January/February 2017

Department of English Newsletter January/February 2017

Upcoming Department Events

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Publications & Acceptances

Cover of Grace Bauer's Mean/TimeGrace Bauer's latest collection, Mean/Time is due out this month from The University of New Mexico Press. Grace will be doing a book signing at the AWP Bookfair. Grace is also currently co-editing an anthology of Nasty Women Poets to be published by Lost Horse Press.

Jaime Brunton has three poems in the most recent issue of Ghost Proposal.

Cover image of Comic Book Movies by Wheeler Winston Dixon and Richard GrahamWheeler Winston Dixon and Richard Graham have published a new book, A Brief History of Comic Book Movies (Palgrave Macmillan). These films trace their origins back to the early 1940s, when the first Batman and Superman serials were made. The serials, and later television shows in the 1950s and 60s, were for the most part designed for children. But today, with the continuing rise of Comic-Con, they seem to be more a part of the mainstream than ever, appealing to adults as well as younger fans. This book examines comic book movies from the past and present, exploring how these films shaped American culture from the post-World War II era to the present day, and how they adapted to the changing tastes and mores of succeeding generations. Organized in rough chronological order, the book's five chapters cover Origins, The DC Universe, The Marvel Universe, Animé Films, and Indies and Outliers, examining not only Hollywood films, but European, Asian, and French animated films as well. Cynthia J. Miller calls the volume "engaging and very accessible…its value to readers will continue even as many more films enter into production and distribution," while David Sterritt adds that "this history of an under-studied field is original, enlightening, and exemplary. I recommend it highly." The book is available right now as an e-book or pdf from Amazon, and will be published in hardcover on February 5, 2017.

Marcello Mastroianni in 8-1/2Dixon published "'A Fantastic, Enchanted Ballet' – Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963)," in Senses of Cinema 82 (January 2017). As he writes, "with the enormous worldwide success of his film La Dolce Vita (1960), Federico Fellini consolidated his reputation as a filmmaker of the first rank. No other film has so pitilessly examined the failure of celebrity culture and tabloid journalism to offer anything of worth to humanity, and the unrelenting bleakness of the film’s scenario ends in a maelstrom of complete social collapse. After making La Dolce Vita about the world around him, Fellini felt the need to move on to something more personal and intimate, about his own life during this period, but was as yet unsure what form such a project might take." That film eventually became Fellini's next masterpiece, 8 1/2, in which a film director searches for the inspiration for his next project.

Motorcyclists from PsychomaniaDixon has also published “Bringing The Dead Back to Life: Don Sharp’s Psychomania (1973),” in Senses of Cinema 81 (December 2016), on Sharp's cult film which is just now getting a new DVD/Blu-ray release from the British Film Institute.

Poster for the film A Special DayGwendolyn Audrey Foster has published "Two Ordinary People; One Special Day" in the January 2017 issue of Senses of Cinema, on Ettore Scola's "Una giornata particolare" ("A Special Day," 1977), one of the director's most trenchant films. As she writes, "the film covers the activities of a single day, May 6, 1938, when Adolf Hitler and his staff visited Benito Mussolini in Rome. The film is deliberately set on a small scale, with just three major characters – Antonietta (Sophia Loren), a housewife married to Emanuele (John Vernon), a minor fascist party functionary, and their neighbor Gabriele (Marcello Mastroianni), a radio announcer who has been fired from his state-sponsored post because of his homosexuality, and is due to be arrested for 'perversion' by the local authorities at any moment. Most of the action in 'A Special Day' is confined to the apartment block that seemingly imprisons Antonietta and Emanuele; we never see the rally outside, other than in newsreel footage used at the start of the film."

Poster for the film Baby FaceFoster also wrote two essays for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Registry. The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. Foster published Baby Face and Wild Boys of the Road. For Choice, Foster reviewed Environmental Ethics and Film, by Pat Brererton, and Red Alert: Marxist Approaches to Science Fiction Cinema, by Ewa Mazierska and Alfredo Suppia, eds. Foster has an essay on Ettore Scola's film A Special Day, forthcoming in Senses of Cinema. Foster has also begun a film series. The Men and Machines series invites meditation into the complex relationship between man, machine, and ‘Nature’ Screenshot from Foster's RELIABLE SOURCES doc– the politics, philosophy and aesthetics of the sights and sounds of industry and nature as they are mechanically mediated and manufactured by the camera eye and ear. Videos in the series include, Echo and Narcissus, Construction Site, Johnny’s Machines, Machine, Col Bleu, Mirror, Inside, and a number of other videos that explore how modern experience of the environment is mediated through a mechanical gaze. Foster attempts to destroy the binary between natural and artificial by locating a hybrid liminal realm between nature and machine, because nature is mechanical and machines are part of nature. A number of Foster's videos were screened on November 12 at The Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and on November 13th at Sla 307 ArtSpace in Manhattan. Foster's Reliable Sources is a virtual memorial to reliable journalism.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon were among the critics cited in the Senses of Cinema 2016 World Poll on the best films of the year. Their videos The Gaia Tryptich and Human Scale were screened as part of the HearteartH 2016 International Videoart Project from Berlin, curated by Sonia Armaniaco and Maria Korporal, January 13–February 15, 2017.

Gabriel Houck's short story collection, "When the Time Came," was a finalist for the 2017 Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Jockers, Matthew L. and Gabi Kirilloff published “Understanding Gender and Character Agency in the 19th Century Novel” in Cultural Analytics: December 1, 2016.

Ken Price published "The Walt Whitman Archive and the Prospects for Social Editing" in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities.

Patrick T. Randolph (PIESL) published Harnessing an Awareness of Mirror Neurons for English Language Teachers in the CATESOL News. The feature looks at how an understanding and awareness of mirror neuronscan help instructors teach at a higher cognitive level with heightened awareness of their own thoughts and actions, and help their students take in the material at equally impressive rates.

Randolph has also published Introducing Randolph’s Head-to-Toe Method of Associations for Vocabulary Acquisition to Break the Ebbinghaus Curse in the MinneTESOL Journal. This article features his own unique and innovative method on teaching lexical items (single words, compound words, phrases, and idioms) to non-native English speakers. The method includes drawing from work done in neuroscience that has proven to help not only language learners, but learners of all subjects. Some of the neuroscience-based aspects include (1) using emotions and learning, (2) harnessing the mirror neuron system, (3) tapping into synesthesia, (4) eliciting key learning neurotransmitters via physical exercise, (5) highlighting embodied cognition and embodied semantics, and (6) reviving elements of Craik and Lockhart's elaborate or "deeper processing" model. Randolph also offers the procedure of his method along with some studies of his students' long-term retention of the terms taught. In 2015 he received the Best of the TESOL Affiliates Awardf or his presentation on the method in Toronto, Canada.

Pascha Sotolongo Stevenson's creative nonfiction essay "I've Got Gordon Ralfe's Number" has been accepted for publication in 1966.

Cover of Roland Vegso's translation of Peter SzendyRoland Végső's translation of Peter Szendy's book All Ears: The Aesthetics of Espionage was published by Fordham University Press.

Caterina Bernardini had an article published in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue (Vol. 59 no. 2) of the Willa Cather Newsletter & Review entitled "'Religiosa, Provinciale, Modernista': the Early Reception of Willa Cather in Italy."

Kristi Carter's poem "Reeling" is forthcoming in Oracle Fine Arts Review's fear themed issue. Two of her poems, "There is a certain decorum of patience expected in young women still" and "Hope Prognosis," are forthcoming in The Icarus Anthology issue on the theme of cathexis. Also, the special Inauguration themed issue of Alyss, features her poem "Apology, for E."

David Henson's story "I-shot-the-sheriff-town" won Problem House Press' short story contest.

Xavier Navarro Aquino's poem "Track Changes" was published and appears in The Caribbean Writer 30th Anniversary Issue.

Katie Schmid Henson has two poems, "All the Other Sad Fuckers," and "What it's Like to Touch the Girl You've Been Longing to Touch" forthcoming in the Spring 2017 issue of The Pinch literary journal at the University of Memphis.

Raul Palma's review of Amina Gautier's The Loss of All Lost Things is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner.

Emily Rau and Gabrielle Kirilloff's essay "Geospatial Approaches to Reading and Teaching My Ántonia" has been published in In the Country of Lost Borders: New Critical Essays on My Ántonia, a collection of essays on Willa Cather's My Ántonia.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Grace Bauer participated in the recent Writer's Resist Reading in Lincoln, along with many others from the UNL and Lincoln community, and thanks everyone involved for an exhilarating and inspiring event.

Mũchiri presented a paper titled "A Quest Called Home: Desire & Migration in Mukoma wa Ngugi's Nairobi" at the 2017 Modern Languages Association annual meeting in Philadelphia.

At MLA in Philadelphia, Ken Price contributed to a panel titled “'Of Latitudes Unknown': Towards a Poetics of Deep Mapping in Dickinson and Her Contemporaries." He and Wendy Katz recently were selected for an Artsmith Madrone Residency on Orcas Island for artists and scholars.

Patrick T. Randolph presented Harnessing an Awareness of Mirror Neurons for English Language Teachers at The Second Annual Kansas State University-­‐ELP & University of Nebraska-­‐Lincoln-­‐PIESL Professional Development Collaboration Conference.

Earlier this month Aimee Allard presented her paper, “Writing Resistance onto Clothing: Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard’s ‘Letter to My Children Sent to the Wash-Tub,'” at the 2017 MLA Conference in Philadelphia.

Poster for Surveillance, Form, AffectLiterature Studies Doctoral Candidate Hye-Ran Jung traveled to Hong Kong and presented her paper “Private-Sector 'Ethnic' Spying in the US’s Triangulated Surveillance Network” at “Surveillance, Form, Affect: A Multidisciplinary International Conference” organized by the Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities at The Education University of Hong Kong from December 7 to 9. Since the conference included papers by academics from Asia, Europe, and North America, she came back with a wide-ranging and stimulating perspective of surveillance studies on a global scale. She is also grateful for a Joy Currie Travel Fellowship, which supported her travel in part.

Raul Palma was accepted into Cristina Garcia's "Master Workshop: Cultivating Chaos," which is part of Las Dos Brujas Writer's Conference in San Francisco. Additionally, he has been invited to be a guest author for the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association's 2017 Writers Write program on February 16th.

Katie Schmid Henson will be reading at the Split Lip Press reading at Johnny Pistola's on Thursday, February 9th at AWP.

Cameron Steele will present poems from her manuscript "Girl Without The Mask" at the Southwest Popular American Culture Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Feb. 15.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Ted Kooser has won the $1000 Comstock Review Chapbook Contest for 2016 and his chapbook of poems, At Home, written about things within a hundred feet of his front door, will be published soon.

Ken Price has been elected President of The Society for Textual Scholarship.

Patrick T. Randolph's article, Introducing Randolph’s Head-to-Toe Method of Associations for Vocabulary Acquisition to Break the Ebbinghaus Curse in the MinneTESOL Journal, continues to be the most downloaded and popular article for the journal.

The Cather Project is pleased to announce the world premier of an original composition, ‘Prairie Songs: Remembering Antonia.’ Brent Edstrom (Washington State Music Teachers Composer of the Year, composer and pianist) and UNL alumnus Scott Miller (tenor) will perform this song cycle, a one-hour work based on Willa Cather’s beloved 1918 novel of frontier life, My Ántonia. ‘Prairie Songs’ will debut at the Johnny Carson Theater on March 28th, 2017, with performances to follow in Midland University, Fremont and at the KANEKO center in Omaha.

The Cather Project  recently received a substantial bequest from Charles Cather, Willa Cather’s nephew. We are using some of this endowment money for creative adaptations of her novels – works that will re-imagine and re-create these classic American narratives for a new twenty-first century audience. This will be the first in a series of powerful re-imaginings of Cather’s life and fiction.

Pascha Sotolongo Stevenson was recently named one of three finalists for the Speculative Literature Foundation's Diverse Writers Grant.

Aimee Allard wishes to express her thanks to Currie family, whose generous support in the form of the Joy Currie Graduate Travel Fellowship helped facilitate her trip to MLA. She is also pleased to announce that she was awarded a travel grant from the UNL Graduate Student Association, a competitive, peer- and faculty-reviewed award designed to promote graduate student research.

Kristi Carter earned Honorable Mention for her chapbook manuscript in The Comstock Writers Group 2016 Chapbook Contest. This manuscript also placed as a finalist in Gold Line Press's Ricochet Editions Annual Chapbook Contest. Her poem, "One Orange Streak of Day," won Second prize and publication in Naugatuck River Review's Narrative Poetry Contest.

Courtney Lawton, fifth year student and Ph.D. candidate, conducted research in October at Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library for her dissertation chapter on Dawn Powell, thanks to funding from a Warren and Edith Day Dissertation Travel Award. She has also received an Barbara J. Lawrence Arnold Research Travel Grant to conduct research at the Houghton Library in Cambridge, M.A. for her chapter on Willa Cather. Lawton is also the recipient of a Stuff Fellowship and a Cather Foundation Fellowship this semester.

Cameron Steele has been accepted to the Gullkistan creative arts residency in Laugarvatn, Iceland. She and her husband, sculptor Kiernan Lofland, who has also been accepted, will be participating in the residency and working on a joint poetry-sculpture project for the month of August.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

The Department of English encourages our faculty and current students to submit stories about their activities and publications of note by filling out the Department Newsletter Submission Form.