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. Also be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates.

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.