Tag Archive for English Department

Wesleyan University Press Publishes Willis’s Poetry Collection

Book by Elizabeth Willis.

Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing, associate professor of English, is the author of a poetry collection titled Address, published by Wesleyan University Press in March 2011.

According to Wesleyan UniversiyAddress draws readers into visible and invisible architectures, into acts of intimate and public address. These poems are concentrated, polyvocal, and sharply attentive to acts of representation; they take personally their politics and in the process reveal something about the way civic structures inhabit the imagination. Poisonous plants, witches, anthems, bees—beneath their surface, we glimpse the fragility of our founding, republican aspirations and witness a disintegrating landscape artfully transformed. If a poem can serve as a kind of astrolabe, measuring distances both cosmic and immediate, temporal and physical, it does so by imaginative, nonlinear means.

Nisse, Garrett Awarded Humanities Fellowship

Ruth Nisse, associate professor of English, and Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, received a 2011-12 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

The ACLS is a competitive fellowship for scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. Applications are peer reviewed by scholars in the applicant’s field. The fellowship is designed to provide scholars with devoted time for their research and writing. Seventy national scholarly organizations below to the ACLS.

Nisse will use her fellowship to complete her book called Jacob’s Shipwreck.

“The book focuses on Jewish-Christian relations and the transmission of ancient texts into both medieval Latin and Hebrew traditions,” Nisse says.

Garrett will use the award to complete his first book, Episodic Poetics in the Early American Republic. The book traces the evolution of episodic writing in early American culture, including prose, novels, memoirs and linked serial essays. Garrett shows how, in ways both magisterial and mundane, how episodic forms gave variegated shape to the social, political, and economic conflicts that defined the early U.S. republic.

“It’s a literary history of the episode, that odd little narrative unit that literary critics often ignore because episodes don’t always add up to proper plots,” he says.

Howe Awarded Bollingen Prize for Poetry

Susan Howe, the English Department’s Distinguished Visiting Writer for 2010-11, was awarded the prestigious Bollingen Prize in American Poetry at Yale University. Previous recipients include Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and Adrienne Rich. Two of Howe’s most influential books, Singularities (poetry) and The Birthmark (essays), were published by Wesleyan University Press.

Of Howe’s most recent book, the three-member judging committee said: “Susan Howe is a fierce elegist. That This, prompted by the sudden death of the poet’s husband, makes manifest the raw edges of elegy through the collision of verse and prose, visionary lyricism and mundane incident, ekphrasis, visual patterning, and the reclamation of historical documents. The book culminates in a set of luminous and starkly condensed lyrics moving increasingly toward silence.”

Born in 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts, Susan Howe is the author of numerous previous volumes of poetry, including The Midnight (2003), Kidnapped (2002), Pierce-Arrow (1999), Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 (1996), The Nonconformist’s Memorial (1993), The Europe of Trusts: Selected Poems (1990), and Singularities (1990). Howe is also the author of two books of criticism: The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History (1993), named “International Book of the Year” by the Times Literary Supplement, and My Emily Dickinson (1985). She was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000; she has been a fellow at The American Academy in Berlin and a distinguished fellow at the Stanford Institute of the Humanities. Howe held the Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and has recently taught at Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Utah, as well as Wesleyan.

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, established by Paul Mellon in 1949, is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry.

Duke’s Baucom Discusses Relationships Among War, Empire, Republicanism

Oct. 6, Duke University Professor of English Ian Baucom gave the first lecture in the English Department Lecture Series, titled "Reading a Letter: Republicanism, Empire, and the Archives of the Atlantic."

Baucom met with Wesleyan faculty and fellows on Oct. 7 to discuss his current book project, "The Disasters of War: On Inimical Life." Pictured at right is Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, who organized the event.

Tölölyan Interviewed by French Publication

Khachig Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, founder and editor of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, was interviewed by the French weekly publication L’Express about Thomas Pynchon on Oct. 6. The article is online, in French.

Tölölyan Keynote Speaker at International Diaspora Conference

Khachig Tölölyan, professor of letters, professor of English, editor of “Diaspora,” was one of two keynote speakers at a conference on “Diaspora as a resource: Comparative Studies in Strategies, Networks and Urban Space.” The international event was held in Hamburg, Germany June 4-6. Tölölyan’s interests include diasporas, transnationalism, the world/globe polarity and the Armenian diaspora.

English Graduates Speak About Experiences in the Field

The English Majors Committee and the English Department sponsored English Major Grads Take on the World Dec. 10 in Downey House. The event's panel included, from left, Jim Kubat, associate director for career development; Amy Tang, assistant professor of English, assistant professor of American studies; book author Sophie Pollitt-Cohen '09 and <em>New Yorker</em> staff writer Ariel Levy '96. The audience watched a video clip of Levy, who was recently interviewed on The Colbert Report.

The English Majors Committee and the English Department sponsored "English Major Grads Take on the World," Dec. 10 in Downey House. The event's panel included, from left, Jim Kubat, associate director for career development; Amy Tang, assistant professor of English, assistant professor of American studies; book author Sophie Pollitt-Cohen '09 and staff writer of The New Yorker, Ariel Levy '96. The audience watched a video clip of Levy, who was recently interviewed on "The Colbert Report."

 

Joel Pfister, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities and chair of the English Department, holds a copy of Levy's book, <em>Female Chauvinist Pigs</em>. Pfister introduced the speakers and moderated the event.

Joel Pfister, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities and chair of the English Department, holds a copy of Levy's book, Female Chauvinist Pigs. Pfister introduced the speakers and moderated the event.

 

Kubat shared statistics and information on what Wesleyan English majors have done, and currently do. The even focused on how literature is equipment for living, and making a living.  Tang worked in several different fields before switching gears and earning her Ph.D from Stanford in 2009. Pollitt-Cohen is a book author and independent writer for The Huffington Post, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Kubat shared statistics and information on what Wesleyan English majors have done, and currently do. The even focused on how literature is equipment for living, and making a living. Tang worked in several different fields before switching gears and earning her Ph.D from Stanford in 2009. Pollitt-Cohen is an author and independent writer for The Huffington Post, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

 

More than 70 students attended the event. Pictured in back are Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs, director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference and adjunct professor of English; and Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Green, professor of classical studies and chair of the Classical Studies Department.

More than 70 students attended the event. Pictured in back are Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs, director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference and adjunct professor of English; and Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies and chair of the Classical Studies Department.

Pfister’s The Yale Indian Profiles Roe Cloud

New book by Joel Pfister.

New book by Joel Pfister.

American history has almost completely edited out Henry Roe Cloud from its story, even though this full-blood Winnebago was one of the most accomplished and celebrated American Indians in the first half of the twentieth century.  Joel Pfister’s The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud corrects this omission.

Pfister, chair of the English Department and the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, and former chair of the American Studies Program, began exploring American Indian archives when he was a Yale doctoral student in the 1980s and started his research on Yale’s Roe Cloud letters in 1995.  Very little has been published about the experiences of the few American Indians who beat tremendous odds to make it to college in the early 1900s.  Pfister aimed to find out more about the undergraduate years of one of the most inspiring advocates of higher education for Native Americans.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Roe Cloud’s graduation from Yale College in 1910.  His portrait does not hang in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library,

Poet, Fiction Writer Speak at Distinguished Writers Series

As part of the Writing at Wesleyan Russell House Series, poet Bernadette Mayer spoke and read prose Oct. 14. Mayer is the author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, including Midwinter Day, Sonnets, The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, and Poetry State Forest. A former director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery and co-editor of the conceptual magazine 0 to 9, Mayer has been a key figure on the New York poetry scene for decades.

As part of the Distinguished Writers Series at Wesleyan, poet Bernadette Mayer spoke and read prose Oct. 14. Mayer is the author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, including Midwinter Day, Sonnets, The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, and Poetry State Forest. A former director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery and co-editor of the conceptual magazine 0 to 9, Mayer has been a key figure on the New York poetry scene for decades.

Mayer's visit was organized by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing, associate professor of English.

Mayer's visit was organized by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing, associate professor of English.

Fiction writer John Brandon spoke on Oct. 21. Brandon is the author of the novel Arkansas and the forthcoming novel The Semester. He is currently the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at University of Mississippi.

Fiction writer John Brandon spoke on Oct. 21. Brandon is the author of the novel Arkansas and the forthcoming novel The Semester. He is currently the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at University of Mississippi.

Brandon's visit was organized by Deb Olin Unferth, assistant professor of English. (Photos by Jeffrey Katzin '10)

Brandon's visit was organized by Deb Olin Unferth, assistant professor of English. (Photos by Jeffrey Katzin '10)

For more information on the Distinguished Writers Series go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/writing/distinguished_writers/

Deb Olin Unferth: New English Department Faculty Member

Deb Olin Unferth joined the Department of English in fall.

Deb Olin Unferth joined the Department of English in fall.

Deb Olin Unferth has joined the Department of English as assistant professor. She specializes in fiction writing, innovative literature, the short story and the novel.

She says she was attracted to Wesleyan because of its well-known writing program.

“Wesleyan is a fantastic liberal arts school,” Unferth says. “I am very excited to be here. I am enjoying my classes immensely. The students are excellent—in ability, focus, creativity, intelligence, and temperament.”

Unferth has a B.A. in philosophy with distinction from the University of Colorado, where she was Phi Beta Kappa. In 1998, she earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University.

Unferth’s debut novel Vacation was published by McSweeney’s in October 2008. The book garnered her the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award for 2009.