Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New: One Act Play Award

Arnie Johnston and Western Michigan University Undergraduate One Act Play Award
The English Department and Creative Writing Program of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan are pleased to announce an award for a new one act play by an undergraduate student currently enrolled in a college or university in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio or Wisconsin.
The winning play will be presented in a public script-in-hand workshop production as part of Western Michigan University’s New Play Project, a summer festival of new student plays co-produced with the University’s Theatre Department (May 4 – June 24, 2009). The winning playwright will work closely with a production team that includes a director, dramaturg, and two Western faculty members to further develop the play. The playwright will be provided with travel to and from Kalamazoo, a three day-two evening stay to attend rehearsals of the play and its production, meals, and a $500.00 honorarium.
Eligible plays have not been produced or published and are between ten (10) and thirty-five (35) pages in standard playscript format. Upon selection, the playwright must be able to verify current enrollment status and be available to attend rehearsals and production of the play at Western Michigan University.
Submissions must be postmarked no later than February 1st, 2009. Submissions will not be returned. Please send submissions to Dr. Steve Feffer, English Department/Creative Writing Program, Sprau #909, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5331.
Undergraduate and graduate playwrights in Western Michigan University’s Creative Writing Program have numerous production opportunities in collaboration with WMU's Theatre Department and vibrant local theatre scene, as well as participation in the internationally renowned Prague Summer Program. Its graduate and undergraduate programs offer B.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. degrees, with specialization in choice of four genres: playwriting, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
For more information on playwriting at Western Michigan University go to www.wmich.edu/english/creativewriting/playwriting.html or www.wmich.edu/english/creativewriting/

The Arnie Johnston One Act Play Award is named in honor of the recent retirement of WMU English Department Chair and distinguished playwright Arnie Johnston, who began teaching graduate playwriting at WMU in 1975. Arnie Johnston’s plays include the recent Chicago hit Lonesome Losers of the Night and Duets, a newly published collection of one acts (written with his wife Deborah Ann Percy).
For more information on the Arnie Johnston Western Michigan University One Act Play Award or B.A., M.F.A or Ph.D. playwriting at Western Michigan University, please contact Dr. Steve Feffer, steve.feffer@wmich.edu.

Monday, December 22, 2008

holiday greetings

Holiday greetings to all friends of the english department @ Western Michigan University!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Arnie Johnston's The Witching Voice

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of
Scotland’s greatest poet:

The Witching Voice:
A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns
by Arnold Johnston

ISBN: 978-0-916727-44-4
Quality Paperback with French flaps • $18.95 • 332 pages
Glossary of Scottish Terms • 15 Period engravings

To order: www.wingspress.com
Publication Date: January 25, 2009
(250th birthday of Robert Burns)


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dept. Alum screening film at local theater



Local man's film to play at Kalamazoo 10

Kalamazoo Gazette
Friday, December 12, 2008
BY EARLENE MCMICHAEL


KALAMAZOO -- It's rare that a small-film maker has his work appear in the same theaters as blockbuster movies.

But next week, for one showing only, that is just what's going to happen for 1997 Community Medal of Arts winner Chuck Bentley, an independent producer and director from Kalamazoo. It is the first time he has presented his work in a movie theater.

Showtime for ``A Postcard from Ireland,'' about interesting locations in Ireland, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kalamazoo 10 in Oshtemo Township. Admission is free and the public is invited. A reception will be held at 7 p.m.

Over the years, Bentley and his wife, Donna Kaminski, have created what he calls ``travel essays'' about cities in England, Italy, France, the Netherlands and the United States.

While his wife assists with some filming, Bentley said he does double-duty, both filming and acting as host on-camera. He said his travelogues have ``a very artistic aspect'' because the images are shot with a long lens and the final product is set to music.

``What I do is attempt to bring the viewer right with me on location,'' said Bentley, in an interview Thursday. ``With so many travelogues, someone else is shooting with the camera and someone else is on camera.''

In January, Bentley's ``A Postcard from China'' also will play at Kalamazoo 10.

Both films are in theaters thanks to assistance from the Community Access Center in Kalamazoo, which typically airs his films, Bentley said.

Each video features original music composed and performed by Randon Myles Chisnell, with vocals by Catherine Sugas and Christopher MacLean Nagle, all of whom are Kalamazoo residents.

[** NOTE: a live performance by the trio is slated for the screening on 12/17 **]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bronco Playwrights Stampede into Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival


Four graduate students from the Creative Writing Program have been selected by the National Playwriting Program of the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival to have their plays presented at the KC/ACTFs prestigious regional festival, being held this year in Saginaw, Michigan January 6 - 11. The plays were four of the thirteen total that were selected from over one hundred and fifty entries that were submitted in three categories: ten minutes, one acts and full lengths.

Sunday, January 4th at 7 PM at the Whole Art Studio Space, 246 Kalamazoo Mall, there will be a benefit for the playwrights to raise money in support of their trip to the festival. There will be a reading of each of the short plays and scenes from the full length, as well as Dionysian revelry. More details will follow (except about the Dionysian revelry).

The plays and playwrights are:

MFA playwright Kris Peterson's play "Gun Metal Blue Bar" is one of the region's six ten minute plays. Additionally, Kris's play has been selected for a reading at the Mid-American Theatre Conference that will be held in March in Chicago. In Kris's play, Ricky's looking to get paid for a few weeks of hard work around Henry's racing pigeon lofts. However, one final gruesome act is separating Ricky from the money he needs to rescue his late father's cuff links from the pawn shop.

MFA playwright Karen Wurl's "Now and At the Hour Of" and MFA playwright Jason Lenz's "The Switch Room" are two of the six one act plays. Karen's play was originally presented at WMU as part of FUSE ONE.

In Wurl's "Hour," a middle-aged woman revisits 1977, a motel room, and a lost love, in an attempt to recover a lost self.

In Jason's play, Gus and Sam have an important job to do: flip the large switch in the switch room, at the second specified to them by the government, with no knowledge of what is being set in motion by the ambiguous lever. The problem is that today Gus and Sam are beginning to question what the switch actually does once activated.

Recent Ph.D creative writing program graduate Christine Iaderosa's play The Sins of Kalamazoo is the sole full length play to be presented. Christine's play will be presented in a full production later this year at the Whole Art Theatre. The Sins of Kalamazoo is a loose adaptation of the Carl Sandburg poem with reminiscence of the lost past of Americana and the failed promise of yesteryear.

The plays will be presented at the festival and then responded to by a panel of theatre professionals that this year includes Aaron Carter from Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre and Roger Hall, the Kennedy Center's National Playwriting Program Chair.

The Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival provides opportunities for over 18,000 theatre students and faculty throughout the country. English Department Professor Steve Feffer serves as the Vice Chair for the KCACTF III National Playwriting Program. For more information please contact Dr. Steve Feffer at steve.feffer@wmich.edu.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Abbot in Georgetown Review

John Abbot's story, "Theft," was recently accepted by the Georgetown Review.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Arizona State University to offer fellowships for WMU’s Prague Summer Program

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is collaborating with Western Michigan University’s Prague Summer Program to offer up to five full-tuition fellowships for students in ASU’s creative writing program to participate in the PSP in July 2009.

Read the press release

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nagle Essay on Cosmopolitan Pleasures



A new essay by Chris Nagle, “The Cosmopolitan Pleasures (and Perils) of Sensibility,” has been published in On Theorizing Romanticism (Edwin Mellen Press), a collection edited by Larry H. Peer, the Executive Director of the International Conference on Romanticism. The volume is dedicated to new, theoretically-engaged comparative work in European Romanticism, and opens with a foreword by Eugene Stelzig. Chris’s piece is a much-expanded version of an article on Sydney Owenson and Mme de Staël that appeared earlier this year in The Wordsworth Circle.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Witschi Essay on Regionalist Hoaxes in the West


Nic Witschi's essay "'With Powder Smoke and Profanity': Genre Conventions, Regional Identity, and the Palisade Gunfight Hoax" has been published by the University of Nebraska Press in a collection entitled Regionalism and the Humanities, edited by Timothy R. Mahoney and Wendy J. Katz. Originally part of an NEH-sponsored multidisciplinary conference on regionalist studies, this essay examines a small town in 1870s Nevada that, as the story goes, pranked westward-bound railway tourists by staging stereotypical and excessively bloody fake Indian attacks and gunfights. At issue is not only the question of what these events may have looked like historically, what conventions and assumptions they rely upon and exploit, but also the prominent place that stories about this town have assumed in Nevadans' self-image--the story of the Palisade hoaxes is one that, true or not, people in the region have taken great pleasure in telling again and again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rypma to talk on the marriage of poetry & science

“Rocks in Our Heads: The Marriage of Poetry & Science”
Poetry Reading and Presentation by Judith A. Rypma

2:15-3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, in Room 3030 Brown

The list of poets who have forged links with precious stones, metals, and ores begins with the Gilgamesh epic and Ovid, and runs in an endless strand of gems through Spenser, Donne, Poe, Yeats, Tennyson, and into the era of contemporary poetry.
Poet and Children’s Literature Professor Judith Rypma will “mine” some of these metaphoric possibilities with a multi-visual presentation and reading focusing on the study of poetry that connects science to literature. In addition to sharing examples from poets as diverse as Spenser, Donne, Yeats, and Poe, Rypma will read her own work, including poems from two of her chapbooks—Mineral Treasures and Holy Rocks. Rypma will conclude by suggesting pedagogical approaches (for all grades) to enhance the study of poetry by engaging readers and writers with the earth sciences. Attendees are encouraged to bring some brief “research notes” on their favorite gem, mineral, or metal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nagle's (Local) Irish Adventures

Chris Nagle recently visited the Irish-American Club of Kalamazoo, where he was invited to give a talk on Irish literature. Chris spoke on the topic of “Neglected Women Writers in an Age of Revolution.”



The group is also planning to sponsor the local premiere of A Postcard from Ireland, a new travelogue by local filmmaker and WMU alum Chuck Bentley, which features both Chris and local vocalist Catherine Sugas performing traditional Irish ballads, and original music composed by Randon Myles Chisnell.

Inching

As we are inching our way towards the end of the fall semester, a hearfelt Happy Thanksgiving to all Friends of the English Department from our students, staff, and faculty!

Sweeney Receives Travel Grant

Chad Sweeney is the recipient of a competitive Graduate College Travel Grant. Congrats!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Memories are Made of This

Re-membering: Framing -Embracing - Revising History
10th Annual Symposium on Democracy - Kent State University
May 4-5, 2009

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Johnston & Percy Publish 'Duets'

Arnie Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy's Duets: Love is Strange, a collection of six plays, is now available. "This duet that Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy sing is a song of love enduring life's perpetual tribulations of desperation, uncertainty, absurdity, contention, guilt, and grief. It is a song that dramatically explores aspects of the ultimate human bond, love between two people." ---*Charles (OyamO) Gordon*, Playwright in Residence, University of Michigan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Upcoming Frostic Reading: Lisa Fishman & Daneen Wardrop

December 11, 8:00 PM, The Little Theater

Daneen Wardrop's poetry has appeared in Seneca Review, TriQuarterly, Southern Review, and other magazines. She is the recipient of the Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award and is the author of one poetry collection, The Odds of Being, and two books of literary criticism, including Emily Dickinson's Gothic.




Lisa Fishman has published The Happiness Experiment, Dear, Read, and The Deep Heart's Core is a Suitcase. She has also published a chapbook, KabbaLoom. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches in the MFA and undergraduate poetry program of Columbia College, and in Southern Wisconsin where she has an organic farm.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Third Coast Reading this Thurs. Nov. 20

There's a Third Coast Reading this Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:15 pm, at Dino's Coffee Lounge, 773 W Michigan Ave (otherwise known as the corner of Stadium and Academy, parking on Academy). Poetry by Birkin Gimore, a play by Karen Wurl and fiction by Michael Fischer. So come, drink some coffee, listen to some linguistical love... Invite your neighbors and students.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hayden White Visit

Hayden White, professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and professor of comparative literature at Stanford University, is currently visiting WMU and Kalamazoo. In addition to workshop classes with graduate students and meetings with faculty, he also spoke to a large audience on the topic of "The Practical Past" at the Fetzer Center. The visit was co-sponsored by the English Department. The picture shows Dr. White together with WMU's Graduate Dean, Dr. Lewis Pyenson.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Q and A Nov. 13@3:45 With Playwright Erik Ramsey

November 13th at 3:45 PM in 3025 Brown, the Humanities Resource Center, there will be a Q and A with playwright Erik Ramsey prior to his reading at 8 PM in the Little Theatre as part of the Frostic Reading Series.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CFP: The Laureate

The Laureate is currently seeking submissions for the 2008-2009 edition. The Laureate is an undergraduate, student-run publication of literature produced by Lee Honors College students. The journal accepts any forms of literature, including poetry, short works of fiction (less than 15-20 pages), prose, drama, and non-fiction. The selected works are published in a 60-80 page journal which is to be distributed at a reading in March or April. The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2008, and anyone interested in this opportunity to publish should please contact: Elizabeth Scramlin (elizabeth.s.scramlin@wmich.edu) or Otto Shaffer (edward.o.shaffer@wmich.edu). You can also write to laureate.2008@gmail.com

a poem by Janet Heller

Janet Heller's poem "Nature's Olympics" has been accepted for publication in Encore and will appear in the December issue. She originally wrote the poem during the Atlanta Olympics.

Nature's Olympics

Swimmers churn Atlanta pools,
Runners streak down dusty tracks,
And gymnasts tumble and fly through the air.
While the Olympic torch burns overhead,
Thousands cheer their countrymen.

Here in Michigan, loons paddle near Isle Royale
And laugh like banshees
Before they dive and disappear
In the evening mist.
Chipmunks dash across our yard
To capture seeds, stuffing their cheeks,
Then scamper toward their burrows.
Goldfinches balance on sunflowers,
Chickadees dart from food to swaying trees,
And hummingbirds fly backwards,
Landing on titonia like acrobats.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hayden White Lecture

On Thursady, November 13, Dr. Hayden White of Stanford University will deliver a public lecture on "The Practical Past" at WMU's Fetzer Center, 6 p.m. Reception follows. The event is sponsored by the departments of History & English, the Medieval Institute, the Graduate College, and many more.

Update from Kristen Tracy

Kristen Tracy's first teen novel, Lost It, was published last year by Simon & Schuster. It received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, was selected by the New York Public Library as one of their "Books for the Teen Age," and is already in its third printing. Her second teen novel, Crimes of the Sarahs, was also published by Simon & Schuster and came out this spring (It's set in Kalamazoo). Her first middle-grade novel, Camille Mcphee Fell Under the Bus, will be published next year by Random House with a second novel to follow in 2010. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, New York Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, and AGNI. She recently found out that Ted Kooser has selected her poem "Rain at the Zoo" to be reprinted in American Life in Poetry. She lives and writes in San Francisco, where she is very very happy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Social Justice Jobs

Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center will be on the WMU campus on Monday, December 1 @ 7PM in the Wesley Foundation (near flagpole) to discuss careers in the field of community organizing, and to schedule interviews with students interested in empowering their communities and working for social change. To find out more about DART or to apply, we encourage you to send your resume to: Sunil Joy, DART Network, 820 New York Street Lawrence, KS 66044 or by email: sunil@thedartcenter.org. If you have any questions, please call: (785) 841-2680. Also, you can download applications or view profiles from previous OTs at the DART website: www.thedartcenter.org.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Vocke Featured by NWP

Karen Vocke's successful work with migrant students and their families is currently featured in a full-length article published on the National Writing Project website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Graduate Playwrights Present Public Readings

This semester the Graduate Playwrights Workshop is holding its readings and workshops every Tuesday night, at 6:30 p.m. at the Whole Art Studio Theatre at 246 N. Kalamazoo Mall, from now until the end of the semester.

The readings are script-in-hand sit-down or staged readings that feature new work-in-progress as read by actors from the Theatre Department. A brief discussion with the audience and playwright follows the reading.

The readings are free.

NOVEMBER 4
Cemetery Row, Act One
by Karen Wurl
A very free adaptation of the classic ballet Giselle, set in a college neighborhood in Milwaukee. Singing barista Lauren meets Josh, a cute guy from out of town who isn't quite what he appears to be; meanwhile, random guys keep washing up dead on the shore, Lauren’s friend Drew can be annoying, and Lauren is haunted by a dead girl. Can she find love? (To be continued.)

NOVEMBER 11
Justice for All
by Kevin Dodd
An exploration of the morality and practicality of Capital Punishment in the United States. This docu-drama traces the journey of a boy who brutally murdered two young girls and how the repercussions of the act and his trial rocked the community and nation.

NOVEMBER 18
The Manumission Manifesto
by Jason Lenz
A pet funeral home curator is forced to struggle with an absurd series of circumstances as he seeks to answer the seemingly simple question: why are there suddenly so many dead cats coming into the funeral home? As he delves deeper into his investigation, he discovers a trail of breadcrumbs that exposes the truth behind the surreal and oppressive nature of the world around him.

NOVEMBER 25
Bearing Daughters
by Mikala Hansen
In an effort to "save" the family, Joan reveals to her daughters, Elizabeth and Diana, that they must produce a son to preserve themselves as well as the family's line. Joan explains how the possible breach of a contract their ancestors made with the Devil threatens the family's survival, which forces Joan's daughters to question her sanity as well as her story's truth. After Mary, Joan's thirteen year old daughter, becomes pregnant in her own attempt to "save" the family, they continue to quarrel over who's to blame for this, what actually happened, and what should be done.

DECEMBER 2
In the Window
by Robert Kirkbride
A man becomes obsessed with the idea of voyeurism after receiving a telescope.

DECEMBER 9
Half Empty
by Joe Sanders
Concerning our hero, Charles, the woman who loves him, the friend at his side, the country indebted to him, a witch's curse, a deal with the devil, and a list of priorities...

Janet Heller to give readings from her book

The English Department's Janet Heller reads her award-winning book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape, for Western Michigan University's Student Education Association's Read-a-Thon; she will also conduct creative writing workshops for the children. The first reading is Thursday, November 13, from 6 to 8 at the Dual Language School, 604 West Vine St., and the second is Wednesday, November 19, from 7 to 8 at Washington Writer's Academy, 1919 Portage Road. For more information, please contact Jamie Green at jamie.e.green@wmich.edu.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Slawinski Delivers Paper on Vickery's Admirers

On a wonderfully warm Halloween, Scott Slawinski presented "Of Public Epistles and Personas: Sukey Vickery and her Della Cruscan Admirers" at the annual conference of the Northeastern American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. The conference was held in Finger Lakes town of Geneva, NY, with the hotel situated right on the shore of beautiful Seneca Lake.

Third Coast Reading Thurs. Nov. 6

There's a Third Coast Reading this Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:15 pm, at Dino's Coffee Lounge(we'll be in the back room with the stage) 773 W Michigan Ave (otherwise known as the corner of Stadium and Academy, parking on Academy). James Miranda will be reading fiction, Andrea England will be reading poetry and Kris Peterson will be reading from a play. So come, drink some coffee, listen to some linguistical love...Invite your neighbors and students. :) The other Third Coast Reading dates for Fall are Nov. 20, and Dec. 4 (all Thurs, same time, same place).

The Boy Whose Hands were Birds

Main Street Rag Publishing Company to release Roy Seeger's The Boy Whose Hands were Birds, the winner of the 2008 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Contest. The book will be available through Main Street Rag's online bookstore and through select bookstores nationwide with a suggested price of $14.00.

Roy Seeger is a Full English Instructor at the University of South Carolina Aiken and the winner of the 2007 Gribble Press Chapbook Contest for The Garden of Improbable Birds. He recieved his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Western Michigan University in 2005 and his Master of Arts in Poetry from Ohio University. He was also co-winner of the 2008 Society for the study of Midwestern Literature's Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Poetry Center Juried Reading, and his work has been featured on Verse Daily as well as in numerous poetry journals such as Gulf Coast, The Laurel Review, and the Mississippi Review.

You may contact Roy Seeger for autographed copies, readings, book signings, and workshops at 803-226-0245 or by emaill at roydseeger@hotmail.com

Upcoming Frostic Reading: Erik Ramsey


Erik Ramsey November 13, 8:00 PM, The Little Theater


Erik Ramsey’s plays have been produced around the country, and several of his short works have been published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing. His recent play, Lions Lost (In Translation), has been developed, read and work-shopped at numerous regional theaters including Cleveland Public Theatre, American Stage, the Tony-award winning Victory Gardens, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. His two textbooks, The Art of Theatre: Then and Now, and Experiencing the Art of Theatre were published by Thomson/Wadsworth (2006).


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nagle on Wild Irish Girl


After “five summers, with the length / Of five long winters,” Chris Nagle’s essay, “From Owenson to Morgan: History, Sensibility, and the Vagaries of Reception in The Wild Irish Girl,” finally appears as part of a new collection, Anglo-Irish Identities, 1571-1845, edited by David A. Valone and Jill M. Bradbury for Bucknell University Press.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sigma Tau Delta Induction

The Fall 2008 Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony and reception on Sunday, November 2, at 2 p.m. The induction will take place on the 10th floor of Sprau. We have 18 excellent students to induct and to celebrate their accomplishments as well as the third anniversary of our chapter's charter.

The inductees are

Meghan Dykema
Rodger Swan
Sasha Boersma
Crystal Kelly
Kalyn Golland
Madeline Baker
Tyler Evans
Kimberly Knopf
Andrew Weissenborn
Scott Benzenberg
Sarah Ashley McFee
Julia Valentine
Randi Easley
Megan Runyan
Courtney De Smit
Josephine Tucker
Caitlin Popa
Eric Szubinski

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grand Junction a play by Dr. Kevin Drzakowski

Play n Well Players
prestent a mysterious comedy
written by Kevin Drzakowski
GRAND JUNCTION
Plainwell Community Center, 2nd Level
798 East Bridge St. (M-89)
Plainwell, MI 49080
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
November 6, 7, & 8, 2008 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 9, 2008 2:00 p.m.
Advance ticket price $6.00
At the door: $6.00
For more information phone 269-271-7526

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slam Poetry on November 5

On Wednesday November 5th, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) is bringing slam poet group Death From Below to WMU. The event will take place at 9pm in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. It is $1 with your Bronco ID and $2 without it. Death From Below have been featured on HBO's Def Poetry.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Poetry from New Issues

New Issues announces the publication of two new poetry books: Please, a debut collection by Jericho Brown, and Tall If by Mark Irwin.

Claudia Rankine says this about Please: "To read these poems is to encounter the devastating genius of Jericho Brown." Read more reviews on the New Issues website. Read "Beneath Me" and "Your Body Made Heavy with Gin" from Please.

The American Book Review has called Mark Irwin's poetry “ . . . vibrant and alert, a poetry to contend with . . ." and Publisher's Weekly had this to say about Irwin's earlier work: "Brilliant, Irwin’s intellect and the urgency of his words remain traditionally steadfast." Read "Doors" and "Theory" from Tall If.

Both books are available online from Amazon.com and Spdbooks.org.

Vocke to address State Migrant Directors

Our own Karen Vocke and Dr. Susan Piazza (Literacy Studies, COE) will discuss their research on migrant education at the State Migrant Directors' meeting on Tuesday, November 11. Their research focuses on the issues, opportunities, and concerns related to migrant education in the state of Michigan and beyond.

Mortimore Receives Grant

Graduate Student Shannon Mortimore recently received a competitive Graduate Student Research & Travel Grant from the Graduate College.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Croque Mort or Bite the Dead

Mark your calendars! Christine Iaderosa's new play, Croque Mort or Bite the Dead will open in the late night series at the Whole Art Theatre Studio on Novemeber 14th at 11:00pm. It will run the 14th, 15, 21 and 22. The Studio is located at 246 N. Kalamazoo Mall near the Radisson and the museum. Tickets are $5.00 plus free coffee and donuts. The show is very funny, come support our grad students.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Upcoming Frostic Reading: Arnost Lustig!


October 28, 8:00 PM, The Little Theater
Arnost Lustig was born in Prague in 1926. In 1942 he was sent by the Nazis to Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz, where his father died in the gas chambers, and finally to Buchenwald. He left Czechoslovakia after the Soviet occupation in 1968. He settled in 1970 in Washington D. C., where he is Professor of Literature at the American University. He is the author of The Unloved, Diamonds of the Night, A Prayer for Katerina Horovitzova, The Bitter Smell of Almonds, Children of the Holocaust, Darkness Casts no Shadows, Dita Saxova, Fire on Water: Porgess and the Abyss, The House of Returned Echoes, Indecent Dreams, Lovely Green Eyes: A Novel, The Unloved: (From the Diary of Perla S.), and Night and Hope. He is a two-time winner of the Jewish National Book Award.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nagle visits with Polyamorous Romantics


Chris Nagle recently attended the International Conference on Romanticism (hosted this year By Oakland University in Rochester, MI), and presided over a Special Session—“Love’s Labors: Romantic Polyamorousness”—with his co-organizer, Courtney Wennerstrom of Indiana University. In addition to organizing and co-chairing the panel, Chris and Courtney collaborated on an introductory talk, “Theorizing Polyamorousness: A (Multi-)User-Friendly Introduction,” which framed the panel’s exploration of this new area of critical inquiry. A follow-up roundtable session with six new projects will be featured at the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies next Spring.

Salvatore Scibona and Sarah Bynum Reading




Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and Salvatore Scibona


October 21, 8:00 PM, The Little Theater

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s first novel, Madeleine is Sleeping, was published by Harcourt in 2004, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her short stories have appeared in Triquarterly, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and in Best American Short Stories. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at UC San Diego.


Salvatore Scibona’s fiction has been published in The Threepenny Review, Best New
American Voices 2004, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize. The End is his first book.

After Walking the Whitman Walk, Listen to the Killingsworth Talk (10/30)

Next Thursday (10/30) we are thrilled to welcome Walt Whitman scholar M. Jimmie Killingsworth of Texas A & M to campus as this semester’s final English Department Scholarly Speaker. It is sure to be an exciting week in the department, with Frostic speaker Arnost Lustig here starting on Tuesday, and then Jimmie later in the week. We on the Speakers Committee hope as many of you can make it to these events as possible.

Here are the specifics for Jimmie’s visit:
Lecture topic: “Whitman and the Nature Writers: Looking for the Soul in a Disenchanted Land”
Thursday, October 30, 7 PM, Brown 3025

Among Jimmie’s many and varied publications, his latest are _Walt Whitman and the Earth: A Study in Ecopoetics_ (University of Iowa Press, 2004), _Appeals in Modern Rhetoric: An Ordinary-Language Approach_ (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005), and _The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman_ (Cambridge University Press, 2007). His visit to campus is co-sponsored by the WMU Environmental Studies Program and the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Here's the abstract of Jimmie’s talk:

As the self-proclaimed poet of the body and poet of the soul, and as the enchanted lover of the earth, Walt Whitman took the measure of a world transformed by urbanization and industrialization. While always open to the idea of human progress and the technological sublime, Whitman's vision took on a dark and elegiac tone in the years following the Civil War as he surveyed a disenchanted, and increasingly disenchanting, land. In bearing witness to the obstructions he found on the path to a soulful life, Whitman not only shared a vision with the great nature writers of his time, such as his New England counterpart Henry David Thoreau and his friend John Burroughs, but also anticipated the nature writing that flourished in the wake of post-World War II environmental politics, when the fate of the entire natural world seemed to fall into human hands for the first time in history. With writers like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Doug Peacock, Peter Matthieseen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Bill McKibbens, and Janisse Ray, Whitman helped to found a literature devoted to recovering the sense of wonder, looking for the lost soul in an endangered land (one's own soul as rediscovered in natural settings as well as the soul of the land itself, its special character, beauty, and meaningfulness for human culture). Like Whitman's poetry, nature writing is an outdoor literature that aims to take readers beyond the confines of modern inwardness and human exclusivity and to introduce them to the wider (and wilder) world. In this work, the soul becomes not so much the exclusive property of the individual, held tightly like a title on private land, but rather an ecological phenomenon of circulation and reflection, that opens the person to the influx of natural and interpersonal powers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walk with Whitman

Kalamazoo Nature Center, Sunday, October 26, 2 PM

Join Nature Center Naturalists and WMU Faculty for a Nature Walk with readings of Walt Whitman’s poetry and prose.

Sponsored by Kalamazoo Nature Center, WMU English Department, WMU Environmental Studies Program

Brinkley Appointed to National Commission

Ellen Brinkley was recently appointed to the College Board's Advanced Placement English Course and Examination Review Commission. This means that she is among a dozen members nationwide who will review current College Board documents related to high school courses and realign them according to current and emerging best practices.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abbott Goes Upstreet

MFA student John Abbott has published a story in the current issue of Upstreet. The issue and John's story were reviewed on Newpages.com:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Salisbury Speaks on Rebellion and Rising

On October 13, Eve Salisbury spoke on "Representing Rebellion: Poets, Chroniclers and the Rising of 1381," at the Medieval Studies Center, Loyola University Chicago.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, who taught children's literature for us for many years and completed her PhD here in lit/Creative Writing a year or two back, has had her dissertation The Laying on of Maples (a collection of poetry) accepted for publication by Wayne State University for its Made in Michigan Series. She's now full-time at Kellogg Community College.

Loew Lecture

On Friday, October 24, Dr. Marcia Colish (Yale) will present the Medieval Institute's Loew Lecture on “The Pseudo-Peter of Poitiers Gloss and Early Scholastic Theology” in Walwood Commons (East Campus).
The Cornelius Loew Lectures in Medieval Studies were started in 1986 by The Medieval Institute to honor the late Dr. Cornelius Loew, Professor Emeritus of Religion, former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and former Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Loew’s vision and support for scholarship were instrumental in the development and growth of The Medieval Institute and Medieval Institute Publications. The lecture series is seen as a way of honoring and recognizing a man whose consistent support of and contributions to Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University have been invaluable.

Third Coast Reading this Thurs. Oct 16

There's a Third Coast Reading Series this Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7:15 pm, at Dino's Coffee Lounge 773 W Michigan Ave (otherwise known as the corner of Stadium and Academy, parking on academy). Marin Heinritz will be reading non-fiction, Laura Donnelly will be reading poetry and Noah Hilgert will be reading fiction. So come, drink some coffee, hear some wondrous words... The other Third Coast Reading dates for Fall are Nov. 6, Nov. 20, and Dec. 4 (all Thurs, same time, same place)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley to give a reading in town


Our former colleague and student Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, PhD, will be in Kalamazoo the weekend of October 18th. She is reading from her poetry on Saturday, October 18th, at 3:00 in the Powell Library.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blog on Children's and Adolescent Literature

Gwen Tarbox has begun work on a blog that covers topics related to children's and adolescent literature. You can visit her site at http://bookcandy.typepad.com/book_candy/. Although the blog is currently used to supplement her teaching, Gwen hopes to have her students involved in the project over the next year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Is There A Life After Graduate School?

Orlando Taylor, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Howard University, will be on WMU's campus on Monday, October 13. The University community is invited to his lecture, "Life after Graduate School in an Interdisciplinary, Multicultural and Global Society," at 11 a.m. in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium. Reception to follow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pix from the Disciples of Difficulty

Recently, faculty and graduate students gathered to discuss the question "What is a Difficult Text?" The three hour forum, attended by a large number of colleagues and students, offered diverse views on what constitutes "difficulty." In addition to many other guests, the organizers (Beth Bradburn and Casey McKittrick), were able to welcome WMU's graduate dean, Dr. Lewis Pyenson.

Bake Sale

Sigma Tau Delta's bake sale will take place on Monday, October 13th. Their table will be set up at the flagpoles from 10-4. Please contribute baked goods, brownies, etc., and spread the news about this event.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Pictures from the Annual Award Dinner for Distinguished Alumni/ae show Distinguished English Alumnus Robert Bradley, his guest, alumnus Karl Sandelin, Beth Amidon, and Phil and Cheryl Egan.
















UK's Oleander Press reissues Richard Katrovas novel Mystic Pig

UK's Oleander Press reissues Richard Katrovas novel Mystic Pig

Hell is the place between words and the world...

A modern romance for a fractured age, Richard Katrovas's first novel is a multi-layered mini epic that wholeheartedly lays its love on the line in the face of an abeyance of hope. Love for New Orleans;her secrets, her dark corners, her food. Love for life; its heroes, its villains, its also-rans. But above all,a love for Passion; its purity, its beauty, its inevitable consequences.

Consequences felt by both twelve-year-old Willie Singer, growing up, and middle-aged Nathan Moore,growing older. Two inhabitants of the Crescent City whose paths collide and ricochet through the dying of a local poet and the ramifications of his death-bed opus – an epic poem, The Mystic Pig. For betterand worse, their lives are forever altered.

Mystic Pig beguiles. Written in evocative and poetic prose it effortlessly wraps the reader in the sensual,heady and vibrant atmosphere of the French Quarter and delivers you right into the complex lives of its characters – warts and all. It's a novel about life and love, death and despair, acceptance, denial, murder,sex – and fine cuisine. Not necessarily in that order.

Check out the reviews for the original on the Amazon.com site, but at present it can only be ordered from Amazon UK or, of course, from Oleander Press here with 10% discount using the coupon PIG08

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Robert Bradley Receives Distinguished Scholar Award

Robert Bradley was honored with the Department's Distinguished Scholar Award at the College of Arts and Sciences Reception on Friday afternoon. On Friday morning, he had an opportunity to visit Beth Bradburn's British Literature I class and witnessed a discussion of Chaucer's "Miller's Tale." In the picture, he is standing in front of Sprau Tower, an appropriate location considering that he was the Department's second recipient, in 1951 (!), of the prestigious George Sprau Student Award.

Friday, October 3, 2008

McDowell featured on Poetry Daily

Gary McDowell's poem "Ninth Morning in a Row with Binoculars," originally published in the New England Review, was reprinted on the Poetry Daily website. Gary's poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Ninth Letter, The Pinch, RHINO, Salt Hill, and The Southeast Review. He is also co-editor, with F. Daniel Rzicznek, of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to the Prose Poem: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice, an anthology of essays and prose poems (Rose Metal Press, 2010). Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Poetry here at Western Michigan University and currently serves as the poetry editor of Third Coast.

Hiromi Ito to Speak

Well known Japanese writer Hiromi Ito will be presenting "Living Between Languages: A Conversation and Bilingual Reading," today, Friday, Oct. 3, 4p.m., on the 10th floor of Sprau Tower. Her presentation is free and open to the public. For more information on Hiromi Ito, see http://www.wmich.edu/wmu/news/2008/09/066.html.

Prague 2009 TAs Announced

The following students are recipients of TA positions for our 2009 Prague Summer Program:

FICTION: Marcus Johnson, James Miranda, Katie Burpo
POETRY: Andrea England, Chad Sweeney
CREATIVE NONFICTION: Marin Heinritz
MULTI-GENRE: Karen Wurl
SCRIPTWRITING: Robert Kirkbride
AFTERNOON SEMINARS: Ilse Schweitzer
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: Chris Carter

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Robert Bradley 2008/2009 Distinguished Alumnus

This year's departmental Distinguished Alumnus, Robert Bradley, will be honored at the College Award Ceremony this Friday afternoon. Robert earned the B.A. degree cum laude from the Western Michigan College of Education in 1951 with a major in English Language and Literature and minors in History and French. It was at this time that he received the George Sprau Award in English. Following his graduation, he served in the U.S. Army. After his Honorable Discharge with an official Letter of Appreciation, he enrolled in the Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies of the University of Michigan, leaving with a M.A. in History. Following three years of teaching in the Lapeer, Michigan, Public Schools, he and his wife, the former Ann Humphreys, came to the Detroit area. His career continued in the Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Public Schools from which he retired in 1991. He was a Fulbright grantee in Denmark during the 1963-1964 academic year as a visiting lecturer in American Language and Literature. Publications include book reviews for the Mensa Bulletin; History, a publication of the Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation; and Best Sellers, a publication of the University of Scranton (PA). He has volunteered at the Detroit Institute of Arts, at Henry Ford Cottage Hospital, at the Dominican Literacy Center, and as Program Chairman of the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe.
It is wonderful to be able to honor one of the thousands of dedicated teachers we have graduated over the years. Robert has agreed to visit and speak to us on April 15 (mark your calendars) during our annual Department Awards & Recognition Ceremony.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Third Coast Reading Series Launches Oct.2, 2008

Third Coast will lauch it's reading series 7:15 pm, Thursday, Oct. 2, at Dino's Coffee Lounge. Joe Gross, Chris Carter and Chad Sweeney, dangerous outlaws of Fiction and Poetry, will read. Their host is Melinda Moustakis.

Dino's Coffee Lounge is located at 773 W. Michigan Ave. (Stadium Drive), Corner of Stadium and Academy. Parking is available on Academy Street.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thralls Essay Collection Receives Award

Charie Thralls's recently published (2007) collection of essays, Communicative Practices in Workplaces and the Professions: Cultural Perspectives on the Regulation of Discourse in Organizations (coedited with Mark Zachry, University of Washington), just received a prestigious research award. The award is from the National Council of Teachers of English for the 2008 Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical and Scientific Communication. The collection investigates how discourse is regulated and how it regulates when human activity is organized for such purposes as work or belonging to a profession. The workplaces or professional sites used as illustrations in the collection are diverse, covering such organizations as an Internet start-up company, an international energy company, an urban hospital, a university, and a telecommunications corporation. The studies draw upon such prominent thinkers as Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Bruno Latour, Gayatri Spivak, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Kenneth Burke.

Steve Feffer to Present on Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Midwest Popular Culture Association and American Culture Conference


Proud papa Steve Feffer is not quite ready for the minivan yet. Friday, October 3rd in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Midwest Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Conference, Steve will present on the self-proclaimed "glam-punk musical" Hedwig and the Angry Inch as part of a panel on the erotic and performance for the conference's "subculture" focus group. Steve will be part of a panel of writers and scholars that have published in recent issues of The Journal of Popular Music Studies (his essay "'Despite All the Amputations, You Could Dance to the Rock and Roll Station': Staging Authenticity in Hedwig and the Angry Inch appeared in Volume 19, Number 3, 2007). Botched sex-change operations, the erotic and subcultures, and Cincinnati... Little Gabriel Dylan Feffer must be bursting with pride for the old man.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apply for a Third Coast Internship

Email a cover letter and writing sample (creative or otherwise) to the editor, Daniel Toronto at dktor1977@yahoo.com with the subject line “Third Coast Internship Application.” The writing sample should be between five and ten pages. Samples should follow common formatting conventions for the genre. (Go to http://www.thirdcoastmagazine.com/submit/ if you need guidance on formatting.) The cover letter should discuss any publishing (or related) experience the student has, his or her reasons for applying for the internship, and which of the internships he or she is most interested it. The available positions are:

Fiction Intern
Poetry Intern
Nonfiction Intern
Reviews Intern

The cover letter, writing sample, and optional resume should be sent as attachments in Word, RTF, or PDF. The application deadline is September 22. Only WMU undergraduate students may apply.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nash Honored as Distinguished Alumna

Ilana Nash is the recipient of a Distinguished Alumna Award from the American Culture Studies Program at Bowling Green State University. BGSU's American Culture Studies PhD program was established in 1978, drawing on existing resources from English, History, Sociology, Communications, and Popular Culture departments and attracting students from across the US and world. Today the ACS program is the flagship program for interdisciplinary study in the humanities and social sciences at BGSU and a leading innovator in the cultural studies field nationally.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Africana Studies Conference

Conference on Religion & Religious Identities in Africa and the African Diaspora

October 9-12, 2008

Religious beliefs and identities have among other things shaped the nature of human experience in Africa and the African Diaspora. It is also a known fact that religious beliefs and identities have influenced human behavior in both religious and non-religious ways in different societies. These influences have included positive and negative consequences in the ordering of society in Africa and the African Diaspora. Another critical aspect in trying to explore the concept of religion is what constitutes religion and religious beliefs? To date, scholars of religion have divergent views on this issue. To what extent is this applicable to Africans and peoples of African descent? What roles have religion and religious identities played in nation-building efforts in Africa and the African Diaspora? This conference will explore these and other related issues. In addition, participants are invited to explore other topics such as, but not limited to the following: Religion, gender and sexuality issues. For the complete conference program, please see: http://www.wmich.edu/blackamericanastudies/conferences.htm

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saillant Speaks on Constitution Day

On September 17, 1-2:30pm (10th floor, Sprau Tower), in recognition of Constitution Day, the English Department's John Saillant and History's Lee Kirk will speak on: "Why Ratification, 1788 and 2008?"
The presenters will discuss the reasons and the process for ratification of the United States Constitution and will comment on current efforts to revise the Michigan Constitution.

Monday, September 15, 2008

TA Positions in Prague Summer Program 2009

MFA and PhD students desiring to serve in July, 2009, as teaching assistants in the Prague Summer Program should send Richard Katrovas the following information:
In the subject slot of an e-mail addressed to Professor Katrovas (katrovas@aol.com) write your full name followed by MFA or PhD, depending upon which degree you're seeking. Then, in the body of the e-mail, write three or four sentences explaining why you want to serve the PSP.
TAs do not pay for the program, but do pay for housing and transportation. Many of our TAs have received financial assistance with their airfares. One may earn up to seven hours of credit attending the Program.
TAs serve an essential role in the Prague Summer Program. Margaret von Steinen, the PSP coordinator, and I will explain TAs' duties at an orientation meeting later this month or early in October.
There will be three fiction TAs, two poetry, one creative nonfiction, one playwriting/screenwriting, and one multi-genre. One, possibly two non-creative-writing TAships will also be available.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MCACA Grant Awarded to New Issues will Support the Publication of Michigan Poetry

New Issues Poetry & Prose has been awarded a $9,000 grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs to support the publication of three new titles in the Inland Seas Poetry Series. The three titles, each by poets who currently live in Michigan or who have strong Michigan connections, will be published in 2008-09.

* Talking Diamonds, a new book of poetry by former Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan: Linda Nemec Foster.
* Beauty Breaks In, a fourth collection of poetry by Mary Ann Samyn, author of two other Inland Seas titles: Inside the Yellow Dress and Purr.
* Hilarity, a third book of poems by Detroit-native Patty Seyburn, and winner of our 2008 Green Rose Prize in Poetry.

"It seems like Michigan really takes care of its own writers," was a comment we received at a conference once, and yes, New Issues believes in supporting one of Michigan’s most precious natural resources. To date, the publication of over fifty books has been supported by MCACA as part of our Inland Seas Series.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs serves to encourage, develop and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic, creative, cultural activity in Michigan.

English Department Speakers Series

The following events will take place as part of the Department's Speakers Series in Fall 2008:

September 18, 2008--keynote: Jon Adams, Department of English, WMU: "AWOL Masculinity in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22." [2028 Brown Hall]

October 9, 2008--Mary Crane, Department of English, Boston College: "Roman World, Egyptian Earth: Cognitive Difference and Empire in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra." Co-sponsor: Comparative Drama

October 30, 2008--Jimmie Killingsworth, Department of English, Texas A&M University: "Whitman and the Nature Writers: Looking for the Soul in a Disenchanted Land." Co-sponsors: the WMU Environmental Studies Program and the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Frostic Reading Dates

The dates for the Frostic Reading Series this semester are the following:

September 25, 2008: Don Lee
October 9, 2008: Steve Orlen
October 21, 2008: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and Salvatore Scibona
October 28, 2008: Arnost Lustig
November 13, 2008: Erik Ramsey
December 11, 2008: Lisa Fishman and Daneen Wardrop

All readings will be held in the Little Theater, 8PM.

Forum: What is a Difficult Text?

On Friday, September 26, 1pm-4pm, the English Department invites all faculty and graduate students to a Forum on the question: "What is a Difficult Text?" This is one of the core issues we all deal with, and thus an issue that unites all of us whether we work in English Education, Creative Writing, Literature and Language Study, and/or Rhetoric and Writing Study. Panel participants to start us off thinking about this question will include:
BRADBURN
FEFFER
JOHNSTON
MCKITTRICK
NASH
SAILLANT
SLAWINSKI
TIFFANY
VOCKE
WARDROP
WEBB
.


Adams on AWOL Masculinity

The English Department's 2008-09 Scholarly Speakers Series will begin next week with our Fall keynote talk, by our own Professor Jon Adams. In his presentation, entitled "AWOL Masculinity in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22," Jon will introduce and answer questions about his just-published book Male Armor: The Soldier-Hero in Contemporary American Culture (University of Virginia Press, 2008).

This event will be held on Thursday, September 18, in Brown 2028, at 7 PM.

For the entire 2008-09 schedule of the Scholarly Speakers Series, please go to http://www.wmich.edu/english/news&events/speak.html

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Steve Feffer Selected as Vice-Chairperson of Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival's New Play Program Region Three

Steve Feffer has been selected to serve as the vice-chairperson of the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival's New Play Program (KC/ACTF) for Region Three (Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana). KC/ACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

The KC/ACTF New Play Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate playwrights to present their work in readings, workshops and full productions at their universities or in regional and national festivals.

As vice-chair, Steve will travel the region responding to new student plays, contribute to the organization and content of the regional festival (this year in Saginaw Michigan), and mentor student playwrights.

"The Gay American" at Whole Art Late Night Sept. 12 and 13, 19 and 20

Ph.d. playwriting student Kristian O'Hare's play THE GAY AMERICAN will have its premiere full production this weekend and next at the Whole Art Theatre's 246 North Kalamazoo Mall space at 11 PM.

O'Hare's play tells the story of former New Jersey governor, James McGreevey, who on August 12, 2004 committed what many called political suicide when he came out of the closet as a homosexual man. Soon after, he resigned when an extramarital affair with a male state employee surfaced. In THE GAY AMERICAN, O’Hare puts his own darkly comic spin on what happened and how he sees McGreevey’s life and scandal unfolding.

The play was first presented as a staged reading at WMU as part of Western's collaboration with Theatre Kalamazoo.

Tickets are five dollars and include all the donuts you can eat and coffee you can drink.

Witschi Reviews Scholarship on Late 19th-Century American Literature

Nic Witschi recently authored the essay on "Late-19th-Century Literature" in the annual edition of the prestigious American Literary Scholarship, a selective annual review of the voluminous research in the field edited by David J. Nordloh for Duke University Press.

Monday, September 8, 2008

CFP: Michigan College English Association

Call for Papers: MCEA Conference on Friday, October 10, 2008

Theme: Argument, Evidence, and Intuition
Featured Speaker: Award-Winning Poet Judith Minty
Location: Baker College in Auburn Hills

The Michigan College English Association invites proposals for individual papers and for complete or open panels for our Fall 2008 meeting. We welcome proposals from experienced academics as well as from young scholars and graduate students. We encourage a variety of papers, including pedagogical and scholarly essays. We also welcome poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction from creative writers. We will award a $25 prize for the best scholarly paper and for the best creative writing by a graduate student.
Although we are calling for papers and panels that reflect the conference theme, we also welcome proposals in the variety of areas English and Writing departments encompass: composition and rhetoric; computers and writing; creative writing; critical pedagogy; critical studies in the teaching of English; cultural studies; film studies; developmental education; English as a second language; linguistics; literary studies; multicultural literature; on-line English courses and the virtual university; popular culture; race, class, and gender studies; progressive education; reading and writing across the curriculum; student demographics; student/instructor accountability and assessment; student placement; study skills; technical writing. For complete information, please go to: http://www.michcea.org

Proposals are due by September 15, 2008. Early submissions are welcome. Please submit proposals to Janet Heller and Anne G. Berggren, Program Chairs, via email or snail mail: janet.heller@wmich.edu or Janet Heller, English Dept., Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI 49008; agbergrn@umich.edu or Anne G. Berggren, 1420 Golden Avenue, Ann Arbor MI 48104. Please specify your needs for audio-visual equipment and the best time of day for your presentation.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Indianthusiasm Lecture on Th, Sept. 11, 7pm

On Thursday, September 11, 7 pm, Professor Karsten Fitz of Passau University, Germany, will deliver a public lecture hosted by our department (2028 Brown Hall) on "German 'Indianthusiasm' Reconsidered: The 'Noble Savage' in the German Cultural Imagination." While Native Americans are historically the original people of North America and the imagined “Indian” a product of the popular American imagination (e.g., frontier romances, dime novels, Hollywood westerns), the fascination with – and appropriation of – “the Indian” swept over to Europe early on. Beginning with the letters of Christopher Columbus, Europeans fabricated their own images of “Indians,” most influentially maybe that of the “noble savage” à la Rousseau. In Germany, there has been a long tradition of Indianertümelei, a term translated by Hartmut Lutz as German “Indianthusiasm,” most prominently reflected in the novels written by Karl May. Focusing on visual representations, this talk will trace popular German constructions of the West and “the Indian” from the mid-19th century to their culmination in the screen adaptations of the Karl May novels and the so-called Indianerfilme produced by Eastern German Film Academy in the 1960s and 1970s. This tradition of “Indianthusiasm,” it will be argued, influences the ways German audiences “see” Native Americans to this day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nagle on Owenson & Stael


A new article by Chris Nagle, “Traveling Pleasures and Perils of Sensibility,” was recently published in The Wordsworth Circle 39.1-2 (Winter/Spring 2008). The essay explores the converging issues of nationalist politics, cosmopolitanism, and sympathetic attachment in two contemporary blockbusters of the early 19th century, Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl and Mme de Staël’s Corrine; or Italy. Solicited by the journal’s editor, Marilyn Gaull, this short essay offers a “preview” of a more expansive essay that will be published in a forthcoming collection on Theorizing Romanticism later this year.
Edited by Gary L. McDowell and F. Daniel Rzicznek, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to the Prose Poem: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice, will appear in the spring of 2010 from Rose Metal Press. The anthology features personal essays (accompanied by innovative and imaginative prose poems) that offer a vibrant, insider's look at how this vital and increasingly popular form of poetry excites, informs, and inspires its ever-widening audience. Contributors include Gary Young, Denise Duhamel, Mary Ann Samyn, Amy Newman, Kathleen McGookey, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, David Keplinger, Jeffrey Skinner, David Shumate, and many others. Rose Metal Press can be found at http://www.rosemetalpress.com/.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lecture on German 'Indianthusiasm'

On Thursday, September 11, 7 pm, Professor Karsten Fitz of Passau University, Germany, will deliver a public lecture hosted by our department (2028 Brown Hall) on "German 'Indianthusiasm' Reconsidered: The 'Noble Savage' in the German Cultural Imagination." Students, staff, faculty, and community members are invited.


P.S.: Some of you may remember Karsten Fitz because he lectured here before in 2002, speaking on "‘Canonizing’ Native American Literature: Integrating Native American Writing into the Survey of American Literature."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nagle Speaks at NASSR


Chris Nagle recently returned from the annual conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) in Toronto, where he presented a paper, “‘Soils Luxuriant’: The Diverse Pleasures of Ann Batten Cristall.” This work on his favorite (obscure) late 18th-century poet was part of a Special Session devoted to Romantic Poems, Diverse Readerships, and is part of a longer contribution to an essay collection on queer literary history, currently in review.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Faculty in Full Retreat

Board appointed English faculty recently gathered at WMU's Southwest Campus in Benton Harbour for a one-day retreat to discuss the department's shared sense of purpose as well as goals and guiding ideas to strengthen our undergraduate programs.

More Comparative Drama on Project MUSE

The English Department's prestigious research journal, Comparative Drama, will be added to the Project MUSE Basic Research and Basic College collections in 2009, thus further enhancing its availability to scholars and students all over the world. Comparative Drama already is in the Premium Collection, which contains all MUSE titles, as well as in the Standard and Humanities Collections.

Below are the TOCs of Comparative Drama's two most recent issues:

Volume 42.2 Summer 2008:
  • The Secular Morality of Middleton’s City Comedies, Derek Alwes
  • Dragon Fathers and Unnatural Children: Warring Generations in King Lear and its Sources, Meredith Skura
  • Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses: Mythic Revision as Cathartic Ritual, Miriam M. Chirico
  • Staging a New Literary History: Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus, In the Blood, and Fucking A, Carol Schafer
  • “The End of Nigerian History”: Wole Soyinka and Yorùbá Historiography, Glen Odom
Volume 42.3 Fall 2008: Studies in Liturgical Drama Special Issue
  • Introduction: In Memory of Audrey Ekdahl Davidson, David Bevington
  • Demonstration Performance of the Cividale Planctus Mariae: A Report, Eric Strand, Matthew Steel, and Clifford Davidson
  • Scenarios of the “Descent into Hell” in Two Processional Antiphons, Clyde Brockett
  • Meditationes Vitae Christi in the Medieval German Marienklage: Franciscan Exegesis through Drama and Music, Peter Loewen
  • Liturgical Drama and “School of Abelard”, David Wulstan
  • Pilgrims and Prostitutes: Costume and Individualism in Twelfth-Century Liturgical Drama, Andrew Gibb

Friday, August 15, 2008

Literature and the Web(b)

Allen Webb and Robert Rozema just published Literature and the Web. Reading and Responding with New Technologies with Heinemann Publishers. The volume is intended as a "nuts-and-bolts guide for any English teacher looking for effective tools to boost readers' engagement and improve their responses to literature."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Heller Has Book Signings

Janet Heller, author of the award-winning children's book "How the Moon Regained Her Shape," will autograph copies of her book and answer questions at two Kalamazoo-area book signings this month.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 19, from 7 to 9 p.m., Heller will be at the Home School Education Fair at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 6134 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 20, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Heller will be at Kazoo Books, 2413 Parkview Ave., Kalamazoo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ludwig's "Receding Shadows" on WGVU

On Tuesday 8/12, at 10 pm, WGVU is showing Tom Ludwig's "Receding Shadows: a Portrait of Recovery". For more information, please check Tom's filmography at www.ludsite.com/tom.html.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Salisbury Presents Two Papers in UK

Eve Salisbury has recently returned from the UK where she presented two papers. The first, entitled “The Palimpsestuous Text: Incest, Intertextuality, and the Confessio Amantis” was given at the International John Gower Society Conference in London; the second—“Chaucer and Literary Pilgrimage”---was presented at the New Chaucer Society Conference in Swansea, Wales.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Third Coast Writing Project to Host National Conference

The English Department's Third Coast Writing Project, now concluding its 15th Summer Institute, has been chosen as the host of a national conference for the National Writing Project.
Some 200 to 300 teachers from across the country are expected to attend the National Writing Project Rural Sites Network Conference March 13-15, 2009, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. The conference will highlight WMU and the communities in and around Kalamazoo. For full information, see: http://www.wmich.edu/wmu/news/2008/07/029.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

Utz to Organize Medievalism Sessions at IMC (CFP)

Studies in Medievalism is sponsoring three sections for next year's International Medieval Congress. If you are interested, please contact Richard Utz (richard.utz@wmich.edu).

1) "What, in the World, is Medievalism? Global Reinventions of the Middle Ages."
For next year's congress, Studies in Medievalism is sponsoring a roundtable discussion which, as the punctuation in the session title attempts to indicate, would like to extend existing discussions of Medievalisms in the postmedieval west to non-western, westernized, or only marginally western regions, nations, and cultures. Specifically, we intend to include five to eight scholars from the areas of political science, anthropology, economics, cultural history, literary and language study, music, and the fine arts to discuss notions of the "medieval" in Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Japan, Korea, South America, India, and Australia/New Zealand (to name but a few) to present a panoramic view of global receptions. The main goal of the round table is to provide a forum for congress participants to encounter the rich, but often less well-known notions of the "medieval" in countries and cultures which negotiate prevalent western ideas of the past with their traditional cultural paradigmata.

2) "Expatriate Medievalisms." This paper session wants to investigate the experience of western voyagers, expatriates, and emigrés who, displaced from their countries and cultures of origin, brought with them and often transmuted ideas of the "medieval" to their new "homes." The "extraterritorial" experience, as George Steiner called it, provides for often original insights into definitions of the Middle Ages, as new architectures, landscapes, climates, literary genres, languages, and theories lead to a veritable "Babel" of identities among political exiles, sentimental travelers on the grand tour or "going west," from soldiers on foreign shores to scholars and artists on their year(s) "abroad." Contributions to this topic might include personal biographical accounts of current medievalist expatriates.

3) "Religious Medievalisms." This paper session intends to provide a forum for the discussion of how various religious traditions have viewed the Middle Ages or how images and stereotypes of, for example, the Catholic or Christian Middle Ages have dominated the popular and scholarly reception since the Renaissance. Specifically, the session is meant to seek answers as to diverse reconfigurations of the "medieval" by the Reformation, Counterreformation, Enlightenment, Modernism, and Postmodernism, Vatican II; by writers, artists, musicians, etc. with missionary intentions; and by scholars who recognized the central role of Medieval religion for their cultural theories. Finally, the organizers would welcome scholarship on how specific religious organizations and communities have redefined their own medieval roots through the centuries.