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.

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." 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dr. Megan Quigley to Present on New Book, Wednesday, February 18

Megan Quigley is scheduled to give a talk in Falvey Library’s Scholarship @ Villanova series next week: Wednesday, February 18, at 2:30 in Falvey 205. She will be talking about her book, Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language (Cambridge University Press).

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Hidden Room Theatre Group to Visit Villanova Graduate English

Please mark your calendars for March 23-24, when we'll be holding a series of fascinating workshops and performances of an 18th-century puppet-show adaptation of Hamlet by the critically acclaimed Austin, TX-based theater group Hidden Room. No tickets will be necessary. The workshops will be geared toward Villanova and Penn grad students in English, Theatre, and Creative Writing. 

The Hidden Room Theatre’s der Bestrafte Brudermord
On March 23-24, Villanova will host award-winning Texas-based theater group The Hidden Room to stage their original-practices puppet-show production of der Bestrafte Brudermord, the mysterious slapstick Hamlet found in a German manuscript in the 18th century. The Hidden Room's visit to Villanova will include two evening shows, each followed by an artist talk-back, and two workshops on theatre scholarship, dramatic practice, and arts entrepreneurship. This event is co-sponsored by Villanova and the University of Pennsylvania. All members of the Villanova community are invited. Events will take place in the Villanova Cinema. Seating will be first-come.

Monday, March 23
5:00 p.m. Workshop
"Page to Stage: Turning Theatre Scholarship into Practice"
The Hidden Room's collaborations with scholars from Shakespeare's Globe, the American Shakespeare Center, and, most recently, Oxford University's Tiffany Stern have yielded theatrical events that have won multiple awards, critical acclaim, and international attention. Using Hidden Room's der Bestrafte Brudermord as a model, this discussion hopes to illuminate ways that theatre practitioners might build successful working relationships with scholars and use their research to infuse old plays with new life.

6:30 p.m. Scholarly Talk by Prof. Zachary Lesser, University of Pennsylvania Department of English: “Uncanny Hamlets: The Mystery of der Bestrafte Brudermord”

7:30 Performance of der Bestrafte Brudermord followed by artist talk-back

Tuesday, March 24
5:00 p.m. Workshop
"The Business of Playing Professionally: Making a Living in the Theatre"
The Hidden Room's artistic director/theatrical deviser, Beth Burns, has worked as an actor, writer, director, stage manager, teacher, lighting board operator, publicist, grant consultant, tour manager, box officer, usher, house manager, dresser, personal assistant, talent wrangler, and janitor. Burns invites you to learn from her mistakes as she details her successes, stumbling blocks, and ways into the future with a focus on a creating a sustainable economic model for a theatrical company, if one indeed exists (she hopes so).

7:30 Performance of der Bestrafte Brudermord followed by artist talk-back

Monday, February 2, 2015

American Women Writers Study Group to Host a Discussion of Hannah Crafts' The Bondswoman's Narrative at Villanova University

An Announcement from the American Women Writers Study Group:

Dr. Travis Foster and Dr. Jean Lutes have arranged a discussion of Hannah Crafts’ The Bondwoman's Narrative at Villanova on Saturday April 11, 2015. Discussion will be facilitated by Faith Barrett and Brigitte Fielder, and meeting space, lunch, and coffee will be provided courtesy of Villanova's English department and the programs of Africana Studies and Gender and Women's Studies.

Attendees should meet in the East Lounge of Dougherty Hall for lunch at noon. Discussion will run from approximately 12:30 – 4:30 with a coffee break at about 3 pm.

Additionally, for the benefit of those coming in from out of town, as well as for any interested students, the coordinators of the event have made 7:00 p.m. dinner reservations at Han Dynasty in Old City (http://handynasty.net/oldcity/). If you would like to attend, please take a minute to look over the menu, then let Travis know (1) that you would like to attend, (2) whether you have dietary restrictions, (3) what spice level you prefer on a 1 – 10 scale, and (4) if any dishes look particularly enticing (we can express preferences). We’ll be doing a $25/person prix fixe meal plus any drinks, and we’ll be split over two to three tables depending on how many attend.

Finally, the coordinators of the event are looking for interest in meeting Friday at The Library Company around 3:00 p.m. for a tour of their new exhibition, The Genius of Freedom: Northern Black Activism and Uplift after the Civil War (http://www.librarycompany.org/collections/exhibits/index.htm). If so, please email Travis.

For further questions, please email Dr. Lutes at jean.lutes@villanova.edu or Dr. Foster at travis.foster@villanova.edu.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Penn State's Distinguished Professor Eric Hayot to Lecture at Villanova in April

The Villanova English department is pleased to announce that Penn State's Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Eric Hayot, will be this year's Luckow lecturer. His presentation will be on April 1st at 5:30 p.m., location TBA. He will be talking about his new book, The Elements of Academic Style (Columbia UP, 2014). This is a fantastic book written for graduate students and professors in the humanities, which describes how to write seminar papers, conference papers, journal articles, and academic books effectively. I highly recommend reading Dr. Hayot's book, which covers a wide range of issues from time management, to how to write effective introductions and conclusions, to citation and footnote techniques, to issues like using figurative language in academic writing. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Elements-Academic-Style-Humanities/dp/0231168012/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389702688&sr=8-2&keywords=elements+of+academic+style.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Summer Critical Theory Workshop at the Sorbonne in Paris, France

All first year graduate English students are welcome to apply for a graduate-level summer research program at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The workshop is administered by Villanova’s Philosophy Department, but it cuts across numerous disciplines and is open to students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. You can see their website for more information at http://criticaltheoryworkshop.com or email Dr. Gabriel Rockhill at gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu.Summer research programs are a fantastic way to enhance your CV and travel to a new place with a trusted guide. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Villanova Graduate Student Research Journal Now Accepting Submissions

The deadline for submitting a paper to Villanova’s graduate student journal for research, CONCEPT, is Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.

The author of the best article in the 2015 issue will receive the Graduate Student Research Prize. Submissions should be material that has been researched and written as part of graduate work at Villanova and may be up to 25 pages. Scholars from all of the Graduate Studies Programs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are invited to submit. We seek papers that are exemplary in their respective disciplines as well as papers that have an interdisciplinary appeal. Selection for publication is highly competitive.

We will recognize the top essay as the Graduate Research Prize Essay. The winning author will be formally recognized at the publication celebration on April 23rd @ 2:30 in Falvey Library.

Authors should register with the website, http://concept.journals.villanova.edu and follow the instructions there for posting their submission. (An author may submit no more than 1 article for consideration.) Any questions should be directed to the faculty editor-in-chief, Lisa Sewell (lisa.sewell@villanova.edu).

Call for Peer Reviewers

The journal is now seeking volunteers to serve as peer-reviewers. Peer-reviewers contribute to the process of determining the essays that will appear in the journal. The review process will begin soon after the deadline for submission, which is Monday, February 2, 2015. Those interested in serving as peer-reviewers should consult the job description posted on the website and then contact the faculty editor-in-chief, Lisa Sewell (lisa.sewell@villanova.edu) to volunteer.

You may also register with the website, http://concept.journals.villanova.edu, and follow the instructions there for becoming a peer-reviewer.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

17th Annual Literary Festival

The Villanova English department is hosting the annual Literary Festival this upcoming semester. Write these on your calendar now, as you will not want to miss them!

James McBride, author of Good Lord Bird: February 3
Bruce Smith, author of Devotions: February 19
Claire Kilroy, author of The Devil I Know, March 17
Patricia Smith, author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah: March 31
Jay Cantor, author of Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories of Franz Kafka: April 16

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The "Great CATsby" English Department Promo Event Attended by Over 100 Freshmen

On Thursday, October 7, over a hundred undergraduates gathered to take in a presentation about the Great Gatsby. Dr. Lutes performed a miracle of precalculation to order pizzas, we moved the chairs out of the way to make room for whomever might come, those of us in costume read our parts over, and then all we had was to wait. We started being surprised at around 50 students, but in the end over 100 students showed up.

The goal of the evening was to remind them of what they knew of the Great Gatsby, and perhaps to challenge them to think about it in new ways. Dr. Lutes gave a quick presentation on new possibilities for reading The Great Gatsby, especially reminding the students how pronounced race is in the text. The four volunteer readers read a passage from the novel, the scene in which Gatsby shows Daisy his shirts and she bursts into tears. Then we broke into groups.

The discussion was lively! Each student was eager to contribute what they remembered to the discussion, and Dr. Lutes's prepping of the discussion leaders had given us some good ways to elicit reactions. My group focused primarily on the motivations of Daisy and Gatsby, understanding them as seeing each other more for what each represented, rather than for who they were, although that was complicated a little bit as we kept chatting. I found my group of (all girls!) ready to dialogue with each other.

There was a collection of majors present, and with the main goal of moving them toward a major in English, it did seem that the event was exciting to everyone, regardless of the path they will take. Just opening up anyone's eyes to the idea that talking about literature can happen over pizza and among friends, and can include pop culture references, was I think entirely eye-opening for some of these freshmen!