Monday, February 25, 2013

WMU's Jaimy Gordon invited as a guest reader at Aquinas College

Jaimy Gordon: Thursday, March 14, 2013 7:30 p.m.
Jaimy Gordon Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series welcomes National Book Award Winner Jaimy Gordon to campus. A native of Baltimore, she received her M.A. in English as well as her Doctorate in Creative Writing from Brown University. She is currently Professor of English at Western Michigan University where she has taught since 1981.

Jaimy Gordon’s work includes poetry, fiction, translations and essays. Her three earliest novels are Shamp of the City-Solo, She Drove without Stopping and Bogeywoman, which made the Los Angeles Times Best Books List of 2000. Her latest novel, Lord of Misrule, won the 2010 National Book Award. Gordon is known for her work as a translator as well. Her poems, short stories, essays, and translations have appeared in several literary journals.  More information can be found at
Poetry: The Fall of Poxdown (chapbook); The Bend, The Lip, The Kid (a book length narrative poem)
Novels: Circumspections from an Equestrian Statue (novella); Shamp of the City-Solo; She Drove Without Stopping; Bogeywoman; Lord of Misrule
Translations:Lost Weddings by Maria Beig (translated with Peter Blickle); Hermine, an Animal Life by Maria Beig

Friday, February 22, 2013

Poet Jay Baron Nicorvo Reads His Work: Gwen Frostic Reading Series

The Spring 2013 Gwen Frostic Reading Series is honored to have WMU faculty member and poet Jay Baron Nicorvo read his work on Thursday, February 28th. The reading will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, in room 208-209, starting at 8:00 PM. The reading is free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crosby Lecture next for Scholarly Speakers Series

The WMU English Department's Scholarly Speakers Series presents


The Ohio State University at Marion

“The Democratic Poisoner: The Democrats, the Partisan Press, and the Erasure of the Poisonous Woman in Antebellum American Literature”

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

7 PM

Brown 3025

Free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

For more information, please contact Prof. Christopher Nagle:

This event is co-sponsored by the History Department, Phi Beta Kappa, and Lee Honors College.

Comparative Drama Essay Wins Award

Comparative Drama would like to congratulate Loren Kruger for being awarded the Philadelphia Constantinidis Prize for Critical Theory by the Comparative Drama Conference. Dr. Kruger earned this award for her recent essay, "On the Tragedy of the Commoner Elektra, Orestes and Others in South Africa" which was published in our recent special issue, "Transcultural Poetics and the 'Worlding' of Drama," guest edited by Ranjan Ghosh.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

After Dancing: Dancers Turn to Writing

Kalamazoo, MI. February 13, 2013 — A former dancer at the acclaimed Martha Graham School and another dancer, trained in the Royal Academy of Dance school, will explore their next step as authors in an upcoming literary reading on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Authors Renee E. D’Aoust and Moira MacDougall will visit WMU's Dance Department at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 in WMU’s Dalton Multimedia Room to read from their recent books. The reading will be the culmination of a full day as guest artists in the Dance Department. They will visit classes in Modern Technique, 20th Century American Dance, and Choreography, with professors Carolyn Pavlik, Megan Slayter, and David Curwen.

The reading is free and open to the public. It is hosted by Danna Ephland, poet, and former Dance Department faculty. “Dancers who write bring a startling physicality to the page, embodied writing,” Ephland says.

The reading will feature D'Aoust's "Body of a Dancer" (Etruscan Press), a memoir of narrative essays about her time in New York at the Martha Graham School. Now as a writer, D’Aoust has numerous publications and awards to her credit including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism at American Dance Festival. She lives half the year in Switzerland, the other in Idaho, where she manages her family’s forestland.

MacDougall will read from her poetry collection, "Bone Dream" (Tightrope Books), which summons her training in classical ballet and modern dance, as well as her experiences as an Iyengar yoga instructor in poems that "sound the shifting depths of body and spirit." MacDougall is published widely in Canadian and American literary journals and is currently the Poetry Editor for the Literary Review of Canada. She lives in The Beach in Toronto, Ontario. MacDougall is available for interview by contacting her at .  D'Aoust at .

From the book jackets:

D’Aoust provides a powerful, acidly comic record of what it is to love, and eventually leave, a life centered on dance. ... Lance Olsen

MacDougall’s vital poetry puts the body first, from a dancer’s gnarled toes to a yogi’s spine….The vigorous poems of Bone Dream burst with the deliberate beauty of the posed body… Molly

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Third Coast Writing Project Announces 2013 Summer Programs

The Third Coast Writing Project has announced its 2013 Summer Programs for teachers and children. All applications, contacts, and program information can be accessed at
Invitational Summer Institute (June 17-28)
Our flagship program is available by application and invitation only. We will read, write, and demonstrate teaching in an engaging, but intense professional experience. The program will cap at 10 participants. All accepted participants will receive a $500 stipend. Two WMU graduate credits are available. SCECHs are included. Invitational Summer Institute applications must be returned by May 1, 2013.

Teacher as Writer (June 25-29)
This program focuses on the inner-writer that exists in all teachers. Under the guidance of our experienced poet/writer/creative writing teacher, teachers get the chance to concentrate, full-time on their own writing – fiction, poetry, or professional. Cost: $200 (SCECHs included; there is an option for one (1) WMU graduate credit with additional enrollment for interested participants.)Teacher as Writer applications must be returned by May 1, 2013. 

Invitational Summer Workshop (Co-Sponsored with AAESA) (July 30-August 2)
The ISW focuses on teaching writing, addressing the Common Core mandates, and using writing to help students and teachers think and learn in all content areas. Cost: Free to all AAESA districts; $200 for non-AAESA districts (SCECHs included; there is an option for one (1) WMU graduate credit with additional enrollment for interested participants.)
Holocaust Education Network Michigan Satellite Seminar [Co-Sponsored by TCWP with the Holocaust Education Network/Memorial Library of New York], July 7-12, 2013.  
Educators are invited to participate in the Second Michigan Satellite Summer Seminar on Holocaust Education sponsored by The Memorial Library of New York City. The seminar will be held in Farmington Hills, MI, July 7-12, 2013, at the Holocaust Memorial Center--Zekelman Family Campus. Our grant support means we can offer teachers this opportunity for a very low fee: for $100 teachers will receive lodging at the Courtyards by Marriott of Farmington Hills, most meals, and all materials and fees, all told approximately $700 per teacher will be invested by us! Then, teachers who complete the program are immediately eligible for an additional $1000 in grant money to take back to local classrooms and schools to provide additional training, Holocaust education, or programming.

Camp for Young Writers (June 17-June 28)
This enrichment camp provides the spark for aspiring young writers in two distinct groups (ages 8-10 & 11-14). Our directors and teachers help motivated children find their direction in writing – poems, stories, and much more come to life and culminates in a public reading for families, friends, and teachers. Cost: $150

For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan Bush, English, at or 269-387-2571

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eve Salisbury to present at the Mid-America Medieval Association Conference (MAMA)

Eve Salisbury is scheduled to present a paper at the Mid-America Medieval Association Conference (MAMA) later this month in Kansas City. Entitled “Lybeaus Desconus and the Maternal Unknown” the paper addresses the unnamed mother in the English version of the Fair Unknown narrative, especially in relation to illegitimacy and social abjection. The work has evolved from a larger project---a volume of Lybeaus Desconus for the Middle English Text Series  (with James Weldon), which contains two manuscript variants of the narrative made available together for the first time. Another essay “Lybeaus Desconus : Transformation, Adaptation, and the Monstrous Feminine” has been accepted for publication in Arthuriana and is expected to appear later this year.

Frostic Reading Canceled: Edward Allan Baker

We're very sorry to announce that the Frostic Reading tonight is canceled. Our guest Edward Allan Baker's flights to Michigan were all canceled due to today's storm. We will try to reschedule his visit soon. For today, there will be no reading.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2012 Poetry PhD graduate Natalie Giarratano Wins 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry

We’re pleased to announce the 2013 winner of The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry:
Leaving Clean
by Natalie Giarratano, Portage MI
The winner will receive an honorarium of $1000, and publication by Briery Creek Press, to be released May 1, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Playwright Edward Allan Baker Presents His Work: Spring 2013 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for the first reading of the Spring 2013 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have playwright Edward Allan Baker present his work this Thursday, February 7th. The reading will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, in room 208-209, starting at 8:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.

English Dept. Master Faculty Specialist and poet Judith Rypma will read from her latest book, Looking for the Amber Room

Often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Amber Room was commissioned by Prussia’s Frederick I in the early 18th century.   With over 100,000 pieces of various shades of amber inlaid with mosaics, the room caught the eye of collector and amber aficionado Peter the Great, who would eventually receive it as a gift from Frederick’s son.  In its new Russian home, the room fascinated Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, so much so that the latter commissioned artisans to add additional elaborate mirrors, Romanov crests, gemstones, and 70 objets d’art that dazzled all who saw it in its presumably permanent home in a palace outside St. Petersburg.

But the story, far from ending here, evolved into one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century.  It is this story of the world’s most famous missing treasure that English Dept. Master Faculty Specialist and poet Judith Rypma will explore in a reading at 7 p.m. February 18 from her latest book, Looking for the Amber Room (Emerald Unicorn Press).   “It’s a tale of stolen art, but it’s also a legend that has enthralled—and continues to frustrate—armies of treasure hunters who at this very moment are scouring four countries in search of it,” Rypma says.

As Rypma explains, the room remained in Catherine’s Palace at Tsarskoe Selo (now Pushkin) until 1941, when the Nazis marched into the area, disassembled and seized the room’s panels, transported them to Prussia, and displayed the Amber Chamber there until 1945.  But as the Allies advanced on Könisgsberg (now Kaliningrad), the room “simply vanished.”   Since then, endless questions, investigations and books have pursued the mystery, which, according to Rypma, “involves possibilities ranging from sunken ships and underground bunkers to hidden salt mines and billionaire collectors.   There are even murders associated with the search.”    

These mysterious possibilities and theories play a role in Rypma’s poems, which also trace amber from its prehistoric origins through its medieval popularity (so much that fishermen who stole a piece were hanged) and its development as a room that played a role in the lives of three Russian rulers.  She also tracks the theft, the room’s curators, attempts to hide it, and even Hitler’s fascination with it.      

The poems, ranging from lyric free verse to haiku to prose poetry, reflect Rypma’s deep love for her subject in a way that almost makes the reader forget how much research went into the book.  “I’m accustomed to doing research for poetry, but I had never envisioned that I would spend years doing it for this book.  But the material out there is voluminous.” 

Rypma, therefore, is justifiably proud of internationally renowned amber expert Dr. Patty Rice’s “seal of approval” in terms of accuracy, as well as quality.   “I loved the book and the way Rypma cleverly manages to work in everything in poetic form,” Rice notes.

Professor Rypma’s reading is sponsored by the English Department.  It is free and open to the public.  It will take place in 3025 Brown Hall, followed by a book signing and refreshments. Looking for the Amber Room is available locally at Kazoo Books on Parkview Ave.   Contact Rypma at