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

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 StaĆ«l 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.