Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beth Amidon retirement party

Yesterday, at Larry Syndergaard's wonderfully hospitable home, department faculty fêted Beth Amidon's retirement (she started working at WMU in 1979!) and sent off Richard Utz to GA Tech (he joined WMU in 2007).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eclectic Mix of Kalamazooans Noted by British Celebrity

A group of literature faculty and one significant other made the arduous trip to Chicago on Monday to honor Shakespeare's 448th birthday. There they were saluted by esteemed British actor Simon Callow after his one-man performance of Being Shakespeare. Callow gave the group a hearty thumbs-up and asserted that he was "glad to have a pal in Kalamazoo."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Utz prefaces Neomedievalism in the Media

Richard Utz wrote the Preface to a new essay collection on Neomedievalism in the Media: Essays on Film, Television, and Electronic Games, ed. by Carol L. Robinson and Pamela Clements (Mellen, 2012). The volume is the first to attempt a comprehensive discussion of neomedievalist issues.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Congratulations Adam Pasen !!

Adam Pasen, Ph.D. Playwright, 2012, is the winner of the National Ten Minute Play Award from the Kennedy Center/ACTF.

This is an extraordinary achievement--his play has been selected out of well over a thousand--and really well deserved reports Dr. Steve Feffer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Journal Edited by Ellis, Klekar, and Salisbury Discussed in NYRB

In the most recent issue of The New York Review of Books, Peter Green begins his review of new translations of Sophocles by crediting WMU English department-produced journal Comparative Drama with its eloquent testimony to the contemporary relevance of ancient Greek tragedy. Green writes, "Just how urgent, and relevant, [ancient Greek plays are] is strikingly demonstrated by the wide-ranging essays in a recent special double issue of Comparative Drama (Winter-Spring 2010), not least those, like Eleftheria Ioannidou's and Gonda Van Steen's, that see the passions and politics of ancient Athens renewed in the work of modern Greek dramatists."  See NYRB 59:8 (May 10, 2012): 56-57 for Green's entire review.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

News From Ph.D. candidate Dustin Hoffman.

My story "Avoiding Accident in the Subdivisions" is out in the new print issue of Witness. The theme for this issue is disaster. So, buzzed off index fingers, fractured carpet layers, one-armed stone masons. You know, disaster how you'd expect from me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MA Capstone Presentations

MA students in the English department's spring capstone seminar (taught by Staci Perryman-Clark) presented their final presentations this afternoon in Brown 3025. The following students (listed with their faculty advisers) participated in the event:
  • Kyle Krol; Megan Klukowski (Jonathan Bush)
  • Elyse Jozlin (Gwen Tarbox)
  • Steffany Maher (Allen Webb)
  • Michelle Olsen; Sarah Elsworth (Ellen Brinkley)
  • Courtney Brandt; Jessica Neuenschwander (Beth Bradburn)
  • Kelly Evans (Richard Utz)
The photograph shows Kelly Evans presenting her paper on "Hector's Sword and Troilus's Bed: Motivation and Virtue in the Troy Story."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Third Coast Fall Issue Reviewed at

Third Coast would like to thank Kristin Ladd at New Pages for her glowing review of our Fall 2011 issue: "This issue is art. Each piece stands strong in its own right while seamlessly weaving together with the other works featured. Natural, complex, and refreshing, Third Coast chooses only the finest works from the middle of the country."

Employment Possiblities Fall 2012

Possibly this week the University of Minnesota, Duluth will be posting a search for non-tenure-track jobs in the Writing Studies Department to teach first year and advanced writing. The pay is decent and in line with local cost of living; full-time people are needed. At UMD, the non-regular faculty are considered part of the faculty union and are represented as such. Anyone who has graduated from either the MA, MFA, or PhD programs would have a serious shot at this. I
The link:

The posting should go up very soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Playwright Sean Clark Presents His Work: Spring 2012 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for the final reading of the Spring 2012 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have playwright Sean Clark present his work this Thursday, April 19th. 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.

Two WMU English Majors Present at Conference

Two WMU English majors delivered papers at the third annual Medieval and Renaissance Studies Consortium, an undergraduate conference held this year on April 14 at Alma College. Ben Moran presented "'Kiss the book': The Role of the Bible in The Tempest," and Cody Mejeur presented "'By Providence Divine': Calvinist Doctrine in Shakespeare's Plays." Professors Grace Tiffany and Beth Bradburn also attended the conference and served as panel moderators. Both papers were originally written for Professor Tiffany's Shakespeare class.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arnie Johnston in Concert with guest D. N. Bremer

6 PM, APRIL 8, 2012




7265 West Main Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

For more information call (269) 553-7980.

Over the past twenty years Arnie Johnston has established himself as perhaps the foremost translator of songs by Jacques Brel, the noted Belgian singer-songwriter whose work entranced millions of listeners and theatergoers until his untimely death in 1978. On his 1997 CD Jacques Brel: I'm Here! Arnie performs nineteen of his eighty or so translations of Brel's songs; a 2011 CD, By the Riverbank, features fifteen of his translated lyrics (by French poets of the period) for songs by nineteenth-century French composer Gabriel Fauré, performed by well-known Chicago cabaret artists to jazz arrangements. Some twenty revues featuring Arnie's Brel translations have been staged around the country in such venues as New York City, Chicago, Houston, Boca Raton, Cincinnati, and Kalamazoo. The most recent Chicago production, Jacques Brel's Lonesome Losers of the Night, played to rave reviews and packed houses in Fall 2008 and Summer 2009. A member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Literary Translators Association, Arnie now offers Songs You Thought You Knew, a concert featuring his versions of songs by Brel, Gabriel Fauré, Edith Piaf, Kurt Weill, Charles Aznavour, and others. As an extra-special treat, Arnie will be accompanied by D. Neil Bremer, guitarist extraordinaire and Executive Director for the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. See more about Neil at

Monday, April 9, 2012

WMU Creative Writing Program's MFA/PhD Festival Reading

We'd like to invite you to WMU's annual MFA/PhD Festival. The Festival will feature readings from this year's graduating MFAs and PhDs from the WMU Creative Writing Program. The readings will take place this week on Friday, April 13th, and Saturday, April 14th, both starting at 7:30 PM. The reading on Friday will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, room 105-107, and will feature Krystal Howard, David Johnson, and Adam Pasen. The reading on Saturday will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, room 157-158, and will feature Dan Toronto, Natalie Giarratano, Emily Stinson, and Erin Jewell.

We hope you'll join us in celebrating the accomplishments and writing of our graduating students.

Friday, April 6, 2012

McKittrick wins Research Fellowship

Prof. Casey McKittrick recently received news of his appointment as a visiting Research Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, where he will be in residency this summer. The prestigious Warren Skaaten Film Research Endowment will enable Casey to undertake extensive archival research for his current book manuscript, Hitchcock's Appetites: The Corpulent Plots of Desire and Dread. The HRC is renowned for its collections in a wide range of areas, perhaps most notably for works of the 20th century, from Joyce's page proofs for Ulysses to the dresses used in the film production of Gone With the Wind. Casey will have the pleasure of working with the correspondence among Hollywood super-producer David O. Selznick, his London representation Jenia Reissar, Hitchcock, and his Los Angeles agency, material that is crucial to his project.

Utz to speak at KIA on Medieval Kalamazoo

Apr 12, 2012
Time: 2 pm to 3 pm
Location: Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Phone: 269-349-7775
Richard Utz, WMU Professor of Medieval Studies will present a lively look at the many ways medieval ideas live on in his talk, "Medieval Kalamazoo."

At first, the juxtaposition jars: However, the city's sign posts, a water tower, Henderson Castle, St. Augustine Cathedral and Western Michigan University all connects with the medieval period. At the cinema, the latest Robin Hood movie links the roots of the free world with the medieval Magna Charta; a courtesy shuttle from the airport to our hotel treats us if we were members of a medieval court; and we bake our cookies with King Arthur flour. Clearly, medieval times are still thriving!

Participants will tour Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum and enjoy light refreshments.

Cost: Members: Free; Non-members: $5

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Congratulations Katherine Zlabek !

A recent MFA from WMU is on the list of AWP Intro Journals award
winners for this year -- Katherine Zlabek, who is now in the PhD
program at U. Cincinnati. Here's the link:

News from Jaimy Gordon

Peter Geye's debut novel, Safe from the Sea, won the 2011 Indie Lit
Award for fiction and the 2010 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. It
was also longlisted for the Morning News Tournament of Books and the
LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2012 the film
rights were purchased by Hello! and Company.

He is a graduate of the Low-res MFA program at the university of New
Orleans and he has a PhD from Western Michigan University, where he
was editor of Third Coast.

His sophomore novel, The Lighthouse Road, will be published by
Unbridled Books in October of 2012 and has already garnered generous
praise from some of the finest contemporary novelists at work today.

"To be submerged in the frothing, watery world of Peter Geye’s The
Lighthouse Road is to be baptized anew in the promise of American
letters. I defy you to bear witness to the tormented tenderness of Odd
Eide, to suffer and love and row beside him in his skiff, without
throwing down your nets. Here is an epic that spans more than
generations. Here is an epic that spans the topography between
hell-dark bear dens and moonlit lake water. Here is a novel that
charts the whole of the human heart."

--Bruce Machart, author of international bestseller The Wake of

The Lighthouse Road is a small marvel of a book. The story is set in
northern Minnesota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and
Geye's expert rendering of a time long past -- the brutality of
backwoods logging camps, the heartbreak of an era when immigration
meant never going home again, the logistics of whiskey-running -- is
matched by the complexity and depth of his characters. A beautifully
written, elegantly constructed novel."

--Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Singer's Gun

"Peter Geye writes with the mesmerizing power of the snowstorms that
so often come howling off Lake Superior. I am in awe of how he swirls
through so many years and juggles so many characters, all of them
unforgettable and weighed down by secrets and regrets and desires that
burn through the hoarfrost of Geye's bristling sentences."

--Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Issues Poetry & Prose
April 2012 
About Us
New Issues
Poetry & Prose
was established
in 1996 by poet Herbert S. Scott.

Find us on Facebook  Visit our blog

Dear Friends,
We're happy to announce the release of our spring titles. Corey Marks' Radio Tree, Andrew Allport's the body | of space | in the shape of the human, and Shara Lessley's Two-Headed Nightingale are all available to order.

Kevin Fenton's Merit Badges has just won the Friends of American Writers Award and is currently a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards.

Khaled Mattawa's Tocqueville recently won the 2012 Poetry Center Book Award. 

Rachel Eliza Griffiths' Mule & Pear was the first book of poetry to ever be awarded the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award.
Jeff Hoffman's Journal of American Foreign Policy received an honorable mention from the Drake Emerging Writer Prize, and is currently a finalist for the California Book Awards.

Mandy Keifetz's Flea Circus also received an honorable mention from the Grub Street Prize.

Congratulations New Issues authors!

Kimberly Kolbe 
Managing Editor 

Spring 2012
Two-Headed Nightingale
The Body of Space

The Radio Tree

The Radio Tree
Merit BadgesCongratulations,

Our titles are available online through

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Poet Barbara Cully Reads this Thursday: Spring 2012 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for the fifth reading of the Spring 2012 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have poet Barbara Cully read her work this Thursday, April 5th. 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.

Schulman Notified of New and Better Beowulf Manuscript

Professor Jana Shulman has been contacted by an Icelander who, while visiting a remote cabin on the Isle of Man last week, spotted a framed manuscript leaf—or so he thought—on the wall. With the owner’s permission, he removed the frame from the wall, took off the back, and discovered an entire manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. “Grandpa used to wrap fish with that,” the Icelander said (in Icelandic). Schulman, once presented with the scanned
pages sent via email attachment, was startled to discover that, while for the most part the manuscript presented the same story as the one found in Cotton Vitellius A. xv, the character of Wiglaf no longer appeared in the poem. Instead, the young man who came to Beowulf’s
assistance had a different name, to wit:

Bilbo wæs gebǣded, Baggines sunu,
helpan hildfruman….

Schulman and several other Icelandic scholars, from the universities of South Shire and Mordor Polytechnic, will be flying to Europe this week to examine the manuscript firsthand.

Oxfordian Shakespeare Doubters Get a Historical Fact Right

The Oxfordians, who hold that the Earl of Oxford wrote all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays and his sonnets, have reported one historical fact correctly in a 2012 publication. The Oxfordians, who claim that William Shakespeare, an alumnus of the distinguished King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, was illiterate, that A Midsummer Night's Dream was composed by a nine-year old, and that the Earl of Oxford was both Queen Elizabeth’s secret son and her lover, correctly spelled the name of Shakespeare’s contemporary Ben Jonson as “Jonson” without the “h” in the latest issue of their quarterly journal, in the following sentence: “Ben Jonson, bastard son of King Henry VIII and author of Huckleberry Finn, piloted the primitive submarine over the abyssal plain, skirting the wreck of the Titanic, glimpsing but not recognizing the bones of Amelia Earhart, seeking, ever seeking, the Australian writers’ colony he had so ably founded a decade before.”

Erasure Poetry Project Accidentally Erases Entire English Canon

Assigned to compose "erasure poetry" - a form created by erasing words from existing texts - students in a graduate poetry workshop at WMU appear to have erased in their entirety all extant copies of such classics as Paradise Lost, Lyrical Ballads, and Middlemarch. "We're still not sure how they got hold of all those First Folios," said Professor Grace Tiffany, "but scholars are currently searching for Shakespearean actors who remember their lines well enough to reconstruct the plays. King John may well be lost forever."

Inspired by the hauntingly beautiful minimalism of works such as Ronald Johnson's Radi Os (created by erasing portions of the text of Paradise Lost) and Jen Bervin's Nets (created by erasing parts of Shakespeare's sonnets), the poetry students apparently lost control of their technique and could not stop erasing.

All of English poetry and prose has been reduced to a single letter o. The o, originally part of the title of Robert Herrick's "Delight in Disorder" in a paperback copy of the eighth edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 1, is thought to evoke simultaneous surprise, ecstasy, and grief, while signifying the nothing that once was English literature and to which it is now the sole remaining witness.