Professor Tom Greenfield and Geneseo English major alum Megan Nolan (’14) are co-authors of an article in the Spring 2016 issue of the Arthur Miller Journal. “All My Journals: The Arthur Miller Journal [AMJ] as Intro to Literature College Text,” is based on Greenfield’s and Nolan’s experiences, as professor and teaching assistant respectively, using the Journal as a required text in Greenfield’s ENGL 203 class on Arthur Miller’s plays. The Arthur Miller Society, headquartered in New York City, donated 25 volumes so that each student in the class could have a personal copy of the Journal to use throughout the semester.
“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.
[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.
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.
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.