Friday, January 29, 2010

Salisbury reviews Butler's The Language of Abuse

Eve Salisbury recently reviewed Sara M. Butler's The Language of Abuse: Marital Violence in Later Medieval England (Brill, 2007), in the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire 44 (2009), pp. 507-508.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bonnie Jo Campbell, MFA

Bonnie Jo Campbell is a fiction finalist again--this time by the National Book Critics Circle Award, announced Saturday at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York. The Awards are given annually by the critics' group and will be handed out March 11. It was for her novel American Salvage.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Salisbury on "Gower's Wife, Prostitution, and the Confessio Amantis"

Eve Salisbury’s essay, “Promiscuous Contexts: Gower’s Wife, Prostitution, and the Confessio Amantis,” has been published by Brepols in a collection entitled John Gower: Manuscripts, Readers, and Contexts, edited by Malte Urban of Queen’s University Belfast.

Gary McDowell wins Orphic Prize for Poetry

Dream Horse Press is proud to announce that Gary L. McDowell's manuscript, American Amen, has won the 2009 Orphic Prize for Poetry and will be published in late 2010.  Check out the press at  Gary is also the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice due out from Rose Metal Press in early 2010.  He has poems forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Indiana Review, Reed, Lumina, Parthenon West Review, Gargoyle, Barn Owl Review, Cider Press Review, and others.  Gary is a third year PhD student at WMU studying poetry and American Literature.  He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and young son, Auden.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

English participates in Teaching MLK & Civil Rights event

TODAY: You are invited to a free workshop sponsored by the WMU MLK Committee and the departments of English, History, and the College of Education:

"Teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in 2010"

Thursday, Jan. 21 from 4:00 to 5:30 in 2302 Sangren

This workshop is dedicated to helping future teachers at all grade levels and in all content areas continue the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by addressing civil rights, inequality, racism, poverty and world peace in their curriculum.  See our website:


3:40 Book table & Free materials for all participants from Rethinking Schools

4:00 Plenary Session:  2302 Sangren Hall

Welcome: “Martin Luther King, Jr., The Civil Rights Movement, and K-12 Classrooms Today” 
Dr. Allen Webb [ENGLISH DEPT.]

 Keynote: “Acting White?  Fostering School Success of Students of Color & Students in Poverty”
    Dr. Linwood Cousins

4:45 Breakout Sessions: “Engaging Issues of Social Justice Through Young Adult Literature”
    Dr. Gwen Tarbox [ENGLISH DEPT.] 3311 Sangren

    "Art, Drama and Poverty: Empowering Students to Address the Real Issues in their Lives and Community" Chris Measaros, Bangor Public Schools, 2302 Sangren

    “Civil Rights in a Global Context” Dr. Ed Martini, 2219 Sangren

    “Teaching about the Middle East Conflicts”, Shadia Kanaan, Palestinian peace activist, Dr. Allen Webb [ENGLISH DEPT.], Virginia Shedd, 2201 Sangren

    “Continuing the Conversation: Science and Math Success for Students in Poverty” Dr. Linwood Cousins, 3309 Sangren

    “Discussing Race in the Classroom”, Jennifer Heymoss, Kalamazoo Central High School, 3207 Sangren

    “African American English and Linguistics in the Classroom”, Dr. Lisa Minnick, Sarah Hercula [both ENGLISH DEPT.] 2205 Sangren

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wardrop/Joslin Set to Kick Off Spring 2010 Scholarly Speakers Series in Style

The English Department Scholarly Speakers Series will hold its first event of the semester on Thursday, January 28, when our own Katherine Joslin and Daneen Wardrop present the lecture "Reading Dress and Discourse." This talk will take place in Brown Hall 3025 at 7:00 pm.

In November 2009, both scholars published books in the series Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies (University of New Hampshire Press). Professor Joslin will discuss Edith Wharton and the Making of Fashion and Professor Wardrop Emily Dickinson and the Labor of Clothing, while they will also talk about how they collaborated in their research.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

William Olsen is Judging Michigan's Poetry Out Loud Competition!

William Olsen will be one of three judges for Michigan's Poetry
Out Loud High School recitation competition, March 6, in Lansing.
The winner advances to the nationals and the possibility of a
$20,000 college scholarship. Some wonderful tapes of high schoolers
reciting poetry can be viewed at the Poetry Out Loud website.

Internship in Creative Writing

Brain Hurrican LLC would like to partner with the WMU English Department for a Spring Semester internship program in the field of creative writing for children. We are offering three internship positions for a creative writing project for children’s stories.  These stories are part of an interactive learning program that is in development.  This is a paid internship at the rate of $8.00 per hour, paid by  Brain Hurricane, LLC. A minimum of 12 hours per week is expected and a maximum of 20, with at least four of those hours on Fridays.  The other hours are flexible, but interns will be expected to work from the Brain Hurricane office.  Payment is on a time-clock system.

Interns will gain valuable experience in the following areas:
  • Collaborative creative writing – writing in groups toward a common goal.
  • Creative writing on a deadline – valuable real world experience pertaining to the importance of keeping up with the time constraints of the job.
  • Writing for children at different grades levels – learning to adjust writing to fit different audiences.
  • Incorporating curriculum into creative writing – fusing creativity with an education-based platform.

Interns will be expected to write short stories for an online education platform that incorporates learning strategies (vocabulary, reading comprehension, etc.:) with exciting, creative stories.
The duration of this internship is from Friday, January 22 until Friday, April 16.  We are interested in having your department supplement the benefits of this internship with internship credit hours. 

The application process for these three internships will be:
  • Submission of a fictional short story of between 400 – 600 words that caters to an audience of 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade children. 
  • A paragraph explaining why the applicant feels he or she could benefit from this internship and a paragraph explaining what the applicant feels he or she could add to this project.
  • The name and contact address (e-mail; phone) of at least one reference.
  • A brief interview (either by phone or in person – TBD).
  • Review of application will begin on Wednesday, January 20.

The selection process for these three internship positions is subject to the discretion of Brain Hurricane LLC.  Selected applicants will be required to sign a document that allows for termination of the internship if the selected applicant does not meet the required number of hours or can not demonstrate the writing quality required. Please visit for more information about our company.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Questions: contact Brian Lam, Brain Hurrican LLC, 269.216.1474

Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants Workshops

The Graduate College will offer two more workshops for graduate students on the preparation of applications for the Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants. The workshops will be held in the Emeriti Lounge on the second floor of Walwood Hall west. Dates, times, and links to registration are as follows:
Tues., Feb. 9, 2010, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
URL to register:
Thurs., Feb. 18, 2010, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
URL to register:
Registration links are also posted on the Graduate College home page. There is a limit of 18 participants per workshop so interested students are encouraged to register early.

Alumni Peter Geye's Novel Being Published

Alumni Peter Geye, Ph.D. Creative Writing-Fiction, sends word from Minneapolis that his novel, SAFE FROM THE SEA,
a revision of his dissertation, will be published this fall by Unbridled. Please join us in congratulating Peter on his successful publication. Peter can be contacted via email at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MLK Day Recess

A reminder that most offices at the University will be closed, and classes will not be held on Monday, January 18 to observe Martin Luther King Day. We will not be holding office or advising hours on this day. Classes resume as normal on Tuesday, January 19.

For information on what will still be open during this time, and for public events and activities pertaining to Dr. King, visit

Comparative Drama Selects Spring 2010 Student Interns

The editorial staff of Comparative Drama would like to congratulate and welcome our student interns for the Spring 2010 semester.

Kalyn Golland, Caitlin Popa, and Helena Witzke were selected from a field of over a dozen qualified applicants in a competitive application process.

English shines in Hilltop Review

Volume 3/1, fall 2009, of the Hilltop Review: A Journal of Western Michigan University Graduate Student Research demonstrates, once again, our students' scholarly and editorial activities. The two associate editors, Ilse Schweitzer and Christina Triezenberg, and contributor Gregory Laing, with his essay on "Treason and Betrayal in the Middle English Romances of Sir Gawain" (pp. 2-13), showcase English successes. And our English webmaster, Jack Goodman, a graduate student in History, contributed an essay on "Greek in Marriage, Latin in Giving: The Greek Community of Fourteenth-Century Palermo and the Deceptive Will of Bonannus de Geronimo." Please congratulate all of them on their achievements when you see them next. The full text of the volume can be accessed HERE.

Bradburn receives ASTRA

Beth Bradburn is the recipient of a College of Arts and Sciences Teaching and Research Award (ASTRA) for her project on "Marilyn Hacker's Lyric-Narrative Voice."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

After doing ad hoc work for the journal for the past year, Chris Nagle has been asked to serve as a main consulting editor for The Explicator.

Carey Daniels has three plays chosen for production

Corn Stock Playwright Festival
January 15-16 & 21-23 at 7:30 pm
January 17 at 2:30 pm
Corn Stock Theatre Center 1700 N. Park Rd Peoria IL 61604
(309) 676-2196

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students and are available at the Corn Stock Box Office, by calling 676-2196 or online at

The Corn Stock Winter Playhouse Committee is proud to announce the selections of the 2010 Playwright Festival.

1. "Red, Blue, Whatever" by Gary Hale
2. "Half Wrong" by Eric Gordon
3. "Catch and Release" by Carey Daniels
4. "When Jason Was in Kindergarten" by Carey Daniels
5. "The First Wife" by Carey Daniels
6. "You Don't Remember Me" by Gary Hale
7. "No(ah) Complaints" by Gordon Petry
8. "Optimism" by Patrick Mark Mullowney
9. "Janitor and Grad Student" by Gordon Petry
10. "Shoot" by Neil Ryan Shaw

These winning, short (10-15 minutes in length) plays will be presented each night of the run of the festival. We thank all writers for their submissions and making this a very difficult decision. We know that our audiences will be very excited by these original, never-before-seen plays.

For more information about the festival, go to

Deadline for Research/Travel Grants and Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Application deadlines are approaching for two valuable resources for graduate students. Graduate Research and Travel Grant applications are being accepted again in the Graduate College through next Tuesday 1/19. Research grants of up to $1,000 and travel grants of up to $600, plus $500 in supplemental funding for those projects involving international travel, will be awarded to selected students. More information is available at:
Research grants:
Travel grants:
Applications for the 2010-11 Dissertation Completion Fellowships worth up to $20,343, plus tuition, are being accepted online through 5 p.m. on Mon., Feb. 15. Fellowships begin in Summer II 2010. To be eligible, students must be full-time doctoral candidates in any doctoral program who will have completed all degree requirements but the dissertation by April 2010. Applicants must set up an iWebfolio account in order to apply. Further information is available at:
Questions about these or any other Graduate College award programs may be directed to Julie Nemire:
Phone: (269) - 387-8208
Fax: (269) - 387-8232

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize from New Issues

The Editors of New Issues Poetry & Prose are pleased to announce the winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize: Seth Abramson for his manuscript Northerners. Seth wins a $2,000 award and publication of his manuscript in the spring of 2011.

Seth Abramson is the author of The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009) and winner of the 2008 J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry. His poems have recently appeared in Best New Poets 2008, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former public defender, he received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2009 and is currently a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Up to three finalists (still under consideration) will also be accepted for publication in the Green Rose Series.

The Green Rose Prize is awarded to an author who has previously published at least one full-length book of poems. Winners are chosen by the editors of New Issues Press. Guidelines are available on the New Issues website.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Greg Laing reviews in Prolepsis

Greg Laing, PhD student in Medieval English Literature, published his review of Wendy Scase's Literature and Complaint in England, 1272-1553 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) in Prolepsis: The Heidelberg Review of English Studies. READ IT HERE.

Luminous Keats Film by Campion now at Little Theater

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tiffany's Article in New MERCHANT OF VENICE

Grace Tiffany's recent article, "Law and Self-Interest in The Merchant of Venice," will be republished in fall, 2010, in a new edition of Shakespeare's play by Chelsea, titled Modern Critical Interpretations: The Merchant of Venice, A New Edition, and edited by Harold Bloom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Festival of Faith and Writing

Greetings from the English Department at Calvin College! We invite you to join us for the 2010 Festival of Faith & Writing, which will take place at Calvin on April 15-17, 2010. Please feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues-or to students in your department who may be interested in attending. We would love to have them join us. The line-up for 2010 includes novelists Wally Lamb and Stephen Carter, poets Fanny Howe and Mary Karr, children’s writers Kate DiCamillo and Avi, non-fiction writer Parker Palmer, award-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis, and emerging voices Dara Horn (The World to Come), Stephanie Kallos (Broken for You), and Peter Manseau, whose first novel, Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, won the Jewish National Book Award.

The Festival brings together authors, readers, professors, publishers, illustrators, musicians, playwrights, and screenwriters who have one thing have in common: a quest to understand how faith shapes art. The presenters-from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions-are representative of the diverse world of perspectives within which much of modern literature dwells. They come together at Calvin to explore and celebrate the many connections between faith and writing.    

You will find the online registration form-as well as the list of over 60 authors who will be presenting lectures, workshops, interviews, and readings-at 

We encourage your students to attend at the special half-price rate of $80 for the entire conference. Professors who bring six or more registered students to the Festival will receive a free registration. Please call the Festival office at 616.526.6770 to take advantage of this offer.  We look forward to greeting you at the Festival in April. If you have any questions, please call the Festival office at 616.526.6770 or send an e-mail to

Susan Felch, Don Hettinga, Deb Rienstra, and Lew Klatt                   
Professors of English, Festival 2010 Planning Committee

Happy New Year from New Issues

2009 was a fantastic year for New Issues and our authors. We started off 2009 by announcing that Malinda Markham won the 2009 Green Rose Prize and that Marvin Bell picked Judy Halebsky's Sky=Empty as the winner of our first book prize. These books are at the printer and will be released this spring, just in time for the 2010 AWP Bookfair in Denver.

We published seven books of poetry and one novel:
  • Zero at the Bone by Stacie Cassarino
  • A Million in Prizes by Justin Marks, Winner of the 2008 New Issues Poetry Prize
  • Dirt Angels by Donald Platt
  • Hilarity by Patty Seyburn, Winner of the 2008 Green Rose Prize
  • Talking Diamonds by Linda Nemec Foster
  • Missing Her by Claudia Keelan
  • Beauty Breaks In by Mary Ann Samyn
  • We Agreed to Meet Just Here by Scott Blackwood, Winner of the 2007 AWP Award for the Novel

Here are some of the highlights of 2009:

Myronn Hardy’s The Headless Saints won the 2009 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award from the The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.

Jericho Brown's book Please continues to heap up honors. Most recently, he was named a winner of the 30th Annual American Book Awards, a rare if not exceptional accomplishment for a writer of a first book, placing him this year alongside such national treasures as Jack Spicer and Linda Gregg. Jericho Brown also received the 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award. Please, released in October of 2008, has become a New Issues best seller, needing to be reprinted twice already.

Katie Peterson (This One Tree, 2007) and Jericho Brown (Please, 2008) each were awarded a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and are spending the 2009/2010 academic year at Harvard working on their poetry.

Justin Mark’s A Million in Prizes (Winner of the 2008 New Issues Poetry Prize) was featured in Poets & Writers’ fifth annual Debut Poets Roundup.

Sandra Beasley, whose debut poetry collection Theories of Falling won our 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize, had her second book of poetry (I Was the Jukebox, Norton, April 2010) chosen by Joy Harjo as the winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize and her memoir (Don't Kill the Birthday Girl) purchased by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, for a 2010 publication.

Our first annual Fundraiser Gala exceed our expectations. The Eccentric CafĂ© of Kalamazoo’s own Bell’s Brewery hosted the event, which brought many of our authors, friends, and supporters together for an afternoon of music, poetry, and art auctions.

On Deck for 2010:

In a few weeks we expect to announce the winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize. In April, judge Linda Gregerson will pick a first book to win our 2010 New Issues Poetry Prize.

February: Toads’ Museum of Freaks and Wonders by Goldie Goldbloom will be released. This novel, winner of the 2008 AWP Award for the Novel, selected by Joanna Scott, is set in the Australian outback during WWII and introduces us to the character of Gin Toad, a truly original voice.

We'll see everyone in April at the 2010 AWP Conference and Bookfair. Come by our table for book signings and to see three newly released poetry books:
  • Sky=Empty by Judy Halebsky
  • Having Cut the Sparrow’s Heart by Malinda Markham
  • Tocqueville by Khaled Mattawa
In the fall of 2010, New Issues will publish the following poetry collections:
  • Vivisect by Lisa Lewis
  • Reliquary Fever: Selected & New Poems by Beckian Fritz Goldberg
  • Pima Road Notebook by Keith Ekiss
And check our website in about a month to see a complete redesign.

Five English Department Playwrights Selected for Kennedy Center/ACTF Regional Festival

Five Western Michigan University English Department playwrights have had their plays selected for the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regionals being held this week in Saginaw, MI, January 5-9. The plays have been selected for readings at the festival out of over a hundred and twenty submitted from college playwrights around the region that includes Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The plays are now under consideration for the national festival to be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in April. KC/ACTF is a national theatre education program that includes over 200,000 students nationwide.

Kris Peterson's play "Derby Debris" was selected for the Ten Minute Play Festival. This is the second year in a row for Kris to go to the Festival. Last year Kris's play "Gun Metal Blue Bar" was one of the four ten minute play finalists that were presented at the Kennedy Center. Kris is an MFA Playwriting student.

Jason Lenz's play "Rondo Rubato" was also selected for the Ten Minute Play Festival. Jason was previously selected for the One Act Play Festival last year. Jason is an MFA Playwriting student.

Two of the six ten minute finalist are WMU English Department playwrights.

James Miranda's play "Handicapping" was selected for the One Act Play Festival. The play was first presented this summer as a staged-reading as part of WMU's New Play Project. James is an MFA Fiction student.

G. William (Bill) Zorn's play "The Speed of Falling Objects" was also selected for the One Act Play Festival. Two years ago, Bill had a play in the Ten Minute Festival. Bill was also selected to serve as a production dramaturg at the festival.

Two of the six one act finalists are WMU English Department playwrights.

Karen Wurl's play Cemetery Row was the regional winner of the full-length play contest. Karen had a one act play which was a regional winner at last year's festival. Cemetery Row was first developed last summer in the New Play Project and will be presented as a staged reading this spring at the Civic as part of the Theatre Kalamazoo!/WMU Playwriting Initiative. Karen's play is the only full-length to be read at the festival. Additionally, Karen was selected to be a production dramaturg.

These plays will be responded to by theatre professionals that this year includes Martin Kettling, Literary Manager for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.

English Department Playwriting Professor Steve Feffer serves as Chair of the National Playwriting Program for our region of Kennedy Center/ACTF. Steve will be presenting the National Playwriting Program at the regional festival, as well as doing a workshop for playwrights, actors and faculty called "Scratch an Actor (or Vice Versa): Writing and Performing the One Person Play", based on the class Steve team-taught this past semester on the same subject.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Teaching about MLK, January 21

"Teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement"
Thursday, Jan. 21 from 4:00 to 5:30 in 2302 Sangren

This workshop led by faculty from various departments is dedicated to helping future teachers at all grade levels and in all content areas continue the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by addressing civil rights, inequality, racism, poverty and world peace in their curriculum.  See our website:

We will have sessions for elementary and secondary teachers addressing a variety of content areas.   Questions contact: