Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Graduate English Program! Come back often for updates on conference opportunities, guest speakers, student accomplishments, alumni news, and more.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Upcoming: Faculty Research Talk

Lauren Shohet, Luckow Family Professor of English, presents:

“The Fragrance of the Fall: the Semiotics of Smell in Paradise Lost”

Haverford Room, Connelly Center

Wednesday, November 11 at 12:00PM

Lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP by November 6 to sharon.rose-davis@villanova.edu

Graduate readers welcome!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2016 Literary Festival!

The English Department is pleased to announce the line-up for the 2016 Villanova University Literary Festival.  All readings will be at 7pm. The locations will be announced soon.

January 28: Gregory Pardlo
Gregory Pardlo's ​collection​ Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Digest​ was also shortlisted for the​ 2015 NAACP Image Award and is a current finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His other honors​ include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. Pardlo's poems appear in​ The Nation, Ploughshares, ​Tin House, T​he Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry,Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Pardlo lives with his family in Brooklyn.

February 11:  Dan Torday
Daniel Torday is the author of the novel The Last Flight of Poxl West. His novella, The Sensualist, won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. Torday's stories and essays have appeared in Esquire Magazine, n+1, The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily and Tin House. A former editor at Esquire, Torday serves as an editor at The Kenyon Review. He is Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College.

February 23:  Jean Valentine
A longtime resident of New York City, Jean Valentine was named the State Poet of New York in 2008. Her first book of poems, Dream Barker and Other Poems, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1965. Subsequent collections of poems include The River at Wolf (1992), Little Boat(2007), and Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, which won the National Book Award in 2004.

March 17: Glenn Patterson  
*In conjunction with the Heimbold Fellowship in Irish Studies
Glenn Patterson was born in Belfast and educated there and at the University of East Anglia where he studied for an MA in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter. He is the author of eight novels and two works of non-fiction. His plays and stories have been broadcast on Radio 3 and Radio 4 and articles and essays have appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Independent, Irish Times, Dublin Review. Before coming to Queen's as writer-in-residence (1994) he was Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia and writer-in-residence at University College Cork. He has also presented numerous television documentaries and an arts review series for RTE. A film, Good Vibrations, co-written with Colin Carberry is due for cinema release in 2013. In 2008 he was awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He is a member of Aosdana.

April 14: Asali Solomon
*In conjunction with the Ida B. Wells lecture in Africana Studies
Asali Solomon is the author of the novel Disgruntled.  She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for her stories collected in Get Down, her first book; the volume was also a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2007 she was named one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35. Solomon teaches English at Haverford College. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons.

The Wildcat in the Rye

Photo by Auraleah Grega
During the week preceding Fall Break, the English department ran their fourth annual freshmen program in Good Counsel Hall. A group of grads and undergrads volunteered to assist Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh in leading a discussion of a chapter from J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. The point of the program was to introduce Villanova freshmen to the level of thoughtful analysis they can encounter through the English Department here.

The event began with Dr. Javadizadeh presenting some context for the chapter, as well as an introduction to the great benefits of pursuing study in the field of English.

Then student volunteers, each designated a role, read through the 13th chapter of Catcher. The freshmen were then broken into small groups to discuss their ideas about the text they had just heard.

Photos by Auraleah Grega
With a grand total of 89 first year students signing in to the event (though numbers were likely higher than recorded), it was a great success! Thanks to Dr. Javadizadeh for organizing the program, and to the students who volunteered their time to make the event possible!

Never Too Old for Field Trips: A Weekend Excursion to Bartram’s Garden

Below is a write-up by first-year graduate student Rob McClung about a trip he and the rest of Dr. Lisa Sewell's Ecopoetics course took earlier this month:

Photo by Rob McClung        

Philadelphia is often called a “city of firsts”: within its limits were established the nation’s first public schools, its first hospital, its first lending library, its first public parks, and on the banks of the Schuykill River, its first botanical garden, established by John Bartram on the 108 acres he purchased from Swedish settlers in 1728. Bartram (1699-1777) is remembered as the country’s earliest, and for many years its most prominent, botanist. A third generation Quaker, he remained a farmer throughout his life, but established himself as an authority on North American plants through a combination of autodidactic perseverance and extensive travel throughout the continent, taking him as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida to collect and catalog seeds and plant specimens.

The eminent local essayist Agnes Repplier described him as a quiet man who labored quietly within his “narrow bounds,” who thought much of his work and “little of the public,” and who “added generous shares to the useful knowledge of the world.” The original house, designed and built by Bartram himself, still stands today. I thought it handsome and distinguished, yet modest, in the classic Germanic style of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Its stone and lumber construction, dual end chimneys, and steeply pitched gable roof characterize it as typical of the period, but several unique architectural features mark the house’s singularity. I was much taken by the façade, which incorporates a triple column arrangement set against a central section of slate grey stucco on the second story. The center column divides the house, while the two outer columns separate the central section of stucco from the more classic pattern of stone that lines the remaining exterior. This arrangement creates a complex, almost jarring rhythm that is amplified by the open-air porch beneath the section of stucco, divided in half by the central column, and the alternation of four windows with three columns. The botanist certainly had a curious taste and an original aesthetic, and the startled onlooker who finds himself confounded by the apparent disharmony of elements--as I was--soon begins to speculate about his character when gazing at this particular architectural form of expression. I’d call him a neoclassicist with a flair for the quirky.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

PhD. Forum Monday 10/5!

Dr. Mullen and Dr. Hicks will present their perspectives on the current state of PhD. application, admission, and academic job market. There will also be conversation with Villanova alumnus Don James McLaughlin, who is currently writing his dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania.

Each speaker will offer their thoughts on whether or not to pursue a doctoral degree, where to apply, how to produce an effective application, and what the experience of a PhD. program is like. The event will end in a Q&A session moderated by Dr. Hicks.

Come for the pizza, stay for the insightful perspectives on taking the PhD. path!

Monday October 5 at 7:30PM in SAC 300.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Salary Negotiation Workshop for Villanova Women!

There will be two workshop dates offered to Villanova graduate student women and alumnae to help enhance their earnings for the rest of their working lives.

Participants should attend only one workshop. The dates are:

Tuesday, October 6 at 6 p.m.


Sunday, November 15 at 1 p.m.

Registration Fee: $15 (includes dinner)


Health Services Building, Room 200

This workshop is co-sponsored by VSB Graduate Business Programs, CLAS Human Resource Development Program, CLAS Masters in Public Administration, VU Alumni Relations & Villanova Women's Professional Network

Monday, September 28, 2015

Villanova English: First Fall Coffee Break

The Villanova Undergraduate English Blog posted some great pics from the First Fall Coffee Break! Please check them out, and be sure to attend the next Coffee Break to meet and chat with current grads, undergrads and faculty in the English department. Plus snacks!

Villanova English: First Fall Coffee Break: Pictures, taken by English major Karen Loor, from the first fall Coffee Break--Cupcake Edition.

Thesis/Field Exam Workshop a success!

Last Monday was the annual Thesis and Field Exam Workshop. The event was hosted by Dr. Heather Hicks and there was a great turnout of first and second year grad students.

The Workshop was incredibly helpful and gave great time parameter suggestions for students to think about re: finding a faculty director and second reader, as well as tips for deciding how long to take on a thesis. It was also a great reminder that Field Exam and Thesis proposal examples are available right here on The Yawp!

Some important dates to keep in mind for students planning to finish their degree Spring 2016:
  • December 8 is the last day for students to submit a thesis or field exam proposal to Susan Burns
  • January 31 is the last day to apply for May graduation
  • Deadline for submission of theses for May graduation is April 29
  • Seventh Annual Thesis and Field Exam Symposium is April 30 at SAC 300 from 10:00am-12:00pm, followed by lunch

If you have any further questions about the Thesis and Field Exam options, please e-mail Professor Hicks at heather.hicks@villanova.edu.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Graduate Workshop for Thesis and Field Exam options

This Monday is the annual Thesis and Field Exam Workshop. All graduate students are welcome to attend, regardless of whether they are finishing up their degree this year or later. 

Dr. Heather Hicks is leading the workshop and will discuss suggestions for identifying a thesis or field exam topic, approaching a director and second reader, and how to undertake the work itself. It's a great opportunity to think about the thesis and field exam, as well as an opportunity to begin setting up groups among yourselves. 

Additionally, there will be pizza!

Monday September 21 at 7:30 in SAC 300

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Upcoming Events Hosted by the Gender & Women's Studies Dept.

10/1 Erin Giles “Keep It Real with Erin Giles, Founder of End Sex Trafficking Day”
Co-sponsored with Villanova SVA, POWER, and Peace & Justice.
Connelly Cinema

10/27 Joanna Barsh, Author of How Remarkable Women Lead and Centered Leadership
Co-sponsored with Villanova Women’s Professional Network and College of Engineering
Villanova Room, Connelly Center

11/2 Brenda Elsey (History, Hofstra University), 
“The Unbearable Whiteness of the Women’s World Cup, 2015” 
Co-sponsored by History, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, and Romance Languages & Literatures
Driscoll Auditorium (Driscoll 132)

11/4 Stefanie Knauss (Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova)
“Less sex, more fun: A feminist-theological analysis of celibacy as a lifestyle”
Lunch faculty research workshop
Devon Room, Connelly Center

11/10 “Perspectives and Experiences of Women in Engineering: A Panel of Recent Graduates”
Moderated by Amy Fleischer (Mechanical Engineering, Villanova), co-sponsored by the department of Mechanical Engineering
Tolentine 215

11/11 Film screening: The Empowerment Project
Followed by student discussion
Bartley Auditorium (Bartley 1011)

12/4 “Experiments in Voice and Body: Performing Positions, Perspectives, and Power”
Original Performances by students in COM 3242 Performance Art and COM 3245 Voice & Diction (Drs. Rose and MacDonald).
Garey Hall, Communication Studio

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Villanova Graduate English Department Says Farewell to Another Group of Grads

On May 16, the Graduate English Department watched as this year's graduates walked across the stage at the Recognition Ceremony for the Graduate Arts and Sciences. Afterward, a small reception was held for the graduates, their parents, and English Department faculty. What a challenging two years and what a great group of graduates! By the end of two years, they were saying goodbye to professors who had become friends. We wish them all the best!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dr. Sewell's Book of Poetry Published this Month

Quoted from The Word Works' April 21, 2015 Newsletter:

Lisa Sewell's Impossible Object
is real - and wonderful !
Winner of the First Annual Tenth Gate Prize

Impossible Object, Sewell's third full-length collection, shows what it means to be in constant, alert connection to the world and its voices.

Each poem is deeply rooted in a specific work of literature as well as an event in the poet's life, earning this praise from Linda Gregerson:
"Lisa Sewell has invented a new poetic genre. I'd call the mode ekphrastic, but ekphrasis doesn't quite capture it. She eats, sleeps, and breathes books. Books are her lime flower tea - she recovers the past in books. Books are her avenue to political witness - they afford a foundational grammar for feeling and moral awareness. Books are her oxygen and elementary language."
Arthur Sze adds,
"In these sharp, arresting poems, Lisa Sewell writes out of a place and time 'when there is never a where or right place.' As the worlds of literature and life reflect, refract and conflate, she creates a space that is spellbindingly present."
[Click to order yours.]

Impossible Object is Sewell's third full-length poetry collection, following the chapbook Long Corridor (Seven Kitchens Press, winner of the 2008 Keystone Chapbook Prize), and the collections Name Withheld (Four Way Books, 2006) and The Way Out (Alice James Books, 1998).

Sewell is also co-editor, with Claudia Rankine, of two essay collections that focus on 21st Century North American poets. Her poems have appeared in journals such asColorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Paris Review and Harvard Review. She has been awarded a Leeway Foundation Grant and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Sewell teaches in the English Department and is the co-director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program at Villanova University.

Bruce Smith describes this book beautifully:

"To speak of reading is to speak of love: it is the act when Eros enters into you and you either find or lose yourself. In this brilliant book, Lisa Sewell speaks of encounters with books that 'translate us back' to our inherited world or translate us ahead into another world which is as disturbing as it is comforting, full of outrage and tenderness. The territory she describes is 'between a bleed and a blundering of borders.' It is a place in between civilization and its discontents with its indistinguishable wishes and fears and the primary pleasure of being seized by the imagined. It's a book of wonder and great extension of sympathy."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lisa Sewell to Give a Talk on Her Recent Book

Our very own Dr. Lisa Sewell will be giving a scholarship@Villanova talk in Falvey Library on Tuesday, April 14, at 4:30 pm. Dr. Sewell will be discussing and reading from her new volume of poetry, Impossible Object, which is the winner of the Gate Prize for poetry.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lauren Berlant, Gender Studies Literary Critic, to Speak at Villanova

A quick word from Dr. Heather Hicks:

If you are interested in gender studies, you should plan to attend the ECS conference at Villanova next Thursday. A highlight will be Lauren Berlant's talk at 4:30 in the Connelly Cinema. Lauren Berlant is one of the most famous literary critics in the US, and she does very challenging and cutting-edge theoretical work. Her talk is entitled, "Arts of Survival: On Dissociation and the Attachment to Life."