Department of English Newsletter September 2016

Upcoming Department Events

Publications & Acceptances

A 20th Anniversary edition of Grace Bauer's collection of poems, The Women At The Well has just been released by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. The new edition, which Alicia Ostriker calls "a marvelous addition to the body of [midrash] literature," includes an new Addendum by Grace and an Introduction by Kelly Cherry. Grace also has poems in the latest issues of The Cimarron Review and Laurel Review.

Steve Behrendt has recently had poems published in Permafrost, Avalon Literary Review, Illuminations, and World Literature Today.

Cover image of APHRODITE'S DAUGHTERS by Maureen HoneyMaureen Honey published a critical monograph with Rutgers University Press in August 2016, Aphrodite's Daughters: Three Modernist Poets of the Harlem Renaissance. She examines the lyric poetry and lives of Angelina Weld Grimke, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Mae V. Cowdery. The book is available in paperback and as an e-book, as well as hardback.

Nicole Gray and Ken Price published "The Letters in the Litter: Messy Boundaries and Other Conundrums in Editing Walt Whitman’s Correspondence" in Scholarly Editing. With Jacque Budell, Ken co-authored "'Written by Walt Whitman, a friend': Three Letters from Soldiers," for Prologue, the magazine of the National Archives.

Tom Lynch's article "Always Becoming Bioregional: An Identity for the Anthropocene" was published in issue 55 (2016) of the journal Caliban: French Journal of English Studies. This is a special issue of the journal on the topic of "Sharing the Planet."

Cover of The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Pop CultureDr. Amelia M.L. Montes published her academic article, "Rituals of Health," in The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Pop Culture, June 2016.

Wheeler Winston Dixon has published a new book, Hollywood in Crisis or: The Collapse of the Real from Palgrave Macmillan, available online - the print version will be available shortly.

Cover image of HOLLYWOOD IN CRISISHollywood in Crisis or: The Collapse of the Real examines late stage capitalism in films, detailing the Hollywood production process, and explores the benefits and downsides of social media in relationship to the cinema, outlining the collapse and transformation of the Hollywood movie machine in the twenty-first century, and the concomitant social collapse being felt in nearly every aspect of society. Examining key works in contemporary cinema, analyzing Hollywood films and the current wave of independent cinema developed outside of the Hollywood system as well, Dixon illustrates how movies and television programs across these spaces have adopted, reflected, and generated a society in crisis, and with it, a crisis for the cinematic industry itself.

Dixon has also published a number of reviews and articles:

  • A review of the new book The Rhapsodes: How 1940s Critics Changed American Film Culture by David Bordwell in Choice (September 2016).
  • "'It’s All About Relationships' - An Interview with Peter Medak," in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, August 11, 2016. The article is behind a paywall, of course, but access can easily be gained through University Libraries. As Dixon writes in the article, "by his own admission, Peter Medak has had a very unusual career as a director. Forced to leave his homeland at the age of 18 during the Hungarian Revolution, leaving his parents behind in the process, Medak fled to London, then a welcoming haven for emigrants, and began a film career from the absolute bottom rung of the business. However, after the critical and commercial success of arguably his most famous film, The Ruling Class (1972), for which Peter O’Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, Medak made the great mistake of doing a favor for his friend, the actor Peter Sellers, by agreeing to undertake the direction of Ghost in The Noonday Sun (1973), a film which went wildly over-budget, due primarily to Sellers’ capricious demands on the set. Peter Sellars, Peter Medak, and Andy MilliganDespite this, Medak continued to work, and eventually broke back through to 'A' status with the highly successful and thoughtful films The Krays (1990) and Let Him Have It (1991). Medak continues to be active to the present day, and is now working on a documentary of sorts on the film that almost ended his career, with The Ghost of Peter Sellers, a work in progress which reunites the surviving cast members of that memorable debacle for a fascinating 'what went wrong?' trip down memory lane."
  • Bill Domonkos and an alien on the set of COSMIC RAY"The Mysterious Videos of Bill Domonkos," in Moving Image Archive News, August 8, 2016. As he notes in the introduction to the article, "Stock footage filmmaking has been around almost since the inception of the medium itself, and numerous examples of archival-based cinema have become staples of film history, such as the Why We Fight series of World War II morale builders created almost entirely out existing materials under the general supervision of Frank Capra between 1942 and 1945. But the use of stock footage in an ironic, pop culture context didn’t really begin to surface in earnest until the late 1950s and early 1960s, with such landmark films as Bruce Conner’s A Movie (1958), Cosmic Ray (1962), which contains both found and original materials, and Conner’s heartbreaking film essay on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Report (1966).

    "But Bill Domonkos is taking stock footage filmmaking in an entirely different direction, moving into the dream world of the unconscious. Using Public Domain found materials, almost exclusively in black and white, mostly from the Internet Archive and The Prelinger Collection, Domonkos creates a dream world of phantasmal and sometimes sinister images that transport the viewer to an entirely different place and time, when black and white was the dominant form of filmmaking, and the repressive values of the 1940s and 1950s went unquestioned."
  • A man and a young boy behind a reel at a movie theaterA brief article on the resurgence of 35mm nitrate film at the Egyptian Theatre / American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, "Nitrate Film Makes A Comeback," in Moving Image Archive News July 27, 2016
  • A lengthy article on the career and films of Robert Downey Sr. entitled "'Rockin' the Boat's a Drag. You Gotta Sink the Boat!': Robert Downey Sr.'s Anarchist Cinema," in Senses of Cinema 79 (July 2016). As he writes, in part, of Downey's start as a filmmaker in Manhattan, "Long, long, long ago and very far away, in Manhattan in the 1960s, I knew Robert Downey Sr. as a friend and colleague, and we are still in touch today. At the time, we were all part of what was then euphemistically called the 'Underground Cinema', a loose conglomeration of filmmakers and artists who centered around The Filmmakers' Cooperative and the Filmmakers' Cinematheque, which moved from location to location, continually offering screenings of decidedly outré films, for something like $2 a show. We were part of a group of 100 filmmakers – tops.

    Screenshot of Dixon's article on Robert Downey Sr"All of us were cinematic anarchists, spearheaded by the aggressively confrontational filmmaker and critic Jonas Mekas, whose long running column 'Movie Journal' in The Village Voice encouraged everyone to make as many films as possible, in as many ways as possible, with as few materials as possible, and to not listen to anyone’s criticism – just their own artistic inner voice. Robert Sr. was one of those people who really took up the banner of experimental film and ran with it, remaining as controversial as possible, and eager to offend as many people as possible, but with a disarming, almost ingratiatingly cheerful air."
  • A review of "Roland Barthes' Cinema by Philip Watts; ed. Dudley Andrew, Yves Citton, Vincent Debaene, Sam Di Iorio," in Choice (September 2016).
  • A review of "Abstinence Cinema: Virginity and the Rhetoric of Sexual Purity in Contemporary Film" by Casey Ryan Kelly, in the August 2015 issue of Choice.
  • A review of "On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films" by Barbara Morgan and Maya Perez, eds. in Library Journal July 28, 2016

"We All Need Chocolate Factories & Casitas on Mango Street: An Afterward," by Ph.D. student Belinda Acosta is forthcoming in The Art of the Matter: Interviews with Latino/a Children's and Young Adult Fiction Authors by Frederick Luis Aldama. The book is an addition to the Latino and Latin American Profiles series published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Dr. Aldama is the series editor and is an Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor at The Ohio State University. He delivered the Robert E. Knoll Lecture for the Department of English in 2015. Ms. Acosta is a fifth year graduate student in the creative writing program with a specialization in ethnic studies.

Tom Bennitt has a story forthcoming in Descant, the literary journal of TCU.

Kristi Carter's chapbook Daughter Shaman was a finalist in Gazing Grain Press' Chapbook Contest.

Kristi Carter's poem "The Cosmology of the Daughter Who Emerged from an Unrecognizable Place" was finalist in the North Carolina Literary Review's James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition and will be published there in 2017.

Katie Schmid Henson's poem "GIRLBODY" was published in Big Lucks 12. Her poem "The Company Raises the Director One Last Time," will appear in Blue Lyra Review's anthology on theatre, which will be published next year.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Drawing o fthe Massacre at PeterlooSteve Behrendt's slide-illustrated paper (50+ slides!) about the "Manchester Massacre" in 1819 in Manchester, England, garnered a good deal of interest at the mid-August annual meeting of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, if only for its "interesting" logistics. He reports that keeping one's place in a PowerPoint presentation of that size and a carefully-timed talk is rather akin to ice dancing while carrying both a serving tray of hot soup and an anvil.

Maureen Honey presented two workshops as part of the NEH Summer Teaching Institute at Purdue University in July, one on Zora Neale Hurston and another on Dorothy West and Jessie Fauset. The Institute was entitled "From Plessy to Brown: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Twentieth Century."

Ken Price contributed to a panel discussion on "The Scholarly Digital Edition: Best Practices, Guidelines, and Peer Evaluation," at the Digital Humanities Conference in Krakow, Poland in July.

Tom Lynch gave two conference presentations in June. The first was a keynote address at the "Companion Species in North American Cultural Productions" conference held at the Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France on June 17. The rather too long title of his presentation was "Companions in Restoration: Buffalo Ranching as Interspecies and Intercommunity Reconciliation, The Case of Dan O’Brien’s Wild Idea." The second presentation was at the "International Conference on Ecopoetics" held at the University of Perpignan Via Domitia, France from June 22nd to 25th. His presentation at this conference was titled "Eco-memoir, Belonging, and the Settler-Colonial Poetics of Place Identity."

Dr. Amelia M.L. Montes presented a paper entitled, "Becoming Intimate With Your Body: Recipes Toward Healing" for the panel, "Revolutionize Your Body: Recipes Toward Resistance." She was also featured on a social media discussion panel, entitled, "¿Y Twitter Que?: On Writing, Blogging, Tweeting, and Maintaining Digital Intercambios on Latinx Issues", at The Latino Studies Association (LSA) Conference in Pasadena, California, on July 9, 2016.

Mike Page co-chaired the academic track at the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, August 17-21. Mike presented a paper entitled "Kansas City and Lawrence in the Fiction of James Gunn," based on material from his book manuscript The Science Fiction, Teaching and Scholarship of James Gunn, which he completed this summer. Mike also hosted the Campbell Conference panel "The World of Tomorrow is Today: John W. Campbell, Astounding, the Futurians, and the Legacy of the Golden Age," that included science fiction luminaries Robert Silverberg, James Gunn, Sheila Finch, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford, John Kessel, Robin Wayne Bailey, and Elizabeth Bear, during the convention.

Kristi Carter and Raul Palma gave a reading of their work this June in Kansas City, MO at the Uptown Arts Bar. The reading was headlined by alumna Sarah Chavez, and poets Miguel Morales and Maria Vasquez Boyd also read.

Katie Schmid Henson will be reading with poet Brock Jones at the University of Wyoming's M.F.A. program in September.

Tom Bennitt was granted a residency fellowship at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. He will be attending in December.

Over the summer, Raul Palma attended an advanced novel workshop with Jo-Ann Mapson at the Santa Fe Writer's Workshop. He also assisted Sarah Chavez and Miguel Morales in the Latino Writer's Collective's Harvest of Hope Leadership Academy at the University of Kansas—a writing workshop for high school students who come from migrant worker families. Finally, he read as a scholar at the Santa Fe Writer's conference where he opened for faculty: Greg Glazner, Jonis Agee, Justin St. Germain & Antonya Nelson.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants


Flatwater Shakespeare returns to the Swan Theatre at Wyuka Stables to present The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s provocative exploration of love, hate, prejudice, and revenge, directed by Tom Crew. The show opens on Friday, September 2 and runs through Friday, September 16.

Performance dates for The Merchant of Venice are September 2-5, 8-11, and 14-16. Show time is 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 general, $16 seniors, and $12 students. Group rates are also available. The Swan Theatre at Wyuka Stables is located at 3600 “O” Street in Lincoln. Department of English and Medieval-Renaissance students are specially invited on September 8 (but welcome at any show).

Discussions of the play will precede or follow the performances on September 4, 8, 11, and 15. Participants will include Rabbi Craig Lewis of South Street Temple, Nancy Coren of Tifereth Israel, Sarah Kelen and Scott Stanfield of Nebraska Wesleyan, and Carole Levin and Steve Buhler of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Information and tickets are available online or by phone at 402-601-8529.

Steve Buhler, dramaturg for the production, talks about the play and the production with Bob Hall, Flatwater Shakespeare’s Artistic Director, during the Thursday, September 1 broadcast at 6 pm. of KZUM’s Arts on the Air, 89.3 FM and The show will be rebroadcast on Saturday, September 3, at 1 pm.

In June, Mike Page taught a three-week OLLI class entitled "Science Fiction: Imagining the Future in the 20th Century."

Mike Page's book Frederik Pohl was a finalist for the Locus Award for non-fiction.

Ken Price reports that the The Walt Whitman Archive received two grants this summer: $63,877 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for "Fame and Infamy: Walt Whitman’s Old Age Correspondence" and $300,000 from the National Endowment for "Unearthing the 'buried masterpiece' of American Literature: A Digital Variorum of the 1855 Leaves of Grass."

Jaime Brunton's poetry manuscript Reclaimed was named a finalist for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize.

Jaime Brunton attended the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry at the New School for Social Research this past June, funded in part with a Joy Currie Graduate Student Travel Fellowship.

Gabriel Houck's short story collection, "When the Time Came", has been selected as a semi-finalist for the Noemi Press Book Contest, as well as a finalist for the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for Fiction and the Moon City Press Short Fiction Award.

Katie Schmid Henson's poem "Portrait of Womb, Mixed Media" was nominated for Best New Poets 2016 by Booth: a journal.

Raul Palma was awarded the Leo Love Poetry Prize through the University of New Mexico's Santa Fe Writer's Conference, a fellowship with SAFTA (Sundress Academy for the Arts), and a residency award with the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center. His collection of stories In These Cities of Ultraviolet Light finished top-3 in the Indiana Review's Blue Lights Book Prize, and his story "All Along the Hills" was a finalist in Sequestrum's Reprint Contest.

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.