The Department of English seeks to provide for the diverse needs of its students by offering them the opportunity to read widely, to understand and enjoy what they read, and to express themselves both orally and in writing with ease, force and clarity. Through the practice of writing and the study of language and literature, the department strives to stimulate humanistic learning and the capacity to respond rationally and imaginatively to literature and the life it reflects.
Department of English
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Price earns ORCA award
Daniel Nyikos, a third-year graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Hungary for the 2013-14 academic year. Nyikos is earning a Ph.D. in English with a creative writing focus and his time in Hungary will be spent working on his dissertation. Continue reading…
UNL's Jockers leads collaboration opening 300 years of books for data analysis
In the 19th century, Britain was the world’s superpower, boasting a global empire of 10 million square miles and 400 million royal subjects. And British authors of the era reflected this supremacy, peppering their prose with words of command and certainty -- ones like "always," "never," and "forever."
College of Arts and Sciences or University of Nebraska system-wide awards
Roland Végsö – 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award.
Stephen Ramsey – 2013 College Distinguished Teaching Award and a Susan J. Rosowski Professorship.
Joy Castro – 2013 Arts and Sciences Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award and a Susan J. Rosowski Professorship.
[The Susan J. Rosowski Professorship, named for an English Department colleague renowned for her Cather scholarship, recognizes associate professors who have achieved a distinguished record of scholarship and who show exceptional promise for future excellence.]
2013 Literary Contest Winners Announced
The English Department is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Literary Contests. Winners will read from their work on Tuesday, April 23 at 3:00 p.m. in the Dudley Bailey Library in Andrews Hall. Winners will be honored at the English Department Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. at the Bailey.
2013 Big Red Road Show Recruitment
Joy Castro, associate professor of English and Ethnic Studies, has picked up another honor for her debut novel. Kirkus Reviews, an American book review magazine, named her fictional work “Hell or High Water,” to its list of best books of 2012. Read More.
Joy Castro's literary thriller HELL OR HIGH WATER (St. Martin's, 2012), in which a journalist takes it upon herself to investigate the 800+ sex offenders still missing three years after Katrina, has also been optioned for film to producers Jane Startz of Jane Startz Productions and Aida Bernal of Spellbound Entertainment who have teamed up with sisters and producing partners, Zoe and Cisely Saldana from Saldana Productions, by agent Holly Frederick at Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Timothy Schaffert's Story Featured in Pshares Singles Series
Timothy Schaffert's story, “Lady of the Burlesque Ballet,” was the inaugural story in Ploughshares’ new Pshares Singles series (the journal’s Kindle/Nook/e-reader series stand-alone stories). To find out more about this order and read the story at Amazon.com.
Matt Jockers interviewed by NBC News about Data Mining:
Click here for details.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor of English has combined computer programming with digital text-mining to produce deep thematic, stylistic analyses in 19th century literary works. He calls the data-driven process macroanalysis, and it’s opening up new methods for literary theorists to study classic literature. Read the story here.
Berry Spooner was the final project of the Fall 2012 UNL honors course “Introduction to Editing and Publishing,” taught by Prairie Schooner Managing Editor Marianne Kunkel. Read more.
Congratulations to Bobbi Jo Olson!
The Office of Graduate Studies has announced that Bobbi Jo Olson has won the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award. Bobbi will receive her award on February 13, 2013, at the Graduate Studies Award Reception at the Van Brunt Visitor's Center.
Kwame Dawes Named Academic Star!
Check out our latest rock star! Kwame Dawes was named by the College of Arts & Sciences as an Academic Star for the fall semester. Read more.
Ted Kooser's House Held Up By Trees is a 2012 New York Times Best Illustrated title.
Trey Moody Wins Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry
Congratulations to Trey Moody, who has won the 2012 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, the annual poetry prize held by Sarabande Books, for his first full-length poetry manuscript, Thought That Nature. The manuscript was chosen by judge Cole Swensen. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award and publication of a full-length collection of poetry.
Moody is from San Antonio and earned a BA and an MFA from Texas State University. He is the author of several chapbooks, most recently, How We Remake the World, co-written with Joshua Ware and winner of the Slope Editions Chapbook Prize. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2009, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, and Washington Square. Currently a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska, he lives in Lincoln with his wife and daughter and curates The Clean Part Reading Series with Jeff Alessandrelli.
UNL Professor Kwame Dawes Announces New African Poetry Book Series
Kwame Dawes, Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, is excited to announce the establishment of the African Poetry Book Series. Beginning in January 2014, the imprint will publish four new titles by African poets each year. In addition the Series will publish every few years an anthology representing African regions, themes and ideas. Of the four books published annually, one will be a winner of the Sillerman African First Book Prize for African Poets, and another will be a new and selected volume by a major African poet. The winner of the prize will also receive a $1000 cash prize and publication with the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. Complete Press Release.
Prairie Schooner launches second edition of arts and literature series Fusion
Prairie Schooner is excited to announce its next release of the new arts and literature series Fusion. A fresh online series featuring collaborations between Prairie Schooner and interesting, innovative online literary entities and individuals from around the world, Fusion seeks to create dynamic fusions in literature and art. Fusion #1 featured a collaboration with Cordite Poetry Review focusing on work. Fusion #2 continues the themed trend by focusing on womb, while featuring a partnership with Batswana poets and artists. More...
Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize
James Crews was recently named the winner of a 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize in the amount of $10,000—one of the top prizes given for that year. The grant will help with travel and research as he completes his second book of poetry. These prizes were established by Marvin Rosenberg in memory of his late wife, Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg, and the intent is to encourage the work of younger poets. Several prizes varying from $1,000 up to as much as $25,000 are awarded each year (for a total of around $200,000) for the finest lyric poems celebrating the spirit of life. The competition is open to any writer (and any UNL student for faculty member) under the age of 40 on November 6, 2012. All poets, published or unpublished, are welcome to enter, but only previously unpublished poems are eligible for the competition.
Kwame Dawes Interviewed by NPR's All Things Considered
Kwame Dawes was interviewed by NPR's All Things Considered in Jamaica Does Literary Fest With A Caribbean Twist.
Prairie Schooner to be Available on Kindle
Following fresh online efforts such as the launch of the podcast series Air Schooner and of the cross-cultural e-zine FUSION, the University of Nebraska’s internationally- recognized literary journal, Prairie Schooner, will continue its innovative trend by making its print issues available on Kindle starting with its Summer 2012 issue, which mails out mid-June. More...
Nebraska Arts Council Awards
Congratulations to Timothy Schaffert and Judy Slater for being selected to receive awards from the Nebraska Arts Council! Timothy received a $5,000 Distinguished Artist Fellowship in fiction and Judy a $2,000 Merit Award in fiction.
2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize winners announced: $6,000 awarded
Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the winners for its annual awards for books of short fiction and poetry. Judges for poetry were Hilda Raz, Peggy Shumaker, and David St. John. The judges for fiction were Sherman Alexie and Colin Channer. The winners were chosen from more than 1,100 submissions from around the world. More...
Melissa Homestead Receives Honorable Mention by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers for its first Edition Award
An edition of Catharine Sedgwick's novel Clarence, co-edited by English department faculty member Melissa J. Homestead, has been awarded an Honorable Mention by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers for its first Edition Award. The SSAWW Edition Award is given every three years at the Society for the Study of American Women Writers’ conference to recognize excellence in the recovery of American women writers. First published in 1830, Sedgwick's novel of manners is set in New York City in the 1820s. Co-edited by Homestead and Ellen A. Foster (Clarion University of Pennsylvania) and published by Broadview Press, the edition features an introduction authored by Homestead focusing on Sedgwick's place in transatlantic literary culture and her imaginative engagements with New York City and the Caribbean, as well as a selection of contextual documents and images.
- Tracy Prince received her Ph.D. in 1997 and is now a Scholar in Residence at Portland State University's Portland Center for Public Humanities.
- Nina Shevchuk-Murray translated Oksana Zabuzhko's The Museum of Abandoned Secrets, a multigenerational saga of love, sex, friendship, and death spanning sixty tumultuous years of Ukrainian history.
- Attorney-at-Large, Gaynell Gavin’s novella, is forthcoming this year from Main Street Rag Publishing, which previously published her poetry chapbook, Intersections.
- Cara Morgenson has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Poland.
- John Duncan Talbird (Ph.D. 2004) is associate professor of English at Queensborough Community College-CUNY where he is assistant director of the writing program and co-coordinator of WID/WAC.
- Ian Olney was enrolled in the English doctoral program at UNL from 1998 to 2003 and pursued a course of study focusing on film.
- Karen Head earned her Ph.D. in English from UNL in 2004. Now an Assistant Professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, she is also the Director of GT's new state-of-the-art Communication Center.
- Xaviera Flores is the Project Archivist for the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Grant project "Labor Rights are Civil Rights/Los Derechos de Trabajo son Derechos Civiles" at Arizona State University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections.
- On February 7, 2012, UNL alum emily m. danforth's debut novel—The Miseducation of Cameron Post—will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
- Vanessa Steinroetter received her Ph.D. in English from UNL in May of 2011. She started her position as an Assistant Professor of English at Washburn University in Topeka, KS, in August, 2011, after spending four weeks as a Caleb Loring, Jr. fellow at the Boston Athenæum over the summer.
- Frank Wheeler received his MA in English from UNL in May of 2010.
- Sarah Knight graduated with a B.A. in English in 2009. In May 2012, she will complete a master's degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Ryan Wiegert attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln from 1999-2004 and graduated with a B.A. in English.
- Derek Driedger (Ph.D. 2007) received the Dakota Wesleyan University Faculty Professional Excellence Award for the 2010-2011 school year.
- On August 2, 2011, Dave Madden's book, The Authentic Animal, will be available in bookstores.
- Faculty Faces at Hendrix College has featured Tyrone Jaeger in a recent article on their website.
- Jennifer Sinor earned her BA in English and Russian from UNL in 1991.
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Listen to Ted Kooser reading "So This Is Nebraska"
The transcript of this video follows.
I wrote this poem - Bill Kloefkorn, the state poet was one his way out to Grand Island [Nebraska] one time for a writing engagement out there. And I was sort of resentful that I hadn't been invited. And I thought I'd go home and write a real snotty poem about Nebraska, and have Bill read it out there in my absence. And I got home and I started to work on the poem. And I as the poem developed, I began to understand how much I really loved the state. This is that poem. Read So This is Nebraska.
Video by Wessels Living History Farm.
Frame by Frame
Recent Books Published by Department Faculty
On the left a random book title by one of the English Department's faculty will appear. You can also view a complete list of recent books or click the Random Title link to see another book by one of our faculty.
- Humanities on the Edge
- The Dickens Project
- Walt Whitman Archive
- Willa Cather Archive
- Nebraska Writing Project
- Center for Digital Research in the Humanities
Watch the "trailer" for "Humanities on the Edge" here.
Inaugurated in fall 2010 and co-organized by Dr. Marco Abel and Dr. Roland Végsö, "Humanities on the Edge" is a cross-disciplinary speaker series focusing on theoretical research in the Humanities. Each year the series features a special topic. For 2010/11, it was the "Political Turn" in the Humanities; for 2011/12 it was "Biopower/Biopolitics;" and for 2012-13 it is “Aesthetics/Performance/Politics.”
During its inaugural year, the series featured four speakers: Steven Shaviro (Wayne State U), who talked about his current work on Eastern European Cinema and argued that it might help us envision political alternatives to the capitalist status quo; Jeffrey Nealon (Penn State), who discussed the role literature might play as a tool for living in the age of "just-in-time capitalism"; Sande Cohen (California Institute for the Arts), who addressed the vexed issue of the role criticism plays in what he calls "the Age of Anti-Intellectualism"; and the world-renowned Argentine political theorist, Ernesto Laclau, lectured on "The Discursive Construction of Social Antagonisms.
In the fall 2011, Sara Guyer (U Wisconsin) presented John Clare's Grave and the politics of life; and Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) provided an incisive critique of social media and its relation to the discourse of democracy in the age of communicative capitalism. In the spring 2012, Michael Hardt (Duke) discussed the cycle of struggles of 2011 (the encampments and occupations) as manifesting a refusal and inversions of the very subjectivities that the ongoing economic and financial crisis produces; and Cesare Casarino (U Minnesota) discussed the need for a "Universality of the Common" as a strategy for imagining and producing a non-capitalist future.
In the fall of 2012, Mark Greif (Professor of Literary Studies, New School University), discussed the role aesthetic production plays for the status of reality in the age of Realty TV, and Lutz Koepnick (Professor of German, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis) turned to Werner Herzog’s documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about the famous Chauvet Caves in Southern France in order to reflect on contemporary media aesthetic and the politics of time. In the spring of 2013, E. Patrick Johnson (Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University) gave a lecture entitled “Going Home Ain’t Always Easy: Performance and Ethics in the Black Gay South,” which included a performance based on his book Sweat Tea; and in her lecture “Communal Luxury,” Kristin Ross (Professor of Comparative Literature, New York University) revisited the Artists’ Manifesto proclaimed during the 1871 Paris Commune as a means to reexamine ideas developed by the Communards regarding education and the status of the artist from the perspective of our own moment, a context that includes the contemporary assault on higher education as well as the world-wide uprisings of 2011.
The Dickens Project is an important consortium for research on Charles Dickens and nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies centered at the University of California. With its official membership in the consortium, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln joins some of the finest institutions in the country including Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Vanderbilt, and NYU along with fellow Big Ten and CIC members Indiana, Penn State, Iowa, and Ohio State. The Project sponsors an annual Research Institute and collaborative symposium in early August on the Santa Cruz campus, a graduate conference on nineteenth-century British literature and culture held on another consortium campus each spring, occasional international conferences, as well as other institutes, colloquia, and lectures throughout the year. Through their participation in these conferences, UNL graduate students have the unique opportunity to meet and develop collegial relations with Victorianists from a wide range of research-intensive universities.
The Walt Whitman Archive is an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman's vast work, for the first time, easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers. Whitman, America's most influential poet and one of the four or five most innovative and significant writers in United States history, is the most challenging of all American authors in terms of the textual difficulties his work presents. He left behind an enormous amount of written material, and his major life work, Leaves of Grass, went through six very different editions, each of which was issued in a number of formats, creating a book that is probably best studied as numerous distinct creations rather than as a single revised work. His many notebooks, manuscript fragments, prose essays, letters, and voluminous journalistic articles all offer key cultural and biographical contexts for his poetry. The Archive sets out to incorporate as much of this material as possible, drawing on the resources of libraries and collections from around the United States and around the world. The Archive is directed by Kenneth M. Price (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Ed Folsom (University of Iowa).
The Willa Cather Archive is an ambitious endeavor to create a rich, useful, and widely-accessible site for the study of Willa Cather's life and writings. To that end, we are providing digital editions of Cather texts and scholarship free to the public as well as creating a large amount of unique, born-digital scholarly content. The Archive is a product of a partnership between the Archives and Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, The University of Nebraska Press, and the Cather Project at the University of Nebraska. More...
The Nebraska Writing Project (NEWP) is a network of professional educators and affiliated writers that provides opportunities to improve, enhance and celebrate writing for classrooms and communities across Nebraska.
NEWP believes that:
- The best teachers of writing are writers themselves.
- Teachers provide the best instruction for other teachers.
- Anyone, no matter their ability level, can improve their writing in a supportive context with other practicing writers.
- True school reform comes through democratic partnerships across grade levels.
- Teachers, students and communities benefit when teachers form networks with other teachers and draw on collective expertise.
The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) is a joint initiative of the University Libraries and the College of Arts & Sciences.
The Center advances interdisciplinary research in the humanities by creating unique digital content, developing tools to assist scholars in text analysis and visualization, and encouraging the use (and refinement) of international standards for humanities computing. CDRH offers forums, workshops, and research fellowships for faculty and students in the area of digital scholarship.
Though the primary responsibility of the Center is to work with humanists, the CDRH will provide advice to faculty in the social sciences and sciences engaged in interdisciplinary projects that may cross over into the humanities.