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
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 and

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

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 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 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

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
SCRIPTWRITING: Robert Kirkbride

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.