Thursday, April 30, 2009

Distinguished Alumnus Robert Bradley on Campus

Here are some pictures taken during Robert Bradley's recent visit to WMU.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Issues poet Paul Guest on The Story

Listen to "Paul Guest's Body of Poetry" on Paul is the author of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, chosen by Campbell McGrath for te 2002 New Issues Poetry Prize. His latest book is titled My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rypma on Fabergé

People to People present Night of Russia

Authentic cuisine, music, and Judith A Rypma, Professor, Western Mich Univ. Saturday, April 18, 2009: Social– 5:30; Dinner– 6:30pm Northwood University NADA Center. Before dinner, Dr. Walter Gawel will play folk music while strolling with his accordion. Judith Rypma, a professor of folklore at Western Michigan University and specialist in Russian folklore and culture, has visited Russia and the former Soviet Union multiple times over the past decades. She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Kalamazoo-Pushkin Partnership, a non-profit organization that sponsors a major arts festival each November in Kalamazoo. Prof. Rypma's current research focuses on gemlore of Russia, including legends surrounding the Fabergé Eggs. These breathtaking "icons" of Russia's imperial past served as Easter gifts from the last two tsars to their empresses, and continue to fascinate lovers of art and gems worldwide. Rypma will show slides and discuss the fates of the fabulous jeweled eggs.

Punch Fountain – Apple Cider
Black Bread with Butter
Russian Salad

Chicken Kiev
Beef Stroganoff
Pickled Beets & Onions
Mashed Potatoes

DESSERT: Apple Charlotte Pie

Coffee, Iced Tea & Water will be available.
You are welcome to bring your own drinks; suggestions from Eastman Party Store
(15% discount with mention of PTP Night of Russia):
Cote du Rhone (red);
Egri Merlot – Hungary (sweet)
Uno – Greece (red or white)

$20.00/person; $17.00 Members; $15 Students
Tax deductible donations are appreciated to allow us to fulfill our mission. Contact Teot’s at 835-2567, or John Metcalf :839-5165, for tickets

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dolan & Marquart on Nonfiction

Did you know that J.D. Dolan and Debra Marquart both appear in the same collection of essays on Creative Nonfiction? Check it out: The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction (5th Edition), ed. by Robert L. Root and Michael J. Steinberg.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Graduate Student Research and Travel Awards

Kate Dernocoeur, Lisa Horton, and Melinda Moustakis are recipients of Graduate College 2009 Research and Travel Awards. Michele Bonczek, Meghann Meeusen, and Andrew Taylor are recipients of Graduate College Travel Grants. Congrats to all!

Arnie Johnston honored for 42 years of service

At yesterday's Arniefest, current and former students, faculty, and staff celebrated the impressive 42 years of distinguished service Arnie Johnston has given to Western as faculty member and chair. Guests included President Dunn, Graduate Dean Pyenson, Vice Provost for Academic Operations and Chief Information Officer Jim Gilchrist, former Theater chair Terry D. Williams, Spanish Chair Mercedes Tasende, former Director of Collective Bargaining and Chair of Mathematics and Statistics Jay Wood, and many more. At the ceremony, Dr. Steve Feffer announced the establishing of a Playwriting Award, the "Arnie," which will recognize excellent undergraduate and graduate work in Playwriting every year. For more information on the "Arnie," contact - William Arnold (Arnie) Johnston has been a member of WMU’s Department of English since 1966, chiefly teaching courses in creative writing (playwriting, fiction, and poetry), modern literature, and development of the novel. He served as chairman of the department at Western Michigan University (1997-2007). Over more than four decades, his extensive service to the department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the university includes being co-founder and coordinator of the creative writing program, serving as Director of Graduate Studies, and membership on almost every significant departmental committee, often as chair, and many college and university committees, both standing and ad hoc. He also takes pride in his long membership in the WMU chapter of the AAUP, and his stints on four faculty bargaining teams (three as chief negotiator), including the team that successfully negotiated the first contract between the chapter and Western.
Arnie’s plays, and others written in collaboration with his wife, Deborah Ann Percy, have won awards, production, and publication across the country. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared widely in literary journals. His books include a collection of poetry, What the Earth Taught Us (March Street Press, 1996), The Witching Voice: A Play About Robert Burns (WMU Press, 1973), and Of Earth and Darkness: The Novels of William Golding (University of Missouri, 1980). Arnie’s The Witching Voice: A Novel About Robert Burns was published in 2009—for the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth—by Wings Press (San Antonio). Arnie and Debby’s translations (in collaboration with Dona Roşu) of two long one-acts—Night of the Passions and Sons of Cain—by Romanian playwright Hristache Popescu were published in Bucharest (1999) by Editura HP, as was an English-Romanian edition of his and Percy’s full-length play Rasputin in New York (with Romanian translation by Dona Roşu and Luciana Costea). Rasputin was also produced to critical acclaim in 1999 by the Whole Art Theatre at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Lake Auditorium and by Love Creek Productions at New York City’s Theatre Row Studios. Another Johnston-Percy- Roşu translation of a Popescu play, Epilogue, will appear in 2009 from Editura HP. Their edited anthology entitled The Art of the One-Act appeared in 2007 from New Issues Poetry and Prose. Arnie and Debby’s full-length play Traveling to Tulum won high critical praise when premiered by API in March-April 2000 at Kalamazoo’s Epic Center. Since 2001 ten of their radio dramas have been broadcast on WMUK-FM as part of the Kalamazoo Arts Council’s All Ears Theatre series. In 2004 their full-length play Small Slam, part of a “Detroit trilogy” that includes Beyond Sex (due for publication by Editura HP in 2009 in both Romanian and English) and the award-winning The Zamboni Situation, received a New York staging by Developing Act Theatre Company; Slam also received a reading in 2008 at NYC’s Workshop Theatre. Their most recent stage projects are a full-length translation/ adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker and a historical drama, Out in the Forty-Five, about Scotland’s Jacobite Rebellion, and a comedy-drama, The Wedding Play. Arnie is an experienced actor-singer, having performed nearly 100 roles on stage and radio, as well as many concerts, and he will now be able to give more time to those pursuits. On his 1997 compact disc recording Jacques Brel: I’m Here! (Western Michigan University) he performs his own translations of songs by the noted Belgian singer-songwriter. Four revues featuring his Brel translations have been staged in New York, as well as others in Chicago (recognized by four Jefferson Award nominations) and Kalamazoo. A recipient in 1986 of Kalamazoo’s Community Medal of Arts, Arnie is currently a member of the Dramatists Guild and an Associate Artist with Chicago’s Theo Ubique Theatre Company; he has also been a resident playwright with both the Off-Off Broadway theatre company AAI Productions and Kalamazoo’s Actors and Playwrights Initiative (API).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FRACAAwards for Vocke and Wardrop

Karen Vocke and Daneen Wardrop are recipients of WMU Faculty Research and Creative Activities Awards. Congratulations!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Annual Awards Ceremony & Reception

At last week's Annual English Department Awards Ceremony, President Dunn, Provost Greene, Distinguished Alumnus Robert Bradley, and about one hundred guests gathered to honor this year's best students. Here are some pictures, including many of those who helped bring the ceremony about and those who enjoyed it.

Olsen and Salisbury receive Chair's Service Award

At last week's Annual Awards Ceremony, Drs. Bill Olsen and Eve Salisbury both received the English Department Chair's Distinguished Service Award in recognition of major contributions to the welfare of the entire department.

Tarbox receives grant for ENGL 2000

Gwen Tarbox received an Instructional Development Grant for ENGL 2000, the department's experimental fall 2009 class for a holistic introduction to English Studies, through the instructional development initiative mandated by the WMU/AAUP Agreement, Article 40.

ASTRAs Awarded

Congrats to Steve Feffer, Jaimy Gordon, Cynthia Klekar, Chris Nagle, and John Saillant for being awarded ASTRA Awards this time around.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Issues poet Diane Seuss wins a major award

New Issues poet Diane Seuss learned on April 3rd that she won the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prize for Poetry, judged by Pulitzer-prize-winner James Tate. Her collection of poetry, called "Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open," will be published in Spring 2010; its title mirrors the name of her first book (for New Issues) called It Blows you Hollow. A new poem by Seuss will debut at Kalamazoo College's Founders' Day event on April 24. She is the K-College Writer-In-Residence.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poetry Reading on Earth Day

Bonnie Jo Campbell, Danna Ephland, Julie Stotz-Ghosh and Kathleen McGookey will be doing a poetry reading on Saturday April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Daily Brews coffee shop in Wayland, to celebrate Earth Day. We'll be reading a mix of our own work and the work of writers we admire. And Bonnie will have hot-off-the-press copies of her new story collection, American Salvage.
Wayland is located just off 131, about halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
More information about our reading can be found at, and the address for Daily Brews is 128 S. Main, Wayland, 49348.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Winner of the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize Announced: Judy Halebsky

Judy Halebsky has won the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize for her manuscript Sky=Empty. Marvin Bell, author of Mars Being Red, judged. Judy wins a $2,000 award and publication of her manuscript in the spring of 2010.

“I was caught by the clarity of mind and expression of Sky=Empty — a quality distinctive at any time. I was caught by the ear and eye, the tone of voice, and the easy movement between inner and outer. The respect for language is tangible. This is a beautiful, engaging first book, the sort of book one may buy a second copy of to give away.” —Marvin Bell, from the Judge’s Citation

Judy Halebsky is a member of the Sacramento Poetry Center’s Tuesday night workshop and has an M.F.A. from Mills College. Her poems have appeared in Runes, Five Fingers Review and Eleven Eleven. Residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Millay Colony have supported her work. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is currently in Japan studying noh theatre on a research scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT).

Keith Ekiss’s manuscript Pima Road Notebook was named runner-up by the judge and will be published in the fall of 2010.

Ekiss is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and the Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University for 2007-09. He is the past recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences, Santa Fe Art Institute, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Petrified Forest National Park. He is the Artistic Director of the Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco.

More information about New Issues or the New Issues Poetry Prize can be found at

Call for Superheros, I mean papers about Superheros


Understanding Superheroes
An Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Oregon

Location: The University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Dates: October 23-24, 2009

“Understanding Superheroes” is conceived as an interdisciplinary multi-media event, held in conjunction with a simultaneous exhibition of original comic art at the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

This exhibition, “Faster Than A Speeding Bullet,” will feature over 150 pages of original superhero comic art from the 1940s to the present, with examples of key works by many major creators in the industry, including Neal Adams, Mike Allred, C C Beck, Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Ramona Fradon, Dave Gibbons, Don Heck, Carmine Infantino, J G Jones, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Mort Meskin, Frank Miller, Joe Orlando, George Perez, H G Peter, Mac Raboy, John Romita Sr., Alex Ross, Marie Severin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner, and Berni Wrightson.

Keynote Speakers include Danny Fingeroth (author of Superheroes On The Couch and Disguised As Clark Kent) and Charles Hatfield (author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature).

Guests Panelists include Kurt Busiek (author of numerous Superhero titles for Marvel and DC, and creator of the award-winning Astro City series), Greg Rucka (co-creator of Gotham Central, White Out, Queen & Country, and many projects for Marvel and DC), and Gail Simone (writer on Marvel’s Deadpool, DC’s Birds of Prey, co-creator of Welcome To Tranquility for Wildstorm, and current Wonder Woman scribe)!

Other guests TBA.

We invite 1-2 page proposals for 20-30 minute conference papers considering the implications of superhero fantasies for our understanding of such diverse topics as gender identity, queerness, theological yearning, and nationalist politics. We also welcome appreciative discussions of superhero comics as significant aesthetic achievements — particularly insofar as those discussions contribute to the ongoing project within contemporary Comics Studies, to map the unique conventions of the comic art form. Above all, we are interested in sophisticated, lucidly written analyses that utilize the conceptual tools and hermeneutic lenses of contemporary literary and cultural theory.

It is our hope that this conference will help all participants, student and professional, skeptic and fan, to understand the extraordinary imaginative appeal of the costumed adventurer — an appeal that overlaps significant distinctions of age, gender, nation, and culture, and which no amount of silliness or cynicism seems quite able to dispel.

Please address queries and submit proposals via email to Ben Saunders, Associate Professor, Department of English by Monday, June 30tth, 2009. (Email address:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Retirement party for Arnie Johnston


On Tuesday, April 21, from 5-9:00 pm in the Lee Honors College Lounge, we are going to celebrate Arnie Johnston's retirement. All of Arnie's students, colleagues, collaborators, and friends are invited to attend. Please spread the word.

Betcher, MFA 2003, published in BRAND

Gina Betcher, MFA 2003, has a 200 word story published in BRAND Literary Magazine, UK. "The Boy on the Bicycle" is her first published piece overseas. Her contract indicates the piece will be available on line and in hard copy in issue 04 winter/spring. Brand Literary Magazine is out of the University of Greenwich, Gina used to work in Greenwich, and can be found at

Monday, April 13, 2009

EVE SEDGWICK (1950-2009)

So far this is the only announcement available on the web:


Kris Peterson in the Gazette

Kris Peterson (recently selected as a national finalist for the Ten-Minute Play Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's 11th Annual Short Play Festival, where it will be performed on April 17 by professional actors in Washington, D.C.) is the subject of a feature in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grace Tiffany, Shakespeare, Gunpowder

On April 9th and 10th Grace Tiffany attended the Shakespeare Association of America's annual conference in Washington, D.C. Her paper concerned Shakespeare's representations of the use of gunpowder in warfare.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grad Student Colloquium

WMU English graduate students in Literature and English Education, led by Dr. Joyce Walker, presented the final project for their capstone course, ENGL 6900, on Wednesday, April 8, to an enthusiastic audience. Presentations included:
- Steve Ryno: Developing Lives: Therapeutic Writing in the Developmental Classroom
- Michelle Ringle-Barrett: Reshaping the Image of Scholarship: Emotions, Vulnerability, and Womanhood in the Composition Classroom
- Meghann Meeusen: Breaking the Glass Slipper: Reconstructing Power Paradigms in Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted.
- Kristin Denslow: Funkin’ with Much Ado: Hip-hop Rewrites Gender in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sweeney strikes again

Chad Sweeney, PhD student in Poetry, had his third full-length book of poems, Parable of Hide and Seek, accepted for publication. The volume will be published in 2010 by Alice James Books as the runner-up in the Beatrice Hawley Award for which there were over one thousand manuscripts submitted. Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Utz on Chaucer Reception

Richard Utz recently published an essay, "Clemen Among the Chaucerians -- Toward a History of Reception of Der junge Chaucer," in Wolfgang Clemen im Kontext seiner Zeit. Ein Beitrag zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte vor und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, ed. Ina Schabert (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Carl Winter, 2009), pp. 71-80.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Graphic Novels Course Poster Presentation Event

On Thursday, April 16th from 4-5pm in 4002 Brown Hall, the students in ENGL 5970, Graphic Fiction, will be presenting their semester projects in poster form. Please drop in (and feel free to bring your own students) to see the amazing scholarship that this group has generated and to learn more about the medium of the graphic novel.

New Issues Publishes Two New Books in April

A Million in Prizes was selected by Carl Phillips as winner of the 2008 New Issues Poetry Prize, an award for a first book of poetry. Phillips, in his judge's citation, writes, "A Million in Prizes seduces in the best possible way: subtly, with a poignant wit, and a sly charm." Marks is the founder and editor of Kitchen Press Chapbooks in New York City.

Hilarity is Seyburn's third book of poetry and winner of the 2008 Green Rose Prize, awarded for a full-length collection of poetry by an established poet. Seyburn is an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach, and co-editor of POOL: A Journal of Poetry based in Los Angeles. Poet David Citino notes that Seyburn's poems are "filled with a strange, ambitious and compelling music made of the mythic, momentous and mundane days of our lives."

Cover art was designed by Abby Anderson (Hilarity) and NatalieAnn Rich (A Million in Prizes), students in the graphic design program in the Frostic School of Art. Both titles were copyedited and arranged by New Issues's Layout Editor Kory Shrum.

Two more poetry titles will be released in May. WMU News: New Issues Poetry & Prose releases four new books.

AGES Book Sale

Be sure to visit the annual AGES book sale. The sale is located in Brown Hall, HRC today (April 7th) from 10am-3:30 pm. Tommorow you can find them in the Brown Hall Commons (second floor study area) from 10am-3:30pm.

Feature items include novels, textbooks, anthologies, videogames, movies and more! Trade paperbacks are selling for 50 cents, large paperbacks for $1.00, hard covers for $2.00, VHS movies for 50 cents and journals for 25 cents.

AGES appreciates your support.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Nagle Update

Chris Nagle recently attended the joint meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and the Eighteenth Century Ireland Society in Richmond, VA, and presided over a roundtable—“The Polyamorous 18th Century”—with his co-organizer, Courtney Wennerstrom of Indiana University. In addition to organizing and co-chairing the panel, Chris presented a brief talk, “Why Polyamorousness Now?” and met with his two new ASECS Graduate Student Caucus mentees. Chris and Prof. Wennerstrom are in discussion with presses about a collection of essays that will draw in part from this session and papers from a previous conference. (Let CN know if you’re doing any work that might fit!)

Additionally, Chris has been commissioned to do a 5,000-word essay on the poetry of Letitia Elizabeth Landon for the forthcoming Blackwell Encyclopedia of Romanticism (eds. Frederick Burwick, Diane Hoeveler, and Nancy Moore Goslee), and a review of Richard Sha’s Perverse Romanticism for Nineteenth Century Literature. He also has been asked to serve as a reader for the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies and as a consulting editor for The Explicator.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reminder: MFA Festival this Friday and Saturday!

Come to the 2009 MFA Festival!
April 3 and 4, 6:00 - 9:00 PM in Walwood Hall.