Department of English Newsletter Spring 2024

Upcoming Department Events

Publications & Acceptances

The Oxford Handbook of Walt Whitman, edited by Kenneth M. Price and Stefan Schöberlein, was published in the UK by Oxford University Press in early February, and it is scheduled to appear in the US later in the spring. Several chapters were written by UNL English Department faculty and doctoral students: Ashlyn Stewart and Matt Cohen have a chapter entitled "Walt Whitman's Archives"; Thomas C. Gannon authored "Flights and Songs and Screams: Walt Whitman's Birds"; Kevin McMullen wrote "Taking a Page Out of Whitman's Scrapbook: Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Poet's Composition Processes"; and Caterina Bernardini and Ken Price co-authored "Making the Cut: Whitman's Excisions and Their Consequences."

James Brunton's poem "Queer History" was published in the most recent issue of Copper Nickel.

Steve Buhler has a book chapter, "Quoting Milton in Musical Appropriations," in Milton Across Borders and Media, edited by Angelica Duran and Islam Issa (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Noir Camera

Joy Castro's flash fiction "Noir Story" appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly and was nominated by the editors for a Pushcart. 

Little Underworld, the second novel by Chris Harding Thornton, was published March 12 by MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Harding Thornton's interview of Gary Phillips, author of more than twenty novels (including Violent Spring) and writer on the acclaimed FX series Snowfall, is forthcoming in Germany with the publisher Polar Verlag. Harding Thornton also wrote the afterword for Polar Verlag's edition of Phillips' latest novel, One-Shot Harry, which will be released in May 2024.

Arden Eli Hill published "To Adam, from the Plants and the Animals" in the Jewish Literary Journal.

Ken Price, Kevin McMullen, and Whitman Archive colleague Stefan Schöberlein (Texas A&M University–Central Texas) had a co-authored essay, "Walt Whitman's Trunk," published in the latest issue of Textual Cultures.

Kevin McMullen's essay "'One of the grand works of the world': Walt Whitman's Advocacy for the Brooklyn Waterworks, 1856–1859," co-authored with Schöberlein, Stephanie Blalock (University of Iowa), and Jason Stacy (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), will also be appearing in the forthcoming (any day, we're told) issue of Technology and Culture, the official journal of the Society for the History of Technology, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. This same authorial team also recently had a chapter accepted in Students in the Archives: Archival Pedagogy in Practice, edited by Heather Fox and Amanda Stuckey (University of Illinois Press, expected publication 2026).

Conflicting Claims to East India Company Wealth, 1600-1650: Reading Debates over Risk and RewardJulia Schleck's new book, Conflicting Claims to East India Company Wealth, 1600-1650: Reading Debates over Risk and Reward, was published by Amsterdam University Press in February. She wishes to thank the department for their support as she labored over this project, particularly the FDL that allowed her to complete its drafting.

"cue: poems" by Masannat

Siwar Masannat's second volume of poetry, cue: poems, is forthcoming from Georgia Review Books/University of Georgia Press in March 2024. 

Ber Anena's poem "Ghazal: Birthday 44" appeared in Issue 50.1 of the Black Warrior Review, and her poem "A Journey By Beverage" appeared in the first issue of Sunhouse Literary. Anena’s essay "Privileged Despair" was published in the third issue of The Weganda Review: a journal of culture, art & ideas.

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s poem "A History That Once Was and Still Is" is shortlisted for a 2023 Writivism prize.

Alina Nguyễn's poem "If Only to Witness My Parents Ca Dao in Quảng Ngai" is in Issue 35 of Breakwater Review.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Marco Abel was an invited speaker at an international symposium on the German filmmaker Dominik Graf, on whose work Marco has frequently published over the years, at the Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg, Germany, December 8-10, 2023. Marco presented "Akzelerieren oder Verlangsamen: Zu Dominik Grafs und Christian Petzolds‚ Gespräch' über das Genrefilmmachen," in which he suggested that Graf's and Christian Petzold's relationship to the police film genre is analogous to Adorno's and Deleuze's respective relationship to Hegel.

James Brunton gave a public reading of his poetry and spoke to undergraduate creative writing students as part of the Carr Visiting Author Series at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on February 15.

"Tears & Flowers: A Poet of Migration in Old Key West: Feliciano Castro," ed.  Joy Castro & Rhi JohnsonJoy Castro presented "One Brilliant Flame, Anticolonial Revolution, and Key West's Lector Tradition," conversed with Patricia Engel about "Building a Faraway World: The Art of the Short Story Collection," and taught "Making the Marble: A Generative Workshop for Writers of Memoir and Personal Narratives" at the Key West Literary Seminar January 7-14. She shared her papers "Refusing False Belonging: When the Market’s Price of Inclusion is Too High" (about hybrid genres, literary categorization, and Machete, a creative nonfiction series she edits at The Ohio State University Press) and "From the Belly of the Beast: Academic Credentialing and the Creative Writing PhD" at AWP in Kansas City, MO, February 9 and 10. At the Cuban Research Institute's conference in Miami, she moderated the roundtable "Exile, Migration, and Desire in Cuban Key West: Contextualizing Feliciano Castro’s Lágrimas y flores" and delivered the paper "Recovering the Cultural Legacy of Feliciano Castro and Lágrimas y flores" February 16. The bilingual, annotated edition of this 1918 volume of formal poetry will appear in October 2024 from University Press of Florida.

Timothy J. Cook delivered a paper at the University of Louisville on February 24, 2024, at the 51st Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900. As a part of the panel "Charles Olson 3," Cook shared his work, "Charles Olson’s Pedagogical Legacy: 'A Plan for a Curriculum of the Soul' and Beyond." Additionally, Cook delivered a paper in Boston on March 9, 2024, at the 55th Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention. As a part of the panel "Explorations of Ezra Pound and Surplus," he shared his work, "A Changing of the Modernist Avant-Garde: Pound and Olson (Part II)." Cook is grateful for the financial support from UNL's College of Arts and Sciences and UNL's English department while attending these conferences.

Melissa Homestead participated in a round table at the Modern Language Association conference in Philadelphia in January on the topic of "Feminist Approaches to Scholarly Editing."

Kathleen Lacey presented a creative nonfiction essay, "Feasible," at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Conference in Albuquerque, NM, in February. "Feasible" focuses on the tension between the diagnoses of clinical depression and rheumatoid arthritis, maintaining a meaningful quality of life, and how treatments for these two conditions often oppose each other.

On November 11, Guy Reynolds spoke to a group of faculty and graduate students at Meiji University, Tokyo; sadly, the lecture was delivered by Zoom rather than in person. Yohei Yamamoto, who spent a year with us a while back, was the host, and the presentation centered on Guy’s recent monograph Sensing Willa Cather.

Julia Schleck was invited to speak at Macalester University on February 1, where she delivered a talk entitled "Uncommon Goods: The Role of Higher Education in America." On March 23, she presented "Knowledge of the past in the new age of catastrophe" for the panel What Good Is Early Modern Scholarship? at the Renaissance Society of America's annual conference in Chicago. (Don’t forget about our event at Francie & Finch, May 2, 5:30 – 7:00pm, to celebrate the release of Julia’s book. Please email your RSVP to Mirhuanda by no later than April 19.)

Ber Anena speaker Institute of African Devlpmt Lit Event

Ber Anena will present a lecture titled "Rereading Okot p'Bitek in Contemporary Africa" at Cornell University at 11am EST on March 28.

Kathleen Dillon will present this April with Dr. Shari Stenberg, Tina Le, and alum Dr. Zachary Beare (Ph.D. in English, 2017) at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCCs) in Spokane, WA, on "No Return to Normal: A Call for Community Care to Grow Abundance." Kathleen is also the recipient of the CCCCs 2024 Disability Travel Award.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

James Brunton was named a finalist for the MAYDAY Magazine Micro-Chapbook Contest for his poetry collection Queer History.

Buhler at OmniArts Production of the Play "Cock"Steve Buhler recently appeared in the OmniArts production of Cock, a play by Mike Bartlett, at the Johnny Carson Theatre of the Lied Center for the Performing Arts. OmniArts selected the play due to their commitment to showcasing diverse and inclusive stories that uplift and empower the LGBTQIA+ community. The show, directed by Christian Novotny, ran in late February and also featured Anthony Delaney, Francoise Traxler, and Reed Westerhoff.

Melissa Homestead and Emily Rau, Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities in the Libraries (Ph.D. in English, 2021), have received funding from the Office of Research and Economic Development’s Arts and Humanities Research Enhancement Program for the first phase of their project, “A Digital Edition of the Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett.” This funding will support research by the CDRH development team into how to repurpose the tools and infrastructure developed for The Complete Letters of Willa Cather to publish Jewett’s letters.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Walt Whitman Archive a two-year grant of $150,000 for its project, "Between the Columns: A toolkit for periodical authorship attribution and display." Kevin McMullen was the lead writer and will serve as PI, working with an interdisciplinary team of scholars from four other institutions. The grant will allow the group to refine its authorship attribution methods used to identify the writer of anonymous periodical texts, using Whitman's writings for the New Orleans Daily Crescent in 1848 as a test case. The group will then coordinate with Stephanie Browner (The New School), co-director of the Charles W. Chesnutt Archive, to attempt to identify Chesnutt's anonymously written Wall Street gossip columns from the New York Mail and Express in 1883. The methods used in these two test cases will then be published in a freely available digital "Authorship Attribution Handbook," allowing other scholars to apply the methods to their own sets of materials.

The grant project will also, with the help of the CDRH developer team (Karin Dalziel, Greg Tunink, Erin Chambers, and Will Dewey), develop a web interface for periodical materials that both highlights the authorial uncertainty of individual texts and enhances users' ability to browse through full newspaper issues. Kevin would like to thank Ken Price, Matt Cohen, and the rest of the Whitman Archive journalism team for their assistance in preparing the application!

Rachael Shah reports that Omaha Public Schools has agreed to cover the 2024 tuition cost for OPS English teachers taking the 6-credit Nebraska Writing Project summer graduate class, English 957b. This commitment makes our graduate class accessible for teachers in the largest district in the state.

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.