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Volume 12, Issue 2

the word

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM NEWSLETTER

2 February 2012

Reflections from Kolkata This January, two of our senior concentrators, Nasir Husain and Mac McAnulty, had an extraordinary travel and study opportunity, sponsored by the English Department. Mac and Nasir were chosen from a number of very impressive applicants, earning a fullyfunded three-week trip to Kolkata, India to experience Jadavpur University. They both offered up some post-Jadavpur reflections to share with us...

The campus of Jadavpur University overflows with life. No spaces are left unfilled. People play cricket in corridors and parking lots. They crowd around windowless ledges to drink milk tea and smoke cigarettes. They dodge motorcycle traffic on their way to class. We relied on our hosts to navigate these spaces, somewhat overwhelming at first. They taught us how to bowl and bat, how to pay taxi fares, and how to avoid indigestion. They invited us into their homes, introduced us to their loved ones, and in doing so, opened up

a world to us. Surely these friendships will be what I cherish and remember most about my time at Jadavpur. So, perhaps the most meaningful way for me to provide an account of the trip is to provide a short anecdote about each of our three hosts. Sujaan Mukherjee picked us up from the Kolkata airport at two in the morning after our flight from Delhi was delayed. I’m almost certain he was waiting several hours for us, but he was far too kind to let us know. Sarbajaya Bhattacharya had us over for a home cooked meal, including

Inside this issue:

a heavenly Bengali poppy seed paste called posto. She was always sitting on the steps of the English Department, there to welcome us back after each of our trips. Lav Kanoi was late for everything, but only because he was so generous with his time. He was perpetually stopping to feed the stray dogs, or to talk to a rickshaw driver, or a street vendor. But when you finally did get him, you couldn’t ask for a better person to share a tea and a chat with. –Nasir Husain

Boylston Prizes For Elocution

Reflections from Kolkata, continued

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Due Date: March 22, 2012 (4pm)

Welcoming Our New Concentrators

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Competition Date: To be announced

Faculty Spotlight

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Upcoming Events & Deadlines

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What’s SAC Up To?

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Event Spotlight

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Opportunities

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"For the delivery of memorized selections from English, Greek, or Latin literature," not to exceed five minutes in length. Competitors should submit four copies of their selection, in person, for approval on or before the deadline at 5 p.m.


Reflections from Kolkata, continued If we were to map our haunts at Jadavpur University—which I did, in a rough drawing, at the end of our stay—the description would be incomplete without a few street stalls, and one of the first of these would belong to our friend the chaiwallah. We found a campus and a city full of talk, and the best of that talk happened over his tea.

Chai is not the glassy tea we know in the States; it comes from a thick grind

of leaves, dregs, and husks, and it gets boiled in milk. All kinds of milk: buffalo milk was one favorite, and we heard stories of yak’s milk in the mountains. It’s a particularly Indian way of drinking tea, and—from what I saw—inspires a distinctly Calcutta reaction. “Have a tea?” was the first question my soon-to-be-very-close friend Lav, a host of ours in the Department at Jadavpur, asked. It turned out Lav couldn’t really make it to any class without a pre-class chai, and he always went to the same guy. I kept going and going with him. Imagine spending all day in and out of the Barker Café. And then imagine meeting dozens and dozens of friends there. I heard etymologies of the term wallah, its adoption in a high and low vocabularies; I heard debates over whether drinking tea in water was “too colonial;” I heard complaining about the rise of coffee from Starbucks, Lavazza; I heard from people—probably most of them—who like coffee, thank you, and tea in water. But to this foreigner, there was a lot of allure to that heady, caffeinated, inspiring chai. Calcutta’s favored custom is to serve most of the chai in unglazed mud cups, which get crushed, thrown on the ground, trampled, and burnt up in crowds. After a while, I started noticing how these cups accumulate around the bases of trees, close to gates, or near benches—whole litters of them, and they look like the happy dregs of so much good conversation. –Mac McAnulty

A Warm Welcome to our New Concentrators This November, we excitedly welcomed 53 new sophomore concentrators into the Undergraduate Program. Our newest students have a wide variety of interests and are sure to add a new sense of enthusiasm and inquiry to our community. Please join us in welcoming the following students to the English Department: Ritse Adefolalu Jonathan AlvarezGutierrez Olivia Ball Caitlin Ballotta Kelsey Beck Samantha Berstler Theodoretus Breen Adeline Byrne Lynelle Chen Hayley Cuccinello Page 2

Zoe DeStories Rumur Dowling Aisha Down Julia Eger Isabel Evans Deborah Ghim Elizabeth Glennon Madeline Gray Mary Hallowell Rebecca Handlin Anna Harnick

Catherine Hasbrouck Elizabeth Holden Jeweliann Houlette Margaret Jiang Shana Kim Emily Ledbetter Tyler Lewis Carina Livoti Laura Marrow Jenna Martin Megan McDonnell

Alan Montelongo Wanjiku Mungai Alaina Murphy Sorrel Nielsen Ellen O’Leary Jenna Overton Amanda Peery Tarina Quraishi Liv Redpath Alexandria Rhodes Amanda Rodrigues

Austin Siegemund-Broka Benjamin Silva Jennifer Soong Jonathan Sparks Kevin Sun Michael Taylor Lanier Walker Lindsey Waters Sarah Winn Susanna Wolk

THE WORD


Faculty Spotlight: Danny Rubin Where are you from? My first hometown is Gainesville, Florida, where I grew up. The hometown of my young adulthood became Chicago, where I grew up some more. And my adult hometown is Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I began to grow down again. What are your favorite sports teams? The University of Florida Gators football team. To grow up in Gainesville is to be a gator fan. I generally don’t follow Photo credit: Francis Donald sports and don’t really care who wins, but no matter what game I’m watching when the opposing team runs onto the field I still yell, “Gator bait! Gator bait!” What is your favorite restaurant or business in Harvard Square? Harvard. What is the most interesting place you’ve traveled? Reggio di Calabria, Italy. I went for a film festival and after three days realized that the big guy assigned to assist me was my bodyguard. What was your favorite course in college? History of technology. And your thoughts on Groundhog Day… 19 years later? Nineteen years ago? So it came out when I was ten? That can’t be right. In terms of my thoughts, I just (on February 2nd) published a book about screenwriting and I do mention Groundhog Day once or twice.

Events & Deadlines In the English Department…

Woodberry Poetry Room…

Around Harvard… Around Town…

3 February. Creative Thesis Info Meeting. 4:00 PM, Barker 018 16 February. Creative Thesis Applications Due. 4:00 PM, English Department 28 February. Writer in the Parlor with English alumnus Uzo Iweala. 12:00 PM, Thompson Parlor

16 February. Poet’s Voice Reading: Stephen Burt, Mark Leidner & Tom Sleigh. 6:00 PM, Edison-Newman Room, Houghton Library. 22 February. Reel Time: The Recordings of Wallace Stevens, with Helen Vendler. 6:00 PM, Edi-

3, 4, 9, 10, 11 February.

The Marriage of Figaro, a new

translation. Conducted and co-written by concentrator Matt Aucoin. 8:30 PM, Dunster House.

6 February. Workshop for Publishing Poets. 7:00 PM, Porter son-Newman Room, Houghton Library. Square Books

The Student Advisory Committee During the fall term, our SAC house liaisons hosted an exciting array of events for prospective concentrators. These events took place in the houses, and featured cupcakes from Sweet, bubble tea

V O L U M E 1 2, I S S U E 2

from Dado, and other delicious treats, all enjoyed while discussing the benefits of studying English! Looking ahead, we will be saying goodbye to several of our senior representatives. This means that

we will be in need of house liaisons from Cabot, Currier, Dunster, Eliot, Leverett, Lowell, Mather, and Quincy. We plan to host an informational meeting for anyone interested, so keep a lookout for that!

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Opportunities Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. Free Summer Seminars on Liberty, This story can fit 150-200 words. deadline March 31, 2012.

One benefit of using your newsletter as a

Columbia University Publishing Course: A Professional Experience in the Business promotional of Publishing. tool is that you can reuse content from other marketing materials, June 17-July 27, 2012, applications due by March 19, 2012. such as press releases, market studies,

The Washington Pastime’s Promising Young Author (PYA) program works with colleges & univerand reports. sities to engage young writers and readers. We are helping ambitious stuWhile your main goal of distributing a dent leaders set up campus support groups (Chapters) for newsletter writers, where might be to sell your product or service, the key to a successful newsthey can learn to work as a team, professionally edit literature, and have letter is making usefulefforts, to your readers. the opportunity to have their work featured in our publication. To manage itthese we are looking for a student intern who would be interested in taking A on great this wayambitious to add useful leadership content torole your newsletter is to develop and write your on campus, and who would interact with The Washington Pastime team directly. own articles, or include a calendar of

upcoming events or a special offer that 2012 ETS Summer Institute English Language Teaching Internships promotes a new product. for summer Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, N.J., is now accepting applications You can also research articles or find interns for our English Language Teaching (ELTeach) program. articles by accessing the World From Harvard to the Field: An Analytical Toolkit for International Development. A“filler” Workshop Series for Harvard UnWide Web. You can write about a variety th rd dergraduates, March 26 -April 23 . Working or traveling in developing countries?ofThinking about a career or grad topics but try to keep your articles school in International Development? Planning a senior thesis in International Development or Global Health?

Event Spotlight: Readings & Writers in the Parlor This past November, University Professor Helen Vendler delighted students and faculty alike when she offered a “Readings in the Parlor” featuring the poems of A.R. Ammons. Upwards of eighty guests packed the Thompson Room to hear Vendler offer readings of and insight into “Kith”, “I Was Born in”, “Mountain Talk”, “Transaction”, “Grace Abounding”, Easter Morning”, and “America”. Be sure to return to the Thompson Parlor on Tuesday, February 28th at noon, when former English concentrator and current Radcliffe Fellow, Uzo Iweala, offers a reading of his book, and answers student questions on writing and the world after English at Harvard. Student Publications The Harvard Advocate / The Harvard Book Review / The Harvard Crimson The Journal of Medieval Studies / The Harvard Lampoon / Perspective Magazine! The Tuesday Magazine / Swift Magazine / The Harvard Salient

We’re on Facebook! “Like” us! http://www.facebook.com/ Harvard.English.Undergraduate.Program

Concentration Advising DUS. Prof. Steve Burt, Barker 270 burt@fas.harvard.edu Creative Writing. Bret Johnston, Barker 067 bajohnst@fas.harvard.edu Undergraduate Administrator. Jeff Berg, Barker 159 jmberg@fas.harvard.edu Undergraduate Assistant. Lauren Bimmler, Barker 158 lbimmler@fas.harvard.edu

Harvard University Department of English Undergraduate Program. Barker Center. 12 Quincy Street. Cambridge, MA 02138. P: 617-495-8443 F: 617-496-8737


The Word Newsletter, Volume 12, Issue 2