Lytton Smith sound poem featured in online journal

“Dear World Service,” a new sound poem by Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith, is included in the second issue of ythm, an audio journal of contemporary poetry. Written in response to Robyn Schiff’s “Death of a Salesman,” Smith’s poem is one of five audio-only poems in the issue. A podcast can be found via Soundcloud. The issue also features work by Katie Peterson, Michael Joseph Walsh, and Sheila McMullin.

Taking its name from Nathanial Mackey’s gloss of “ythm” as “anagrammatic myth” in his 1993 poetry collection School of Udhra, ythm is an argument that “the spoken voice is central to both the praxis and appreciation of contemporary poetry,” and central, in particular, to the American tradition.

ythm editor Sean Pears found Smith through the blog that Smith maintains for Geneseo students in Literature and Creative Writing, The Contemporary Poem. Responding in a comment to student Nicole Pero’s post about “breaking from sound” via Benjamin Franklin, which neatly synthesized themes from Geneseo’s Western Humanities courses and the Advanced Poetry Workshop, Smith suggested “isn’t sound a form itself?,” offering Karen Volkman’s sonnets from Nomina, published by Rochester-based BOA Editions, as an example.

Smith credits the English department’s transition to four-credit courses with creating the space in his classes to incorporate student blogging.

Students at Duke Kunshan University Analyze Thoreau Across Cultures

[Editor’s Note: A version of this post appeared earlier on the blog of Digital Thoreau.]

This spring, about two dozen students in two sections at Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China are taking “Walden International: Analyzing Thoreau Across Cultures” from Patrick Morgan, a Ph.D. candidate and Graduate Instructor in English at Duke University and a graduate of SUNY Geneseo (English, Geological Sciences, 2010). Morgan wrote about his experience as an English major at Geneseo for this blog back in December, 2013.

Morgan’s Kunshan students are discussing Walden in the margins of Thoreau’s work at The Readers’ Thoreau, the online community of Digital Thoreau, a collaboration among SUNY Geneseo, The Thoreau Society, and the Walden Woods Project directed by SUNY Geneseo Professor of English Paul Schacht.

Campus of Duke Kunshan University

Duke Kunshan University

The students are also “analyzing [Thoreau’s] writings from an international perspective, focusing primarily on his engagement with Asian thought,” according to Morgan’s syllabus, asking how Thoreau “‘package[s]’ ancient Asian philosophies in order to comment on nineteenth-century American culture” and what “cultural forces and contexts … allow scholars like Lin Yutang to claim Thoreau as ‘the most Chinese of all American authors.’”

In addition to meeting with Morgan for 300 minutes each week in class and exchanging ideas online in the margins of Walden, the Kunshan University students are taking a digital field trip to Walden Pond thanks to a website Morgan has created that links passages of Thoreau’s text to YouTube videos he made in which he reads aloud from Walden while capturing the pond’s sights and sounds.

patrick_morgan

Pat Morgan

Morgan has been active in Thoreau studies since his undergraduate days at Geneseo, where he presented on “Thoreau’s Bedrock: Emerson’s Influence and the Geomorphological Significance of Emerson’s Cliff, Concord, Massachusetts” for Geneseo’s day celebrating undergraduate research, GREAT Day, in 2010. That same year, his article on “Aesthetic Inflections: Thoreau, Gender, and Geology” appeared in the Thoreau Society’s scholarly annual, The Concord Saunterer. In 2015, Morgan participated in an NEH summer institute for college instructors on “Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller” conducted in Concord by a roster of scholars that included Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Phyllis Cole, Jayne Gordon, Robert Gross, John Matteson, Wesley T. Mott, and former Geneseo Harding lecturers Laura Dassow Walls, Megan Marshall, and Joel Myerson.

In addition to his studies and teaching at Duke University, Morgan serves as an editorial assistant at the scholarly journal American Literature, published by Duke University Press.

English department announces 2016 student awards and scholarships

The following students have won department awards and scholarships for 2015-2016 and will be honored at an awards ceremony on Study Day, May 4.

Graduating Senior Awards

  • William T. Beauchamp Literature Award: Jeremy Jackson
  • Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award: Sean Fischer
  • Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities: Britina Cheng and Harrison Hartsough
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Memorial Award: Mary Auld and Christy Leigh Agrawal
  • Outstanding Speech Buddy: Lauren Sarrantonio

Scholarships

  • Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship: John Panus
  • Rita K. Gollin Senior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Zach Muhlbauer
  • Rita K. Gollin Junior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Amanda Wentworth
  • Hans Gottschalk Award: Brendan Mahoney
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Transfer Scholarship: Jeffrey Curtin
  • Don Watt Memorial Scholarship: Jason Guisao
  • Bonnie C Henzel Memorial Scholarship: Gabriella Garcia, Chloe Forsell, Kiaya Rose Dilsner-Lopez, and Thomas McCarthy
  • Jesse M Rodgers Memorial Scholarship: Erik Mebust and Evan Goldstein

Writing Awards

Creative Non-Fiction

  • First place: Jeremy A. Jackson, “To Dr. C., Ph.D.”
  • Second place: Leandra Griffith, “Birthday for That Generic Someone in Your Life”
  • Third place: Lauren Sarrantonio, “The Amorphous Children”

John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay

  • First place: Carrie Anne Potter, “Ahead of Their Time: Temporality and Spatiality in Two Keats Odes”
  • Second place: Joshua DeJoy, “The Objective, the Subjective, and the Ugly: E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class at Fifty-Two”
  • Third place: Zachary Muhlbauer, “Nietzschean Dualism in Heart of Darkness: A Structuralist Analysis”

Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies

  • First place: Ariana DiPreta, “Subversion of Bourgeois Masculinity in Ulysses
  • Second place: Veronica Taglia, “Construction of Black Masculine Identity in African American Drama, 1959–1969”
  • Third place (tied): Emily Ercolano, “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Female Form”
  • Third place (tied): Joshua DeJoy, “The Dialectics of Slavery: Hegel and the Contradictions in Slavery”

Agnes Rigney Award in Drama

  • Emily Warnken, “Vampires”

Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing: INTD 105

  • First place: Isabel Owen, “Searching for Answers in Silence: The Issue of Memory in State Violence”
  • Second place: George Goga, “The Dictionary, the Gummy Worms, and the Grotesque”

Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction

  • First place: Katie Soares, “We Buy Gold”
  • Second place: Leandra Griffith, “Mary”
  • Third place: Margaret Thon, “The Ballad of Summer ’72”

Mary Thomas Award in Poetry

  • First place: Savannah Skinner, “A Guide To Recognizing Your Ghost”
  • Second place: Cassandra Schweizer, “What I Wrote For You”
  • Third place: Kallie Swyer, “Hundreds of Birds”

Research Paper

  • First place: Erik Mebust, “Shakespeare’s Rising Stars”
  • Second place: Jessica Heppler, “Civil Disobedience and the Rawlsian Non-Citizen: An Appeal to Political or Natural Rights?”
  • Third place: Veronica Taglia, “Subversion of the American Dream: An Analysis of Arthur Miller’s Leading Protagonists.”

Africana/Black Studies

  • Best Analytical Essay: Azaria Davis, “Colorblind? That Ain’t Right!”
  • Best Research Paper: Kathleen O’Brien, “Would There Be Slave Resistance without Women?: The Crucial Role Women Play”
  • Best Creative Work: Chloe Forsell, “Mother Tongue”

Nick Friedman appointed Jones Lecturer at Stanford University

Geneseo English Department alumnus Nick Friedman has been awarded the highly prestigious Jones Lectureship at Stanford University. In March 2014, Nick was appointed a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. As a Jones Lecturer, Nick will teach courses in creative writing while also working to complete his first book of poetry. Previous Jones lecturers include Tobias Wolff, ZZ Packer, Nan Cohen, Ehud Havazelet, and Skip Horack. Two years ago this week, we reported on Nick’s selection for the Stegner Fellowship and reminded readers of his appearances in the New York Times’ T Magazine and on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Geneseo students shine at 2016 Sigma Tau Delta Conference

Seven Geneseo students represented the English department last week at this year’s convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. The students — Noah Chauvin, Ariana Dipreta, Jeremy Jackson, Elizabeth Landrum, Megan Meadows, Zachary Muhlbauer, and Michelle Mundt — were accompanied by Prof. Gillian Paku, faculty advisor to Geneseo’s chapter of the society.

IMG_9212Over the course of three days, the students presented their peer-reviewed work in front of engaged and enthusiastic audiences. Each student participated in a panel with papers on related topics (James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, issues of race or postcolonialism), offering opportunities for members of the audience to pose questions and for presenters to establish running dialogues among themselves. Showing great support for one another, the students attended the panels of their Geneseo peers, along with many other panels of interest, be it one focused on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, on African American literature, or featuring creative nonfiction on addiction and depression.

[See more photos from the convention.]

There were numerous ways to network and meet like-minded peers, domestic and international, as well as chances to explore the cultural backdrop of Minneapolis, from performances at the renowned Guthrie Theatre to wandering the huge Mall of America, plus the occasional gathering at an Irish pub. As has been the case for several years now, the Geneseo group also took home one of the convention prizes for best submissions, with Noah’s creative non-fiction essay, “For Want of Syncope,” winning second place as a response to the convention’s common reader, Charles Baxter’s The Soul Thief (2008).

All students who are members of Sigma Tau Delta are eligible to submit to the convention, a competitive process. Next year’s convention will be held March 29 – April 1 in Louisville, KY, where one of the featured speakers will be Marlon James, recent winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Submissions are usually due at the end of October, and the Sigma Tau Delta student e-board is always happy to help with the process and keep our excellent tradition of participation strong.

McCoy publishes article on FEMA and Post-Katrina New Orleans

Distinguished Teaching Professor Beth McCoy’s article on “The Archive of the Archive of the Archive: The FEMA Signs of Post-Katrina New Orleans and the Vévés’s of Voudoun” appears in a new collection from Indiana University Press edited by Jonathan P. Eburne and Judith Roof, The Year’s Work in the Oddball Archive. The collection “positions itself within the history of mirabilia launched by curiosity cabinets starting in the mid-fifteenth century and continuing to the present day. These archives (or are they counter-archives?) are located in unexpected places—the doorways of Katrina homes, the cavity of a cow, the remnants of extinct animals, an Internet site—and they offer up ‘alternate modes of knowing’ to the traditional archive.” You can preview the essay in Google Books here.