Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Archive for August, 2007

Fall Kick-Off

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 31, 2007

The entire Department of English community is invited to attend a Fall Kickoff reception on Friday, September 7, beginning at 4 p.m., just after classes and just before the opening night of the Black Swamp Arts Festival.

The event will be held in the East Hall Library/Lounge, located on the second floor, and light refreshments will be served.

Not only is the Fall Kickoff a good chance to learn of the numerous activities planned by Department organizations in the coming weeks; it also provides a sneak peek of the ongoing revivification of the Library/Lounge itself — which previously had featured a heavy emphasis on “lounge,” but rather less on “library.” All are urged to come and peruse the new collection of reference works.

Representatives from all of the Department’s student organizations will be present with updates on their activities and information on how to get involved. Organizations include the Black Swamp Literary Society, Sigma Tau Delta, the English Graduate Student Association, the Acolytes of the Smoking Jacket, the Graduate Writers Club, and Prairie Margins (the host of this semester’s event).

On behalf of all of the Department’s organizations, we hope to see you there!


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Winter Wheat Proposals Sought

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 29, 2007

wheat3.jpgSession proposals are now being sought for Winter Wheat: The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing, slated for November 8-11 on campus.

Some sixty sessions are included as part of the Winter Wheat schedule, and nearly any creative writing-related topic is fair game. You do not have to be an expert to propose a topic — just someone with a sincere interest and a willingness to prepare a satisfactory learning experience for the 12-20 people who will attend your 75-minute session.

Sessions will be held concurrently on Friday and Saturday of the festival, and participants will register for the topics of their choice. Successful sessions typically include a discussion of key ideas, a writing exercise to illustrate these ideas, and some time for sharing and discussion. Sessions must last the whole 75 minutes, so it is a good idea to OVER-prepare.

Student presenters frequently contribute to the Winter Wheat lineup, which provides a good chance to contribute to your vita or resume. If your session is chosen, you will join prominent writers and scholars, but in an intimate setting that is easy on the nerves.

Here are a few samples of sessions offered last year:

* Is Your Prose Falling Asleep? Shake it Awake!
* The Structural Integrity of a Story: Cause and Effect in Plot and Action
* Persona in Poetry
* The Tomcat and the Eagle: The Fight Between the Past and the Present in Memoir Writing
* How to Boil Water: Beginning Nonfiction
* The Harvest: A Discussion About Editing a Literary Journal
* How To Write a Novel
* Use of the Computer in Writing
* The Manifesto Workshop: Using the Powers of Observation to Write (or Co-Author) a Manifesto
* Writing Poetry of the Family
* Reinventing the Sonnet

Notice that some of these seem geared toward the novice (“Beginning Nonfiction”); others, toward a serious writing student (“Persona in Poetry”); and still others, toward very advanced practitioners of the genre (“The Tomcat and the Eagle”).

Readers for this year’s festival include Cris Mazza, Charles Yu, BGSU’s own Wendell Mayo and F. Daniel Rzicznek, Sue William Silverman, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Michael Steinberg, Mary Quade, and David Shumate.

To propose a session, please prepare a title and a brief (~25 words) description of what you would like to do. This should be e-mailed to festival coordinator Karen Craigo within a week or two (but do note that the schedule is filling up quickly, so the sooner, the better). With questions, please call or write Karen at

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Poetry and Fiction at Prairie Margins Reception

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 28, 2007

The staff of Prairie Margins, the undergraduate literary magazine, invite you to join them for an open mic and welcoming reception this Thursday at 7:30 in Prout Chapel. Offered as part of the Creative Writing Program Reading Series, the event offers members of the BGSU writing community a chance to share their work while enjoying the fun and camaraderie of the creative writing program.

Prairie Margins faculty advisor Karen Craigo reminds us that:

An open mic is not a full-scale reading, of course, but rather a taste of what we’ve been up to recently in our writing lives. Please come prepared to read only a page or two. That’s easy for most poets, but fiction writers should come armed with either a work of ‘sudden fiction’ (very short prose) or a favorite excerpt. An excerpt that showcases your language and your style is an ideal choice.

Contributors to the 2007 edition of Prairie Margins are especially encouraged to read their work, either that which is in the issue itself or something brand new. Refreshments will be provided, and copies of the newest issue of Prairie Margins will be distributed to all in attendance. You will also learn how you can get involved with BGSU’s own national, undergraduate literary journal as it readies its 2008 edition.

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Black Swamp Literary Society is Back!

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 23, 2007

After a very successful year, the Black Swamp Literary Society, an undergraduate-run forum for all things pertaining to English, will be resuming its informal Monday-night discussions. The first meeting of the semester will be on September 10 at 9 PM in the East Hall Lounge, on the second floor.

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Faculty Accomplishments Redux

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 23, 2007

Our former Chair Simon Morgan-Russell, who currently serves as Associate Dean for Curriculum, Student Services, and Faculty Advancement in the College of Arts and Sciences has an article, “A Local Shop for Local People: Alienation and Imbrication in British Situation Comedy” forthcoming in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of British Cinema and Television with Edinburgh University Press.

“I’ve just uploaded my megabyte-heavy images to their ftp site and so I think that means it’s done!” he tells us. “An added bonus? David Wall, a former BGSU ACS PhD and close friend who is director of the Cultural Studies program at the Batley School of Art & Design, West Yorkshire, has, by some staggering coincidence, an article on British comedy appearing in the same issue. It’s a small world after all.”

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Faculty Accomplishments

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 22, 2007

As another Fall semester begins, we’d like to pause to recognize the following recent faculty accomplishments:

In the Literature program, Stephannie Gearhart published “‘Faint and Imperfect Stamps’: The Problem with Adaptations of Shakespeare for Children” in Alif: Journal of Contemporary Poetics. Erin Labbie, along with Allie Terry of the School of Art, is currently planning the Beholding Violence conference to be held at BGSU Feb 28-March 1, 2008. Watch out for more news of this ICS, Art, and English co-sponsored conference in coming weeks. Jolie Sheffer was named a board member of the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival Author’s Committee in Dowagiac, Michigan. The board selects featured speakers each fall and spring and recently brought in a past poet laureate.

Rhetoric and Writing’s Rick Gebhardt has an article, “Field Fragmentation and Non-Major Literature Courses” accepted for publication in the refereed journal CEA Forum. He was also honored at the most recent CCCCs convention with a session devoted to his work in writing-teacher education. Sue Carter Wood (with Rhetoric and Writing graduate Inez Schaecterle) has published “What about Sex? Reconsidering Histories of 19th Century Women’s Public Reform Discourse” in the forthcoming collection Sizing Up Rhetoric.

In the Creative Writing program, Wendell Mayo was the keynote speaker for the College English Association Spring Conference, and Sharona Muir won the organizations 2007 Nancy Dasher Award for her memoir, The Book of Telling. Larissa Szporluk’s latest book Embryos and Idiots was published this year by Tupelo Press. And last but not least, Theresa Williams has won the $10,000 Individual Excellence Grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Posted in Awards & Scholarships, Creative Writing, Faculty, Literature, Publications, Rhetoric & Writing | Leave a Comment »

Rhetoric & Writing Alumni News

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 17, 2007

We’re happy to pass along news of Rhetoric & Writing alumni, courtesy of Rhetoric & Writing Notes 15 (Spring 2007).

Brad Barry, Professor of English at Dixie State College, has been named Director of the Composition Program starting Fall 2007. Brad reports that his department has expanded the range of its courses and programs in recent years, and that it now offers a BA with an emphasis in professional and technical writing and a BA with an emphasis in literature.

W. Keith Duffy, an assistant professor of Humanities and Writing at Penn State, recently had his sixth peer-reviewed article accepted for publication later this year in PEER English, an academic journal specializing in literacy and sponsored by University of Leicester, England. The article, titled “Sound Arguments: Composing Words and Music,” follows closely on the publication of Duffy’s related piece “A Pedagogy of Composing: The Rhetoric of Electronic Music in the Writing Class” published by the pedagogy journal Inventio.

Keith reports that he will be submitting his materials for tenure and promotion to associate professor in the fall of 2007.

In the spring of 2006, Keith, who records electronic music under the artist name The Joy Project, had three tracks from his 2005 CD release “Trip to Style City” licensed for use on HBO’s The Sopranos, Oxygen Network’s Tempting Adam, and also the feature film The OH in Ohio, starring Danny Devito, Liza Minelli, Parker Posey, and Paul Rudd.

John Fallon gave a presentation in April at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in Tampa, Florida. The session title was “Learning Communities: Impact on Retention and Academic Performance.” John presented four years of research on the impact of Learning Communities on student retention and academic performance at Rhodes State College.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Digital Mirror Camp a Huge Success

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 17, 2007


The Digital Mirror Camp, co-sponsored by the English Department and supported by COSI Toledo and the American Association of University Women, was a huge success with 20 girls from the Wood County and surrounding areas gathering for four days of fun and learning on Bowling Green’s campus.

The camp for girls in grades 6-8 began a week last Wednesday afternoon and campers spent much of that and the following two days learning and experimenting with a variety of software including Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop, iMovie, and GarageBand. The girls then put their new skills to work developing personal webpages and blogs and filming and editing movies to embed on their websites. Additionally, many girls created their own songs using GarageBand. On the final day of camp, parents were invited participate in a studio review as campers showed off their digital projects to one another and visitors.

Besides gaining technical skill, camp facilitators Kris Blair, Jen Almjeld, Erin Dietel-McLaughlin, Meredith Graupner, and Julie Platt stressed the importance of girls consciously crafting their own cyber identities. Discussions of safety and privacy are paramount to all technology users and one goal of the Digital Mirror Camp was to make girls aware of how their actions are reflected in the media they use.

Besides time spent in the computer lab (with lab time generously provided by the Art Department), campers were treated to a Thursday afternoon trip to COSI of Toledo where they took turns riding the human yo-yo, the climbing wall, and any number of other hands-on science activities.

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Jeannette Walls Book Signing

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 7, 2007

Jeannette Walls, author of the memoir The Glass Castle, BGSU’s choice for the 2007-08 common reading experience, will be visiting BGSU’s Firelands College in Huron for a lecture and book signing on October 25th.

Publisher Simon and Schuster describes The Glass Castle as a:

remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing — a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family. Jeannette Walls has a story to tell, and tells it brilliantly, without an ounce of self-pity.

The lecture will take place at the Cedar Point Center Auditorium from 11:30 am -12:30 pm with the book signing to follow immediately until 1:00 pm. Click below to see Walls discussing her book.

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English Department Co-Sponsors Girls’ Computer Camp

Posted by bgsuenglish on August 5, 2007

From Aug. 8-11, BGSU will host “The Digital Mirror,” a computer camp for girls in grades 6-8. The three-day camp is intended to pique girls’ interest and confidence in digital literacy at a critical age developmentally, and allow them to explore the ways they define themselves within technological environments.

Through a blend of hands-on computer lab work in Web writing and design, digital imaging, and video and audio editing; mentoring by University women involved in careers in technology across campus; and access to the resources of COSI Toledo, the camp strives to engage girls in an exploration of how technological literacy is a vital part of their academic and professional careers.

The twenty participants will stay in campus residence halls to enhance the intensive mentoring and training environment.

“This is an excellent opportunity for community engagement on the part of women faculty, students and staff,” according to Kris Blair, chair of the English department and co-developer and director of the camp. “A number of research studies, including those by the AAUW (American Association of University Women), suggest that it is during early adolescence that girls begin receiving cultural messages that technology is not for them.“

In addition to Dr. Blair, other English Department participants include Rhetoric and Writing doctoral students Jen Almjeld, Erin Dietel-McLaughlin, and Meredith Graupner, and Creative Writing MFA graduate Julie Platt. They, along with other campus participants from Communication Studies, Computer Science, HIED, and the School of Art, co-developed the camp as part of an Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS) Research Cluster, “Webbing Cyberfeminist Practice,” the title of Blair’s forthcoming co-edited collection with Radhika Gajjala and Rhetoric and Writing graduate Christine Tulley (2001).

In addition to ICS and the English Department, the camp is co-sponsored by a number of other campus units, including the Graduate College, the Office of the Executive Vice President, the School of Art, and the Student Technology Center. The camp has also received support from the AAUW and COSI Toledo and is being videoed for a story with BGFile, a local technology and community organization affiliated with SeaLion Studio.

The department hopes the camp will be an annual event.

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