Friday, December 11, 2009

UTB/TSC Academic Journal Now Online

The first issue of the Journal of South Texas English Studies is now online. Check it out.

Gifting You With Curious Information

This from today's e-Newsletter by Grammar Girl:

giftingPeople have told me they find the verb "gifting" annoying and wonder why others can't use the perfectly good word "giving."

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "gift" has been used as a verb for 400 years, but it had fallen out of common use until recently when it seems to have experienced a revival. The Seinfeld episode, "The Label Maker," in which Elaine called a minor character a "regifter," along with changes in the tax code that addressed gifting money may have been factors in "gift's" resurgence.  Although it's not technically wrong to say something such as "I'm gifting her a label maker this year," "give" is almost always the less distracting choice.

Site for Funny and Frightening Editing Errors

Regret the Error reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press. It was launched in October 2004 by Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist and author based in Montreal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Meets Harry Potter — Well Not Quite!

Nearly midnight on Saturday evening two weeks ago I was given a personal tour of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. I was at my cousin’s birthday party in the Divinity School, which was used as the infirmary in Harry Potter’s films – the Duke Humfrey’s Library was used as the Hogwarts library in the same films.

The Bodleian is one of the six (and was the first) copyright libraries in the UK. ...

Read more at Copyright and Technology

Monday, November 30, 2009

Texas A & M-Commerce 18th Annual English Graduate Conference in English

Just received this from Dr. Lackey - another fairly local conference to consider submitting to and possibly attending - get those lines on your CV!! (Interesting that this graduate student organization also chose "egad" as their acronym, isn't it? Of course, ours is better because it's EGADS! with that exclamation point - makes all the difference!!)

Poets, Practice, and Passion in the Profession: A Dare to be Different

Texas A&M University-Commerce will hold the 18th Annual English Graduates for Academic Development (EGAD) Conference on February 26, 2010. We are pleased to welcome slam poet and educator Taylor Mali as our keynote speaker for the conference (more information at Taylor’s mission statement includes this important line: “I want to be a spokesman for teaching’s nobility, one of the poets laureate of passion in the classroom.” His goal—to be part of a movement that brings smart, successful, and qualified people into classrooms across America. Althusser posits that teachers are the only people tenably positioned to bring about effective change, and we at EGAD feel that we are all teachers in some sense, using words and language as the “weapons.” Althusser refers to our efforts to create meaning in our lives and in the lives of those we touch, through teaching, tutoring, writing, and performing.

EGAD is now accepting proposals for papers and panels dealing with contemporary issues in academia. While adherence to the conference theme is not necessary, it is encouraged, and we welcome submissions from all areas of academic discourse including, but not limited to: English, History, Journalism, Political Science, Education, Psychology, and Sociology. Submissions due Jan. 8, 2010. Registration materials will be sent upon acceptance to the conference. Panels will be organized by topic.

Suggested areas of interest:

Critical Theory
Foreign Language Studies
Science Fiction
Academia/Professional Issues
Composition & Rhetoric
Pop Culture
Grad Student Issues
Writing Center Theory & Practice
Film Studies
Literary Studies
Technology in the Classroom
Creative Writing*

*N.B. The conference will include sessions dedicated to Creative Writing, both for writers to share their works with an audience and for writers to learn from experienced writers, including a poetry workshop with Taylor Mali.

Share your passion for your profession with us at EGAD by submitting your paper/panel abstract of 250-500 words by January 8, 2010. Electronic submissions are encouraged, and should be sent as MS Word or .rtf document attachments. Panel proposals and workshops are welcome, as are individual paper proposals. Notification of acceptance and registration information will be sent electronically upon acceptance decision.

Please visit our site for further information and a chance to witness Mali’s passion and powerful delivery.

Send inquiries and abstracts to:
c/o Angela J. Kennedy
Department of Literature and Languages
P. O. Box 3011
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, TX 75429-3011

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Rifle" Versus "Riffle"

An interesting Q&A from Grammar Girl.
Q: The other day on Twitter I said I was going to riffle through the medicine cabinet looking for something to soothe a wicked headache, and someone corrected me saying that I was actually rifling through my medicine cabinet. My headache went away, but my curiosity about these two words didn't.
A: Both "riffle" and "rifle" mean to go through something, but when you're riffling you're hastily flipping through something--such as book pages--or shuffling cards ("riffle" is thought to be a blend between "ripple" and "ruffle"), and when you're rifling you're searching frantically or ransacking, usually meaning to steal something ("rifle" is from the Old French word for "steal or plunder"). Indeed, I meant to rifle.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Conference Website Up!

Our webmaster, Robert Carlson, has posted the website for the spring conference. Looking good!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Elena Poniatowska at UTPA Nov. 10

It is very fitting that Elena Poniatowska will be the author inaugurating UTPA Library’s new “Innovative Voices” speaker series on Tuesday, November 10. She has wide appeal for students and faculty in so many different disciplines, including journalism, Spanish and English literature, political science, history, creative writing and women’s studies. She is one of the greatest living writers in Mexico today and certainly one of the most courageous. Several showcases of her books are on display in the Library Lobby. Since the Engineering Auditorium has only 256 chairs, seating will be on a first-come, first served basis. Free admission. UTPA Bookstore will have copies of her award winning novel The skin of the sky at the event.

Author Talk: The Patriarch

Brownsville author Frank D. Yturria will be giving a talk and book signing for The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Extraordinary Times of Francisco Yturria on Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. at Paragraphs bookstore in South Padre Island.

Francisco Yturria was one of the founders of Brownsville. The book was published by UTB/TSC in 2006.

I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Proper Citation or Plagiarism: Your Choice

Faculty are becoming very interested in pursuing cases of plagiarism through on-line sources that assist them in finding sources being used by students. Students find themselves getting into trouble for plagiarism that they did not intend to commit, but simply did not know how to cite a source, or what format to use.

The Learning Enrichment Center (LEC) at UTB/TSC would like to help you avoid common citation error, the dreaded “Plagiarism” grade (F) and possible disciplinary referral. The Center is sponsoring the following sessions to help you with your end of term papers and alleviate student fears of submitting plagiarized work.

“Citing Your Sources - APA Style”
Griselda Valerio, LEC Coordinator – Special
Location: MRC North Hall 108
Date: Tuesday, November 10
Time: Noon and 6 p.m.

“Citing Your Sources - MLA Style”
Daniel J. Perez, LEC Assistant Director
Location: MRC North Hall 104
Date: Tuesday, November 10
Time: Noon and 6 p.m.

Sponsored by the UTB/TSC Learning Enrichment Center and the Dean of Students Office

Inquiries may be addressed to: or

Saturday, October 31, 2009

McAllen Memorial Library Presents Free Workshop On Becoming A Librarian

Do you love libraries? Have you ever considered becoming a librarian? On Wed., Nov. 4, McAllen Memorial Library presents Texas Women’s University in a free information workshop from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Exhibit Room. Texas Woman’s University will provide all the information that you need to get started preparing for a Master’s Degree in Library Science in a session entitled “Traditional Library Values in the E-Learning Environment.”

Texas Women’s University’s MLS degree, which offers 100% online courses, prepares professionals to work in academic, public, school, corporate and other special libraries. TWU is accredited by the American Library Association.

TWU’s online degree programs offer these advantages: an accredited university with nationally recognized programs, affordable public university tuition and fee, a format that fits your lifestyle (leaving you time for work and family), and classes open to men and women. Find out about an exciting future in Library Science at this free workshop!

For more information, contact: or, or call 1-866-809-6130. McAllen Memorial Library is located at 601 N. Main Street in McAllen. For directions to McAllen Public Library, please go to our web site at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Can't Cut the Mustard?

Today I came upon the phrase (which I've heard many times), "Can't cut the mustard." Being in a nosey mood (hmm... nosey...), I had to at least Google the origins.

Dave D. Grisham at University of New Mexico posted on his Word Origins website:
Whatever the origins of 'can't cut the mustard', they are about as clear as mustard, the expression 'too old to cut the mustard' is always applied to to men
today and conveys the idea of sexual inability. ' Can't cut the mustard',
however, means not to be able to handle any job for any reason, not just because of old age. Preceeding the derivation of 'too old to cut the mustard' by about half a century, it derives from the expression 'to be the mustard'. "Mustard" was slang for the " genuine article" or " main attraction" at the time. Perhaps someone cutting up to show that he was 'the mustard', or the greatest, was said 'to cut the mustard' and the phrase was later meant to mean to be able to fill the bill or or do the important or main job. In any case, O. Henry first used the words in this sense in his
story "Heart of the West" (1907) when he wrote: " I looked around and found
a proposition that exactly cut the mustard". Today, 'can't cut the mustard' is usually 'can't cut it' or 'can't hack it'. A recent variant on 'too old
to cut the mustard' is 'if you can't cut the mustard, you can lick the jar'. -- QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins By Robert Hendrickson

Dave Wilton at summarizes the Oxford English Dictionary's entry:

This phrase is from a metaphor where the mustard is something that adds flavor or zest to life, something that is good. Something that cuts the mustard is very good.

The phrase dates at least 1898. From the Decator, Illinois Herald Despatch of 6 April of that year:

John J. Graves, tight but that ha cun’t cut the mustard.

Mustard has a long history of being used as a metaphor for something powerful or biting. First in a negative context, as in John Heywood’s A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of All the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue (1546):

Where her woordes seemd hony,...Now are they mustard.

And somewhat later in a positive sense. From James Howell’s Lexicon Tetraglotton (1659):

As strong as Mustard.

The origin of the cut portion of the phrase is uncertain. It could be a reference to cutting a mustard seed, a very difficult task. Or it could be a conflation with a cut above, to cut the mustard is to be better than mustard.

The phrase is also rendered as to be the mustard and it’s very similar to keen as mustard.

Various explanations that it is a corruption of a military phrase to cut muster or that mustard is a difficult crop to harvest have no evidence to support them.

Now, I just need to find out about "cut the cheese"...

A Crumpled Bit of Cake Crumble

Those jokers at again!
He kept the letter in his scrapbook. He thought about (crumbling, crumpling) it
up, but he wanted to keep it as a reminder and a motivator.
Maestro, the envelope, please!

Correct! Crumble means to break into crumbs.So, does crumple mean to break into crumps? Well, not exactly.Crumple means to mash up, wrinkle, crush. For a letter, it means to wad it up. Etymologists consider crumple to be related to wrinkle, and both to derive long ago from words that described the wrinkles created by a grin or a snarl. Please, do not snarl at the letter.

Oh, you might remember from Mother Goose the line about "the cow with the crumpled horn." That "crumpled" came from a word meaning "curved," and it is related (isn't etymology exciting!) to krummhorn -- "a wind instrument of the Renaissance with a curving tube and a double reed."Aren't you glad you asked?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hmm... A Possessive Plural That's Only Plural

From our boys at

Indicate the correct form: Veterans Day, Veteran's Day, Veterans' Day

Who can credit the answer, "Veterans Day"?
Newspaper advertisers usually can't decide between "Veteran's" and
"Veterans',"but the AP Stylebook keeps it simple and omits the punctuation.See
the Stylebook entry under "Possessives, DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES," where you find
these similar examples:citizens band radio, a Cincinnati Reds infielder, a
teachers college, a Teamsters request, a writers guide.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Federation Rhetoric Symposium 2010 - CFP

For all of you rhetoricians out there - or those who have dabbled in it and would like to try out some conferencing at a graduate-friendly fairly close by venue (Denton, TX; a bit north of Austin - home of Texas Women's University). Here's the CFP (notice all the different categories and possible topics that might only minimally involve real rhetorical theory - those of you who teach writing at high schools may find some of these topics interesting):

Call For Papers: Federation Rhetoric Symposium 2010 Rhetoric 2.0: Continuity and Change from the Oral Tradition to the Digital Age

The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is a small, intimate conference that provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students. This conference is very inviting for students who have not presented before or have little experience with conference presentations. We would love to have some of your department's students attend this conference.

Call For Papers: Federation Rhetoric Symposium 2010 Rhetoric 2.0: Continuity and Changefrom the Oral Tradition to the Digital Age
Texas Woman's University
Denton, Texas
February 12, 2010
**Deadline for Submission of 250-Word Abstract: December 1, 2009**

Once a thing is put in writing, it rolls about all over the place, falling into the hands of those who have no concern with it just as easily as under the notice of those who comprehend; it has no notion of whom to address or whom to avoid. And when it is ill-treated or abused as illegitimate, it always needs its father to help it, being quite unable to protect or help itself. (Plato, Phaedrus)

The Federation Rhetoric Symposium will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of scholars to investigate how today’s rhetors continue to use the wisdom of Sophistic, Classical, and Medieval rhetors who debated the validity of rhetoric, Renaissance and Modern rhetors who helped this art transition into a fully developed written tradition, and the contemporary debate about the validity of digital rhetoric.

The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is now accepting proposals for papers and panels from faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and independent scholars investigating the ways rhetoric has and has not changed throughout the centuries and contemplating future continuities and changes. We are broadly defining the theme to emphasize rhetoric in all areas including but not limited to:
Rhetorical Theory
Rhetorical History
Discourse Analysis
Genre Analysis
Composition Theory
Communication Studies
English Studies
Film Studies
Digital Rhetoric
New Media Studies
Disability, Gender and Minority Studies
Political Science

Suggestions for possible areas of interest:
Critical TheoryAcademia/Professional Issues
Rhetoric & Philosophy
ESL & Composition
Pop Culture
Rhetoric of Mass Media
Literary Studies
Rhetoric and Technology
Computers and Writing
Basic Writing
Writing Center Theory & Practice
Composition & Rhetoric

Dr. Patricia Bizzell, 2008 Conference on College Composition and Communication Exemplar Award winner and distinguished scholar of rhetoric and public address, will be our keynote speaker at the conference. Dr. Bizzell is a prolific author and notable speaker who has written and presented on topics as diverse as composition theory, feminist research, Jewish rhetoric, the history of rhetoric. She is the founder of The Writer’s Workshop and the WAC program at College of the Holy Cross.

The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is part of an ongoing series, "A Symposium in Rhetoric" that has welcomed many notable speakers since the first meeting in 1973. These keynoters have included Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Kathleen Blake Yancey, Sonja Foss, Richard Enos, Cynthia Selfe, James Kinneavy, Kenneth Burke, Stephen Toulmin, and many others.

**Deadline for Submission of 250-Word Abstract: December 1, 2009**

Individual and Panel Proposals Welcome
Prizes for outstanding student papers will be awarded!
lectronic Submissions Preferred
For further information, please refer to the conference website:

Email submissions to:

Federation Rhetoric Symposium
c/oKatt Blackwell-Starnes
247 E. Southwest Pkwy
Apt 1708
Lewisville, TX 75067

Katt Blackwell-Starnes
Doctoral Candidate
Graduate Assistant
Texas Woman's University
CFO 128940.898.2254

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chock-full of Chalk!

More word fun from

He said the two rope lines somehow jumped out of the (chalks, chawks, chocks,
chox) through which they passed.

So many choices!

As you know from the dictionary you keep ever at your side, a chock is a
curved metal fitting through which you can pass a rope. Chock derives from the
word for tree trunk. Imagine passing a rope around a tree, so you can pull
something up a hill.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Am I Entitled to Entitle this Title?

Heh, heh, heh... More fun from

Who would read a book (titled, entitled) "Thrilling Moments in Grammar"?

The envelope, please...

In an entry for "entitled," the Associated Press Stylebook states: "Use
it to mean a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled."

Do we English majors care about the AP Stylebook? Maybe not, but it makes sense. Since we talke about so many texts with titles, this is useful to know.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oral or Verbal?

I've often wondered this. explains.

We don't have a written contract, but we have (an oral one, a verbal one).
The correct answer is "oral".

Both written and spoken contracts are verbal because both involve words. So
"oral" and "verbal" aren't interchangeable. Oral is the opposite of
written.What's the opposite of verbal communication? Nonverbal. No words.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Read If You Dare

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

-- B. Shaw

Copied from

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eek! My Credit Card Interest is Eking!

More fun from Choose the correct answer:

Everyone there (eaks, eeks, ekes) out a living.

The answer is "eke"!
According to Webster's New World College Dictionary, "eke" came from an Old
English verb meaning "to increase." Its roots are even mixed up with those of
"wax," as in waxing and waning. Once upon a time, apparently, you'd hear someone
say: "He's eking out an income with a second job." These days you're more likely
to hear it used the way it was in the example sentence -- that is, managing to
get by but with difficulty. Larry was eking out a living until the quiz windfall
came his way."Eek," of course, is the line that society would have you utter
when you see a mouse. And "eak" seems to be a word the dictionary wants no part

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Rhetoric of Punctuation and EGADS! Business Meeting Oct. 7

Another month is nearly over and it’s time for another fabulous EGADS! event. Next week Jenny Ashley will present “The Rhetoric of Punctuation.” You never knew punctuation could be so much fun! Several of us saw an earlier version of Jenny’s presentation last year, and we were in stitches the whole time.

Before “The Rhetoric of Punctuation” we’ll have the monthly EGADS! business meeting in the same room.

Wednesday, Oct. 7
5:30-6:15 p.m., Business meeting
6:15-7:30 p.m., “The Rhetoric of Punctuation”
Mary Rose Cardenas Hall South, room 117

Come for one or come for both. I hope to see you all there!

EGADS! Business Meeting Agenda, Oct. 7, 2009


Approve minutes

Announcements and Reports

  • The Journal for South Texas English Studies
  • 2010 Spring Conference
  • Spring 2009 scholarship applications request
  • Report on National Punctuation day sale, success!
  • Risk Management training

Items for Discussion

  • Halloween reading... have it or not?
  • November salon (Dorothy, Dr. Dominguez)
  • Getting word out about events: Sting radio, UTB/TSC News & Information, Collegian, FaceBook, etc.
  • New associate members, and getting to events.
  • Donating leftover sodas for Graduate Welcome event
  • Next months presenter

New Business

Next Meeting November 4, 2009

A New-sounding Word is Really Old!

Doing a little editing today and I looked up "brand-new" to verify its spelling in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Turns out that word is dated to 1570! To me it sounds like 20th century "marketese." Who knew? (Besides the dictionary contributors, that is) I love etymology!

Main Entry: brand–new
Pronunciation: \-ˈnü, -ˈnyü\
Function: adjective
Etymology: 1brand
Date: circa 1570
: conspicuously new and unused; also : recently introduced

Monday, September 21, 2009

CFP for National Conference in San Antonio

The College English Association is having its national conference in San Antonio in March. Submit abstracts by Nov. 1:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19

Tomorrow, September 19, is "Talk Like a Pirate Day." Ahoy, me hearties!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Annoying (and Fascinating) Word Choices

From an exam at identify the correct word:

After running the corporate (gantlet, gauntlet), he settled down on a worm ranch
in Hohmeister Acres.

The correct answer is "gantlet."

The dictionary and the AP Stylebook both mention "run the gantlet." It
comes from the quaint custom of inviting an offender to run between lines of
club-wielding citizens so they might beat him into better behavior. AP
distinguishes gantlet from gamut (a range, particularly of notes) and
gauntlet (a glove thrown down in a challenge).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poem: "Particle Physics"

Great sonnet, "Particle Physics," by Julie Kane posted at Poetry Daily.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Library Reversal (Sort of)

You still cannot look at the book stacks in Oliveira, but check out this announcement from the library:

New Circulation Desk to Open at Arnulfo L. Oliveira Memorial Library
Wednesday 09 September 2009
Effective immediately, students, faculty and staff will be able to check out and return books at the Arnulfo L. Oliveira Memorial Library. The new Circulation Desk will be located on the first floor at the adjacent to the Periodicals Department. Students will also be able to pay off any fines that they incur from overdue books and clear library blocks. UTB ID Cards and Course Reserve Material services will continue to be housed exclusively at the University Boulevard Library.

The hours of operations for the Circulation Desk located at Oliveira Library will be:
Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm
Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday CLOSED

Please note that while the Circulation Desk at the Oliveira Library will be closed, the University Boulevard Library will be open. For that reason, there will be no after hours drop box at the Oliveira Library where students can turn in books. Any student wishing to turn in books during the weekend must visit the University Boulevard Library located next to the Education and Business Complex. Additionally, because both libraries will host a Circulation Department, the online book request form will be removed from the library online catalog until further notice.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Circulation Department at (956) 882-8221.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Questions About Old Library

I know I've beaten this library thing to death, but there are still some questions that have not been answered. Will the bound periodicals, which are currently blocked by yellow tape in the old Oliveira Library, be eventually accessible to students? You know, not everything is viewable on the library's Internet databases. Also, will students be able to at least look at the books in the general collection at Oliveira Library, even if they are not allowed to check them out? Will there be quiet study space available to students in Oliveira Library? Maybe this whole library debacle will resolve itself, but the university's administration has not done a good job communicating how everything will work. Everything has been a surprise thus far. Only when the new University Boulevard Library opened did we find out that it would only have one-third of the books as Oliveira. What surprises are still in store for us when Oliveria Library is renovated?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

CFP for American Studies Association of Texas Conference

The Beat Goes On: The Music of American Literature, History, and Culture

Deadline Sept. 20

We are looking for scholarly essays, nonfiction, essays, or creative works that explore the rhythm and beat of literature, history, and culture. What is the influence of rock and roll on literary production? How does culture come alive through music? How do we teach a generation used to picking and choosing music for an IPod?

While the conference theme is noted above, we will consider all topics related to American Studies.

The conference will be held in San Angelo, TX Nov. 12-14. For more information, contact John Wegner ( or Terry Dalrymple (

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Herald Exposes Problems With New Library

For those who didn't see the article, "New UTB-TSC library short on space," in The Brownsville Herald on Saturday, it is worth checking out. The reporter, Laura Tillman, does a good job explaining the issue. Even so, I would have liked to have seen more about the oddity of splitting up sections in a library's collection. I have a feeling what we are doing at our libraries is unusual in library circles. The new library was clearly poorly planned. If you only have a small amount of room for books, then keep the general stacks together in Oliveira; move other library functions, such as computer labs, to the University Boulevard Library to give those departments the space they need. Anyway, here is the start of Laura's story:

When UTB-TSC students were welcomed into their attractive new library last week, they may have been surprised: Two-thirds of the books were missing.

The new building, one of several projects paid for by a $68 million taxpayer bond issue, is able to house 100,000 of the university’s total collection of 300,000 books, administrators said. The new $12.5 million library is about half the size of the old Oliveira Library.

Students learned on Monday that they are not able to directly search the shelves of the library’s remaining collection. Instead, they must fill out an order form and wait until the following day to access books from the school’s Arnulfo L. Oliveira Memorial Library.

"We don’t have the staff to run two libraries," said Douglas M. Ferrier, dean of instructional support for the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

To read more, click here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

EGADS! Invites You to Learn About the Changes in MLA 7

EGADS! Invites You to Learn About the Changes in MLA 7

Dr. Diana Dominguez of the English Department at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will present an overview of changes in the MLA Handbook, 7th edition to the English Graduate Advancement and Development Society this Wednesday evening. All interested UTB/TSC students, faculty, alumni and friends are invited. Before Dr. Dominguez’s presentation, EGADS! will have its monthly business meeting.

Where: Mary Rose Cardenas Hall South 117

When: Business meeting, 5:30-6:15, Wed., Sep. 2
MLA 7 presentation, 6:15-7:00, Wed. Sep. 2

EGADS! Business Meeting Agenda, Sep. 2, 2009




  • The Journal for South Texas English Studies
  • 2010 Spring Conference
  • Spring 2009 scholarship applications request
  • Upcoming EGADS! events
  • September EGADS! cultural event 5:30 Sep. 23, Oscar Cesares
  • Next EGADS! meeting October 7, Jenny Ashley to present
  • Next elections in April

Items for Discussion

  • Halloween spooky poetry and story reading
  • Fall party in Nov. or Dec., need organizer
  • Nov. or Dec cultural event (depending on party month)
  • VP to organize membership retention, attraction
  • Better EGADS! event publication
  • Sting Radio
  • SGA funding opportunities

New Business

Reminder of Next Meeting and Events Dates

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Details About Library Debacle

Since I am fairly familiar with the library's D.H. Lawrence collection, I thought I'd see what the new University Boulevard Library received in the big move and what was left in the oversized closet known as the closed Oliviera Library. The "libraries" have two copies of Lawrence's novel, The Rainbow, but neither is in UBL, which is the only library people are allowed to use. While you have to specially request a copy of The Rainbow so you can get it the next day, you may, however, check out a book of criticism on the book. How does that make sense? Why would a book of criticism be more available to students and staff than the novel? Other D.H. Lawrence novels, such as John Thomas and Lady Jane and the expurgated first edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover, were left in the library's archive, aka The Closet.

Progress????? New Library 1/3 the Size of the Old One

UTB/TSC's new library is only one-third of the size of the old library! The old library now becomes a closet for much of the collection. Forget about paper deadlines. You may have to wait to check out that book you need. Here's the story from The Collegian:

Students might have to wait a day in order to check out a book because of the limited amount of shelf space in UTB/TSC’s new, three-story library.

Of the 300,000 books in the Arnulfo L. Oliveira Memorial Library, 100,000 of the newer part of the collection and the entire reference collection have been moved to the New Library, located next to the Education and Business Complex.

"Because of the amount of shelf space that we have in the new building, it’s about one-third of what we have in [Oliveira Library]," said Douglas Ferrier, dean of Instructional Support.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

UTB/TSC Journal Seeks Submissions

The Journal for South Texas English Studies, a blind-peer-reviewed publication, is seeking submissions for its inaugural edition, which has been aptly themed “New Beginnings.” The first edition will be published online on December 1, 2009. New beginnings occur when anything new is attempted, when one literary period changes to another, when an author pens a coming-of-age novel, when technology profoundly changes culture, when a new literary theory is debuted, when a new literary technique is attempted, when new theories emerge, and when communities are threatened by new challenges. As you can see, this is an open-ended theme. Papers not connected to the theme will be considered, but those that follow the theme have the best chance to be published.
Scholarly papers can include topics in literature written in English, rhetoric and composition, and literary theory. The biannual journal, which is a collaboration between University of Texas at Brownsville graduate English students and the UTB English Department, also accepts book reviews and a small quantity of poetry and creative prose.
Scholarly papers should not exceed 8,000 words. There is no limit to the number of poems that may be submitted, but the total number of lines cannot exceed 100. We accept short fiction up to 1,500 words, flash fiction up to 800 words, and creative non-fiction up to 2,000 words. Please make inquires to book editor Jenny Ashley if you wish to submit a book review at If you have any other questions or wish to make a submission (as a Microsoft Word attachment), please e-mail editor Andrew Keese at For more information and for submission guidelines, please visit the journal’s website at

Deadline for submissions: September 30, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Agonies of Applying to Ph.D. Programs

Here is a link to an interesting blog post of a person who got accepted into a Texas English Ph.D. program.

So You Want to Be an English Professor?

This is an excerpt from a story that appeared in Inside Higher Education for those who wish to become English professors:

The 20-plus-year job crisis in the foreign language and English professoriate has persisted beyond the shelf-life of “crisis.” Simply put, the increasing reliance on adjunct labor, the creation of compromise full-time non-tenure-track positions, and the continued overproduction of Ph.D.’s fall more neatly under the term “reality” than they do “crisis.”

Wandering the halls of the Modern Language Association convention in San Francisco last month brought to mind the two years I attended MLA conventions, waited in drafty hotel hallways for interviews to begin, and, looking back, participated, sadly enough, in an academic ritual Dante could not have imagined in his visions of hell.

And my baptism by fire led to no job prospects.

To read more, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Library Situation Worse than Thought

The library situation at UTB/TSC is worse than I thought. The new University Boulevard Library will open with only the most popular texts. Other texts will stay behind in Oliviera in the so-called Library Archive Services. Oliviera will be a closed collection. That means, you will have to request a book from from the so-called archives, and will be brought to you at their convenience to the new library. That means, no cruising the stacks to find what you need. I hope you are good at the computer catalog at finding what you don't know what you need to find. Can someone tell me why our new library is smaller than our old one? Does this make any sense to anyone?

Latina Author to Speak at UTPA

Oakland, Calif., native and Chicana author Lucha Corpi is giving a talk in the UTPA Student Union Theater on Nov. 5 from 7-9 p.m. She has recently released a mystery novel called Death at Solstice. Corpi, who is also a poet, has been involved in the Chicano civil rights movement and was instrumental in forming Aztlán Cultural, an arts service organization. She won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1979 and was awarded first prize in the Palabra Nueva competition for the short story, "Martyrs of the Soul," in 1983. Corpi completed her first mystery novel, Eulogy for a Brown Angel, in 1992.

This is the synopsis of Death at Solstice via Barnes and Noble's website:

Chicana detective Gloria Damasco has a "dark gift," an extrasensory prescience that underscores her investigations and compels her to solve numerous cases. This time, the recurring vision haunting her dreams contains two pairs of dark eyes watching her in the night, a phantom horse and rider, and the voice of a woman pleading for help. But most disquieting of all is Gloria's sensation of being trapped underwater, unable to free herself, unable to breathe.

When Gloria is asked to help the owners of the Oro Blanco winery in California's Shenandoah Valley, she finds herself on the road to the legendary Gold Country. And she can't help but wonder if the ever-more persistent visions might foreshadow this new case that involves the theft of a family heirloom, a pair of antique diamond and emerald earrings rumored to have belonged to Mexico's Empress Carlota.

Soon Gloria learns that there's more to the case than stolen jewelry. Mysterious accidents, threatening anonymous notes, the disappearance of a woman believed to be a saint, and a ghost horse thought to have belonged to notorious bandit Joaquín Murrieta are some of the pieces Gloria struggles to fit together. A woman's gruesome murder and the discovery of a group of young women from Mexico being held against their will in an abandoned house send Gloria on a fateful journey to a Witches' Sabbath to find the final pieces of the puzzle before someone else is killed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Library is Quite Disappointing

Shame on UTB/TSC for this disgrace of a new library. It's a pretty building, but why open up a library with a smaller capacity than your old one? They are going to keep the old library, but it will have limited hours and house what the university is calling "archives." The general selection of books will be split up. Only the most used books will move to the new library. So, now, if I want to scan the D.H. Lawrence books, I will have to go to two places, and one of the places may not be open. This move is bad for students. They need to keep selections together. Maybe the new library could have been the science library or the liberal arts library? They might have just moved all of the non-library functions out of the old library, and you would have had a heck of a lot more space. Ugh! This is so bad for UTB/TSC academics. Very poor planning.

'Captain America at Home'

This is so kool. Jarret Keene is my favorite contemporary poet.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Top This Poetry Reading!

I love this reading of John Milton's Sonnet 23 by Ian Richardson:

Talking About Some Shakespeare

Charlie Rose gets Harold Bloom and Kenneth Branagh to talk Shakespeare. It is really good. I know Bloom is something of a nutcase, but you can't deny his genius.

Herald Snaps Shot of EGADS! Member

Look at Jason Stern in The Brownsville Herald.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Submit Your Papers for A&M Conference

Texas A&M University is hosting a conference, "18th- and 19th-Century British Women Writers," on April 8-11. The deadline to submit proposals is Oct. 15. I think it is odd that the proposals are going to be blind reviewed. That's a high standard for a conference. Please check it out.

Oscar Casares to Speak at UTB/TSC in September

Here's a video about author Oscar Casares, who will be giving a booksigning of his new novel, Amigoland, on Sept. 23 at 5:30 in the campus bookstore:

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Fascinating Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Daughter, a Writer

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, wasn't nearly as interesting as her author daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. In a New Yorker article, Art Critic Judith Thurman writes of Lane:

She had lived among bohemians in Paris and Greenwich Village, Soviet peasants and revolutionaries, intellectuals in Weimar Berlin, survivors of the massacres in Armenia, Albanian rebels, and camel-drivers on the road to Baghdad.

How's that for a nice taste? If you don't want to read the whole article, Kate Harding wrote a good summary of the New Yorker article on's Broadsheet, which is where this first caught my attention.

For me, this is especially fascinating because I loved the Little House series when I was a kid. In 5th grade, I wrote a 500 word essay on Laura Ingalls Wilder. (500 words! I thought it was going to kill me!) My life has come full circle.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

John Keats film, Bright Star, to be released 2009!

Hi all! Just wanted to share a link to the trailer for Jane Campions film, Bright Star, to be released in 2009. This film is based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death at age 25.


Oh, and P.S. Ben Wishaw=amazing actor.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Aug 5 Meeting on Conference; Alumnus Speaker

We’re starting to ramp up for the new year at our next meeting, Wednesday August 5 in MRCN 217. The business meeting will be from 5:30 until 6:15, then our speaker, UTB Alumnus and A&M PhD Candidate Chris Carmona, will speak to us until about 7:00 on his experience finding and being in a PhD program.

One of this year’s big projects is our conference on February 20. We’ll need to make some decisions next Wednesday since things need to get rolling as soon as possible. Among the other details, we’ll need to elect chairs for the conference. Start thinking about roles you want to volunteer for and other people you think are good fits for certain roles. The positions to be voted in are:

  • Co-Chair (2)
  • Area Chairs (British Lit, American Lit, Creative Writing, Rhet/Comp, Other)
  • Program Chair
  • Facilities Chair
  • Communications Chair
  • Webmaster

We are also going to be shooting around ideas for the conference theme, possible speakers for the conference, and developments for our new journal.

Even though the fall semester hasn’t begun, I hope you can make it. It’s going to be an exciting year with lots of opportunities for fun and career development opportunities.

Also, sign up for a blogger account on this blog. That way you can add your own snarky (or useful) comments and content!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Special Treat in Store for Next EGADS! Meeting

I highly recommend the upcoming EGADS! meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Mary Rose Cardnas Hall North 217. Chris Carmona, who earned his master's degree in English from UTB/TSC and who is currently in Texas A&M's English Ph.D. program, will be speaking. Chris has a lot of expertise in beat writers. He wrote his master's thesis on Joan Vollmer, who is primarily known as William S. Burrough's wife. Chris will relate his experiences in getting admitted into a Ph.D. program and what it is like in such a program.

Brownsville Writer to Debut Novel

The fall semester must be getting close to starting. Brownsville native Oscar Casares will read and sign copies of his book, “Amigoland” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6 at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art.

UTB/TSC will also host a book reading and signing at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the bookstore for Hispanic Heritage Month.

For those who have read it, Casares, a writer professor at UT Austin, is the author of a fantastic collection of short stories entitled, "Brownsville." I highly recommend it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free Copy of MLA 7, Sort Of

If you join the MLA, you get a free copy of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th edition, among other benefits. Membership for grad students is $20, which is barely more than the book costs by itself, and you get all the following benefits:

  • Six issues of PMLA: four containing essays on literature; a directory issue listing all members, the names and addresses of department and program administrators, fellowships and grants, and useful addresses; and the November issue, which presents the program of the annual convention
  • Four issues of the MLA Newsletter (available online and in print)
  • A complimentary copy of the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
  • Web access to a regularly updated list of members, as well as to a searchable list of convention sessions
  • A copy of Profession, an annual collection of articles on the field
  • Reduced registration fees for the annual convention
  • Membership in divisions and discussion groups concerned with scholarly and teaching interests
  • Online forums for divisions and discussion groups
  • Significant discounts on the MLA International Bibliography and more than 200 books and pamphlets published by the MLA
  • Eligibility to vote for officers, members of the Executive Council, members of the Delegate Assembly, and members of division and discussion group executive committees
  • Participation in MLA-sponsored group insurance plans
  • Ability to search the online MLA Job Information List if your department is a member of the Association of Departments of English (ADE) or the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) (Learn more)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A shocker

I'm really surprised. I went to the website for TSTC-Harlingen's English and Spanish Department and saw a link to their academic journal. When I clicked on it, I noticed the journal is just a mess. Check it out.

Why not a semicolon?

I can't tell you how frustrated I am. It bugs the heck out of me that I keep seeing a comma separating complete sentences in news stories and in a book I'm reading right now. What is wrong with a semicolon or even a period? Why do these writers feel the need to use commas? Don't they know they are writing run-on sentences? Did I miss out on the grammar lesson about all the wonderful uses of a comma?

Non-UTB Course on Writing for the 'Net

ENG 371WR:
Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era
M-W-F: 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Robert Lanham

Course Description

As print takes its place alongside smoke signals, cuneiform, and hollering, there has emerged a new literary age, one in which writers no longer need to feel encumbered by the paper cuts, reading, and excessive use of words traditionally associated with the writing trade. Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.

Instant messaging. Twittering. Facebook updates. These 21st-century literary genres are defining a new "Lost Generation" of minimalists who would much rather watch Lost on their iPhones than toil over long-winded articles and short stories. Students will acquire the tools needed to make their tweets glimmer with a complete lack of forethought, their Facebook updates ring with self-importance, and their blog entries shimmer with literary pithiness. All without the restraints of writing in complete sentences. w00t! w00t! Throughout the course, a further paring down of the Hemingway/Stein school of minimalism will be emphasized, limiting the superfluous use of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, gerunds, and other literary pitfalls.

Read more....

Thanks, Jenny, for bringing this to EGADS!'s attention. I'm pretty sure I need to sign up!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

EGADS! Congratulates Our 2008-2009 Grads

Congratulations this year's graduates:

Spring 2009 grads: Gabriel Ezeh (MA), Emily Linares (MA), David Marquez (MAIS), and Crystal Olivo (MA).

Fall 2008 grads: Mary Lou Alvarez (MAIS), Margaret Annen (MA), Jessica Camerlin (MA), and Avy Jaimes (MA)

Check out the main UTB website to see Crystal in her graduation duds, or here's the photo itself:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SW/TX PCA/ACA Seeking Area Chairs

This is a great opportunity for the ambitious!

The Southwest/Texas Popular and American Culture Association, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is seeking qualified professionals to serve as Area Chairs for the following areas.

If interested in serving our nationally recognized organization should send a brief note of interest with a CV to Sally Sanchez at

* American Studies
* Visual Arts of the West
* Africana Studies
* Film (General)
* Film Theory
* Hitchcock
* Latin American Studies
* Captivity Narratives
* European Popular Culture and Literature
* Collecting, Collectibles, Collectors, Collections
* Food and Culture
* Pedagogies and the Profession

If you know of a colleague who would be a good fit for us, please pass along this call. Thank you for your support of our organization.


Phil Heldrich, Ph.D., Exective Director

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to write a paper in college/university

Whoever posted this here has been spying out my super-secret composition method. Need to sweep my dorm for bugs...

1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a well lit place in front of your computer.
2. Log onto MSN and ICQ (be sure to go on away!). Check your email.
3. Read over the assignment carefully, to make certain you understand it.
4. Walk down to the vending machines and buy some chocolate to help you concentrate.
5. Check your email.
6. Call up a friend and ask if he/she wants to go to grab a coffee. Just to get settled down and ready to work.
7. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lit place.
8. Read over the assignment again to make absolutely certain you understand it.
9. Check your email.
10. You know, you haven't written to that kid you met at camp since fourth grade. You'd better write that letter now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.
11. Look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.
12. Grab some mp3z off of kazaa.
13. Check your email. ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR YET?!
14. MSN chat with one of your friends about the future. (ie summer plans).
15. Check your email.
16. Listen to your new mp3z and download some more.
17. Phone your friend on the other floor and ask if she's started writing yet. Exchange derogatory emarks about your prof, the
course, the college, the world at large.
18. Walk to the store and buy a pack of gum. You've probably run out.
19. While you've got the gum you may as well buy a magazine and read it.
20. Check your email.
21. Check the newspaper listings to make sure you aren't missing something truly worthwhile on TV.
22. Play some solitare (or age of legends!).
23. Check out
24. Wash your hands.
25. Call up a friend to see how much they have done, probably haven't started either.
26. Look through your housemate's book of pictures from home. Ask who everyone is.
27. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.
28. Check to see if has been updated yet.
29. Check your email and listen to your new mp3z.
30. You should be rebooting by now, assuming that windows is crashing on schedule.
31. Read over the assignment one more time, just for heck of it.
32. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.
33. Lie face down on the floor and moan.
34. Punch the wall and break something.
35. Check your email.
36. Mumble obscenities.
37. 5am - start hacking on the paper without stopping. 6am -paper is finished.
38. Complain to everyone that you didn't get any sleep because you had to write that stupid paper.
39. Go to class, hand in paper, and leave right away so you can take a nap.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Great Quotes from Vonnegut

"15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will" at:'s AV Club

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Art of Obfuscation

From XKCD: A Webcomic. Their work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License, so we can post it here with impunity!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Poetry Readings on Campus April 29 and 30

UTB/TSC’s Arnulfo L. Oliveira Literary Society will host "Two Days of Local Poetry." Jennifer Salinas, a UTB/TSC student, will present "Eyes Only: Thru the Eyes of the B’Holder" from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Benito Longoria room of the Arnulfo L. Oliveira Memorial Library. Brenda Nettles Riojas, a native of Brownsville, will present "La Primera Voz Que Oi" from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the lobby of the library. Refreshments will be provided at both events. For more information, call Milagro Hernandez at 882-7410 or send an e-mail to milagro.hernandez@utb.ed

Invitation to a Phi Alpha Theta (History honor society) event on Wednesday, April 29 (6-7:30 pm)

Dear Grad Students and others subscribed to this blog. Thought you might be interested in this event if you can make it:

Uncovering the Past through Archival Documents and Artifacts: A Personal Account of How a Student of History Became a Historian-Scholar”

Melisa Galván, Ph.D. candidate, UC-Berkeley

April 29, 2009
3rd Floor SETB Lecture Room
6:00-7:30 PM

How one goes from being a student of history to becoming a historian in pursuit of previously unknown or under-studied documents is the subject of this talk by Melisa Galván. She will talk about the historiographical pathway that led her to the Casamata archives in Matamoros as well as her own personal evolution that drove her to pursue a career as a professional historian. Galván’s passion for lower Rio Grande Valley history began as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, when a professor suggested that she become acquainted with a Xeroxed collection of documents from Matamoros. She quickly realized that the region played an important role in the economic development of Mexico in post-independence Mexican history, which is the subject of her dissertation research on the port of Matamoros and its ties with New Orleans, especially during the early 19th century.

Melisa Galván, a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American history at the University of California, Berkeley, also has bachelors and masters degrees from Berkeley. She has written extensively on the history of Matamoros and the lower Rio Grande Valley. She is currently living in Matamoros, where she is a resident researcher/scholar under the Fulbright-Hays program. Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, her father’s family is from Weslaco, and she has visited the Valley numerous times since she was a small child. Her current dissertation project examines the developing political economy of the port of Matamoros during the 19th century.

That Party a Week Ago Rocked!

What a great party! I can hardly wait until we do it again.

For those of you who missed it, EGADS! members and faculty gathered at VP Don Crouse's house for a potluck and salon. There was an amazing variety of food and drink. If anyone left hungry, it was their own fault.

At the salon, there was a variety of fascinating and often passionate readings. Dr. Randhawa singlehandedly brought Sylvia Path back to life with enough pain and anger to make her suicidal all over again. (Was that in poor taste?) Andrew Keese schooled us in exactly why Shel Silverstein is the King of Snark. Malinie Pisharodi educated us on Heinlein's concept of grok. To the sweet notes of the tin whistle, Dr. Moore made is cry like Irishmen with his reading of Yeats. Yours truly and Dr. Dominguez read our original poems to the enraptured audience. (That's how I choose to remember it, anyway.)

That was only a sampling. There was more and more and more! I can't wait until we do it again!

What did I forget? A million things, I'm sure. Please, add your "Alan, you forgot..." comment to the bottom.

Special thanks to Jenny Ashley for organizing the soiree and Don Crouse for hosting it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CFP: El Paso in the Comics II: "The Southwest in the Comics"

Graduate students in all fields of study are invited to submit 200-word abstracts to the second-annual "El Paso in the Comics" conference and event, to be held on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso, February 23, 2010.

Papers on all aspects of comics scholarship, theory, and pedagogy will be given attention, but those that deal with issues related to artists, creators, characters and/or themes associated with the American Southwest and/or Hispanic/Chicano culture in comics will be given top priority.

Abstracts should include name, e-mail, affiliation (university and program), proposed paper title and 200-word description. Presentations should run no more than 20 minutes.

Mail abstract to:

Dr. James B. Carter
Re: El Paso in the Comics Conference
113 Hudspeth Hall
UTEP English Department
500 W. University Ave.
El Paso, TX 79912

Or E-mail to:

Deadline: August 20, 2009

Registration Fee: No Cost

The academic portion of the event will take place in the morning. A creators' roundtable will follow in the mid-afternoon, featuring the many local studios and creators of the El Paso/Juarez region discussing their work with members of the community. The evening will wrap up with a keynote speech by celebrated comics artist and writer Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Information Session for UTPA Summer Writing Institute

UTPA will be having an Orientation Session for their Summer Creative Writing and Arts Institute in San Miguel de Allende July 18-25. This orientation session will take place on Tuesday April 21st at Noon in Room 180 in the COAS Building. This will be a good opportunity for you to have answered any questions you may have about the program.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Valley International Poetry Festival, April 23-26

Our very own Dr. Diana Dominguez will be reading some of her poetry at the Valley International Poetry Festival on Saturday the 25th!

Art That Heals, Inc. presents the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival—year two—featuring Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, Amalia Ortiz, star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and Nephtalí De León, Chicano muralist and poet, on Apr. 23—26, 2009. Celebrate National Poetry Month in venues across the Valley. For schedule, a list of poets, and other info, visit or call Daniel at (956) 358-7211. Sponsored by McAllen Chamber of Commerce, South Texas College, El Zarape Press, and Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Next time you think about tossing someone out of a window

Many of you probably already know this word, but it's new to me: defenestration. It is a noun, meaning "an act of throwing someone or something out of a window." For those of you who don't know the Free Online Dictionary, I highly recommend you check it out. It has audio pronounciations for each word. On its main page, it has some fun word games, including a spelling bee, hangman, and word matching.

The Skinny: Great Meeting and Speaker

Greetings Fellow English Grads!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, EGADS! had a productive business meeting followed by an even better speaker. There’s some things you need to know.

First, many thanks to Dr. Javier Martinez for his informative talk on the operation of the journal he edits, Extrapolation. It gave us food for thought both for getting published and running our own journal, the Journal of South Texas English Studies. “Our own journal?!” you say? Hah! Hooked you. But you’ll have to read further. (How’s that for meta-narration?)

We made some BIG DECISIONS last night. (I’m channeling Madeline Kahn in History of the World, Part I here.) We also made some small ones. Our secretary, Andrew Keese, will have the minutes in the record shortly if you want every detail, but here’s the important stuff:

Party: We’re having a barbecue/potluck/salon at Don Crouse’s house in Los Fresnos at 6:30 PM on Friday, April 17th. Jenny Ashley will be organizing the party to assure that things go smoothly and we don’t have five three-bean salads. Look for her communiques next week. Besides EGADS! members, we’ll be inviting our new associate undergraduate members, the graduate English faculty, and select VIPs. Be there or be square.

Conference: We are definitely putting on an English conference in February. Most likely, it will be open to English graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, and local teachers and professors. We’ll be forming a committee and getting to work when we return for the Fall semester. This is a great opportunity to have fun and enhance your professional development, i.e. pad your resume.

Journal: We are definitely starting a journal, the Journal of South Texas English Studies, in conjunction with the English department faculty. This is going to be a blind-peer-reviewed journal, the very best kind. Plan on submitting! Our student editorial board has been selected: Andrew Keese (editor), Jenny Ashley (associate editor), Don Crouse (associate editor). Drs. Murden and Dominguez will advise, and we’ll soon have a dedicated faculty adviser for the journal. The mission of the journal as we approved it is:

The Journal of South Texas English Studies was created by the UTB/TSC English Graduate Advancement and Development Society (EGADS!) in 2009. Its purpose is to provide a local, blind-peer-reviewed outlet for the academic study of English literature and rhetoric. The journal’s primary purpose is to serve UTB/TSC students and faculty, but it is open to all submissions. The journal is produced annually as a collaborative effort between EGADS! and the UTB/TSC English Department.

Learn RefWorks: Do you hate figuring out MLA citations? Do you wish it could be automatic and foolproof? Your tuition pays for software you can use today to take the gruntwork out of citations, RefWorks. It's free! On June 10, Librarian Samantha Wheat will give us a one hour class on using RefWorks. Come and make the rest of your graduate career that much easier.

Next Meeting June: Our next business meeting and speaker/presentation will be June 10 in the UTB library’s 2nd floor classroom. We’ll have the business meeting from 5:30 to 6:15, then launch right into our RefWorks class at 6:15.

Graduation/Finals Get-together?: We didn’t make a decision on this, but do you want to meet up at a restaurant or club after finals to let loose and buy a round for the new MA’s? Let us know.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Memorize a poem; it might be good for you

Here's a really good article from The New York Times about the virtues of memorizing poetry. I enjoyed it, except for the part where the author calls Robert Browning a second-rate poet.

Monday, April 6, 2009

EGADS! Business Meeting and Speaker this Wednesday the 8th at 5:30 in MRCN 217

Hello My Fellow EGADS! Members,

Our monthly business meeting and speaker presentation will be this Wednesday, April 8th at 5:30-7:00 PM in MRCN 217. I hope to see you all there.

Business Meeting: 5:30-6:15 PM

Speaker Presentation: 6:15-7:00 PM. Dr. Javier Martinez, UTB English professor and managing editor of Extrapolation, will speak on editing and publishing in academic journals.

Business Meeting Agenda:

Events: We have two items to discuss. First, we’ll finalize plans for our Salon Party at Don’s house in Los Fresnos on Friday evening, April 17th. Second, we’ll decide on whether or not to have any events and/or a business meeting in May.

Andrew is going to present a plan for a UTB English journal. We’ll vote yes or no on having the journal and probably start forming the committee for it. This is a great opportunity to get editorial experience on your resume/CV!

Conference: Alan will present the requirements and possibilities for having a UTB English student conference next year, including the the opportunity to attach our conference to the UTB/TSC Research Symposium. We’ll vote yes or no on a conference, the approximate date, and the means.

Associate Members: Dr. Murden will update us on faculty efforts to nominate undergraduate English majors for associate EGADS! membership.

Student Leadership Banquet: The SGA and Student Life are organizing a banquet for Friday April 24th. Current information is that each student organization will get tickets for five members and one adviser. In addition, awards will be handed out. We’ll need to form an ad hoc committee to nominate our members and advisers for the awards.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carmen Tafolla Reads April 7 at STC

Prominent latina writer CARMEN TAFOLLA will give a reading and talk at the Pecan Campus of STC on Tuesday, April 7, from 7- 9 p.m. The event will take place in the Rainbow Room of the Library, which is Building F.

Writing for Social Action Workshop with Poet Diana García at UTPA

Writing for Social Action Workshop with Poet Diana García 12noon-1:30pm, Wed. April 1st (for students, faculty, and community members), CAS 107.

Poetry reading by Diana García & reading by participants from the Writing for Social Action Workshop 6pm, Wed. April 1st, ENGR 1.300

Before Diana takes the stage, participants are invited to read a brief selection of their writing (in any genre) from the writing for social action workshop.

About Diana García: Born in a California migrant camp, at different times Diana García has been a single mother on welfare, a personnel manager, and a felony sentencing consultant. Her poetry collection, When Living Was a Labor Camp (U. of Arizona P.), received a 2001 American Book Award. Currently, she is an associate professor at California State University Monterey Bay where she coordinates the Creative Writing and Social Action Program.

Praise for When Living Was a Labor Camp:

"Throughout the book it is eminently clear that García intimately knows the migrant worker life. She widens this view gracefully and lyrically to honor and evoke the voices of those on the margins, especially women, the 'other Marías.' A lovely book." -North American Review

"Just a few words: Diana García's collection is a rare mix of literary power, hard-won truths, women's realities and soulful flames come burnin' out of the page into our consciousness. I haven't seen a book with these valencies since Lorna Dee Cervantes' break-through Emplumada! And she reminds us -- without bombast -- about this earth, its workers, its campesino childhoods, hungers and shames and incandescent liberations. Diana Garcia has lived many lives, for many lives -- and now it is her life-lines we can hold, for a moment at least, as 'birds of paradise/against a gold-lit world.' Gracias, Diana." - Juan Felipe Herrera

National Farmworker Awareness Week and National Poetry Month events. Sponsored by the Department of English (Service Learning, Creative Writing, and Guest Lecturer Committees) and the Cosecha Voices program. For more information, please contact Emmy Pérez at or 381-3435.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can this be any more tragic?

The tragedy of the Sylvia Plath-Ted Hughes family continues. Not only did Plath commit suicide, but so did Hughes' mistress, Assia Wevill, who also killed her and Hughes' daughter. Now, Nicholas Hughes, Plath and Hughes' son, has supposedly committed suicide. So tragic. Here is the story.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Submit your papers: Rice University to hold graduate symposium in October

Shifting Spatialities: The Dynamic Boundaries of Place and Space

Rice University, Houston
October 2-3, 2009

Call For Papers
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2009

contact e-mail:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Productive Meeting on Wednesday, March 11

Greeting EDAGS!ans!,

We had a productive meeting last Wednesday. It was brief, about 45 minutes, and I expect future meetings to run as efficiently.

Among the small business, we decided the following:

One Monthly Meeting: We’re going to have one meeting a month for both the business meeting and a speaker or presentation. We’ll have it generally on the second Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The first half of the meeting will be the business meeting. Our next meeting is April 8th, and the speaker will be our own Dr. Javier Martinez, managing editor of Extrapolation, who will talk to us about editing and getting published in academic journals.

Cultural Events: We’re going to try and get together for one cultural event a month. This month we’ll be going to see Sandra Cisneros at UTPA at the end of the month. Crystal Olivo will be sending out the details shortly.

Journal: We’re going to start an online journal. Our initial commitment will be to do an annual journal, but may increase the frequency after we know what we’re getting ourselves into. Andrew Keese is running a journal committee to work out the requirements. Contact Andrew to help out.

Graduate Conference: We decided not to jump into running a conference this summer. Instead, we’re looking to do a party and UTB only English symposium this fall sometime as a baby step in the direction of running a conference. I’m putting together a preliminary project plan right now. Contact me if you want to help figure this thing out.

News: According to Jason Stern, Gary Soto will be speaking at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on May 31st and that there will be a screening of Hotel Rwanda at UTPA in April.

Great things are coming. I look forward to seeing you on the various committees and at the next meeting.

Friday, March 13, 2009

UTB English Grad Summer courses - at a glance

I'm posting descriptions for all 3 of UTB English summer courses for your information.

Here's the information for the Summer I Short Story course being offered - ENGL 6391 (taught by Dr. Marty Lewis):

In this course we will consider the history of short stories, definitions, and varieties of structures. Our readings will be mostly from American writers and divided roughly into two periods: pre and post 1950. For the later period, I will provide material published recently in magazines such as the New Yorker, and from current academic journals. As part of our study of structure we will also read two short story cycles: Winesburg, Ohio and Woman Hollering Creek.

Work for the course will include one research paper focusing on a particular author [which may be revised one time for a higher grade] and a take-home final exam.

The texts for the course are listed below and, with a bit of luck and early planning, you should be able to acquire all of them from for well under $40 [total].

New Short Story Theories, Charles May
Short Story Masterpieces, ed Robert Penn Warren
Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros

Also in Summer I - Rhetorical Theory: ENGL 6321 (taught by Dr. Teresa Murden)

This will be the first time this has been taught since we changed the name and focus of this course. I hope many of you will join me in this study this summer. Of course, it will be an ambitious undertaking for such a compressed time frame, but I guarantee that it will be well worth it. The class is being listed in the course schedule as a Hybrid and that means that 50% of the course will be delivered in an online format through BlackBoard. During the course we will take a "rehtorical journey" from ancient times to the present.

Some of you who know me already understand that I am not a big textbook person. I hate to ask students to buy books just for the sake of supporting publishers, but in this case I have to make an exception and ask you all to purchase two texts for the course.

They are critical reference texts and they may be a little pricey, but I am confident that you can find some reasonably priced texts online if you shop around a bit.

Here is the info you need to start shopping:
Bizzell,Patricia and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. ISBN: 0-312-14839-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-312-14839-3

Glenn Cheryl. Rhetoric-Retold-Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity through the Renaissance. 1st ed. Carbondale: SIUP,1997. I SBN: 0-312-14839-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-312-14839-3

In Summer II - Bible as Literature: ENGL 6303 (taught by Dr. Mimosa Stephenson)

English 6303 presents a literary rather than religious approach to the Bible and considers “literary truth,” truth to human nature, rather than historical truth. Students will consider form—structure, literary devices, and rhetoric—and look for recurring characters, themes, and patterns in this pastoral book. Special attention will be paid to stories and passages that appear repeatedly in literature of the Western World as Western authors, until recently, have assumed their readers to have a basic knowledge of biblical literature. Students who come to the course with some knowledge of the Bible in their backgrounds will find the reading and study easier, but even those who have read little or none of the Bible should be able to read it, especially if they are comfortable reading Shakespeare, who was still writing plays in 1611 when the King James Version, the standard version for literary study, was translated. The translators deliberately used simple language that could be read by common people. Any copy in that translation will serve as the text for the course. We will read as much as seems reasonable during a summer session. The bookstore will carry an inexpensive copy, but students may purchase one at any bookstore. For their research students will draw topics “from a hat” that are symbolic motifs running throughout the Bible as the time is too short to read the book and then choose a topic.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York Times Blog on the Role of the Humanities

The New York Times has a fascinating column/blog by Stanley Fish called Think Again. He writes on a number of topics related to the role of higher education, particularly the humanities. I'm not recommending his views especially (I disagree with many of them), but his thoughts are lucid and wide-ranging. The reader comments at the bottom of the blog are as interesting as Dr. Fish's views.

Two articles in a series I highly recommend are "Will the Humanities Save Us?" and "The Uses of the Humanities, Part Two," which address the question, "What is the value of a humanities education to society?" I don't agree with him; I tend to be more utilitarian. But as I said above, he writes well and the reader comments are quite interesting in their own right. As graduates in English, the debate goes to the heart of our efforts.

Dr. Fish's New York Times bio:

Stanley Fish is the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and a professor of law at Florida International University, in Miami, and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins and Duke University. He is the author of 10 books. His new book on higher education, "Save the World On Your Own Time," has just been published.

Monday, March 9, 2009

EGADS! Business Meeting Wednesday, March 11

¡Hola mi amigos de EGADS!

This Wednesday, March 11, is our monthly business meeting in MRCN 217 at 6:00 PM. I hope you can join us and to add your energy and ideas to the stew.

All the boring stuff with (Yawn!) the constitution and the election of this year's officers is behind us. Now we're putting together a roster of exciting events and activities. There are three main projects we're going to make decisions on this week:

  1. Events: The events committee has been chewing over the possibilities and has come up with a proposed approach to events over the next year, plus some activities for this month. Come give your input to tweaking the plan and your ideas for more cool things to do.

  2. Journal: Andrew Keese has been outlining a plan for a graduate literary journal. Come be a part of the decision on whether and how to do that. If you ever wanted to be an editor for love or credentials, this might be your foot in the door.

  3. Conference: Are we going to host a graduate mini-conference this summer? It's a huge task, but an exciting one as well. This is a decision we need to make ASAP if we're going to do it this summer. Come consider the problems and possibilities. If we move forward–in the summer or later in the year–it's another great opportunity for your professional development, as well as a chance to hobnob with literate folks from all over.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there. We have a small department, but one stacked with smart and devoted grads who know that education and success aren't something poured into our brain for a tuition, but experiences only we can make happen.

Friday, March 6, 2009

UTPA MFA Program Table at Graduate Fair

The UTPA MFA in Creative Writing program will have a table at the UTPA Graduate Fair next Thursday, March 12 from 5-8 p.m. in the UTPA annex. It's a good chance to ask any questions you might have about the program. Further details at the following link:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sandra Cisneros is coming to Edinburg

This is a must-see! Here's the info:

The public is invited to hear Sandra Cisneros speak at UTPA Student Union Theater on Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 4 pm. This will be a highlight of the 2009 FESTIBA Community Day.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the foremost contemporary authors. Cisneros’ first book, The House on Mango Street, has definitely had an impact on readers throughout the world since it first came out 25 years ago.

The UTPA Bookstore will have copies of the new 25th Anniversary Edition of the book available for sale at the event.

Fans are expected from miles around, including The University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas State Technical College, South Texas College, and various public and private schools throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Seating will be on a “first come-first serve basis.”

For more information, please contact Virginia Haynie Gause at or 956-381-2303. Also, consult the author’s website: