Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 Writing Contests

Department of English 2015 Writing Contests

Jon Scott Nelson Freshmen Creative Writing Contest
This contest is open to all WVU freshmen. Prizes are awarded for first ($75), second ($50), and third place ($25). Creative writing only. Please submit one entry in 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 2014 or Spring 2015 semesters are eligible with up to three prizes awarded annually ($50 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 2014-15 academic year. Up to three prizes will be awarded (up to $50 each). An entry should be no more than 10 pages but may include more than one piece of professional writing.

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 ($50) are awarded in each division. Please submit one entry in 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 ($75), second ($50), 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 the 2014-15 academic year. 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 ($50 each). Please submit one entry in 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 Virginia, 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 16 to July 19 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 13, 2015 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 cover sheet to the entry which lists: name, local address, email address, local telephone number, class rank (fr, soph, etc.), student ID, 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 cover sheet. Winners will be notified by April 13 and will be invited to the Department’s annual Awards Luncheon held on Wednesday, April 15. 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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Job News: Associate Professor/Chair of Humanities position at University of Pittsburgh--Johnstown

Associate Professor, English Literature, and Chair of Humanities

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown seeks to hire a Chair of the Humanities Division, who can also teach within the English Department in the fields of world drama and Shakespeare, with a secondary interest in digital humanities.  This 12-month position begins August 1, 2015, and requires a Ph.D. in English or related field. 

With an established record of excellent teaching and scholarly publications, the successful candidate will be eligible for tenure at Pitt-Johnstown. This candidate should have at least five years of experience at the rank of associate professor, seven preferred. In addition, the successful candidate should have administrative experience that includes supervising and evaluating faculty; developing and assessing curriculum; managing a budget; and active recruiting of new students.

The Humanities Division Chair coordinates the curriculum and activities of nine departments with majors in Communication, English Literature, English Writing, Journalism, and Theatre Arts and additional minors in Art History, Music, Philosophy, and Foreign Language (Spanish and French), and must mentor and evaluate 23 full-time faculty and 29 part-time faculty.  The Chair is also responsible for the freshman composition program as well as the ESL program.

In addition to administrative duties, the successful candidate will teach six credits per semester in courses such as Dramatic Imagination and Introduction to Shakespeare, with possible teaching of a digital humanities course. 

The position includes benefits and a competitive salary.  For full consideration, send letter of application, CV, teaching philosophy, evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., relevant syllabi and student evaluations), all transcripts, and three letters of reference directly from the source or placement office to Dr. Patty S. Derrick, English Literature Search Committee, Biddle Hall 234, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Johnstown, PA 15904.  Electronic submissions can be sent to Review of applications will begin on January 30, 2015, and continue until the position is filled; to receive full consideration, all materials should be received by the initial review date.  Only completed applications will be advanced in consideration.

Pitt-Johnstown is a comprehensive four-year undergraduate campus of the University of Pittsburgh System, located 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh on a beautiful 650-acre wooded site in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.  The college community includes roughly 3,000 undergraduate students and 150 full-time faculty distributed through six academic divisions:  Education, Engineering Technology, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Social Sciences.  Each division offers four-year baccalaureate programs.  The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and diversity.

Bhushan Aryal, ABD

The Tenants were very glad to get the following news from Tim Sweet:

"Please join in congratulating Bhushan Aryal, who passed his candidacy exam today. The examining committee included Laura Brady, Catherine Gouge, Tom Sura, Tim Sweet, and our former colleague Scott Wible."

Congratulations to Bhushan on passing this important milestone in his doctoral work!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ryan Fletcher, ABD

Either Ryan just before the oral or a late 20th-century animal representation
It's definitely ABD season, and the Tenants are pleased to be able to congratulate Ryan Fletcher for successfully passing the Qualifying Exam for Doctoral Candidacy. Ryan's dissertation project will focus on sensuous animal representations in American literature from the mid 19th century into the early 20th century.

Rumor has it that the wide-ranging oral examination included discussions of the tastes and smells of a sperm whale's bodily fluids, the sensory lives of sled dogs, and the gender politics of feline representation between Ryan and his committee: Tim Sweet (Chair), Lara Farina, Lowell Duckert, Cari Carpenter, and Karl Steel (Brooklyn College).

Maria Barron, ABD

Maria, who is ABD, and her horse, who is not, possibly taken at her country house.
The Tenants were very pleased to get the following news from John Lamb this week:

"Congratulations to Maria Barron who passed her candidacy exams yesterday [Wednesday]. In preparation for the new season of Downtown Abbey, Maria regaled Profs Bergner, Claycomb, Hodge (from History), Weihman and yours truly with the history and myth of the English country house. Bravo Maria!"

Congratulations to Maria!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

CFP: WV Undergraduate Literary Symposium

Call for Papers 

Twenty-Third Annual

West Virginia Literary Symposium

for Undergraduate Students

Fairmont State University

Fairmont, West Virginia 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

 Sponsored by the

School of Language and Literature

College of Liberal Arts of Fairmont State University

Analytical, theoretical, or interpretative studies of literary or dramatic works, films, or popular culture are invited for this annual literary symposium.  Presentations must be in English, though the works studied may be in any language. The top three presentations will earn cash prizes.  Completed papers should be appropriate for a 15-minute presentation and, therefore, should not exceed 8-10 double-spaced, typed pages (the selection committee will not read any submission beyond the tenth page).  One submission per person,  please.  Only papers written during the 2014 calendar year are eligible.  Electronic submissions are preferred.  Note:  Papers must be formatted either in Word or .rtf. 

Attach completed paper along with your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address, AV requirements (ie computer projection, DVD player and TV, etc) and send to Dr Angela Schwer (

Papers must be submitted no later than midnight, Friday, December 19, 2014.  Students will be notified of their status by Friday, January 30, 2015.  For more information, call  (304)367-4723 or e-mail

Graduate Assistant Position for Spring Semester: Undergraduate Studies Office

ECAS Undergraduate Studies Office
Spring Semester 2015

 Nature of Program: The ECAS Undergraduate Studies Office serves all the undergraduate students who have a major in the College.  We keep records for over 4000 students, check their credentials for graduation and certify them for graduation.

Position Responsibilities:  The GA position requires answering the phone, keeping calendars, serving as the initial point of contact in the office, and scheduling meetings.  The successful candidate will also help maintain over 2,500 digital files and supporting documents, of undergraduate students in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and assist with entering Degree Works exceptions and notes regarding student graduation.

The assignment requires 20 hours of work per week in the ECAS Undergraduate Studies Office during regular office hours. The Graduate Assistant will work from 10:00AM to 3:30PM though specific times are flexible to accommodate the GA’s classroom schedule as well as the needs of the office. 


·  Enrolled at WVU in a full-time ECAS graduate program for the spring 2015; if no suitable ECAS candidate is found, applicants outside the college will be considered.

·  Due to the sensitive nature of working with confidential materials, and the importance of keeping accurate records, the successful applicant must be very dependable.

·  Ability to perform meticulous review of materials, to pay close attention to details regarding students’ records.

·  Excellent communication skills, in particular when working with students and faculty.

·  Ability to work effectively both independently and with supervision

·  Familiarity with Degree Works would be preferred

 Stipend: $6,200 for 4.5 months plus tuition waiver and basic health insurance. Starting date: Jan 12, 2015 through May 15, 2015.

Application: Please submit a résumé and cover letter addressing: 1) the requirements mentioned above, 2) your graduate program and 3) availability schedule, either by email or in person to Tara Robbins (, 221 Armstrong Hall. Phone: 304-293-7476. Screening of applications starts now, and will continue until a suitable candidate is found.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas with Veronica Mars

We haven't yet made the undergraduates go up to the attic to bring down the decorations, but, as Thanksgiving Break starts, the Tenants are in a holiday mood and have already selected this year's official Christmas theme song. Fortunately, the graduate students explained the lyrics to us.

Undergraduate PWE capstone students showcase their internship work

On Thursday the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program hosted the biannual PWE Poster Exhibition. PWE concentrators are required to complete a capstone internship  in professional or technical communication, and their posters are an opportunity for them to showcase their work for the university community. This fall, four students shared posters at the event: Nicole Atkinson, Tyler Hower, Liz Smith and Megan Sweeney.

The prize for best poster went to Tyler Hower, who interned with WVU Dining Services as a PR assistant and showcased work she did on promotional material, web content, and a training guide.

Liz Smith shared the “behind-the-scenes” world of HTML coding and editing for epubs at the Center for Literary Computing (CLC).

Megan Sweeney gave us a glimpse into the world of a newspaper editor at The Dominion Post, including when to break the rules of style.

Nicole Atkinson shared the cycle of an interview from research and preparation to multimedia artifacts for print, web, and video.

Thank you to everyone who supported these talented English majors by attending the poster exhibit, including the PWE graduate students (Alex Ries, Rachael Kelley, and Celeste Lantz) who performed the difficult task of evaluating and narrowing down the top poster presenter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Professional Writing and Editing Poster Exhibit! Thursday, Nov. 20

Want to learn more about what a newspaper copyeditor does? Or to compare editing in a news environment to editing at the Center for Literary Computing? Want to hear about the interview process and marketing skills one intern practiced at the WVU Alumni Association? Have you been drawn to Evansdale Dining Services lately? It might have been the lure of one PWE capstone student’s work as a PR assistant.

Fall Professional Writing & Editing capstone students are ready to share their internship experiences with you. Come to the PWE Poster Exhibit in Colson 130 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, to see and hear about what Megan Sweeney, Liz Smith, Nicole Atkinson and Tyler Hower accomplished this term. The interns will be present between 4-5 p.m. to field your questions while you munch on Flying WV cookies.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Amanda Bailey, ABD

The new "You're ABD!" graphic.
It's officially ABD Week in Colson Hall. Here's the latest news from Ryan Claycomb:

"It is a whole good news season, as Amanda Bailey also passed her exams with aplomb, thinking through notions of readership through sensory, cognitive, and sociolinguistic theories with Lara Farina, Kirk Hazen, Lisa Weihman, and Vera Tobin from Case Western.  Congrats to Amanda!"

The Tenants are pleased to add their congratulations.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Valerie Surrett, ABD

This just in from Katy Ryan:

"I am delighted to announce that Valerie Surrett passed her booklist exam with grace and humor. Now able to tell the difference between utopias, eutopias, dystopias, critical dystopias, and anti-utopias are committee members Gwen Bergner, Michael Germana, Rosemary Hathaway, Lisa Yaszek (outside), and me. 

Congratulations on a fantastic exam, Valerie!"

The Tenants add their congratulations and confirm that the swaddling team will be at Valerie's door within the hour.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sharon Kelly, ABD

Today was the oral portion of Sharon Kelly's booklist exam, and the conversation between Sharon and her committee (Ryan Claycomb, Brian Jara from Women's and Gender Studies, John Lamb, Lisa Weihman, and yours truly as Chair) covered both the spiritual and material aspects of life in Victorian London, from table-turning to green carnations.

Throughout, Sharon responded to the barrage of questions with aplomb and good humor. As a result, the Tenants are very happy to be able to congratulate Sharon on passing her Qualifying Exam for Doctoral Candidacy, which officially makes her ABD. If you check a Victorian etiquette book, the appropriate gift for this is paper.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Phillip Zapkin, ABD

After a very pleasant and intellectually stimulating conversation that ranged from Aristotle to By the Bog of Cats, including a detour onto Janet Yellen, Phil Zapkin's committee--chaired by Ryan Claycomb and composed of Katy Ryan, Lisa Weihman, Emily Klein of St. Mary's, and yours truly--quickly concluded that Phil was more than ready to begin writing his dissertation and unanimously agreed that he had passed his Qualifying Examination for Doctoral Candidacy.

In other words, while you cannot yet call Mr. Zapkin "Dr. Phil," it's only a matter of time. In the interim, he might answer to "ABD Phil."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Appalachian Prison Book Project Book Sale/Bake Sale This Wednesday in Colson Hall.

Hi Everyone! If you are in Colson Hall on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 between 9AM and 4PM, you should stop by the Appalachian Prison Book Project's Annual Book Sale/Bake Sale.  (And before you fortify yourself with tasty treats AND knowledge, be sure to check out the APBP on Twitter and on Facebook.)

In other awesome news: every Saturday during the Spring and Fall Academic Semesters, the APBP runs open training hours from 10AM-1PM in our workspace at the Garlow House on Spruce Street.  If you want to be trained by a certified APBP trainer in how to respond to letters, select, and wrap books, now's your chance.  We look forward to seeing you there.

October 22, 2014
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Colson Hall, Room 130
In support of the
Appalachian Prison Book Project
Please join us for a Book Sale and Bake Sale in support of APBP. We are currently raising funds to support some important purchases for our organization, including new shelving, a printer, a table banner for our events, other special interest books, and as always, postage for mailing out books.

APBP is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to sending free books to women and men incarcerated throughout the Appalachian region.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Youngest Tenant, October 2014 Edition

The Tenants are pleased to welcome Henry Mark Sardone-Jones, who is apparently related to Professor John Jones and who joined us in Colson Hall on October 2nd.

At 7 lbs, 13 oz., Henry is also currently the smallest tenant. The trophy for this has been placed next to his crib in the nursery in the East Wing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kittens on Theory

This is what the Internet is for, says Professor Allen, so I present my kitten, Myrna Loy, reading The Critical Tradition.

Then, in a reversal many of us have known, seemingly being swallowed by it.

And finally, poor thing, simply succumbing, as is bound to happen.

When I tired to cheer her up by reading aloud from Horace's Ars Poetica, her comment was to align herself with Mother Goose.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tenants, have you heard...?

Hello Kitty is not a cat.

I repeat the blasphemy: Hello Kitty is not a cat.

I know: what?!

I too am upset.

The ever-alert Rosemary Hathaway broke the "shocking" news to me this morning, first thing, at 7:37, via text.

Then savvy newcomer Julia Daniel sent me another link this afternoon ("Saw this and thought of you").

Quite frankly, I do not believe it. Kitty has whiskers! I mean, aren't those whiskers??

And, no offense to little girls, but I would NEVER carry a lunch box with a picture of a little girl on it. Just sayin'.

I suppose all you lit. crit. types can continue to analyze Kitty as a text. Hardly matters if she's a cat or a girl. But it isn't as interesting, is it?

So what if Hello Kitty has a cat of her own (Charmmy Kitty)? What does that prove? It's not uncommon for one cat to have another (less powerful) cat as an assistant/apprentice.

Oh, and, turns out, she can play the piano, fyi. But, again, so what? Lots of cats can play the piano as well as a little girl can (or most adults).

I'll close by saying that, just by coincidence, I'm eating a Hello Kitty sugar cookie (thank you, Amanda Tustin!) that most definitely looks like the face of a cat, as any little girl would tell you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Postcards from the Interns

Our Humanities Summer Interns, Kayla McKinney and Allyson DeMaagd, have been hard at work collecting images for Julia Daniel's new book on landscape and modern American poetry. Here are some postcards from their more exotic locations. Who knew archival research could be so adventuresome?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dispatches from the 2014 West Virginia Writers' Workshop: Day 4

After four days of readings, writings, workshops, book launches, visits from campus dignitaries, and what turned in to over 200 live-tweets, the 2014 West Virginia Writer’s Workshop ended yesterday at noon, in Colson Hall.  

The last day’s event was a Panel on Publishing (one of the most popular events from the 2013 Writer’s Workshop last year, actually).  The lovely ladies from PageSpring, Lynn and Katherine came, as well as the fantastic poet, Renee Nicholson, (fresh from her Friday book-release of the book, Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center) our insanely prolific department chair, Jim Harms and the publishing power-couple, Allison Joseph and Jon Tribble, who match their exemplary poetry with tireless work for the Crab Orchard Review, and the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry.  

Mark Brazaitis moderated the panel, and fielded excellent questions from the audience, such as

-I am a new writer.  Where should I start sending my work to?
-How do you organize a chapbook manuscript, or any manuscript for a book of poems?
-How do you deal with rejection as a professional author?

As you can imagine, everyone on the panel really brought their A-game.  For the answers they gave to these and other questions, take a look at my live-tweeting of the event, at:

Our writers and participants bid their sweet adieus after that, and we were left to reflect on the excellent weekend.  

Natalie counted out our Shann Palmer Memorial Scholarship Fund, and we realized that because of the generosity of the participants this weekend, we have an actual scholarship in place! Thank you to everyone who donated.  We know Shann would have been so delighted by our fundraiser.  I was walking around with my envelope, and lottery tickets on Saturday at the open mic, and everyone wanted to add something, and talk about Shann.  It was really wonderful. I will post details regarding the scholarship to our social media account in the coming months, so please stay tuned.  

You must forgive me for the late-ness of this post. I am back to my work-a-day routine, and while I will be posting to the workshop Twitter account regularly, there won’t be any more live-tweeting for a while.  More importantly though, I have been voyaging into the dark forest of Facebook for the first time in a couple of years, to set up an official Page for our Workshop.  While it is still very much a work in progress, you can find us (and please like us) here:

I expect to be posting to that page pretty regularly, and you can too, of course, because Facebook is a supernatural entity or something like that.  

Of course I must extend Mark’s thank yous to everyone who made this workshop possible, including all of you here in the English department and in the College of Arts and Sciences at large, who assisted our participants, attended (or read at) our readings, made everyone feel at home in Morgantown and at WVU, and generally gave us all a writing-weekend to remember.  Next year promises to be another great series of workshop events, so tune in to Facebook, Twitter, and this Blog to hear all about it, as the third week of July 2015 rolls around.  

Also, thank you dear reader(s), for reading my posts and reports on all of the happenings, and letting me be that obnoxious person with the camera, and the open laptop for four days straight.  


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dispatches from the 2014 West Virginia Writers' Workshop: Day 3

By now, all of the writers and participants at the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop have really gotten in to the groove here in Morgantown, and are used to insightful craft talks, brilliant readings of poetry and prose, and generally a fantastic writing community.  Today was no exception.  Our writers had a chance to read and share their work, as well as hear wonderful speakers describe what’s at stake in their writing, and how those issues affect us all.

We started off bright and early at 9AM, with the winningly charming Katherine Matthews of PageSpring Publishing giving us a crash-course on reading your own work, with a craft talk titled, “Reading Out Loud: Performing in Front of an Audience.” Katherine was able to pull on the talents of our excellent workshop participants to get suggestions for what defines a “good” reader, before people paired up, practiced, and reported back. After such a great craft talk, I bet everyone felt even more ready for the two special readings offered today and tonight. As Katherine said, if you are a writer, you are inevitably going to be called upon to read your work, at one time or another. Be prepared!

Following our coffee-break, Renee Nicholson offered a craft talk titled, “Literary Citizenship” on how to participate in the world of the arts.  She was able to talk about her own work with the arts, including book reviews, attending conferences, and subscribing to literary journals. A workaholic like Renee always has her irons in many different fires, so she was definitely the best person to talk to, regarding how to spread out your talents over many artistic modes, in order to better your career as a writer, as well as get the most satisfaction and fulfillment of the things that we as writers already enjoy.  Our open discussion veered into practical issues of non-profit organizations, sustained attendance at local writing and artistic events, tax forms (and I am still traumatized by those, thanks to working on the Appalachian Prison Book Project’s recently bestowed 501(c)3 status) Renee’s golden retriever (her name is Gelsey), co-authorship, memoirs, volunteering, and a really special chance to reflect on the power of narrative medicine, which is currently one of Renee’s projects. What was so special was hearing Renee’s description of how reading and writing transforms you if you let it. She’s the kind of literary citizen that we all need in our community! Everyone really resonated with Renee’s talk, and we were discussing it for pretty much the rest of the day.  

During our lunch, the high school workshop had their reading, showing what they had worked on all weekend, including practicing their skills at writing introductions for each other. I wrote introductions for Renee and Natalie last year, and I know that any writer/colleague can relate to the challenge, of offering succinct homage not only to a writer, but to their writing. It was a great reading (though I am not including pictures from this event because we were hearing from minors) showcasing some great rising talent from young writers in West Virginia, and I think Natalie should be proud of everything that her student writers accomplished, and accomplish every year at this workshop.  

Following our high school readers, every participant was invited to a reading by Marie Manilla and our department chair, Jim Harms. Marie read from her book, The Patron Saint of Ugly which tells the story of Garnet Ferrari, a girl with port wine stains on all over her body that look like the map of the world.  In a vibrant reading from early in the book, Marie shared a collection of anecdotal love stories that traverse the Atlantic ocean, from Calabria, Italy to West Virginia, as she introduced one of the organizing questions of her novel - what makes us saints, and what makes us sinners? (I was grinning from ear to ear during the reading, since it resonated so profoundly with my own experiences coming from a large Italian family.)  Marie has written in a language that I literally understand, but her novel also speaks to the universal strength of the familial voices that overpower our inner monologues, and what can happen to you when you let someone speak for you, and rob you of your own voice.

I don’t need to tell you that our esteemed and erudite chair of the English Department, the epic poet Jim Harms gave us an amazing reading, do I? Because he did.  It was amazing.  There were stories about his lovely family, and werewolves (and according to Jim there is a large population of werewolves here in West Virginia), and Jim was also impressed with the board that Renee had filled with all of her literary citizenship options, and that no one had erased yet. (As you can see Renee’s talk really set the tone for the day.)

We had a short break after our readings, and then off to the last workshop of the day, before the Open Mic. Night.  I had the privilege of sitting in with Renee on Natalie’s High School Workshop, where Renee talked about poetic line breaks, and we all talked about character naming and metaphors.  After that, I did a (pretty shameless) bit of plugging for the English Department.  I have been working at the New Student Orientation this summer, and had written a handout  to ease my first-year students in to the major, as they register for their classes.  So I decided to make a high-school accessible version of this handout called, “Why You Definitely Should Be An English Major.” And while some of the high school students seemed more amused by the comics that I found on Tumblr to decorate the handout, at least they have some things to think about regarding the English major as they prepare for college.

Our Open Mic. tonight at the Mother India Restaurant in downtown Morgantown, and it was fantastic, that’s all there is to it.  We were treated to a lovely collection of readings by writers who had really taken Katherine’s “Performance” craft talk to heart. Perhaps my favorite readings were Dave Essinger’s completely deadpan reading of The Cat in the Hat in the voice of Garrison Keillor, or Carol Scot bringing us home with a poem inspired by the Ohio Turnpike, which asked the question, “Is a poem an emergency?” Honestly though, everyone brought their A-Game tonight, for perhaps the best Open Mic. I have ever been to.  Thank you readers, thank you writers, and thank you Mother India for hosting us!

Here is a pictorial recap for today! Tomorrow I will be live-tweeting our last event: a round-table discussion on publishing, and blogging some final thoughts regarding the Shann Palmer Memorial Scholarship Fund. Until tomorrow, happy summer writing!


Katherine Matthews talks about the need to practice your own readings before you perform them.  Her number one hint? SLOW DOWN!

Renee Nicholson tells us how to be the best literary citizen you can. 

In a book about Italians talking about life in Italy, you have to talk with your hands.  This wasn't a problem for Marie (she's a pro) but it was a problem for her photographer.  Sorry this is so blurry!

Jim Harms reminds us to watch out for werewolves. 

The MFA program's own Shaun Turner. Also, be warned: because of my angle, the beautiful poet Jessica Guzman is in pretty much all of these Open Mic. pictures.  I didn't want to move around too much because it would distract the readers.  

Dave is reading The Cat in the Hat, in the voice of Garrison Keillor.  I promise you this happened.  'Pretty sure that both Mark and I were crying with laughter.  

So, is a poem an emergency? Ask Carol Scot!