing, of course. There were also some, um, interesting raffle prizes, as described on the blog a few days ago... and some, um, interesting introductions by emcee Alex Berge and shadow-emcee Aaron Rote. I'd go into detail... but I just can't. You pretty much had to be there.


Just like you'll want to be at this Monday night's Sturm reading featuring nonfiction writer Randall Kenan. Time and place: 7:30 p.m. in the Gold Ballroom. Will there be any of those cute like WV cookies? Oh, come on now, you know the answer to that!


Ok, finally, a picture of actual catkins, not from the pussy willow tree in my yard—couldn't get a good pic of that—but from a smaller version alongside the house. I'm assuming, based on what a neighbor told me, that former resident Wincie Carruth deserves the credit for today's catkins. According to said neighbor, who, by the way, walks the most darling little dogs—a Westie and a Scottie (who, again by the way, is nearly blind and so sometimes rides in a buggy of sorts... just to feel a little breeze in his fur...), Wincie was known for her roses and general green thumb and so maybe I could work on that this summer? All of South Park would be appreciative, especially if I could resurrect that yellow rose... that one really was so striking.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The past few days, when the Tenants have been able to look up from their grading, they've seen brilliant sunshine outside and a subtle change in the quality of the light that suggests that something's up.

For Mary Ann, the first sign of spring is that the catkins have bloomed on her pussy willow tree.  

For Dennis, the first sign of spring was the receipt, on Monday, of the first piece of seasonally-themed junk mail (Sherwin Williams is having a sale to help you with your "spring painting").

It shouldn't be too long, the Tenants think, before the undergrads start driving around town with the windows down and the subwoofers throbbing (so priketh hem nature in hir corages).