Monday, October 31, 2011

Poets Gerald Stern and Anne Marie Macari Read Their Work: Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for our third reading of the Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have poets Gerald Stern and Anne Marie Macari read their work this Thursday, Nov. 3rd. The reading will take place at the WMU Little Theatre, starting at 8:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Medievalism in 2012

As President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism it is my pleasure to invite you to join us at the 27th Annual International Conference on Medievalism.

With collegial regards,
Richard Utz (Western Michigan University)


The meeting will be hosted by the Kent State University Regional Campuses on October 18-20, 2012, and the focus will be on:

Medievalism(s) & Diversity

Is there diversity in medievalism? How has medievalism represented diversity of religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, gender,...? How have medievalist works supported issues concerning equity and inclusion? How have medievalist works oppressed and suppressed?    Are there elements of bigotry and discrimination? What about human rights as a medieval concept, as a contemporary concept? Media to consider might include (but are not limited to) any of the following: novels, plays, films, art works, the Internet, television, historical works, political works, comics, video games. Angles to consider might include (but are not limited to) any of the following: race, gender, sexuality, disability/ability, religion, corporation and/or class, nationality, human rights, political correctness, marginalization, anti-marginalization tactics, rewritten codes, rewritten ideologies, re-affirmed codes, re-affirmed ideologies.

Conference Location: Nestled on 200 beautiful acres, yet only minutes from the hustle and bustle of The Strip and Westfield Belden Village Mall, Kent State University at Stark provides a quiet, serene and picturesque setting for students and the community to enjoy. With rolling hills, a pond, walking trail, and a Campus Center and Food Emporium, it is located in Jackson Township, just five minutes from the Akron-Canton Airport and easily accessible from Interstate-77.

Publication Opportunities: Selected papers related to the conference theme will be published in The Year’s Work in Medievalism.

Deadline: June 1, 2012
Please send paper and/or session proposals to either Carol Robinson (Conference Chair) or to Elizabeth Williamsen (Conference Assistant Chair).

Carol L. Robinson, Conference Chair
International Conference on Medievalism
Kent State University Trumbull 4314 Mahoning Avenue, NW Warren, Ohio 44483 EMAIL: FAX: 330-437-0490

Elizabeth Williamsen, Conference Assist. Chair
International Conference on Medievalism
Kent State University Stark 6000 Frank Avenue, NW North Canton, Ohio 44720 EMAIL: FAX: 330-437-0490

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Utz presents on Robin Hood, Frenched

Richard Utz presented a paper, "Robin Hood, Frenched," at the 26th Annual International Congress on Medievalism at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He also presided over a section that discussed "Camelot on the Small Screen: Enchantment and Authority." The conference was held under the auspices of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism as whose president Utz currently serves.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Issues Currently Accepting Submission for the First Book Prize

We are currently accepting submissions for our First Book Prize. This year's judge is Jean Valentine:

Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her eleventh book of poetry is Break the Glass, just out from Copper Canyon Press. Her previous collection, Little Boat was published by Wesleyan in 2007. Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965–2003 was the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. The recipient of the 2009 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, Valentine has taught at Sarah Lawrence, New York University, and Columbia.

Submissions may be sent to:

New Issues Poetry Prize
New Issues Poetry & Prose
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5463

Entries can also be uploaded to submishmash

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nagle on Poly Pedagogy

Chris Nagle’s essay on “Teaching the Polyamorous (Long) Eighteenth Century” appears as the lead piece in a new special issue on “Eighteenth-Century Studies and the State of Education” in the online journal Digital Defoe: Studies in Defoe and his Contemporaries. The cluster of essays gathered there began as conference presentations from a session devoted to pedagogy at an earlier meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. Nagle’s piece draws from both an introductory pilot course on the subject as well as his seminar from the current semester. The essay can be accessed through the link above.

Wed. November 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. Reading with Judith Rypma

Two WMU Poet with New Book

Judith Rypma, author of Rapunzel's Hair, Forget-Me-Not and Holy Rocks, will be reading from and autographing her new poetry book at Kazoo Books, 2413 Parkview Ave., Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008. The reading is free, and refreshments will be served. For more information, e-mail ; or go to the website

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scholarly Speakers Series Presents Dr. Randy Bomer

Dr. Randy Bomer, Associate Professor in the College of Education at University of Texas Austin and and Director of the Heart of Texas Writing Project, will give a talk entitled "Building a Literacy Curriculum on Student Strengths: Learning to See What Already Exists" on Thursday, October 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Brown 2028.

On Friday, October 28, Dr. Bomer will lead an informal conversation on "Teaching English for a Better World: Bringing Students into Literacy Practices for Social Change." This will take place at the new University Center for the Humanities (2500 Knauss Hall) from 10-11:30 a.m.

All department members are warmly encouraged to attend both events. Dr. Bomer's visit is co-sponsored by the WMU Department of Education and Human Development and the Third Coast Writing Project.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"The Cannibal War-Machine - Sacred Empowerment and the New World Order"

Presentation date: October 20 at 5:30 pm. at 3025 Brown Hall.

Dr. Whitehead will lead a graduate seminar for faculty and graduate students on October 21 from 10:00 to 11:00 am in 4028 Brown Hall.

Dr. Whitehead's visit has been supported by WMU's Visiting Scholars's series, the Department of Anthropology, Africana Studies, English, and Global Studies and the Haenicke Institute.

Contact Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler for more information regarding Dr. Whitehead's visit to WMU.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday night October 28, 7:00, 2028 Brown

Building a Literacy Curriculum on Student Strengths: Learning to see what already exists

Sometimes, in the rush to pull a curriculum into alignment with official standards, we might neglect to consider the literacy practices in which our students already engage. But as educators have long understood, and as research is increasingly demonstrating, it's necessary to build new learning on the basis of what students already know. This conversation will allow us to become acquainted with strategies for bringing students' existing competence into the English classroom and then connecting those discoveries to the growth of advanced, academic literacies.

Friday morning 10-11:30 (probably in the Brown Humanities Center, room still awaiting confirmation)

Teaching English for a Better World: Bringing students into literacy practices for social change

Reading and writing can position students as powerless or powerful, as passive receptors or active world-changers. Teachers make decisions about the kinds of people who will be produced by the curriculum they offer, and enacting that curriculum, they help create the social world. In this conversation, we will examine first the ways the classroom itself promotes democracy, and second, some of the literacy practices we might make available to students that can build capacity in them to be agents of social justice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fiction Writer Sterling Watson Reads His Work: Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for our second reading of the Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have fiction writer Sterling Watson read his work this Thursday, October 13th. The reading will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, in room 157-158, starting at 8:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Alumni visit Brown Hall and Medieval Literature

Robert Bradley and Karl Sandelin, English Department Distinguished Alumni 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, respectively, visited their academic home department as part of their 2011 Homecoming activities. Both of them took classes with Dr. William R. Brown, the English Department's second chair, after whom Brown Hall was named. Sandelin and Bradley were greatly pleased to see their former professor honored by the new mural recently added on the left of the Brown Hall main entrance. They also visited Richard Utz's ENGL 5300 class on The Matter of Troy in Medieval Literature, speaking to students in the class about their experience at Western and actively participating in classroom discussions about Benoit de St. Maure's Roman de Troie, Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, and other matters regarding various cultural, literary, and political translationes of texts from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mark your calendars for December 1, 2011 !

Anne Fausto-Sterling will give a public lecture in Fetzer Auditorium with schedule as follows:

> 7-7:50 p.m. Public lecture,
> 7:50-8:30 p.m. Informal Q & A with audience immediately following
> lecture
> 8:30-9:15 p.m. Reception

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"5 Under 35"

The National Book Foundation’s
“5 Under 35” Fiction, 2011

5 Under 35 LogoThe National Book Foundation will recognize the 2011 5 Under 35, five young fiction writers selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists, on Monday, November 14, once again at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn. This year’s celebration will be hosted by filmmaker and author John Waters, with poet and National Book Award Finalist Patricia Smith as DJ.

Rebecca Keith, Program Manager at the National Book Foundation, who oversees the 5 Under 35 program, comments, “Host John Waters writes in his essay collection, Role Models, ‘Don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool!’ This could well be the mantra for 5 Under 35, a program which has honored some of the best young fiction writers in the game since its inception in 2006. We’re pleased to see this year’s list of authors expand into new territory, with John Corey Whaley, the first ever Young Adult novelist honored, and Shani Boianjiu, one of our youngest 5 under 35 authors ever, at 24, who is completing the manuscript for her first novel.”

5 Under 35 Honorees

The 2011 5 Under 35 Honorees are:

* Shani Boianjiu, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
(Hogarth, an imprint of Crown Publishers, forthcoming in 2013)
o Selected by Nicole Krauss, National Book Award Fiction Finalist for Great House, 2010

* Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self
(Riverhead Books, 2010)
o Selected by Robert Stone, Winner for Dog Soldiers, 1975, and Finalist for A Flag For Sunrise, 1982 and 1983, Outerbridge Reach, 1992, and Damascus Gate, 1998

* Mary Beth Keane, The Walking People
(Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009)
o Selected by Julia Glass, Fiction Winner for Three Junes, 2002

* Melinda Moustakis, Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories
(The University of Georgia Press, 2011)
o Selected by Jaimy Gordon, Fiction Winner for Lord of Misrule, 2010

* John Corey Whaley, Where Things Come Back
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011)
o Selected by Oscar Hijuelos, Fiction Finalist for The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, 1989

5 Under 35 Honorees

Shani BoianjiuShani Boianjiu was born in Jerusalem in 1987, from an Iraqi and Romanian background. She was raised in a small town on the Lebanese border. At the age of 18, she entered the Israeli Defense Forces and served for two years. She is at work on her first novel, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
(Photo courtesy of Shani Boianjiu)

Danielle EvansDanielle Evans is the winner of the 2011 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, The Best American Short Stories 2008, and The Best American Short Stories 2010. Her collection of stories, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, is her first book. She lives in Washington, D.C.
(Photo by Nina Subin)

Mary Beth KeaneMary Beth Keane graduated from Barnard College in 1999, and received an MFA from the University of Virginia in 2005. She was a winner of the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Prize, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of her stories was selected as a PEN/O. Henry Recommended Story for 2009, and her first novel, The Walking People, received Honorable Mention at the 2010 PEN/Hemingway Awards. She is currently working on her second novel, and lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and two sons.
(Photo by Carina Romano)

Melinda MoustakisMelinda Moustakis was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised in Bakersfield, California. She received her MA from UC Davis and her PhD in English and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories, her first book, won the 2010 Flannery O'Connor Award in Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. She is currently a visiting professor at Pacific Lutheran University.
(Photo by Emily Stinson)

John Corey WhaleyJohn Corey Whaley is a former teacher from Springhill, Louisiana. Where Things Come Back is his first novel. He was named a Spring 2011 Flying Start Author by Publishers Weekly. His novel was a Spring 2011 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and is currently a nominee for the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012. The ABC Children's Group also included Whaley on their New Voices for Teens Top Ten List this year. He found an agent for Where Things Come Back through, being the first author to do so using this medium, and you can watch him on YouTube as WeBook’s #1 AgentInbox Success Story. For more information, visit his website,, or follow him @corey_whaley. (Photo by Ashley Bankston)

National Book Award Authors

Julia GlassJulia Glass is the author of Three Junes, winner of the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction; The Whole World Over; I See You Everywhere, winner of the 2009 Binghamton University John Gardner Book Award; and most recently The Widower’s Tale in 2010. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, and her personal essays have been widely anthologized. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. (Photo by Dennis Cowley)

Jaimy GordonJaimy Gordon’s fourth novel, Lord of Misrule, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2010, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; it also won the Tony Ryan Award for the year’s best book about horse racing. Gordon’s previous novels include Bogeywoman, a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2000, and She Drove Without Stopping, which brought her an Academy-Institute Award from the American Institute of Arts and Letters. She has been a Fellow of the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. Among her other books are Shamp of the City-Solo and Circumspections from an Equestrian Statue. She has translated several works of Maria Beig from German, most recently Hermine, an Animal Life. Born in Baltimore, Gordon teaches at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and in the Prague Summer Program for Writers. (Photo by Alan Ritch)

Oscar HijuelosOscar Hijuelos is the international bestselling author of eight novels, including The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, for which he became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and a memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes. He has also received the Rome Prize and prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in New York City.
(Photo by Dario Acosta)

Nicole KraussNicole Krauss is the author of Great House, which won the ABA Indies Choice Honor Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She is also the author of the international bestseller The History of Love, which was published by W. W. Norton in 2005. It won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Ėtranger, was named the Editors’ #1 Choice in Literature and Fiction, and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes. Her first novel, Man Walks into a Room, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Award for First Fiction and was selected as a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2002. In 2007, Krauss was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010, she was included as one of The New Yorker’s 20 under 40 best writers. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
(Photo by Joyce Ravid)

Robert StoneRobert Stone is the acclaimed author of seven novels: Dog Soldiers (winner of the National Book Award), A Hall of Mirrors, A Flag for Sunrise, Children of Light, Outerbridge Reach, Damascus Gate, and Bay of Souls. His short-story collection, Bear and His Daughter, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His memoir, Prime Green, was published in 2006. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Stone lives with his wife in New York City. His most recent book, a collection of short stories entitled Fun with Problems, was published in 2010. (Photo by Gigi Kaeser)

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Host

John WatersJohn Waters is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He is most recently the author of Role Models and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Photo by Greg Gorman).

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Featured DJ

Patricia SmithPatricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and one of NPR's top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah will be released in spring of 2012. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Tin House, and both Best American Poetry 2011 and Best American Essays 2011. She is a Pushcart Prize winner and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and is on the faculty of both Cave Canem and the MFA program of Sierra Nevada College. And she plays good music.
(Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

Our Video Interviewer, Emma Straub

Emma StraubEmma Straub is the author of the story collection Other People We Married, as well as the forthcoming novel Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures. She also works as a bookseller at Brooklyn's BookCourt. Follow her thoughts about books, baked goods, and trashy television @emmastraub, and at

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2011 5 Under 35 is
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5 Under 35 Selections


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