Hello, Marshall English Graduates!
We want to keep in better touch with our alumni, and are hoping you can help us out.
Our goal is to share good news about your successes as graduates, and to keep you informed about future department events and opportunities....
Plus, we just miss you.
Will you send us:
* your name
* your current contact information (phone and email)
* information about your current employer
* future and current post-graduate plans
Send your responses to Amanda Fannin, the English Department Administrative Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send us a message here on facebook!
Feel free to share this post with friends here on facebook, through email, or however else you keep in touch.
We're looking forward to hearing from you.
Congratulations to graduate teaching assistant Jessica DeLong, 2017-2018 recipient of the Marian Alexander Blake and Merrill Clifford Blake Scholarship!
Humans of the English Department: Alexandria Runyon
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Alexandria Runyon—an undergraduate creative writing major—couldn't be happier here, and we're glad to have her:...
“It’s going very well. I’m glad I’m a creative writing major. It's a great path to be on for my career goals.”
Alex dedicates any free time from school to writing and performing comedy at local venues. Over the summer, Alex traveled to Chillicothe, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky to perform, as well as doing weekly weekday routines, at Black Sheep Burrito & Brews and The Press Club, right here in Huntington. This month, she’ll be performing live in Charleston, along with our very own Professor Ian Nolte.
Alex finds that performing comedy for an audience on a routine basis gives her a focus on writing and producing new content: “Doing comedy is helpful because I’m slightly on a schedule. Since I perform every week, I have to write something new, and even if it’s the only thing I write that week, I’m still writing, which is good.” Apart from comedy writing, Alex focuses on creative nonfiction. Though she admits not all subjects invite humor, she’s working to incorporate it more in her creative writing, because she finds it an “interesting strategy” in retelling events.
Her accomplishments outside our department don’t just stop at performing, either: she’s been serving as a photo editor for The Parthenon, Marshall’s student-run newspaper, where she’s now also a regular contributor. She writes an advice column, featured for the first time in yesterday’s issue.
When she heard that the editors of the newspaper were looking for advice columnists, she didn’t hesitate to volunteer: “I’m on a lifelong quest to become Carrie Bradshaw, so I thought this would be a good stepping stone.”
Asked when she’ll graduate, Alex says, “good question,” in characteristic humor. “Fall `18,” she clarifies.
After, Alex plans to attend graduate school for a Master’s in English. Until then? You can find her pitching in all over the university and in our community, and performing comedy here and across the tristate. Check out her weekly column in The Parthenon—if you needed some advice, now you know where to turn.
If you can’t tell, with so much already accomplished, Alex has a bright, bright future. Right now, she’s making the most of her college experience, pursuing just a few of her many interests and passions, which leaves a lot open. And she’s fine with options: “I’m planning to go wherever life takes me.”
Visit http://www.marshall.edu/english/humans/ to read about more of our students! ⭐
Dr. Sarah A. Chavez’s poetry collection, Hands That Break and Scar, is available now from Sundress Publications!
ire’ne lara silva, poet and author of Blood Sugar Canto, says “Chavez chronicles the passage from childhood to young womanhood in California's Central Valley, negotiating culture, language, identity, sexuality, love, and meaning. [. . .] the lines blur between violence and love, joy and struggle, memory and transcendence, the sacred and the mundane. One thing flows... into another and back again. Hands That Break & Scar will leave an indelible mark on your heart, reminding you that poetry, beauty, and life are everywhere—within and without.”
You can purchase Hands That Break and Scar here: https://www.amazon.com/Hands-That-Break-Sarah-…/…/1939675588.
Or directly from the publisher: https://squareup.com/…/hands-that-break-and-scar-by-sarah-a….
You can find more of Sarah’s work here: http://www.thethepoetry.com/…/infoxicated-corner-2016-spot…/ / http://www.connotationpress.com/…/2783-sarah-a-chavez-poetry.
And, of course, at https://www.sarahachavez.com/pub.
🌞 More good news here: http://www.marshall.edu/english/goodnews/.
The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall University is incredibly excited to have an added sponsor for this year's Writers Harvest Reading w/ Joel ...Peckham and Laura Treacy Bentley, Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation! Along with the donation of refreshments, they have also written up a lovely blog post with facts about Facing Hunger Foodbank and a testimonial from a past reading series audience member. Check it out here:
Humans of the English Department: Cynthia McComas
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Cynthia plays many parts in our department. Alongside teaching, she’s a Writing Center and STEM-designated tutor, an intern for the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series and last year’s nonfiction editor of Et Cetera: “I love how supportive my professors and classmates are. I’ve been provided with more opportunities than I could have ever imagined when I first applied to grad school, and I’ve met so...me of my best friends who I am sure I will keep for a lifetime.”
Just this summer Cynthia was accepted to the University of the South’s Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a 12-day workshop with very competitive admission.
Cynthia says enrolling in the English department’s MA program was a valuable decision, and the program offers many opportunities: “I joined the grad program because I wanted to gain further writing experience before applying to MFA programs. Marshall was an ideal opportunity for me because the program is small, so grad students have great relationships with their professors and peers.”
The small classes allow for further exploration into her personal interest, contemporary poetry, and she attributes the genre to the development of her writing. Cynthia says, “Writing and reading contemporary poetry has made me a much more proficient writer in other genres. It strengthens your critical thinking skills because you spend so much time interpreting the meanings and forms of poems. My ultimate goal is to teach a poetry workshop, including my favorite professors’ collections on a reading list one day.”
Her study of contemporary poetry, in conjunction with her work at Marshall, allowed her to gain admission to the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, in Sewanee, Tennessee, a two week event of workshops and craft lectures by esteemed poets, fiction writers and playwrights: “Hands down, the most valuable experience I have had. Eric Smith [our very own Tampa Review Poetry Prize winner, 2017] nominated me for a graduate student scholarship, which I was awarded, luckily. I was able to workshop with BH Fairchild and Mary Jo Salter, and make some really great friends who taught me a lot about the writing community.”
Cynthia’s applying to MFAs in Poetry for Fall 2018.
She’s interested in animals and travel: “I love taking care of animals. I have a dog named Willow and a kitten named Olive, who I spend most of my free time with. I try to foster animals whenever I can and would love to start my own rescue service one day. Travel is also very important to me; being a Huntington native, I try to see a little more as often as possible. This fall, I have trips planned for Fayetteville, Arkansas, Blacksburg, Virginia, and Nashville. My plan is to check out universities’ MFA programs.”
Visit http://www.marshall.edu/english/humans/ to read about more of our students
Dr. Kristen Lillvis’s book, Posthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination, is out now from University of Georgia Press!
You can buy Dr. Lillvis’s book directly from University of Georgia Press, right now: http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/posthuman_blackness.
A critical work on black identity through posthuman thought (a study in current and future transhumanity, history, and the self, its potential and its greater place in the world), Posthuman Blackness examin...es the speculative and future-focused art and stories created by black women artists—like musician Janelle Monáe, writers Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler and filmmaker Julie Dash—that inspire a present black identity, from future potential, that goes far beyond history and transcends past, present and even future.
More good news here: http://www.marshall.edu/english/goodnews/.
VWS is making the news!
Start filling a bag of nonperishables so you're ready to meet us downtown on Sept. 14!
Congratulations to Professor Eric Smith, winner of the 2017 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, for his forthcoming collection, Black Hole Factory! 🎉✨
The judges—UT faculty editors of the Tampa Review—praised Eric's “profound and accomplished manuscript of deep personal engagement graced by moving, open flights of lyricism.”
You can read Black Hole Factory, to be published by the University of Tampa Press, in 2018....
Until then, you can find Eric’s poetry in Best New Poets 2010, the Southwest Review, 32 Poems, Five Points, the Indiana Review and The New Criterion Review, as well as critical prose in Pleiades and The Rumpus.
Congratulations to winners of the Women of Marshall Awards, sponsored by Marshall University Women's Studies Program.
Creative Writing major Amanda Schwartz is the winner of the 2017 Undergraduate Award (who will graduate with a minor in Women’s Studies), and Creative Writing major Hailey Hughes has been named an outstanding graduate. Finally, Dr. Kristen Lillvis is the winner of the 2017 Faculty Award.
More good news: Dr. Robert Ellison has received a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.
The grant will bring scholar and writer Marc Saperstein to participate in the first Center for Sermon Studies conference next fall, where he will give a keynote address on rabbinic preaching in Nazi Germany.
Humans of the English Department: Caitlin Graham
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
Caitlin Graham is a Creative Writing and Literature double-major getting ready to graduate from our undergraduate program. In her years at Marshall, she has been an active member of the writing community: involved with Marshall’s writing group, The Written Void; the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series; and Et Cetera literary magazine. When she’s not writing, Caitlin loves to read, go camping, play video ga...mes and plan trips with friends. She also loves cats.
Although Caitlin is a fantastic writer, she was not always an English major. “I changed my major a lot my freshman year. I was originally an engineering major—in the sciences, no connection to English! I was afraid to major in English: my family wanted me to be a doctor. But after my first English class—with Professor Eric Smith—I changed to a Creative Writing major; he made me stick with English.”
Last year, Caitlin was elected the student representative of the Undergraduate Programs Committee. There, Caitlin works with faculty to keep things moving in the department, working with professors to figure out what classes are needed for majors, what classes will be offered and what classes should be required for minors. Currently, the UPC is working on developing a Creative Writing minor for students with a passion for storytelling, but just not enough time for another major. “We want others, including those outside the department, to have as good an experience here as possible,” she says.
After she graduates, Caitlin plans to take a year off school, saving up money for her Master’s degree. In the future, she hopes to work as an editor.
Caitlin says she’ll miss her peers and professors most after graduation. “The English Department is amazing! I’ve never felt like such a family with my professors and peers. It’s one of the best environments: all my peers are accepting, of everyone! And in the English Department, my advisors aren’t just advisors: they’re also my professors, and I know them. It’s a family.”
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kelli Prejean, winner of this year's Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award.
You can read more about this outstanding news at the link below. Congratulations, Dr. Prejean!
Great news: Marshall University and Intuit have announced the winners of the first Innovating for Impact Event. Dr. Kristen Lillvis from the English department is the faculty co-sponsor of one of the winning teams.
Appalachian Action (Substance Abuse): Team members included Marshall students Morgan Whitt, Corey Tornes, Evan Robinson, Rowan Robinson and Katie Cowie, as well as faculty members Olen York and Kristen Lillvis.
Congratulations to all the participants and winners!
Join us this Friday for the English Department Hooding and Recognition Ceremony, at 3:00 in Memorial Student Center Room BE85. The ceremony gives English Department students a chance to celebrate graduation in a closer environment; graduate students will be hooded by faculty members.
See the attached flyer for more details. Hope to see you there!
Tips for Students: Before you head back home, be sure to pick up something for your summer reading list! Copies of the AWP's literary magazine, "The Writer's Chronicle," are available for free for English majors. Stop by the English Department's front desk and ask for a copy of your own!
Last night, students and faculty gathered for the Et Cetera launch party. Dr. Laura Michele Diener read from her personal narrative, "Late Afternoon with Shadows Lengthening," Et Cetera contributors read from their pieces, and students presented memorial readings of work by Chase Adkins.
Also, congratulations to Heather Keeney for winning the Et Cetera Literary Magazine - Stephen Chase Adkins Memorial Award for her short story, "Grizzly."