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 LPerez16@utpa.edu 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 Amazon.com 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: http://www.utpa.edu/conferences/registration/index.cfm?main=dsp_viewconfinfo&confid=79

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 vgause@utpa.edu or 956-381-2303. Also, consult the author’s website: http://www.sandracisneros.com

Good (somewhat local) conference to consider

OK folks. UTSA has a conference that you should consider entering. The deadline for submissions is very soon: March 15. The conference is on May 1.

Here is the submission request copied from their website:

2009 UTSA English Graduate Symposium

The 2009 UTSA English Graduate Student Symposium on "The Politics of Imagination: Revolutionary Discourse, Methodology, and Pedagogy"

Sponsored by the Department of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio

May 1, 2009 at University of Texas San Antonio in San Antonio, TX

Keynote Speaker: Dr. María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, Department of English, New York University

Proposal Submission Deadline: Extended to March 15, 2009

In 2009, a year identified with notions of hope and change, expectations of revolutionary thinking hover in a multitude of realms, from economics to academics, from war to peace, and from globalization to localization. In The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development, Saldaña-Portillo encourages her readers to rethink narratives of minority and marginal subjects in the search for and critique of revolution and revolutionary movements, situating them within racialized and gendered contexts.

This symposium seeks to explore the concepts of revolution and imagination within terms of discourse, methodology, and pedagogy. This interdisciplinary symposium will bring together graduate students, scholars, writers, and performers from throughout the central and border regions of Texas.

We invite papers that engage the concepts of revolution and imagination. Papers may challenge, complicate, critique, or expand current conceptualizations of revolution and imagination in all disciplines, including, but not limited to, literary, cultural, queer, feminist, environmental, American, political, subaltern, and bicultural studies. We also encourage topics that propose revolutionary or imaginative approaches to discourse analysis, methodology, and pedagogy. Visual arts proposals are highly encouraged because the symposium will feature an exhibition of artistic responses such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures related to our theme. We also invite creative writing proposals that bridge disciplines and explore questions of revolution and imagination.

Some possible topics include:

- Imagined communities/nations/space Alternative literacies
- Revolutionary pedagogies in the grade school, university, or feminist classroom
- Neocolonial discourses of development, progress, and difference
- Revolutionary and decolonial desire
- Postcolonial and Feminist methodologies
- Discourses of nativism, hybridity, and mestizaje
- Rhetorics of nationhood, sovereignty, and terrorism
- Local and global policies (gender, sovereignty, civil/human rights)
- Environmental studies
- Queer studies
- Imagination in the arts
- Poetry as a revolutionary art form
- Politics and poetry
- Body studies
- Technologies of imagination
- Socio-linguistic studies

Please submit 250-word individual abstracts or panel proposals (comprised of a 250-word abstract for the panel as a whole and titles for each paper) to utsagradconf@gmail.com by March 1, 2009. Paste your proposal into the body of the email message and include any technology requests. If submitting a work of art, please attach a low-resolution image of your piece, if possible, in addition to your abstract. The conference registration fee is $20.00 for pre-symposium registration and $25.00 for registration at the symposium.

Submit: utsagradconf@gmail.com
Email Subject: Abstract for Politics of Imagination (please remember to include this in the subject line)
Deadline: March 15, 2009