In his new memoir, Leaving Rollingstone, Kevin Fenton (MFA 2005) offers a summary of his story of growing up in a village outside Winona: "I liked those humans. I am sad they are gone." But of course the book covers so much more: the impact of pop culture in the 1960s and '70s (he's the little brother of dancing fiends); the unique nurturance of a Catholic education for rural kids not drawn to farming; the richness of families (nuclear and affective); the tricky weight of inheritance; and the discovery of vocation. In Fenton's case, it's clear the latter is writing--which he's committed to as both a creative writer and an advertising creative. He'll be launching the memoir with the help of local literati Sept 12 at Common Good Books; for now he's got answers to our five questions. . . .
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Alex Mueller (PhD '07) wants you--specifically you, potential graduate student--to know that he wasn't accepted the first time he applied for English graduate study at Minnesota. Maybe it was because he was a nontraditional candidate, a high school English teacher (in Colorado), or maybe because he got his MA in Classics, focusing on Latin literature. But he persevered. He applied again, got in, and eventually won a Ruth Drake Dissertation Fellowship--which gave him a teaching-free semester to finish and successfully defend his dissertation. When he entered the job market, that dissertation won him a tenure-track position at University of Massachusetts Boston and, six years later, his first book publication. More. . .
This spring Caitlin McHugh won the Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, which allows her to take a break from teaching in 2013-14 to focus on finishing her dissertation. "I have two more chapters left to write," she explains. "I also need to travel to the Folger Shakespeare Library [in Washington D.C.] to look at a seventeenth-century prompt book, and the fellowship gives the time and the funds that I need to do so." A "prompt book" is a copy of a play production script that includes cues for speech, sound, and light; stage directions; and drawings of the set, among other essential information. McHugh's dissertation focuses on adaptations of Shakespeare in the Restoration era, which she feels have been unfairly maligned. This July, she'll be presenting her paper "The Linguistic Adaptation of Nahum Tate's King Lear," in Ann Arbor, Michigan, thanks to a travel grant she was awarded through the Association for Documentary Editing. More . . . .
Between March and May, nine PhD candidates successfully defended their dissertations. Congratulations to Tai Coleman, Renee DeLong, Will Kanyusik, Eun Joo Kim, Chris Larkin, Heather McNeff, John Pistelli, Adam Schrag, Maurits van Bever Donker, and Jewon Woo!
Congratulations to PhD and MFA student recipients of department spring and summer research and writing support! Selected for the Graduate Research Partnership Program for summer 2013 are: Patricia Baehler for "Epistolary Infrastructure and the Gendered Letter in Eighteenth-Century Novels" with project adviser Brian Goldberg; Wesley Burdine for "'What Was It?': Phenomenal Bodies and Temporality" with project adviser Jani Scandura; Jennifer Kang for "A Displaced Utopia: The Politics of Modernism in 1930s Colonial Korea" with project adviser Timothy Brennan; Stephen McCulloch for "Sublime Sacrifice: Excessive Force and Form in Fin de Siècle Literature" with project adviser Tony Brown; essayist Bridget Mendel for "The Honeybee Project" with project adviser Dan Philippon; and poet Nicky Tiso for "Bakken Business" with project adviser Ray Gonzalez. Graduate Studies also announced PhD Short Term Research Grants for spring 2013: Stacy Decker (Jani Scandura, adviser) Leslie Nightingale (Andrew Elfenbein, adviser), and Trenton Olson (Elfenbein, adviser). The Creative Writing Program awarded CLA Fellowships to poet Elena Carter, fiction writer Katherine Lee, and poet Jennifer Fossenbell. Poet Elizabeth O'Brien received the Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in Creative Writing, summer 2013, and nonfiction writer Lalinne Suon Bell was awarded the summer 2013 Scribe For Human Rights Fellowship. Nonfiction writers Sally Franson and Hunter Sharpless received two-week writer residencies at the Anderson Center in Red Wing. Finally, the Marcella DeBourg Fellowship, which supports work that gives "creative expression to women's lives" went to PhD candidate Amanda Taylor for her project "'Be Your Letter'": Rhetoric, Bodies and Passions in Trobairitz Tensos."
Doctoral candidate Jewon Woo will defend her dissertation, "Performing Bodies and Performative Texts: The Bodily Culture of the Antebellum United States and Fleshy Writing," as directed by Dr. Josephine Lee and Dr. Michelle Wright, on Thursday, May 30, in Lind 202. All are welcome for the public portion of the defense from 10-11 am.
Doctoral candidate Eun Joo Kim will defend her dissertation, "Unreading Multilingualisms of the Korean Diaspora," as directed by Dr. Josephine Lee, on Wednesday, May 22 in Lind 207A. All are welcome for the public portion of the defense from 9-10 am.
The Department of English Graduate Studies is presenting two professional skills brownbag workshops this spring. The April 18 topic will be publishing: how to send an article to a journal, how to pick a journal, how to decipher a reader's report, how long to wait for a response, how to turn a dissertation into a book. On May 7, the workshop will address fellowships and grants--both internal fellowships (like the DDF) and external fellowships--providing information about how to write a winning proposal, where to find fellowships, etc. Both noon in 207A. Soda and coffee provided.
On Friday, May 3, Doctoral candidate John Pistelli will defend his dissertation "Modernism's Critique du Coeur: The Novelist as Critic, 1885-1925," as directed by Dr. Lois Cucullu. All are welcome for the public portion of the defense from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Lind Hall 207A.
The final academic job placement meeting will be on Thursday, May 2, from 2-3:30 pm in Lind Hall 207A. At the meeting Professor Josephine Lee will talk about the general principles of applying for academic jobs in English. If you are planning to go on market this coming year, please plan on attending. Graduate students at all stages of degree progress are welcome.
Doctoral candidate Adam Schrag will defend his dissertation, "Surface to Surface: War, Image, and the Senses in the Screenic Era," as directed by Dr. Paula Rabinowitz, on Friday, March 29, in the Wright Room (Lind 202). All are welcome for the public portion of the defense from 1-2 pm.
The Department of English welcomes prospective graduate students March 14-15. Events scheduled include a reading by MFA alum authors, a discussion with a PhD alum, a subfield meeting, class visits, and dinner with graduate students and faculty. We look forward to meeting you!
Our annual First Books Reading takes place March 14, and we're delighted to host three first-time authors: Discover Award fiction-winner (and past 5 X Friday subject) Amanda Coplin, poet Shana Youngdahl, and the Twin Cities' own freelance writer and editor Elizabeth Foy Larsen. Larsen has been inspiring reviewers from New York to WIRED with last fall's Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun (Bloomsbury), written with Joshua Glenn. Chock full of quirky activities, intriguing book lists, and savvy advice for kids, the book was vetted by Larsen's own children. What did they like that didn't make it in? Read on. . . .
How did Angela Smith (PhD '02)--author of the new book Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenics, and Classic Horror Cinema--get hooked on horror movies? It might have been an episode of Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense that she saw as a child. As befits a scholar (she's Associate Professor of English & Gender at the University of Utah), Smith has gone back to the episode ("Child's Play") as an adult. "The show seems very clichéd and campy now," she admits, "but I remember feeling absolutely terrified." What macabre story so disturbed the small Smith? Read on!
Seven of our graduate students in Creative Writing will be reading 7 pm March 1 at Magers & Quinn Bookstore. Poet Jennifer Fossenbell is one. In her middle year of the three-year Creative Writing Program, Fossenbell serves as the co-editor-in-chief (with Nasir Sakandar) of dislocate, the print literary magazine that has been edited, produced, and published by graduate students in the Department of English since 2005. Before she came to Minnesota, Fossenbell taught English as a foreign language in Ukraine and Vietnam and co-edited a literary anthology of international writing, Strange Roots: Views of Hanoi. She's also a member of the poetry promotion collective Our Flow Is Hard, involving four other graduate students, which is working to free readers from the well-manicured garden of poetry. How? Read on . . .