Saturday, November 20, 2010

Indianapolis Opens Museum to Honor Its Literary Native Son

In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Cat’s Cradle,” the narrator meets a woman on a plane who is delighted to discover that he is from Indiana. Holding his arm tightly, she tells him, “We Hoosiers got to stick together.”

Read more about the Vonnegut museum at the New York Times.

Friday, October 8, 2010

When You Forget What You Read

By Steven J. Dubner, co-author of "Freakonomics"

Very interesting essay by James Collins (this one, not that one) in the New York Times Book Review about forgetting what you read.

I have just realized something terrible about myself: I don’t remember the books I read. I chose Perjury as an example at random, and its neighbors on my bookshelf, Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (on the right) and Anka Muhlstein’s Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine (on the left), could have served just as well. These are books I loved, but as with Perjury, all I associate with them is an atmosphere and a stray image or two, like memories of trips I took as a child.

This is of interest to me because I read a lot and seem to forget nearly as much. From what I can tell, I tend to remember non-fiction better than fiction; for non-fiction, I tend to remember journalism better than books (at least when it comes to factual details).

Read more at the New York Times.

This article refers to a previous article, "The Plot Escapes Me," by James Collins and also at the New York Times.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lawsuits That Kill Books

Litigious billionaires and foreign courts are as much a threat as book-banning fundamentalists
By Laura Miller

Last week was Banned Books Week, a worthy institution calling attention to efforts to remove books from public libraries and school curricula. This annual event has become so successful that, although the American Library Association reported "460 recorded attempts to remove materials from libraries in 2009," a close examination suggests that many of these amounted to mere "challenges" -- written objections submitted to librarians or teachers by isolated crackpots or control freak parents with minimal chances of seeing their censorious desires fulfilled.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chicano poet alurista at UT Pan American Monday, Oct. 11

alurista will be at UTPA on October 11 as the 2010 speaker in UTPA Library’s Innovative Voices Series. He will also be part of the “alurista Tunaluna Texas Book Tour” organized by his book publisher.

He will be guest of honor at a Merienda/Plática at the Library Faculty Lounge from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Then he will give a formal address that evening at 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. Students, faculty, staff as well as the general public will have a chance to meet alurista and purchase his latest book, Tunaluna. The UTPA Bookstore will be selling the books as soon as they arrive and at these events.

alurista (real name Alberto Urista) is one of the seminal and most influential voices in the history of Chicano Literature. A pioneering poet of the Chicano Movement in the late 60s and 70s, he broke down barriers in the publishing world with his use of bilingual and multilingual writings in Spanish, English, Nahuatl and Maya. A scholar, activist, editor, organizer and philosopher, he holds a Ph.D in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of California in San Diego and is the author of ten books including Floricanto en Aztlán (1971), Timespace Huracán (1976), Spik in Glyph? (1981) and Z Eros (1995). His book, Et Tú Raza?, won the Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award in Poetry in 1996. Author of “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán,” he is a key figure in the reclaiming of the MeXicano cultural identity, history and heritage through his integration of American Indian language, symbols and spirituality in his writings. (Source: Juan Tejeda, publisher/editor of Aztlan Libre Press, publisher of Tunaluna, alurista’s tenth book of poetry and first publication in ten years).

In the introduction to the book Tunaluna Tejeda writes: “alurista is a Xicano poet for the ages and a chronicler of la Nueva Raza Cózmica. With Tunalunahe trumpets the return of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered-serpent of Aztec and Mayan prophecy, and helps to lead us out of war and into the dawn of a new consciousness and sun, el Sexto Sol, nahuicoatl, cuatro serpiente, sun of justice.”

For more information on the “alurista Tunaluna Texas Book Tour,” go or call 210-531-9505.
For more information about alurista’s visit to UTPA, contact Virginia Haynie Gause, Media and Marketing Librarian at or call 956-665-2303.

Ven a oir alurista!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Celebrate Banned Book Week

This is Banned Book Week, September 25-October 2; sponsored by the American Library Association in conjunction with several other organization, Banned Book Week is meant to call attention to our freedom to read what we want and the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Celebrate Banned Book Week by reading a book or part of a book that's been banned, either recently or one of the classics that's been frequently banned.

For a list of the top 100 banned and/or challenged books of the 20th century, go here: ALA top 100 banned books of 20th century

For more about Banned Book Week and the ALA's efforts to combat censorship, go here: ALA Banned Book Week

Explore the ALA site for more information about libraries, books, and advocacy/issues sponsored by the ALA.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Origin of the Word, Penny

The Penny's British Heritage

Like so much else American, the name penny comes from England. The first modern English coin was the silver penny of Offa, the 8th century king of Mercia. By the 18th century — when the first U.S. coins went into circulation — Brits still used the word penny as the singular for pence, just as they do today. The coin's name derives from the Old English pennige, pronounced, roughly, penny-yuh.

Read more at Time magazine.

Review of Howl Film

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's movie "Howl," which features one of James Franco's best performances to date, as legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, is a very mixed bag. It's an oddly dry fusion of documentary and narrative film that arguably doesn't quite click on either level. But I honestly feel bad about pissing on a movie that has so much beauty and purity of spirit in it, so let's accentuate the positive. Fans of either Franco's acting or Ginsberg's poetry absolutely have to see this, of course, and it features a memorable, if controversial, animation by Eric Drooker that illustrates both the themes and the literal story of Ginsberg's eponymous poem.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kafka's Kafkaesque Legacy

During his lifetime, Franz Kafka burned an estimated 90 percent of his work. After his death at age 41, in 1924, a letter was discovered in his desk in Prague, addressed to his friend Max Brod. “Dearest Max,” it began. “My last request: Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches and so on, to be burned unread.” Less than two months later, Brod, disregarding Kafka’s request, signed an agreement to prepare a posthumous edition of Kafka’s unpublished novels. “The Trial” came out in 1925, followed by “The Castle” (1926) and “Amerika” (1927). In 1939, carrying a suitcase stuffed with Kafka’s papers, Brod set out for Palestine on the last train to leave Prague, five minutes before the Nazis closed the Czech border. Thanks largely to Brod’s efforts, Kafka’s slim, enigmatic corpus was gradually recognized as one of the great monuments of 20th-century literature. ...

Read more at the New York Times.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Conference at South Texas College Feb 24-26, 2010

Call for Submissions

“De Diosa a Hembra to Chicana: Celebrating the Last
40 Years of Chicana Activism.”
2011 NACCS-Tejas Regional Conference
South Texas College, McAllen, Tejas
24-26 February 2011

The Mexican American Studies Program at South Texas College is accepting
submissions for papers, exhibits, performances, or cultural productions for the
2011 NACCS Tejas Regional Conference at South Texas College. The year
1971 can be considered a turning point in Chicana activism as a group of
Chicana leaders from across the United States came together to voice their
concerns as women. These concerns stemmed from discrimination in the home,
work place, school, and within the Chicano Movement itself. Other issues
addressed at the conference included concerns over healthcare and the
relationship to other feminist movements and sexuality. These women,
numbering in the hundreds, united and disunited in Houston, and sought various
resolutions to their concerns as they strived for social, cultural, racial, gender,
and sexual equality. This is the historical spirit that will be celebrated and
examined during the 2011 NACCS Tejas Regional Conference that will be held
on the 24th through the 26th of February at South Texas College. The NACCS
Tejas Regional conference will provide a forum through which we can
collectively explore the past, present, and future of Chicana activism.
While the primary theme for the conference centers on analyzing and reflecting
on Chicana activism, other topics related to the Chicana/o, Latina/o, or Mexican
American experience are also welcomed. A 100-250 word abstract should be
submitted for the paper, panel, exhibit, performance, or other.

Deadline for Submissions: December 7, 2010

Send questions and proposals electronically to Victor Gomez at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Follow EGADS! on Facebook

EGADS! now has a page on Facebook. Follow us for the latest news, discussion and English-nerd tidbits.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Adventure of English

We saw a great series in Dr. Newman's History of the English Language class called "The Adventure of English."

Here's the first episode on YouTube.

$62 on!!! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Fair This Week in McAllen

McAllen Memorial High School Library's Book Fair taking place this week, May 2—8, 2010, at Barnes & Noble (Northcross) at 4005 N. 10th & Nolana Ave. in McAllen.

The full schedule is below. Patrons must mention the book fair at the checkout if you don't have a voucherin order for a percentage of proceeds from most purchases to go toward helping the library fund its book club.

Readers include Brenda Nettles Riojas, Emmy Perez, Kamala Platt, Ernesto Duenas, Shirley Rickett, and Vanessa Brown as well as . . .

Jay Alvarez, a Cuban exile and Brownsville resident, will read very traditional, romantic, and eloquent poetry in Spanish along with Efraín González, and Arnulfo Vigíl—of Monterrey—at 7 p.m. on Friday night, followed by “The Poet Mariachi,” Daniel García Ordaz, author of You Know What I’m Sayin’? who will read on Friday, May 7 @ 8 p.m. Details about readings by several local writers scheduled to appear:

Monday, May 3
7 p.m.: Brenda Nettles Riojas, author of La Primera Voz Que Oí
8 p.m.: Emmy Pérez, author of Solstice; Assistant Professor at UT-Pan American

Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m.
Kamala Platt, author of On The Line

Wednesday May 5
7 p.m.: Ernesto Dueñas
8 p.m.: Shirley Rickett, author of Dinner In Oslo

Thursday, May 6
7 p.m.: Vanessa Brown, author of Twiffler; creative director of the R.G.V. Int’l. Poetry Festival

Friday, May 7 at 7 p.m.
Jay Alvarez, a Cuban exile and Brownsville resident; author of Fantasias
Efraín González, author of Cuando Vuelves La Vista/When You Turn Around
Arnulfo Vigíl, national award-winning poet from Monterrey; author of Lourdes y Jorge.

Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m.
Daniel García Ordaz, author of You Know What I’m Sayin’? (Second Edition); García was selected to participate in the Texas Latino Voices project by the Texas Center For The Book and was a featured author at the Dallas International Book Fair.

Saturday, May 8
7 p.m.: Katie Hoerth, award-winning author of Among The Butterflies
8 p.m.: Lina Suárez, author of Hija Del Valle

~Daniel García Ordaz

Please visit El Zarape Press
Valley International Poetry Festival April 22-25, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

VIPF Schedule of Events


(Please check for updates on schedule or call (956) 358-7211.
Poets listed are scheduled to appear, but may not be available as listed.)

Free Admission * Open To The Public
Donations Welcome * Books & Shirts For Sale

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boundless 2010: Anthology Release Reception (McAllen)
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
McAllen Chamber of Commerce Conference Room
Note: Copies of Boundless 2010, the anthology of VIPF, available for $10. 124 pages; perfect-bound; anthology includes poems by 49 poets from across the U.S.India, and England. Wine and cheese reception and readings to follow; Registered poets check-in.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poets in the Schools (private)
Juarez-Lincoln High School:—9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (tentative)
McAllen Memorial High School: Oscar C. Peña and Michael Guinn—9 to 4 p.m.
Edinburg North: Amalia Ortiz and Lady Mariposa—12 to 4 p.m. (tentative)

Youth Poetry Slam Contest (Mission)
6:00 – 6:45 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar
Note: Recitation contest open to high school students; 6:00 register to compete.

UT-Pan American Student and Faculty Readings (Mission)
6:45 – 7:45 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar
Note: While we respect freedom of speech, this is a family establishment; appropriate language is expected; inappropriate language will not be tolerated.

Open Mic (Mission)
7:45 – 8:30 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar
Note: While we respect freedom of speech, this is a family establishment; appropriate language is expected; inappropriate language will not be tolerated. Sign up with M.C.

Featured Poet Reading: Jesse G. Herrera (Mission)
8:30 – 8:45 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar

Featured Poet Reading: Michael Guinn (Mission)
8:45 – 9:05 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar

Adult Poetry Slam (Mission)
9:05 – 9:55 p.m.
Jitterz Coffee Bar
Note: Recitation contest open to registered poets only.
Master of Ceremonies: Michael Guinn, Featured Poet
Note: While we respect freedom of speech, this is a family establishment; appropriate language is expected; inappropriate language will not be tolerated.

Saturday April 25, 2009

Potluck Desayuno/Breakfast (McAllen)
9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board Room
Note: Please bring something to eat and drink, preferably to share.

Readings: Galeria 409 (Brownsville)
10:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Hosts: Mark & Betty Clark
Featuring: Diana Domínguez, Yolanda Barrera, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Jay Alvarez, Oscar C. Peña, Juan M. Pérez, Frank Piña, Arturo Saldaña, Julieta Corpus, Alan Oak, Lady Mariposa, Virginia Torres, Lauren Espinoza, Diana T. Cordova, Lina Suárez

Book Presentation: Chamber of Commerce (McAllen)
10:00 – 10:55 a.m.
Board Room
Hosts: Josie Mixon and P.C. McKinnon
Award-winning poet Josie Mixon discusses her third book, Off The Beaten Path; Mixon is a survivor of sexual and domestic violence and abuse. McKinnon is her biographer.

Workshop: Chamber of Commerce (McAllen)
11:00 – 11:55 p.m.
Board Room
Host: Shirley Rickett, author of Dinner In Oslo
Description: Finding the nugget in your poem.
Note: Please bring ten copies of your poem to share with other participants.

Readings: Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center (San Benito)
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Featuring: Adriana Babiak-Vázquez, Oscar C. Peña, Robin Cate, Juan M. Pérez, Julieta Corpus, Luis Vázquez, Diana Domínguez, Tim Smith, Amalia Ortiz,
Rudy H. García, Jay Alvarez

Workshop: Chamber of Commerce (McAllen)
12:00 – 12:55 p.m.
Board Room
Host: Dr. Steven P. Schneider, professor of English at UT-Pan American
Description: I will illustrate how photographs and works of art can be used as a catalyst to inspire students’ writing. Each participant will write a poem in response to a photograph or work of art.

Readings: Jitterz Coffee Bar (Mission)
12:00 – 1:50 p.m.
Host: Gabriel de la Garza
Featuring:  Daniel García Ordaz, Jesse G. Herrera, Ken Jones, Laura Reagan-Porras, Meliton Hinojosa, Linda Romero, Jesús Beltrán II, Cory Raymond, Josie Mixon, P.C. McKinnon, Ernesto Dueñas

Readings: Museo Casamata (Matamoros, Tamaulipas)
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Host: Museo Casamata
Featuring: Kenneth Treviño, Arturo Saldaña, Yolanda Barrera, Brenda Nettles Riojas
Note: Passport is required; carpooling likely.

Book Presentation: Chamber of Commerce (McAllen)
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Conference Room
Host: Dr. Steven P. Schneider and Reefka Schneider
Description: Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives (Wings Press, 2010) is a bilingual collection of poems written by Dr. Schneider in response to a series of 25 drawings by his wife, Reefka.
Note: Books available for sale.

Spotlight on Mexican Poets: Chamber of Commerce (McAllen)
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Conference Room
Host: Efraín González
Featuring: featuring Arnulfo Vigíl, Vicky Rodríguez, Lucía González, Efraín González, Armando Alanis, Gabo de Montemayor, Yolanda Barrera
Note: Books available for sale.

Readings: Paragraphs On Padre (South Padre Island)
2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Host: Joni Montover
Featuring: Kenneth Treviño, Juan M. Pérez, Diana Domínguez, Rudy H. García, Amalia Ortiz, Tim Smith, Alan Oak, Lady Mariposa, Virginia Torres, Lauren Espinoza,
Diana T. Cordova, Lina Suárez

Readings: Savory Perks (Weslaco)
2:30 – 4:45 p.m.
Host: Savory Perks
Featuring: Jesse G. Herrera, Oscar C. Peña, Laura  Reagan-Porras, Meliton Hinojosa,
Shirley A. Rickett, Jay Alvarez, Cory Raymond, Josie Mixon, P.C. McKinnon

ReadingsSouth Texas College: Mid-Valley Campus (Weslaco)
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Host: Arnold Becho, Librarian
Featuring: Mona D. Sizer, Oscar C. Peña, Adriana Babiak-Vázquez, Luis Vázquez, Rolando Villafuerte

Readings: Public Library (Pharr)
3:45 – 5:30 p.m.
Host: Adolfo García, Director
Featuring: Daniel García Ordaz, Juan M. Pérez, Frank Piña, Laura  Reagan-Porras, Linda Romero, Jesús Beltrán II, Lady Mariposa, Diana T. Cordova, Lina Suárez, Virginia Torres, Lauren Espinoza, Cory Raymond, Ken Jones, Ernesto Dueñas

*Poetry Pachanga Dinner (*private)
McAllen Chamber of Commerce Main Hall
6:00 – 6:50 p.m.
Note: Dinner for Registered Poets and their Guests Only ($10 per guest)

 4th Annual Poetry Pachanga: Musical Performance
by Karen Eubanks (McAllen)
Chamber of Commerce Conference Room
7:00 – 7:45 p.m. (Doors Open at 6:45 p.m.)
Karen Eubanks is a young singer/songwriter with country/soulful/pop vocals and an emotional, natural delivery. Catch the rising star of the Rio Grande Valley music scene.

4th Annual Poetry Pachanga: Readings (McAllen)
Chamber of Commerce Conference Room
7:45 – 10:30 p.m.
Featuring All Registered Poets: Armando Alanis, Jay Alvarez, Adriana Babiak-Vázquez, Yolanda Barrera, Jesus Beltran II, Vanessa Brown, Robin Cate, Diana T. Cordova, Julieta Corpus, Diana Dominguez, Ernesto Dueñas, Lauren Espinoza, Daniel García Ordaz, Rudy H. García, Efraín González, Lucía González, Michael Guinn, Jesse G. Herrera, Meliton Hinojosa, Katherine Hoerth, Kenneth Jones, P.C. McKinnon, Josephine Mixon, Gabo de Montemayor, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Alan Oak, Amalia Ortiz, Oscar C. Peña, Juan M. Pérez, Francisco Piña, Jr., Cory Raymond, Laura Reagan-Porras, Shirley A. Rickett, Virginia Rodriguez Garza, Linda F. Romero, Arturo Saldaña, Veronica Sandoval, Steven P. Schneider, Mona Sizer, Lina Suárez, Tim Smith, Virginia Torres, Kenneth Treviño, Luis Vázquez, Arnulfo Vigíl, and Rolando Villafuerte.

Sunday April 25, 2010

Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Burial Site Visit (Hargill)
10:00 a.m.
Meet at UTPA Bookstore, 1201 W. University Dr.Edinburg (corner of 107 and 4th St.)
Note: We will depart the parking lot at 10:10 a.m. after sorting out carpool. Spiritual readings at the Valle de Paz cemetery.
Note: Call Daniel at 956-358-7211 to RSVP

Monday, April 19, 2010

Please RSVP?

A couple paragraphs from Grammar Girl's April 19 e-newsletter:

Last week's newsletter was a disaster! Not only was there a typo (yes, we have a proofreader and review the copy more than once), but also in the section about my New York City book signing on May 1, I wrote "Please RSVP." Oh, the horror! I've known that "please RSVP" is redundant since junior high.
"RSVP" is an initialism of the French phrase "répondez s'il vous plaît," which means "reply if you please." Since "RSVP" already has "please" in it, "please RSVP" is redundant.
Why did I write "please RSVP"? All I can say is that we all have bad days.

Spring Salon 2010

Photos in our Web album.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Maybe We Shouldn't Write Like the Profs

Here's the first few paragraphs of a good article on academic wrting in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Rachel Toor called "Bad Writing and Bad Thinking:"

Recently I was asked by a colleague to talk to his graduate class in physical education. He invited me because he had read some of my work—on being an athlete, on gender and body issues—but mostly, I suspect, because I was around and available.

They were a lively group of students, and we chatted for an hour, discussing topics we were all interested in. They asked smart questions.

When we were wrapping up, I asked them a question: "What is your relationship to reading and writing?" At that moment, they morphed from T-shirt-clad physical specimens and became generic graduate students, indistinguishable from all-in-black, cigarette-smoking studiers of literary theory and bearded-and-geeky future scientists. It's all we do, they wailed, and it's hard.

What's hard?

Click here for the rest of the article.

"Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

A new book on the authorship debate asks why some people refuse to accept "the Stratford man"
-- by Laura Miller

"It bristles with difficulties," observed Henry James about the "authorship controversy," the 200-year-old argument over who wrote the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare. You can count James (along with Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Helen Keller and such notable actors as John Gielgud and Derek Jacobi) among the anti-Stratfordians, those who question the conventional view. The majority of experts may feel confident that the author "Shakespeare" was none other than the man Shakespeare and not some aristocrat or intellectual using the celebrated Elizabethan actor as a front, but those who disagree — a small but vocal minority of academics, independent scholars and outright cranks — will not be deterred.

James Shapiro's penetrating new consideration of the debate, "Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?" is misleadingly subtitled; Shapiro, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and the author of the acclaimed history "1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare," does not doubt the Stratfordian view himself. But he does differ from his colleagues in insisting that the quarrel ought to be publicly addressed. Until now, most Shakespeare experts have treated the anti-Stratfordians much as the mainstream of science has handled the proponents of intelligent design theory: that is, as a crackpot fringe who will only be encouraged and legitimized by any response. And we all know how well that strategy has worked out.


Twitter Posts to Be Archived by Library of Congress

In case you missed it from the various media:

The Library of Congress announced Wednesday via its official Twitter feed that it would be adding tweets to its inventory of published works. The addition of the vast body of public tweets sent since Twitter's founding in March 2006 is the latest step in the Library of Congress' effort to incorporate digitally published works into its archives. With an official press release forthcoming, the Library posted a teaser on its blog...

Read more at The Atlantic.

Monday, April 12, 2010

EGADS! Advisor and President at April 22 Poetry Reading

EGADS! Advisor Diana Dominguez and President Alan Oak will be reading at the opening and anthology release for the Valley International Poetry Festival on Thursday, April 22, 7 p.m. at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Ave.

Dominguez and Oak have both been accepted for publication in the 3rd annual festival's anthology, Boundless 2010, and will be reading their included poems at the event, where they will be joined by many of the nearly 50 anthology contributors. It promises to be a star-studded event of the Valley's best.

The festival runs from Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, April 25 at venues throughout the Lower Valley. Visit the website to see event listings and make your plans.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Starbucks: It Could Have Been Pequods

CNN has an sycophantic article about Starbucks that includes the following literary tidbit:

Nothing says marketing genius like a vague literary reference. At least that was the logic of Starbucks' original founders -- two teachers and a writer -- who named their fledgling coffee bean business after a supporting character in Moby-Dick.
Before the founders decided to name the place after Captain Ahab's first mate, Starbuck, they considered naming it for Ahab's boat, the Pequod. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, they changed their minds when a friend tried out the tagline "Have a cup of Pequod."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wag's Review Writing Contest

Dear Writers,

Wag’s Revue invites you to enter its summer contest in fiction, poetry, and essays. Submissions of electronic writing are also encouraged in any of the above genres. First prize receives $1,000 and publication in Wag’s Revue issue 6. Second prize is $500, third is $100, and all submissions are considered for publication. There is no limit to the number of entries an author may submit. The contest deadline is May 31, and winners will be announced June 21. The submission fee is $20.

View our complete submissions guidelines here.

Aspiring to marry the rigors of print with the freedoms of the internet, Wag’s Revue is an online quarterly of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Its previous issues featured George Saunders, Dave Eggers, T.C. Boyle, Stephen Elliot, Brian Evenson, Wells Tower, Daniel Wallace, K. Silem Mohammad, and many others.

“Remarkable” – Poets & Writers
“A triumph in online literature” – The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog
“Highly recommended to everyone” – Live Nude Books

Read more at Wag's Revue.

We look forward to reading your work.

Sandra Allen, Dave Eichler, Will Guzzardi, and Will Litton
Editors, Wag’s Revue

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Samuel Johnson reads, "The Lives of the Poets"

Found this video of "Samuel Johnson" reading from his "The Lives of the Poets" on YouTube. Too cool. When you pull up the page, at right there are links to Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and others reading their works. Awesome!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Victorian Women Liked Sex!

Breaking: Victorian women liked sex!

Their corsetry may have been tight, but they weren't straitlaced in the bedroom, says a long-lost survey


English and Cognitive Science

I've been on the edge. Here's the proof!

History of Two Trendy Words

Found the following word histories for "goth" and "hipster," from Merriam-Webster and, respectively.

Goth: This word contains over a thousand years of drama. In brief:
Around the fifth century, the Goths were a tribe that helped defeat the Roman Empire; by the 1500s, gothic meant "barbaric" and was used to insult a new style of architecture; that architecture became associated with the medieval age; ideas of medieval darkness and mystery inspired gothic fiction of the 1800s like Dracula.
All this eventually led, in the 1990s, to goth fashion – characterized by vampire-ish black clothes and eyeliner, and a preference for dark music and moody Romanticism.
Norman Mailer famously used the word to describe the middle-class whites who fetishized jazz culture in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and in 1958 Jack Kerouac applied it to the members of the Beat Generation. For most of the twentieth century, it was used as a vague and usually pejorative term for a person with trendy countercultural interests.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Do You Consider to Be Bad?

Here's an interesting blog post/opinion piece about a new list of "bad" books. It has an interesting perspective and some good points. I must say, though, that the "Top 40 Bad Books" by American Book Review is annoying. They have one of the best books I have ever read listed, Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence. How about the Great Gatsby or Frankenstein? This list is laughable.

Monday, March 29, 2010


My daily RSS feed from the OED gave me a pleasant surprise: OED has daffadowndilly as a synonym for daffodil! What an amazing word! It's just begging for children's poetry.

Darryl and Daphne love daffadowndillies,
The daffadowndillies of Dilbury Lane;
Yellow and dancing, those daffadowndillies,
Those daffadowndillies of Dilbury Lane.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Women Writers Still Being Denigrated!

I can hardly believe that the denigration of women writers is still going on. What crap! Yes, I know it's been going on for hundreds of years, but I thought we'd finally moved past all this. I was wrong, as this column from Broadsheet on shows.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text

From The Onion:

WASHINGTON—Unable to rest their eyes on a colorful photograph or boldface heading that could be easily skimmed and forgotten about, Americans collectively recoiled Monday when confronted with a solid block of uninterrupted text.

Dumbfounded citizens from Maine to California gazed helplessly at the frightening chunk of print, unsure of what to do next. Without an illustration, chart, or embedded YouTube video to ease them in, millions were frozen in place, terrified by the sight of one long, unbroken string of English words.

"Why won't it just tell me what it's about?" said Boston resident Charlyne Thomson, who was bombarded with the overwhelming mass of black text late Monday afternoon. "There are no bullet points, no highlighted parts. I've looked everywhere—there's nothing here but words."


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to Gut a Library today has an opinion piece that makes me think of our own new University Boulevard Library. Apparently, what we have in our library, for good or ill, is part of a nation-wide, possibly world-wide, discussion.

I'm amazed at what I get for free in public libraries. Books, big tottering stacks of books, but there's also computer access and, in the last few years, free Wi-Fi. When my son was younger, we went to story hours and sing-a-longs.
Libraries are one of the great loves of my life. That's why a hearing last week about the Boston Public Library's proposal to close some neighborhood branches has me on edge. And several months after the opening of the new main library in Cambridge, I find myself asking an unexpected question.
What's the purpose of libraries -- really? To be a community gathering place? To promote life-long learning? To help users navigate the information flow? To store print documents for the historical record, as Nicholson Baker argues they should (and aren't) in "Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper"? (Read more...)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Online Journal Narrative Seeks Interns

NARRATIVE IS CURRENTLY seeking internship candidates to assist with production of the magazine, including editorial and technical tasks, public outreach, and other programs.

Narrative is a premier online literary magazine with the mission of transitioning great literature into the digital age and uniting readers and writers around the world and across generations. In its seventh year,Narrative operates under an original model, combining the values and standards of a nonprofit institution with the ethos and sensibility of a start-up: a fast pace, a tireless staff, and ceaseless determination to stretch every dollar to its fullest in support of the mission.

You have a passion for literature, strive for excellence in everything you do, thrive in a fast-paced and dynamic workplace, and are eager to envision, collaborate on, and execute ideas and tasks. You are a high-energy, low-maintenance, well-rounded person with the ability to ensure that projects, people, paperwork, schedules, and other responsibilities are timely, exceptional, and on target. For this position, we need someone who is friendly, professional, reliable, diplomatic, extremely organized, a good conversationalist, a solid writer, computer savvy, and conversant with traditional publishing, social media, electronic publishing, iPhone applications, public relations, and marketing.

Narrative is located in San Francisco and needs local interns but, as a Internet-based, digital publication, also works with interns in various locations.

How to Apply: Please send your CV and a letter indicating what you can bring to NarrativeApply here

Texas Poet Laureate to Speak March 9 in McAllen

CANCELLED -- see comment to this post.

Karla K. Morton, the Texas Poet Laureate, will speak as part of her Little Town, Texas Tour at McAllen Memorial Library on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.  She will read from her book, Redefining Beauty, an account of her journey through cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Karla K. Morton is the first woman named as Texas State Poet Laureate in more than fifteen years.  She loves to promote poetry, and has read her work across Texas, performing at such venues as schools, universities, bookstores and festivals.  Morton is also author of the book/CD titled "Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie," a North Texas Book Festival Awards Finalist, "Redefining Beauty" and several upcoming books, including "Becoming Superman," "Names We’ve Never Known," and a collection of her works as part of the Poet Laureate series by the Texas Christian University Press (to be published in 2010).  She has a journalism degree from Texas A&M University and is currently featured on a nationally-aired episode of The Art of Living Gallery for her promotion of poetry as a healing tool for the soul.

Morton says, “As a mother of two teenagers, I know the importance of inspiring dreams and encouraging achievements, no matter how difficult they may seem.  I’m so honored to serve as 2010 Texas State Poet Laureate and as an ambassador of poetry to the youth in our state.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

We've got press in the Collegian!

EGADS! An English conference on campus
By David Boon, Staff Writer

Pedagogy, British literature and the writings of Gloria Anzaldúa may seem far removed from each other, but all were among topics brought up at the EGADS! first conference, “Bridges & Borders”, held Feb. 20.

Read more....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring submission, event dates

There are a bunch of upcoming dates this semester I figured you'd want to know about:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grammar Rules Change!

UTB/TSC English alumnae Alana Adams let us know about this important development in English grammar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Only Great Minds Can Read This

Eonvrye that can raed this rsaie your hnad.

Only great minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!

If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid too.Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it.

(a friend sent this to my by e-mail)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Found at by my dear friend Claudia R.:

(largely stolen from William Safire and then elaborated upon anonymously)
  1. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  2. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  3. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  4. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  5. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  6. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  7. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat)
  8. Be more or less specific.
  9. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  10. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
  11. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  12. Don’t over-use exclamation points!!!!!
  13. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  14. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  15. Employ the vernacular.
  16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  17. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  18. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  19. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than under-statement.
  20. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  23. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  24. .If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  25. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  26. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  27. No sentence fragments.
  28. One should NEVER generalize.
  29. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  30. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  32. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  33. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  35. The adverb always follows the verb.
  36. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  37. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  38. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  39. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  40. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  41. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects. And the last one...
  42. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Boundless" New Poetry Anthology

Don't forget to make your submission to the 2010 Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival Anthology and watch for more information about the 3rd Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival (V.I.P.F.), April 22-25, 2010.

Boundless will be published this year as a perfect bound edition with an ISBN. Previous editons include poets from Texas, New York, and London. Be part of this exciting edition!

Poets do not have to attend our festival or register for our festival in order to submit for publication. (While this may change in the future, our open policy remains generous.)

  • Submit 1, 2, or 3 typewritten poems in a legible font.
  • Poems may be of any topic, any language. (We ask for a translation if it is not in English, however.)
  • 35-line limit per poem, not including title and spaces
  • E-mail Submissions Only. Mailed Submissions Will NOT Be Accepted!
  • E-mail submissinos to
  • No previously published poems, please, except from self-published chapbooks with limited distribution.
  • Do not place your name or other identifying information on the poems themselves.
Submit a cover letter that includes:
  • Your Name
  • Title of poem(s) or first line for an untitled poem
  • E-mail address AND phone number
  • A short bio – 50 words or less – focusing on your life as a writer
We strongly prefer to communicate by e-mail:
If you change your e-mail, let us know immediately.

NOTE: You must still mail your check, or money order (MADE OUT TO ART THAT HEALS, INC.), along with a SASE to:

Boundless Editorial Committee
1413 Jay Ave.
McAllen, TX 78504

An e-mail address is required for contact. If you will not collect your anthology in person, you should include a self-addressed stamped envelope (payable for $1.50). Presented by Art That Heals, Inc. in conjunction with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and The Raúl Tijerina, Jr. Foundation

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Moon Book Circle at UTPA Library

The UTPA library is hosting another Gather & Gab on February 24, from 12-1 p.m. in the Schilling Room. They are discussing "New Moon" (from the "Twilight" series). 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Workshop to teach art of writing love letters

Our own Jenny Ashley is mentioned in The Brownsville Herald. Here is the link.

By JAZMINE ULLOA, The Brownsville Herald

One of the most legendary romances of the Victorian era happened through letters. Prohibited from seeing each other, English poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning exchanged nearly 600 love missives throughout the 20 months of their courtship.

Though the two resided in the same town, Elizabeth Browning’s father did not want her to leave home as she had fallen ill to a serious ailment and was disabled. But the couple grew closer through their correspondence and eventually eloped to Italy, where Browning is said to have died years later in the arms of her husband.

Their passionate epistles are among the most famous in the history of love letters — and more of a treasure now, historians say, in a world of Tweets, texts and Facebook messages. But this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Brownsville residents will have the chance to learn how to express their own feelings for their significant others like such English masters as the Brownings.

In the "Love of Letters" workshop held by the Brownsville Historical Association, participants will learn how to communicate via the hand-written letter, a lost art that requires more than 160 characters.

The workshop will review the history of love letters, spanning different time periods from as far back as the Romans, and attendees will learn how to draft their own romantic messages, said Jenny Ashley, who will lead the session.

"I am really excited to talk about the examples of love letters from famous people throughout history," said Ashley, an English graduate student at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. "It will be exciting to share some of the very personal words they have for their lovers."

Throughout history, there are countless examples of famous romantic correspondences, said Diana Dominguez, an English professor at UTB-TSC. Among her favorites, she counts the Browning’s letters and Beethoven’s amorous messages to someone he called his Immortal Beloved. And English poet John Keat’s last letter to his love, Fanny Brawn, after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis puts her to tears, she said.

That is the beauty of the hand-written letter, she explains," it connects you to others, including those in the past."

As a medieval scholar, Dominguez also said she does not look to traditional history books, which have been written by men, to put together the lives of women in the past.

"I find out what life was like for women from these periods through the letters and the diaries and the things they left behind that nobody thought was important because they were women," she said.

Everyone should take the time to write a hand-written letter at least three times a year, Dominguez said. Friday’s workshop will be a good opportunity to get started.

The session will begin 6 p.m. Friday at the Brownsville Heritage Complex in downtown and is free for members of the city’s historical association. The cost for nonmembers is $3.

"All I get in the mail now are bills," said Sarah Martinez, program coordinator for the Stillman House Museum and the Southmost Heritage Center. "Love letters are so personal. It takes more time and it is more intimate."

Friday, February 5, 2010

EGADS! Advisor to Speak on Her New Book

Dr. Diana V. Dominguez, EGADS! Advisor (among many other duties),will appear as part of the UTB/TSC South Padre Island Lecture Series for a talk on her upcoming book about Old Irish Warrior Queen Maeve, which will come out sometime in March.

"I would be thrilled if you can make it so I have some friendly faces in the audience," said Dominguez

The book is a revised, updated version of her dissertation: "A Gender Performance Analysis of Maeve Across a Number of Medieval Irish Tales That Form Part of the Ulster Cycle."  

The lecture in on Friday, February 26, and it will be at Club Padre, 5800 Padre Blvd., which is on the north end of the South Padre Island and across Padre Blvd. from Ted’s Restaurant.  The tickets will be $2, and they can be purchased at the SPI Visitor’s Center or at Club Padre.  The lecture will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. and should be finished by 6:30, except for the people that want to stay and ask more questions.

Love Letter Workshop Led by EGADS! Member, Feb. 12

This upcoming Friday, February 12 – just before Valentine's Day, the Brownsville Historical Association will be hosting a special workshop entitled "For the Love of Letters."  The workshop will be conducted by our own English graduate assistant Jenny Ashley.  At the workshop, you'll get a short history of the love letter, especially the art of letter-writing during the Victorian period, and then have some hands-on time to craft your own love letter.

Here is the information about the workshop as advertised by the Brownsville Historical Association.  I hope you will make the effort to go; it will be great support for Jenny, and the workshop really sounds like it will be fun.

The Brownsville Historical Association cordially invites you to spend a romantic evening with them. On Friday, February 12, at 6 pm, the BHA will host a love letter writing workshop just in time for Valentine’s Day. The cost is $3 for non-members and free for members. During the Victorian era, letters were used to express every type of emotion, but most especially and perhaps most importantly, love. Although letter writing may not be as common today as it was in the past, it can still bring happiness to both the sender and receiver. Join Jenny Ashley, graduate assistant at UTB-TSC, as she leads a workshop designed to tell the history of the love letter using real life love stories. Also, get a chance to let your feelings out by writing your own love letter to someone special in your life. Enjoy strawberries and champagne, along with a 15% discount on the book, For the Love of Letters by Samara O’Shea.
Brownsville Heritage Complex 1325 E. Washington St. Brownsville, TX 78520
The Brownsville Heritage Complex is attached to the Stillman House Museum, also 1324 E. Washington St. in downtown Brownsville.  There is a small parking lot in the Heritage Complex – street parking is available, and after 5 pm, there should be spots available on the street.

UTPA Summer Writing Program

I did this writing program last summer. It was fabulous! The only hitch is that you have to apply to their MFA program, with all the paperwork that involves. But if you want a Mexico vacation and you want to write, I recommend it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Journal of South Texas English Studies Call for Papers

Bridges and Borders: Exploring the Confluence of Languages, Disciplines, and Cultures

The Journal of South Texas English Studies is now welcoming submissions until March 5 for its second issue, themed “Bridges and Borders: Exploring the Confluence of Languages, Disciplines, and Cultures.”

Bridges are frequently built up and torn down, and borders often change. The boundaries between people, places and things blur and break. This happens with governments, but it is equally true in literature and rhetoric. Authors frequently challenge our notions of what is acceptable, they point out our close-mindedness, and they show us new paths.

The biannual journal, which is a collaboration between University of Texas at Brownsville graduate English students and the UTB English Department, also accepts a small number of poetry and creative prose submissions. 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. These should not exceed 8,000 words and should be formatted according to the latest MLA style guide. 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.

Deadline for submissions is March 5. 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