Monday, March 31, 2008

Third Coast reading: 4/4

Please join the Third Coast reading series this Friday, April 4 for a reading by graduate students Vinny Reusch, Jason Olsen, and Laura Donnelly (rescheduled from March 20). Graduating Ph.D. in fiction, Vinny, will be reading non-fiction. Graduating Ph.D., Jason, and Laura will both be reading from their poetry. Refreshments and good cheer will be in abundance. So come, celebrate this good work, see off our departing friends in style, and help spead the word by inviting your students. The reading will begin at 7:30 on the 10th floor of Sprau.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ellis and Slawinski Receive ASTRA Grants

Tony Ellis (Abstraction Theatre: In-class Performance and Discussion of Shakespeare's Comedies) and Scott Slawinski (Sally Wood: The Life and Work of Maine's First Gothic Novelist) are recipients of College of Arts and Sciences Teaching and Research Awards (ASTRA). 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bart the Temp by Steve Feffer, March 28 and 29, April 4 and 5@Whole Art Late Night

You’ll laugh.

You’ll cry.

You’ll “prefer not to.”

Bart, the Temp: A Story of Wall Street

a contemporary stage version of Melville’s “Bartleby”

By Steve Feffer Directed by Dann Sytsma

Whole Art Late Night Series,
246 North Kalamazoo Mall,
Friday and Saturday March 28 and 29 and April 4 and 5 at 11 PM.
Five bucks.
Reservations: 269-345-7529
More information:

William “Bud” Herman, Esquire, just needed a temporary administrative assistant. He thought his prayers were answered when Bart showed up. But now, Bart won’t leave. He’s there all the time, gourmet coffee-in-hand, and "preferring not to…" to his boss's most ordinary requests.

Featuring Keith Furry, John Kasdorf, James Sanford, Kate Walker, Sheena Rene Hietala, Kevin Dodd, Kyle Waterman, Lizz Mathews, and Michael Hoekstra. And as at every Late Night performance, complimentary Biggby's Gourmet Coffee and Sweetwater's Donuts are provided for the audience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March is Small Press Month

March is Small Press Month and as your local small press we wanted to update everyone on all the exciting things happening at New Issues.

This spring we have four new poetry books coming out:
* Theories of Falling by Sandra Beasley, winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize (Marie Howe, Judge)
* The Headless Saints by Myronn Hardy
* The Translator's Diary by Jon Pineda, winner of the 2007 Green Rose Prize in Poetry
* Causeway by Elaine Sexton

"Heaven," a poem from Elaine Sexton's new collection Causeway, will be reprinted in O, The Oprah Magazine, which has a circulation of over two million. "Heaven" will appear in the May issue on spirituality.

Matthew Thorburn Wins Witter Bynner Fellowship:
Poet Laureate Charles Simic has chosen New Issues poet Matthew Thorburn for the 2008 Witter Bynner Fellowship (which carries a $10,000 fellowship) and will introduce him at a reading on March 6 at the Library of Congress. Thorburn, of New York City, is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the MFA program at The New School. He is the author of the New Issues title Subject to Change.

Undid in the Land of Undone by Lee Upton has been named a finalist in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards in the Poetry category. "ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention from librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and their authors."

The Body is No Machine by Jennifer Perrine has been named a finalist for the The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, a post-publication prize offered by the Publishing Triangle.

Online Reviews:
Visit Rattle's new site for e-reviews to read reviews of two New Issues titles:
Standing in Line for the Beast reviewed by Peter Matera
The Body is No Machine reviewed by Cameron Conaway
Visit the Bookslut website for two great reviews of New Issues titles:
Standing in Line for the Beast by Jason Bredle, reviewed by Jason B. Jones
Undid in the Land of Undone by Lee Upton, reviewed by Olivia Cronk

Don't forget that April is National Poetry Month!

Martha Bayless -- Loew Lecture

This year's Loew Lecture, sponsored by WMU's Medieval Institute, is to be presented by Prof. Martha Bayless, English, Univ. of Oregon. The title of this talk is "Sinners, the Moral Body, and the Motif That Dare Not Speak Its Name," and it will be presented on 19 March at 5:00pm in the Walwood Commons of Walwood Hall. A reception will follow.

Third Coast Reading 3/21

Join AGES this Friday, March 21, for an excellent reading in the Third Coast Reading Series. Laura Donnelly and Jason Olsen will be reading their poetry. Vinny Reusch will be reading fiction. For you sentimental types, remember that Jason and Vinny graduate from the Ph.D. program this year, so this is one of your last chances to celebrate their work here at Western. As always, the reading will be on the 10th floor of Sprau and begins at 7:30. All are invited and we hope that you will encourage your students to attend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mary Ruefle to read from her poetry

The Women’s Caucus is hosting a poetry reading to which you are cordially invited: MARY RUEFLE will read from her work on THURSDAY, MARCH 27 at 7 PM in the MEADER ROOM, 3RD FLOOR, WALDO LIBRARY. Her reading is co-sponsored by the Department of English, Waldo Library, and the Carol Ann Haenicke American Women’s Poetry Collection Advisory Board. THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO ALL FACULTY MEMBERS AND STUDENTS. A RECEPTION WILL FOLLOW.If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Eimers at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nagle Wins Fellowship

Christopher Nagle recently learned that he is this year's recipient of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies/Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies Fellowship. This short-term ASECS Fellowship will provide a stipend to cover a one-month residence at the Keough-Naughton Institute during the summer and full access to the considerable resources of the Hesburgh Library Irish Studies and Eighteenth-Century Studies collections. The world-renowned holdings of the Department of Special Collections have been augmented substantially by the recent acquisition of the remarkable Loeber Collection of Irish Fiction, exploration of which will serve as a high-point of the residency.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

STDs return!

So, your favorite STDs are back from Louisville, KY. Not to worry, we left our mark at the convention. Along with networking and presenting our writing, our very own Jennifer Dempsey walked away with the first place prize for original poetry. Please be sure to embarrass her publicly for her amazing writing skills.

In other Sigma Tau Delta news, Adam Clay won our raffle for a weekend stay at a cottage on Wall Lake!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Loss of Clayton Holaday

Ardis and I have received word of the death of Clayton Holaday, long-time professor in the English Department, on February 14. He was 90. Clayt’s area was American literature and his special focus the American Renaissance. He came in 1956 and retired in 1980–a span of service that included both very good and very fraught times for both the English Department and Western. I was his colleague during both eras and found Clayt to be a balance wheel in the department, a voice of sense combining good principles and realism. He was kind and responsive but could be incisive in his judgments, generally offered with his trademark smile. I always felt that he managed to be both demanding and understanding with his students. In my four years as associate chair and scheduler, during which there were far too few “good” assignments to parcel out, I never heard a complaint from my very senior colleague Clayt. Along with other English Department colleagues in the 1950s-60s Clayt contributed his administrative talents to the university; he helped direct the Student Financial Aid Office.

Cremation has taken place. Clayt’s wife Eileen and his four children survive him; his daughter Kate tells me the family will set a time for an informal memorial gathering this spring or summer: “He wanted it to be when it gets warm.” A brief obituary is available on the Web at
–Larry Syndergaard

Friesner Recognized as "Significant Educator"

Scott Friesner was recently recognized as a "Significant Educator" by Kalamazoo County's Excellence in Education program in connection with his teaching for the Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP); this is the ninth year he has received the award.
He also joined Mike Johnston and Mike Gilmore of Northwoods Improvisers in composing and creating the music for "According to Twain: Accounts, Tales, and Yarns," a play commissioned by Central Michigan University and written by Jill Taft-Kaufman that is slated to be heard on NPR's "American Masters" series.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Scholarly Speaker this week, Dr. Carla Mulford

Dr. Carla Mulford, Associate Professor of English at Penn State University, will speak on "Benjamin Franklin and Educational Liberalism" on Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m. as part of the English Department's Scholarly Speakers Series. The talk will be in the Lee Honors College. There will be a Q & A session and small reception afterward. Also on Thursday, she will participate in a brown bag lunch discussion in the Faculty Dining Room at the Bernhard Center at 12:15 p.m. The topic will be "Gender and the Early American Canon." Please join us for either or both events.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Janet Heller's news

Janet Heller speaks March 16th at the Michigan Reading Association Convention in Detroit on the topic "Using Stories and Nonfiction for Kids to Combat Bullying." She will also autograph her book How the Moon Regained Her Shape and participate in a breakfast for authors and teachers. Then, on March 19th at 5:15 pm., she reads, answers questions, and autographs her book at the YMCA in Portage, Michigan, at 2900 W. Centre. For more information, phone 269-324-9622.
On March 21 at 9 a.m. she gives another reading from her book at Comstock North Elementary School at 3100 N. 26th St. in Comstock, Michigan.
She speaks on a panel called "Beyond Tolerance and into Respect with Children's Choices" at the International Reading Association conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 7 at 9 a.m.

Here are some recent publications by Janet Heller:

"Franchising the Disenfranchised: Improving the Lot of Visiting Faculty and Adjuncts, Gypsy Scholars, Migrant Teachers and the Global Academic Proletariat," ed. Rudolphus Teeuwen and Steffen Hantke (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007): 79-85.

"Returning to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin" (creative nonfiction), Midwestern Miscellany 35 (Spring/Fall 2007): 55-59.

Roy Seeger's chapbook now out

We are pleased to announce that Roy Seeger of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is the winner of the Gribble Press poetry chapbook contest of 2007 for his manuscript, Garden of Improbable Birds. Roy Seeger teaches English part time at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and has appeared in such journals as Verse, The Laurel Review, Gulf Coast, The Mississippi Review as well as others. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and small dog.
To order a copy, send a check for $10.00 to Gribble Press, PO Box 10307, Spokane, WA 99209-0307. (
In addition, he's this month's broadside at

Frostic Reading: 3/17

The Gwen Frostic Reading Series is pleased to present visiting fiction writer Kellie Wells Monday, March 17 at 8pm at the Little Theatre.

Wells is the author of a collection of short fiction, Compression Scars, 2001 winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award; and a novel, Skin, published by the University of Nebraska Press in the Flyover Fiction Series edited by Ron Hansen. Her work has appeared in various literary journals, including The Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, The Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner. In 2002 she received a Rona Jaffe Prize and Compression Scars was awarded the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writer’s Award in fiction.

As always, all are invited, so please encourage your students to attend and help us spread the word.