The Golson Newsletter The University of Montevallo English Program
In This Issue: President Stewart, English Professor . . . 2 Internship Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Master of Arts Program . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Montevallo Literary Festival 2011. . . . 6 Alumni Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 What are you Reading? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Words for Aspiring Creative Writers . . . 8 What Have You Been Writing? English Faculty Publications . . . . . . . . 9 Notes from Emeriti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Student Poetry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Dr. Eva Golson by Sandra Lott, English professor emerita Dr. Eva Golson was for many years a stalwart of the English Department. She was a remarkable scholar, the first woman to earn a PhD in English from the University of Chicago. Her knowledge was encyclopedic, even to the point of reciting long passages from Chaucer, Shakespeare, or Jane Austen from memory. She took a personal interest in all of our students, even after they graduated, and she began sending out a newsletter about students, faculty members, and their families.
In addition to departmental news, Dr. Golson also faithfully reported the goings on at the college, including information on traditions such as College Night, the Dancy Lectures, and productions by the Music and Theatre Departments. She also duly noted the spring crocuses, early daffodils, and blooming trees on the campus. As noted in the departmental history, published in 1996, “For more than twenty years, [Eva Golson] shared her delightful, sometimes scintillating views of the campus— its politics, its habitat, and its inhabitants— with alumni in her annual springtime missive.
Though often smeared with purple mimeograph fluid and cluttered with last-minute [handwritten] additions, her comments gave a unique perspective on ourselves and our institution.” In the early years, all of this was done on a manual typewriter, using green mimeograph stencils and later purple ditto copies. Thus, both composing and duplicating the newsletter were labors of love. After she retired, the Department named the newsletter The Golson Newsletter, and various faculty members took responsibility for assembling the news.
English Department News
A Note for All Who Follow UM English...
The Internship Program for English Majors From the Chair
President Stewart, English Professor By Glenda Conway
For decades, our program has been distinguished by great energy, innovation, and commitment to the very best ideals of liberal learning. We move fast, dive deep, and we have a lot of fun as we go. It’s a rare thing to take a moment to reflect on all the terrific things happening in the program, at every level from incoming freshmen getting grounded in English 101 to graduate students defending their thesis projects. That’s one reason why I’m especially grateful to Dr. Glenda Conway and her Advanced Composition students for taking the care to research and produce this revival issue of the Eva Golson English Newsletter. Within these pages, you’ll find updates on every part of life in the program, from planned study trips abroad to Ireland and ongoing trips to New Orleans, to our yearly rite of spring, the Montevallo Literary Festival, to the great success we’ve had developing our Master’s degree program, to interviews with fantastic new faculty, recent alums, faculty emeriti, and more. Reading through these stories, I’m prouder than ever to be a part of this program, and I know you’ll feel the same way. Enjoy! Jim Murphy Dept. Chair
The University’s recent hiring of its 15th President, John W. Stewart, included an added bonus for the English program—a professor with expertise in post-colonial literature. Dr. Stewart is in fact teaching ENG 473/573, Post-Colonial Literature, during the Spring 2011 semester. He describes his course as offering “a critical and theoretical introduction to influential works of fiction by African and Caribbean authors of the 20th century,” with particular emphasis on works that “display prominently as themes the struggle of indigenous populations to discover identity and self in the wake of hegemonic manifestations of colonialism.” Dr. Stewart says he has always been “drawn to the Caribbean, to pirates, boats, fruity drinks,” and other things tropical. Once he began to study the culture and literature from an academic standpoint, his interest moved toward the ways formerly colonized countries develop identities through fiction and poetry. He feels motivated to teach postcolonial literature because it has historically been
understudied despite its representation of a “decidedly important perspective.” Among the works being read in Dr. Stewart’s Post-Colonial Literature course are Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Marse Conde, Miguel Street by V. S. Naipaul, and A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid. Asked why he sought to teach a course even though classroom teaching is not required by his position, Dr. Stewart answered that he did it primarily because he loves teaching. “Teaching is, of course, at the heart of everything we do, and the President ought to have that always at the forefront of his/her mind.”
Golson Newsletter Chair: Jim Murphy Faculty and Staff: Stephanie L. Batkie, Bryn Chancellor, Glenda Conway, Nicholas Crawford, Stefan Forrester, Elizabeth C. Inglesby, Kathryn R. King, Paul Mahaffey, Lee Rozelle, Glenda B. Weathers, Samantha Webb, Susan Martin Editor: Glenda Conway Design: Janessa Mobley and Tiffany R. Bunt
Contributing Writers: Kara Anderson, Monica Bougafa, Carrie Busby, Cassie Funk, Will Hasenbein, Jessica Littlejohn, Sandra Lott, Michella Shaw, Jonathan Shields, Ethan Taylor The Golson Newsletter is published online for alumni, faculty and friends of the University of Montevallo English program.
The Internship Program for English Majors By Michella Shaw
The Internship Program is one of the best-kept secrets in the English Department, and I am glad to have discovered it. This program is a wonderful way to learn about more opportunities and careers for English majors. I participated in the English Department’s Internship Program for three months during this past summer. The experience is something that I will never forget. My curiosity led me to a program that helped me decide on what I wanted to do with my major. Not only did the internship allow me to gain experience, but I also received school credit for my participation. During the summer, I interned with PMT Publishing, home of Birmingham Home and Garden and Business Alabama magazines. At first, I was nervous because I did not know what to expect. However, my nervousness did not last long once I realized I had my own personal office to work in. I began working with Business Alabama in May, though I did not have anything published in this magazine. I learned how to research information and interview individuals for various articles. Most of my research consisted of phone calls to different businesses in the hopes of finding the answers I needed for articles. After working with Business Alabama, I started working with Birmingham Home and
Garden. In this magazine, I had two articles published. The first article was about the Birmingham Decorator’s Show House. This article included every designer and architect who participated in the restoration of the Longleaf Estate. My job was to write about the restoration of each room that each designer and architect accomplished. I loved doing this assignment because I had the chance to talk to every individual who participated in the estate’s transformation. I enjoyed hearing the excitement in the designers’ voices when they described the different methods they used in their assigned rooms. My next article was a small section on recycling. I researched different recycling logos and created simple and easy definitions of each symbol. I am happy the English Department offers internships so that students like me can discover a more profound love for writing. I enjoyed the challenges that I faced during the internship because they kept me looking forward to the next project. I never had a dull day at PMT Publishing. Not only did I learn how to write articles and perform research, but I also learned basic clerical skills. If it were not for this internship, I would not have a clue as to what I wanted to do after graduation.
Other workplaces that participate in the English Department Internship Program include the following: • Shelby County Arts Council • Birmingham Business Journal • Civil Rights Institute • International Code Council • EBSCO Industries • Southern Progress Corporation
Michella Shaw 10 poses with an issue of Birmingham Home and Garden, for which she wrote and edited articles while interning with PMT Publishing.
The Writing Minor By Cassie Funk
A minor in writing is now available at the University of Montevallo. The writing minor incorporates diverse courses from Communications Studies, Mass Communications, Philosophy, and Theater, as well as from English. The various courses, among which students may choose, cover critical analysis, creative writing, grammar, playwriting, and web site design. Dr. Jim Murphy, Chair of the English and Foreign Languages department, emphasizes the benefits of the minor in writing: “[It] is a natural complement to the English major, or any other major with a
heavy component of academic or theoretical engagement. It’s designed to offer a set of practical, marketable experiences, building toward a professional portfolio that could serve as a writing sample for a graduate program, a clip file for a newspaper job, or otherwise to get a foot in the door for corporate or non-profit communications jobs.” Amanda Hosey, a recent graduate of Montevallo, now attending Florida International University in Miami as an M.A. student, reflects on her experience as a writing minor: “Choosing the writing minor was perhaps one of the best decisions I ever
made. While I had written creatively for my entire life, it was not until I began taking courses for the writing minor that I found the vindication I needed to pursue writing as an actual career path. Because the classes within the writing minor provide time to focus on writing and develop one’s skills as a writer, it gave me a chance to see my interest in writing as something more than a hobby. The writing minor helped me to hone my skills, ultimately preparing me for graduate school. I feel that the success I am experiencing in graduate school is, no doubt, due to the training I received as a writing minor.” 3
Dr. Paul Mahaffey’s Fall Class on New Orleans Literature
The New Orleans Class By Jessica Littlejohn
In 2006, Associate Professor Paul Mahaffey began teaching a regional literature course which is now a highly anticipated staple of the fall semester. After years of considering the possibility of teaching a class that would focus on literature inspired by and connected to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Mahaffey decided to introduce the class the year after Hurricane Katrina swept through the city. According to Dr. Mahaffey, “the goal of the class then and now is to examine how issues such as race, class, gender, and sexuality are defined and then re-defined by New Orleans’ protean nature.” Students who take the class are able to explore through the assigned texts “how various authors present the people, music, food, and nightlife of the Crescent City.” Contributing to the success of the class is the fact that students are not only exposed to New Orleans through literature, but also given the opportunity to visit the city they are reading about and studying for themselves. Every third weekend in October, Dr. Mahaffey and his students journey to New Orleans for a three-day stay in order to experience the culture they are studying firsthand. Once in the city, students go on planned excursions which correlate with texts and materials covered in class. Excursions vary from year to year, but have included trips to Congo Square, located in Armstrong Park, the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and the iconic mausoleum-filled graveyards. Some students take a ride on the Algiers Ferry and others tour the city by riding the street cars. However, one steadfast tradition every year is for the class to hold court in the evening at John Laffite’s, one of the oldest establishments in New Orleans, which is now a history-filled piano bar. There, the students, along with Dr. Mahaffey, are able to talk about their experiences during their day in the city and then make connections to the literature they have been reading in class. The course evolves every semester,
English majors Jessica Littlejohn, Sunshine McClendon, and Matt Lindon enjoy New Orleans. offering each class a different experience. The first class looked at the city by exploring New Orleans through the novel, reading pieces like John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces and The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. Successive classes have read works which range from French Francophone poetry, to modern essays that examine Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the city and its residents. Dr. Mahaffey is already making plans for the next installment of the course. This fall, the cohesive element in all of the texts will be the legendary food tradition present in New Orleans. Students will explore the city through poetry and stories which have connections to classic New Orleans cuisine. The trip this year will include the assignment of eating at two famous restaurants in the city chosen from a list Dr. Mahaffey will provide, and then students will write reviews on their dining experience in the style of a food critic. According to Dr. Mahaffey, the class may be one-of-a-kind. While some universities offer courses which study southern literature or texts and authors who have connections to Louisiana, the course taught at Montevallo is unique because it is the only one that
examines literature influenced entirely by the city of New Orleans. Because the topic is an uncommon one, Dr. Mahaffey is making an effort to expand the resources available in Carmichael Library so that students have accessibility to ample amounts of materials for research in fields ranging from New Orleans literature to history to sociology. Not only does the course have high student enrollment, the class is also making an impact on students academically. After taking the class, students have continued on to pursue research on the topics they have covered and present their findings at undergraduate research events and conferences. In fact, influences from the class have made their way across the ocean. Two German students who were completing a study abroad at Montevallo took the New Orleans literature class and were so inspired that they wrote their undergraduate theses on New Orleans literature. Dr. Mahaffey hopes that the enthusiasm for the class continues to grow every year, resulting in greater and more widely spread recognition of the outstanding and innovative courses taught at the University of Montevallo.
Master of Arts Program: English By Carrie Busby
For those wishing to obtain a comprehensive degree expansive in English expertise, the University of Montevallo’s English Department has a Master of Arts Program designed to equip students with a panorama of knowledge. Students enter into the Master of Arts program because they choose to teach at a higher education level or they plan to continue on with post-graduate work in the future. According to Dr. Stephanie Batkie, English Graduate Studies Director, students entering into the graduate program must realize that the workload is unlike that of the undergraduate program; this pursuit requires another level of thinking because new ideas
have to be generated as the students strive to master an entire body of knowledge. In other words, dedication and a love for the material are a prerequisite to tackling this endeavor. Batkie stressed that those who are successful in this program are the students that are the hardest working and most dedicated. Dr. Batkie explains, “We have revised the program dramatically this year to move to a thesis-based Master’s in English in order to better prepare our graduate students for either future careers in teaching, or for application to doctoral programs.” She adds, “Working closely with faculty, students will now develop, plan, write, and formally (and publicly!) defend an original thesis
project, focusing on literary analysis, rhetoric and composition, or a creative project.” According to the UM website, “the diversity and flexibility of our program allows our students to shape their graduate work to fit their needs and we pride ourselves on the unique environment of support and engagement that enables our students to pursue their academic goals.” Batkie states, “It is our intention to make the Master’s program in English at Montevallo a selective and well-recognized program that emphasizes faculty/student cooperation, independent research, and professional development.”
Honor Society Students Attend Convention in Pittsburgh By Will Hasenbein
On March 23, a group of students from Montevallo’s English Department served on a panel at the annual Sigma Tau Delta (STD) International Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Montevallo Master’s program students Jamie King, Jayce Cosper, and Adjunct Instructor (and former M.A. student) Quinn White will sit on a panel entitled “A Thing about Things: Material Objects and Modern Consciousness,” with Assistant Professor of English Betsy Inglesby moderating. The panel will explain what “Thing Theory” is while focusing on the works of Henry James, Evelyn Waugh, and Elizabeth Bowen. The idea for the panel arose from Jamie’s and Jayce’s Senior Seminar papers on modernism and materialism, as well as Quinn’s research for her Master’s thesis. “We got such brilliant papers from that class,” said Dr. Inglesby, “that they sent them off and were accepted for the conference.”
Indeed, this is the first time in several years that an entire panel at a Sigma Tau Delta convention has consisted solely of Montevallo students. “The conventions are usually a lot of fun,” Jamie said, adding that they generally consist of panel and paper presentations during the day and readings from the convention speakers each night. This year’s speakers included Jacqueline Woodson, Lorene Cary, Kay Ryan, and Dave Eggers. The only concern the students had was the cost, which was roughly $700 per person – a large amount of money for humble, pitiable English grad students. Some funding was raised through a weeklong chili sale in Comer Hall, and of course any additional donations to help future students attend concentions will be greatly appreciated. Plus, donors can feel good knowing that their contributions go toward an important cause – STD research.
Great Britain Study Tour Dr. Betsy Inglesby is known well in Comer Hall for talking about James Joyce with a passion that has resulted in many a major carrying around a wellread copy of Ulysses. This summer she will be leading students into the land of Joyce and other British Modernists. The June 7-15 excursion will include time in England and Wales as well as in Joyce’s Ireland.
Montevallo Literary Festival 2011 By Carrie Busby April 15, 2011, is not only the dreaded deadline for filing income taxes this year. This date also marks the anticipated ninth annual Montevallo Literary Festival. The University hosts this literary event each year on campus. According to the Assistant Director of the festival, Assistant Professor of English Bryn Chancellor, the MLF
The Tower Arts Magazine By Evan Patton
The University of Montevallo’s The Tower is a student-written and student-edited magazine that exhibits the prime creativity of students from all majors. Originally named the Red Brick Review, the magazine nourishes the roots of a liberal arts education with the soil of local publication. The Tower is funded by the Student Government Association and advised by Jim Murphy, Chair and Associate Professor of English. It is being edited this year by Courtney Bennett, a senior English major. Submissions are open to all students, save for the graces of the Editor. Ms. Bennett spoke about her aspirations for the 2011 edition. “The Tower is a way for students to express their creativity, whether literary or visual. This year’s Tower will be an opportunity for students to shine.” Ms. Bennett hopes for many art submissions this year and encourages submissions by students from outside of their fortes. The Tower is expected to be released near the end of spring, as a rather appropriate creative blossom during April or May.
preserves a responsibility to a “mission to celebrate the love of literature and remind everyone that it’s an accessible, joyous part of our everyday lives.” Faculty, students, and members of the community enjoy the poetry and prose readings, as well as writing workshops scheduled throughout the day. According to Dr. Lee Rozelle, “The Montevallo Literary Festival is a great event because you have acclaimed authors in small groups, workshops, and informal settings with our own students,” and “that level of interaction means so much more than sitting in a huge auditorium listening to the author read.” Professor Chancellor says there is no cost to attend the readings, and the University “charge[s] nominal fees for lunch and dinner at the festival and for the
master classes.” For Montevallo, this event provides an arena where readers and writers connect to commemorate their passion for language, creativity, and pedagogy. Professor Chancellor announces that there is “a terrific lineup of writers this year: Peter Guralnick (prose), Greg Williamson (poetry), T. J. Beitelman (poetry and pedagogy), as well as A. M. Garner, Toni Jensen, Carrie Jerrell, Matthew Pitt, Jorge Sánchez, and Elizabeth Wetmore.” What better way is there to ring in the renewing season of spring than with a renewal of mind and spirit through literary reflection and accord? Visit the University of Montevallo website at www. montevallo.edu/english/mlf/ for more information on the upcoming festival schedule and registration information.
The Jeremy Lespi Poetry Fellowship
sponsored by the Montevallo Literary Festival This marks the fourth year that the Montevallo Literary Festival will honor student poetry with the Jeremy Lespi Poetry Fellowship. Recipients of the Fellowship give a reading of their work Quinn White, 2010 Jeremy Lespi Fellow at the opening of the Festival and get to participate in all workshops, where they have the opportunity to work closely with a practicing writer. The Fellowship was established through generous donations from English alumni and faculty in memory of B.A. and M.A. graduate, Jeremy Lespi. A student of wide interests,
Jeremy worked as a tutor in the Harbert Writing Center, and was among the early UM cohorts to participate in the Undergraduate Research Program. After graduating from UM, Jeremy earned his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2004. He taught in France for several semesters, and earned a Certificate in French Language Studies at the Universite de Bourgogne in Dijon. He later taught classes at the University of Alabama, where he was a beloved teacher. Alumni and faculty who knew Jeremy remember his deep and abiding passion for poetry, and this passion serves as the inspiration for the Fellowship. Our past winners have been Treasure IngelsThompson, Amanda Hosey, and Quinn White. If you would like to donate to the Fellowship, please mark your donation to the Montevallo Literary Festival as a gift in memory of Jeremy Lespi. For any inquiries, please contact Dr. Samantha Webb at 205. 665.6426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
English Alumni Profile Cindy Hatcher Ehrett less intimated than most of my friends, who were heading to MegaUniversities, because Montevallo felt so small and relatively cozy.
school-attending, student loan-saddled peers.
Do you remember why you chose to be an English major? I’ve always been a huge book nerd--maybe it started because my grandfather was an English professor?--but I originally thought I wanted to teach high school English. I realized it wasn’t the right fit for me after taking an Intro to Education class at Montevallo. Which English teacher(s) do you remember as being of particular help to your education? All of them, honestly! I particularly loved Dr Elaine Hughes. Which English classes did you most enjoy? The small, more advanced level seminars where it was just a few of us book nerds sitting in a circle and chatting. Cindy Hatcher Ehrett graduated from Montevallo with a B.A. in English in 2000. She recently responded to these questions posed by her former teacher and supervisor Glenda Conway.
What career choices did you make after graduation? I was lucky enough to grab a foothold in the magazine publishing industry immediately after graduation (at Southern Progress Corporation in Birmingham). I did a lot of on-the-job learning, but I had a great foundation from my well-rounded liberal arts education--and at a definite fraction of the cost of my grad
Do you remember how you felt upon moving to Montevallo for your freshman year? I was so excited to be “on my own,” yet pretty safe knowing home wasn’t too far away. I was
Who are your favorite authors? I’ve always had a fondness for African-American literature and the Southern greats. What are you currently reading? Lots of magazines to stay on top of the competition! As for fun reading, I try to alternate a “serious” book with something lighter (it’s my brain candy!). I’m about to begin Tim Gunn’s (from Project Runway) new book. Back to something a little more challenging after that! What are you currently writing? To be honest, I don’t write much outside of my job. I am Associate Editor of Healthy Living for Cooking Light magazine. That mainly involves rewriting what others have written to fall more in line with our tone. I’ll have a new column for 2011—fun essays in 1st person. Looking forward to the challenge! What are the achievements you feel most proud of? Finding something I love to do so close to home. Sometimes I regret not setting out for Manhattan after graduation, but there’s nowhere I’d rather live than Alabama. The fact that I can use my English degree doing what I love is a blessing.
I want to be part of the formula for success and give to the University of Montevallo English Department!
Enclosed is my gift of $25 $50
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Name on Card
My check made payable to the UM Foundation is enclosed.
Card #: ________________________________ AMEX) security code:
Designate my gift to: Greatest need Restricted to: English Department
Please charge my MasterCard, VISA, Discover, or AMEX (circle one).
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What Are You Reading? Collected and Compiled by Monica Bougafa
Faculty: • Dr. Stephanie Batkie has just finished reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Next on her reading list includes In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. • Dr. Paul Mahaffey is currently reading Slumberland by Paul Beatty. • Dr. Jim Murphy, Chair of the English Department, is currently into poetry books. In the recent weeks, he has been reading Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey and The Bride of E by Mary Jo Bang (who recently spoke at the University). He is
also enjoying reading works by Emily Dickinson with his English 300 students. • Dr. Lee Rozelle is currently reading Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. • Dr. Glenda Weathers has recently enjoyed Dancing in the Dark: a Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Students: • Rachel Landers, junior English major, is currently reading excerpts from novels by Herman Melville for a class. For fun,
she is currently enjoying Star Wars books. • Katie Meador, junior English minor, is reading The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, as well as various mangas. • Dallas Prescott, senior English major, is enjoying various works by Kurt Vonnegut. • Christina Tidmore, senior English minor, is currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which was recommended to her by a friend. She is enjoying it and wanted to share one of her favorite quotes from the story: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Words for Aspiring Creative Writers:
An Interview with Bryn Chancellor By Kara Anderson
For many English majors, being a successful creative writer is the dream job. Few things sound better than spending time writing stories or poetry and living off the income from published works. However, the road to getting published can be long and hard. Many writers are unprepared for the challenge and become disillusioned along the way. Assistant Professor Bryn Chancellor has plenty of words of wisdom regarding creative writing as both an industry and a passion. Where did you receive your degrees? B.A. in English: Northern Arizona University, 1993; M.A. in English: Arizona
State University, 1997; M.F.A. in Creative Writing (fiction): Vanderbilt University, 2007 What are some of your published works? I have published my short fiction in literary journals such as Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Crazyhorse, Cutbank, and Phoebe, among others. Literary journals and magazines abound both in print and online and often are a first stepping stone for writers. A good resource if you’re interested in submitting to these journals is at Poets & Writers magazines: http://www.pw.org/toolsforwriters. I am now working on publishing my story collection as a whole book. What part of being a published writer do you find most rewarding? Certainly it’s nice to receive some recognition for a story -- to know that some reader out there has responded in a positive way to what I’ve done. It’s also nice to think that the story might find an audience, as small as the audience might be. Is there a part of the publishing process about which you would like to warn aspiring published writers?
To me, the publishing should be secondary, always, in the writing process. If you’re writing only to get published, that can be a frustrating path, because publishing is a tough business. You have to build up a tough skin. When I send out a story, I have to put away my Sensitive Writer Hat and put on my Hardhearted Business Hat. Rejections happen. A lot. You have to remember that rejection is not about you -- it’s not necessarily even about the story. Space is limited, and there are a lot of good hardworking writers who are also sending stories. When you get a rejection, go back to the work. Remember what you love about it. If you love what you’re doing, that will keep you steady. What advice do you have for alumni who are pursuing careers in creative writing? The first answer, I suppose, is to write. Don’t wait until “someday,” don’t wait for that dazzling plot to strike. Sit down and do the work. Because writing is work. If it’s important to you, find the time to make space in your life for it.
What Have You Been Writing? Jonathan Shields interviewed several members of the English Faculty and received the following information
Dr. Stephanie Batkie:
• Her most recent publication is “Thanne artow inparfit: Learning to Read in Piers Plowman” in The Chaucer Review (45.2). This article, according to Dr. Batkie, “examines the development of an Augustinian hermeneutic in William Langland’s poem through diagetic misreading and the use of scriptural exegesis as an interpretive model. I examine the use of passages in the Ennarrationes in Psalmos of Augustine as they appear in the poem, and posit that they shape reading modes through exemplary rather than concordant interpretation. She also has an article, “Of the parfite medicine: Merita Perpetuata in Gower’s Vernacular Alchemy” in John Gower, Trilingual Poet (2010). In this article, Dr. Batkie examines “how Gower investigates the idea of productive poetry that is presented in a simple style, thereby asking the reader to work at the text in a new way. I use his example of alchemy as the highest form of human labor as a new model for reading practices.” Dr. Batkie also has two projects in the works. “Cronic Chameleons and Gower’s Shifting Eye in the Cronica Tripertita” uses manuscript evidence from two of the extant copies of Gower’s poem to redefine his attitude towards public kingship during the deposition of Richard II and to offer a new reading of his approach to the language of political and historical chronicle. “Illegibility and the Grave in the Middle English St. Erkenwald” is a working title for a project that shows how political and historical translation in the later Middle Ages becomes an impossible task without an act of miraculous, divine intervention.
Professor Bryn Chancellor:
• She has published ten short stories. “All This History at Once.” Forthcoming in PMS: poemmemoirstory, Fall 2010.
“Wrestling Night.” The Yalobusha Review 13 (2008): 101-109. “The New Girl.” The Fourth River, 4 (2007): 50-58. “Meet Me Here.” Gulf Coast 18.1 (2006): 12-24. “At the Terminal.” Blackbird 3.2 (2004): online. “In My Former Life.” CutBank 62 (2004): 42-56. “Fossil Light.” Phoebe 33. 2 (2004): 98-115. “Any Sign of Light.” Colorado Review 31. 1 (2004): 34-44. “Start With the Walls.” The Cream City Review 27. 2 (2003): 31-42. “Water at Midnight.” Crazyhorse 62 (2002): 20-28. Her story collection, When Are You Coming Home?, is currently under consideration at Graywolf Press. She is now at work on two novels and a memoir.
Dr. Glenda Conway:
• She has been asked to “prepare a
chapter for a collection of essays on the NAACP’s work in Florida. I will be writing about Chambers v. Florida, a U.S. Supreme Court opinion written by Alabama native Hugo Black.” She has been researching Chambers for over a decade. She also is working on a fictionalization of “Justice Black’s experience of writing the opinion, which had a significant positive effect on how he subsequently was viewed by the American public.” Her most recent publication, “Reflections on the ever-rippling benefits of an international faculty exchange experience,” appeared in Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Studies: Pursuits in Higher Education (U Federal de Viçosa, 2010).
Dr. Nicholas Crawford:
• His most recent publications illustrate his wide range of interests, as well as his fluency in French. Here’s a sampling of his most recent work: “Herbert, Heaney: At the Bodily Fulcrum.” George Herbert’s Travels: International Print and Cultural Legacies. Ed. Christopher T. Hodgkins. University of Delaware Press, 2011 (forthcoming). “Serving Theater in Volpone.” Renaissance Papers 2008: 125135. (with A.E.B. Coldiron) “Shakespeare et le Coriolan ‘de l’empire lettré’.” Shakespeare, Les Français, Les France. Ed. Ruth Morse. Cahiers Charles V No. 45 (2008). Paris: Université Paris. Diderot-Paris 7, 2008: 95-113. “Synge’s Playboy and the Eugenics of Language.” Modern Drama 51.4 (2008): 482-500. He is working on an article on the tomb scene in Romeo and Juliet.
Dr. Jim Murphy:
• He has published two books on poetry: a chapbook, The Memphis Sun, and a fulllength collection, Heaven Overland.
Dr. Hugh Rozelle:
• His recent publications include his book, Ecosublime: Environmental Awe and Terror from New World to Oddworld (U Alabama Press, 2006) as well as an article, “I Am the Island’: Dystopia and Ecocidal Imagination in Rushing to Paradise, Super-Cannes, and Concrete Island,” in the Winter 2010 issue of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. He has an article on Don DeLillo’s Underworld forthcoming in Studies in the Novel and an article on Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake forthcoming in Canadian Literature.
Notes from Emeriti Bill Cobb Bill Cobb has now been retired ten years. He still lives in Montevallo, where he continues to write. His seventh novel, The Last Queen of the Gypsies, has just been published.
Loretta Cobb I’m so glad the English Department is reviving the Golson newsletter. I remember fondly working on those old purple stencils nearly 50 years ago on spring afternoons, marveling that Ms. Golson cared so much about students that she’d save little scraps of letters and Christmas cards and paste them all into a newsletter each year. I loved helping with it then and later as a member of the Department. Now, it strikes me that Ms. Eva was the 20th century’s Pioneer Facebooker. Though that might cause some to groan, I think she’d chuckle at the notion because I love FB for the very reason that she sent the newsletter: staying in touch. I’m in touch every day with former students through that wacky connection of cyberspace. I e-talk with students from Korea to Canada, and I know what my favorite Malaysian tutor is cooking in South Carolina every week. I also hear weekly from the daughter of a man I taught in middle school in the late 60’s who told his daughter to get in touch with me when her mother died. Why am I telling you all this? Because that’s how I see myself carrying Eva Golson’s torch forward, staying in touch beyond the classroom. In addition to that chance to keep instructing from the Great Pasture of Retirement, I’ve been writing since the day I retired, resulting in a number of published stories and one collection: The Ocean Was Salt. I continue to serve as muse and advisor to sweet William as diligently as Sonya Tolstoy (if you’ll forgive the presumption and accept the humor). I can boast one perfect child and two flawless grandchildren, who may be viewed on my personal FB page. Dr. Conway keeps me abreast of
developments in the writing center world. She even invited me to a conference with the tutors on Tybee Island several years ago. She also gave me favorable mention in a recent paper she published where she described the old writing center with much affection. Goodness, I feel as if I’m doing automatic writing, slipping into the voice of Ms. Golson somehow. Let me end by boasting and confessing. I confess that after all these years I finally took creative writing from Dr. Murphy, who was simply outstanding and very patient with a grandmother mingling with 20-yearolds. I boast that Bill and I were given an award last year from former President Williams for our “exemplary service to the University of Montevallo and its students.” That was, indeed, a high point in our lives.
Milton Foley Since my retirement, Charlotte and I have done a lot of traveling in New England, Quebec, and South Dakota. In October 2003, we spent two weeks in England and Wales as part of our golden wedding anniversary celebration. I have taught a class at a church on Othello and Twelfth Night, emphasizing the profound and subtle spiritual content of these plays. I have very fond memories of my former students at UM and hear from some often at Christmas each year. Because the three acres of land adjacent to our home in Montevallo were becoming a burden, we moved in February 2007 to a new home in the Holland Lakes development in Pelham.
Cynthia Gravlee Since retiring, Cynthia Gravlee has been active in a variety of volunteer work and had done lots of dancing, social and competitive. She has performed in spotlights, showcases, and competitions, most recently in the Astaire World Competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 22-25, 2010. She also comes to campus regularly for meetings and programs.
Dorothy Grimes Although I live in Brierfield and am active in several Bibb County environmental groups, I am still very much a part of the Montevallo community and contribute in small ways to groups like AAUW, the Montevallo Arts Council, and the Presbyterian Church. Our five grandchildren are my chief means of continuing education, but since they live near opposite ends of I-20—two in Atlanta, GA (ages 9 and 6), and three in Ft. Worth, TX (ages 10, 6, and 4)—I fill much of the remaining time with “work”—things like tennis, biking, reading, and web design.
Sandra and John Lott We are enjoying retirement in the Montevallo community, where we pursue special interests such as gardening, music, art, theater and reading and delight in travel with friends and family members. We belong to two book groups, and we are very busy with a variety of volunteer activities--AAUW, the Montevallo Historical Commission, Reading Is Fundamental, and other civic and church projects. Our two pets enrich our lives, and we have learned to use Facebook to keep up with people more closely. Of course, the progress of our children and grandchildren is a source of pleasure and pride. Daughter Anna and her husband David both work at the University of North Alabama, in Florence, Alabama, where Anna is Co-director of Women’s Studies and Professor of English. Dave is an IT consultant and teaches English on a part-time basis. Our son Bert is Professor of Greek and Latin Studies at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and his wife Jane is Public Relations Director for a large hospital. Our youngest son Ward is an attorney in Orange County, California, where he is a partner in his firm, and where he enjoys the beauty of California’s beaches, mountains, and parks. Granddaughter Mia, taking a gap year after high school, is teaching English
in Senegal through Projects Abroad. She will be a freshman at Vassar College next year. Grandsons Rowan and John David, both almost 9, are avid readers, naturalists, and computer gurus, who especially enjoy being together at family gatherings. Despite living far apart, they remain best friends.
Elizabeth Hatley Rodgers I enjoy working as a full-time volunteer leader in two nonprofit organizations in Montevallo that I helped establish. I served the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation (established in 1998) as president for many years and as director of the capital campaign that raised $2.4 million for the new Montevallo public library/ community cultural center. I continue to serve on the board. I have been president of the Montevallo Arts Council (founded in 2006) since 2008 and have helped for five years to plan the annual Montevallo Arts Fest, a week-long April celebration of the arts that includes the Montevallo Art Show in Orr Park.
Thomas Woods After leaving Montevallo, I was part of a team trying to restore genuine liberal education at a small Catholic college outside of Detroit. But our principal donor abandoned us, so I retired with Joan, my wife, to Santa Fe, NM, where we’ve lived for five years. Joan works part time at the local hospital, making sure that doctors keep accurate records; she also takes cooking classes, mostly aimed at earning a pastry-chef certificate. I take classes at St. John’s College on writers ranging from Heidegger to Faulkner and read up on New Mexico’s tumultuous history. We now have nine grandchildren.
Slam Poets in the Small Town By Ethan Taylor On the second Friday of every month, students and townspeople alike gather at Eclipse Coffee & Books on Main Street to witness the locomotive power of the Montevallo Poetry Slam. Now in its 12th year, the energy and passion that the poets (some veteran, others novice) and audience members bring to the event is astounding, making it quite a gem in our sleepy little town. On a typical Slam night, Eclipse is as bustling as ever, with conversations spilling down the front corridor and onto the porch. Inside, an organizing member of the Slam approaches seated people at random in search of willing judges. I regularly volunteer if asked. After five judges have been chosen (read: “found”) and all participating poets have put their name into a hat (literally), the rules of the Slam are recited: Each poet may only recite his or her original work; no props, costumes or accompaniment; there will be four rounds of poetry; each poet gets three minutes per performance without penalty; the winner takes pride and some cash that the audience donates to the event. We judges are told to rate performances on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0, and then we are given a “sacrifice.” A willing poet not competing in this slam performs a piece and we rate him or her as we see fit. We are then instructed to score all following recitations based on that poet’s sacrifice. Then the slam begins. Words ricochet around the room like stray bullets, striking audience members at random. The poets not at the mic sit in the crowd with everyone else. They are just like us, and we are proud of them, as much for
having the audacity to stand in front of a room of people as for their ability to awe us with the raw words of real people. These poets are not studied in an anthology generations after their death. These poets are witnessed, in all of their living glory, to be a college student, a construction worker, a full-time working mother. We love them not for their metrical rhymes or syntactical creativity, but because they have the ability to create something as alive and energetic as poetry that must be performed, because reading it on a page of paper would be to only encounter its shadow. We love these poets because we know we could be them. More importantly, we love them because they are all of us. At the end of the slam, the poets and audience, who by now are understood to be one and the same, return to their real lives of day jobs and classes. We feel like we are a part of the underground, like we are the raging pulse of this small town that seems to have so little to do. We all look forward to next month’s Slam with a small part of that raging pulse in our chests, and that’s what keeps us going.
Student Poetry Graduate Seminar
By Quinn White
By Quinn White, 2010 Lespi Fellow
Our papers were due in the morning. And it was 6 p.m. Earlier that day we (four desperate creatures who’d waited until the last minute), decided to meet at Jacquie’s house. We plugged in our laptops and for several hours typed in silence. Then: “Hey, does this even make sense?” Papers exchanged. “Cronenberg. Kristeva.” “Let’s order pizza.” “Read this and tell me if I’m crazy.” “Kubrick. Eggs. Lolita.” “If Derrida were alive, I would punch him in the face.” Morning came and we remained hunched over our computers. Coffee, pizza, and sweat perfumed the room. David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” played on TV. Somewhere a cat meowed. At the appointed time, we stood, perhaps a bit wobbly, behind the lectern in Palmer Commons and shared our hard won ideas with an audience of our peers. After the symposium we reconvened over drinks. “I’m going to miss this class.” Disbelieving looks exchanged. “The road to the Overlook Hotel is not a fallopian tube.” “I’ll look it up when I get home.” “So, Quinn, you’re really going through with the whole robot thing.” “Yep. It’s going to be crazy.” I think at some point we made a toast. Thus ended my first semester of graduate school at the University of Montevallo. (Quinn White completed the M.A. program in English in May 2010. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor of English for UM. She will enter the M.F. A program in poetry at Virginia Tech in Fall 2011)
I dreamt of drowning and surfaced in time to sheets. Laughter, like lying, begs a white L, red capped. My drawers and purses have lungs I borrow for occasions my lips are blue from not blowing out the old, from failing to assume the new verse and brain damage
the difference between in and respiring, my mouth a vase or knot of stems wearing rouge hats through wet parades and glade climes, from which I rise cyanotic, suckling a trapeze so frequented I forget how polar my swinging, how taut my link with living.
Lines Written on Main Quad By Michella Shaw As I look about the beautiful grass, There are so many groups of people. Some are studying, and others are just Relaxing with friends. The tranquil mood is Inviting. It speaks to me lowly. The trees dance to the rhythm of the wind. As I watch this typical day pass by, People come and people leave one by one. There is laughter in cars that are passing The scene. The drivers are in a rush Through life. These avid ones do not Enjoy nature’s presence to mankind. Its cry is the wind as it longs for delight. When the breeze is light and airy, there is Comfort. When it’s stronger, it craves regard.
I, too, see the cracked red bricks. Some are chipped and much gone; others are Still smooth. There is an uneasy balance For they are unbalanced. Nature Gives these bricks much turmoil. The Sad rain and yearning winds overwhelm Them since man does not listen. Though old and weary, the bricks Try to maintain their job, but remain ignored. The cracks are the spotlight, Since they bring mishaps to those Hasty individuals. Yet, time passes Away. Those bricks quietly wither into Dust as no one cares for their fate.
Spoiled Words By Monica Bougafa My words act as spoiled children, Refusing to be what I ask of them; I know I am to blame for it all, After I entrust them with my thoughts. I give the words ideas they need To be what I hope they’ll become on their own,
But they do not listen to what I have to say; Insolence blocks me from what is right. So even though I do not agree, I find myself behind the ideas; I cannot transform, so I must obey, And be the thoughts I’m forced to submit.
English Department • Station 6420 • Montevallo, AL 35115