Friday, November 16, 2012

ATTENTION: The Blog Has Moved!

The English Department's blog has now moved to this address:

All old and new posts can be found there, as well as articles from erudition, the department's newsletter.  Go check it out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions: 56th Annual American Studies of Texas Conference
Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, is hosting this year’s American Studies of Texas’s annual conference, being held on November 15-17, 2012.
As a conference theme, ASAT looks to local writer Larry McMurtry--born in Wichita Falls and raised in rural Archer County--for inspiration. Early in his career, McMurtry (in)famously sported a t-shirt that read “Minor Regional Novelist.” In retrospect, what are we to make of McMurtry’s joke? Surely, McMurtry’s Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize, at the very least, invalidates his “minor”-ness. But what of his regionalist viewpoint, an idea that McMurtry’s shirt seemingly criticizes?
Have attitudes regarding how regionalism changed in the last few decades, particularly considering today’s “flatter” world and its incessant interconnectedness? In other words, is an author’s (or scholar’s or artist’s) keen sense of place a characteristic of provincialism, or, rather, is a regionalist’s perspective more often a source of insight, if not profundity?
While our conference welcomes proposals on or related to the topic above, we are also aware of the broad umbrella of American Studies. Therefore, in the spirit of inclusiveness, as we have in past conferences, ASAT not only expects, but also welcomes papers unrelated to our conference theme.
NOTICE: The proposal deadline has been extended.
Paper proposals should be emailed in a Word attachment to by November 5, 2012. These abstracts should be approximately 250 words and be accompanied by a CV or short biography.
ASAT prides itself on being a “grad student friendly” organization. And in keeping with a recent policy, we will provide a $50 expense stipend to those presenters who travel more than 75 miles. (If your proposal is accepted, you will receive a stipend form to fill out, and then you will get reimbursed following your presentation.)
Texas Singer-Songwriters: A Discussion
November 15, 2012, 7:00 pm.
Midwestern State University’s Museum of Art
The American Studies Association of Texas, along with MSU’s Speakers and Issues Series, presents a panel discussion of Texas singer-songwriters, focusing on their aesthetic and economic importance to our state’s culture.
Jan Reid, author of The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, a seminal work that chronicled the early days of the Austin music scene.
Abby Abernathy, founder of Yahoo Productions and originator of Archer City’s Late Week Lazy Boy Supper Club, a songwriter circle that featured many of today’s best Texas singer-songwriters.
Kathleen Hudson, professor of English at Schreiner University and author of Women in Texas Music: Stories and Songs and Telling Stories, Writing Songs: An Album of Texas Songwriters.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, lead singer of The Flatlanders, the legendary Lubbock-based band. Gilmore also has recorded nearly a dozen solo albums including Heirloom Music (2011), Come On Back (2005), and Spinning Around the Sun (1993). On Friday evening at 7:00, Gilmore will perform a solo set of his songs, also at the museum.
Greg Giddings, assistant professor of English at MSU and current vice-president of ASAT will moderate the discussion.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Congratulations to Lori Ann Stephens

Lori Ann Stephens, lecturer in English, is the recipient of the Mini Operas' Writing and Composing Mentorship! Her story The Lingerer delicately tells the story of a woman in the aftermath of the loss of her young son.

Get to Know Bruce Clarke

Bruce Clarke — From Doo-Wop to Cyberpunk

DALLAS (SMU) — As “Bruno” in the quirky ’50s-style rock group Sha Na Na, Bruce Clarke waxed about the blue moon in pompadoured greaser garb. Now, as a bespectacled Texas Tech English professor and author, he sings the praises of the intersection of science and literature via his lecture “The Ecology of Neuromancer: Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, and High Orbit in Planetary Context.”

Clarke’s talk, on Thursday, Nov. 1, will be free and open to the public at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. His visit is part of the Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of English in Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences.

The event will feature a 6 p.m. reception in the Texana Room, followed by a 6:30 p.m. reading and discussion in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room. To RSVP, click here, and for a SMU visitor parking map, here.

Clarke’s inspiration for the discussion is William Gibson’s 1984 science fiction novel, Neuromancer, about a has-been computer hacker hired to pull off the ultimate hack. The groundbreaking work launched the cyberpunk “high-tech low-life” genre into the literary mainstream.

SMU English professor Dennis Foster says Clarke will discuss how 30 years ago, Neuromancer introduced the idea of a world located not in the natural world but in a self-made cyber world, known as Gaia. “So what happens to the idea of ecology — the study of the relation of humans to their home/world — when that world is no longer separable from human makers? Will Gaia take revenge? Tune in Nov. 1 to find out.”
“The reach between literature and science is the longest kind of reach in academia,” Clarke says in this short video about his career transformation, which has resulted in his published works Allegories of Writing (1995), Dora Marsden and Early Modernism (1996), Energy Forms (2001) and Posthuman Metamorphosis (2008).

Science and fiction are concepts that have captivated Clarke since his days at Columbia University, where he returned to graduate after his worldwind four-year-stint in Sha Na Na. The punkster pop band grew out of Columbia’s longtime a capella group the Kingsmen, which changed its name in 1969 to avoid confusion with the Pacific Northwest band of “Louie, Louie” fame. Three months later Sha Na Na captured the attention of a concert producer who thought the band was so counter to the hippie counterculture as to be cool. This led to their being catapulted into fame after opening for Jimi Hendrix during the Woodstock Festival.

The group set off a Fifties nostalgia fashion and culture craze that led to the Broadway musical “Grease” (1971) and movie (1978) as well as such TV series as “Happy Days” (1974-1984) and their own “Sha Na Na” variety show (1977–1981).

Clarke’s literary aim, he says, is for all of us to “rethink the position of humanity” when it comes to science. The Texas Tech Horn Professor has been president of the Society for Literature and Science and is interim chair of the English Department in the College of Arts & Sciences. He also is editor of Intertexts: A Journal of Comparative and Theoretical Reflection, published by TTU Press.

For more details about the event, click here or call 214-768-2945.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Congrats to Kristen Polster

Kristen Polster, an adjunct in the Discernment and Discourse Department at SMU, will be receiving her PhD in English from the University of North Texas on December 15, 2012.

Her dissertation is titled The Fifth Humor: Ink and the Early Modern Body. Her primary area of interest is English Renaissance literature, particularly Tudor poetry and Shakespeare. In addition, she has a secondary interest in Creative Writing.
The English Department would like to congratulate her on her hard work!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Listen to Flannery O'Connor

Sometimes when you read, you wish you could hear the author's voice...right?
On Deep South Magazine's "Literary Friday" section, there is a clip of O'Connor discussing young Southern writers.
Previously unheard audio clips were discovered in a filing cabinet in UL Lafayette this past spring. They have been digitized and have been released to the public.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jack Myers, co-founder of the Writer's Garret

The late Jack Myers who was an SMU English Professor was recently featured in The Oprah Magazine. He was specifically noted for his admirable work in poetry with his Portable Poetry Workshop."

Myers was co-founder of the Writer's Garret, a literary center in Dallas which offers literary events and opportunities for all ages.

"[Myers] understood the need for a steady and inspired exchange of ideas to keep creativity churning. Even though practiced in solitude, reading and writing are deeply social acts. No one is an island. Language binds us through community, and language opens us to what's possible." -Writer's Garret homepage