Department of English Newsletter September 2018

Upcoming Department Events

Publications & Acceptances

Cover of BRITISH WOMEN POETS by Stephen BehrendtJohns Hopkins University Press has just released (1 August) the paperback edition of Steve Behrendt’s book, British Women Poets and the Romantic Writing Community

James Brunton’s article “Whose (Meta)modernism?: Metamodernism, Race, and the Politics of Failure” appears in the most recent issue of Journal of Modern Literature.

Kwakiutl L. Dreher’s journal article, entitled “The South as a Space/Place of Reclamation of Black Fe/Male Inheritance in Maya Angelou’s film Down in the Delta” is forthcoming in the anthology Southern History on Screen: Race and Rights, 1976-2016 (U of Kentucky P). Her article “Reading Signs of Crazy: Pam Grier, A Black Feminist in Praxis,” published in Reading African American Autobiography: Twenty-First-Century Contexts and Criticism (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography, 2017), received the following review from Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly (2018): “... the volume concludes with an article concerning an autobiography that renders the use of ingenuity critical to the success of a Black performer in Hollywood. Foxy: My Life in Three Acts (2010) is the subject of the final essay. Titled ‘Reading Signs of Crazy,’ this text indicates that Pam Grier, the pioneering star of blaxploitation action films, made out against long odds by keeping her wits about her with an eye to her advantage. [‘Reading Signs of Crazy’] strikes a chord that touches the heart of Black life stories.”

Ken Price’s essay on “Washington, DC” appeared in Walt Whitman in Context, edited by Joanna Levin and Edward Whitley (Cambridge University Press).

Patrick T. Randolph of PIESL published “Using Emotions and Personal Memory Association to Acquire Vocabulary” in the ORTESOL Journal. This piece examines how our primary network of emotions and Personal Memory Associations (PMA) can help students learn lexical items and transfer them from their working to their long-term memory. The piece also offers various activities that promote the use of Personal Memory Associations in the ELL classroom. Randolph also published Part 3 of “Examining the Language-Based Components of the Head-to-Toe Method of Associations for Vocabulary Acquisition” in the College ESL Quarterly. In this article, he looks at six types of examples used to teach lexical items and three kinds of visual images that help ELLs learn and use the terms effectively and efficiently.

Pascha Sotolongo Stevenson’s short story “Butterfire” has been accepted for publication in The Florida Review. It will appear in a Latinx Special Feature in the Fall 2018 issue.

Over the summer, Ilana Masad had the privilege of reviewing several books. For the Portland Herald Press, she got to indulge in her love of psychological thrillers, reviewing A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard and From Away by Phoeff Sutton. For NPR, she reviewed the incredible Open Me by Lisa Locascio as well as the fascinating new critical tribute to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux. Finally, for the Los Angeles Times, Ilana Masad reviewed the debut everyone has been raving about, The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon.

Shawn Rubenfeld has stories forthcoming in Sakura Review and Meat for Tea: The Valley Review.

Ivan Young’s poems “Sunken Town,” “Mansions,” and “After You Leave” were nominated for Best of the Net 2018 by Apple Valley Review.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Kwakiutl Dreher attended the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia to screen and field Q&A for the film Anna, a 12-minute live action/animated short. Anna is an interdisciplinary collaboration with William Thomas (History) and Michael Burton (Animator; Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design). The BronzeLens Film Festival is approved as an Academy Awards® qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards. This summer, Anna enjoyed screenings at three film festivals: Hampton Institute Film Festival (2018); the New Media Film Festival (June, Los Angeles) where the film short won in the Best Animation category; and, The Hip Hop Film Festival (August; New York). In May, Anna was selected by The Atlantic for its The Atlantic Selects edition.

In June, Kwakiutl travelled to Havana, Cuba to present her paper entitled “The Quest For Self-Fulfillment Through Spiritual Reconciliation in When Rocks Dance by Elizabeth Nunez” at the Caribbean Studies Conference. At UNL, she served as Presenter for the Mandela Washington Institute. She shared with Fellows her expertise in crafting autobiographical and dramatic narratives that can promote social change and social justice.

Still from KIK'S FILMGwendolyn Audrey Foster’s cinepoem for Kiki de Montparnasse, Kiki’s Film, screened at An Ordinary Day Film Festival at Studio44 Gallery in Stockholm from August 14 -19. Foster’s documentary on women filmmakers, The Women Who Made the Movies, screened at Université Laval, Quebec, Canada. Her queer films are featured in a one-hour screening, The Screening Room Special: Queer Pride Edition: Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, on Salto TV, the Netherlands, for Queer Pride Amsterdam, featured in July/August and permanently archived.

Next up, Foster’s Self Portrait [Détournement], will be screened in the series Short Experimental Documentaries curated by Tova-Beck Friedman at Anthology Film Archives in New York City on September 11. Her Surrealist experiment in automatism, Run/Fall, was selected by Curator Giorgos Efthimiou to be featured as a 24 hour video installation in the Pugnant Film Festival of Underground, Dada & Auteur Cinema at Chimeres Space, September 14-15th in Athens, Greece. Several of her films are screening in the annual month-long #directedbywomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party in September, including Glitch Party, Film for My Mother, The Prisoner, Fairy Tale Excerpt, and I Must Kill You Bluebeard.

Melissa Homestead, Professor of English, will be presenting two invited talks in September in Philadelphia. She will present “Willa Cather and Edith Lewis Playing Cowboy in the American Southwest” at “Women’s Voices from American Frontiers,” a conference in honor of the donation of the Caroline F. Schimmel Collection of Women in the American Wilderness to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania. To the Haverford College Gender and Sexuality Studies program, she will present on “‘Miss Lewis and I’: Tracing Willa Cather’s Queer Partnership with Edith Lewis through the Archives.”

Patrick T. Randolph has been invited to be the closing plenary speaker at the  Illinois TESOL and Bilingual Education Fall Conference  in Chicago, IL. The conference theme, “Finding Our Voice,” will focus on how instructors can be advocates for English language learners in the US. Randolph also presented on “Peer Observations that Inspire Professional Development” at the PIESL Spring Professional Development Conference Day. The session highlighted a peer observation model used at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, that functions as a unique way to learn from peers, implement what is learned in the observation, and serve as an effective form of both personal and professional development.

Shawn Rubenfeld presented his paper, “‘Go Home Jews’: Diaspora, Masculinity, and Redemption through Baseball in Bernard Malamud’s A New Life and James Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing,” at the 35th Annual Sport Literature Association Conference at the University of Kansas. He also read his short story “And Then it was October” on a creative readings panel at the Raven Bookstore in downtown Lawrence.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Rachel Azima and Nicole Green organized the Writing Center’s first One-Day Summer Writing Retreat on July 27 at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center. 29 faculty members and graduate students attended to work on a wide variety of writing projects including journal articles, book manuscripts, and dissertations. The all-day retreat included goal-setting activities and optional “wellness breaks” for mindfulness meditation and yoga.

Steve Behrendt has been named to the Editorial Board of The Keats-Shelley Journal and to the Advisory Boards of The Gothic Archive (at Marquette University) and The Shelley-Godwin Archive (at the Carl Pforzheimer Collection at the New York Public Library).

Lighthouse at Beachy HeadThe Department of English, the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Program, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Glenn Korff School of Music are co-sponsoring a lecture-recital featuring the premiere of a song cycle based on Charlotte Smith’s 1806 poem, “Beachy Head.”

The music has been composed by Amanda Jacobs, who has set to music the verse of Shakespeare and Dickinson and the prayers of Jane Austen and who has also debuted a stage musical, Austen’s Pride. The composer will serve as accompanist to the performance by Shelley Waite, mezzo soprano whose credits include performances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and whose performance experience ranges from opera to vocal jazz. The performance includes a commentary by Elizabeth Dolan, Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University and an authority on Charlotte Smith and on Romantic-era women authors generally. This production will go “big time” in November when it is performed in Carnegie Hall.


When: Sunday, 16 September 2018; 3:00 p.m.
Where: 119 Westbrook Hall on the UNL Campus
Reception to follow in Westbrook Hall

For additional information, see Steve Behrendt or Pete Capuano.

James Brunton’s forthcoming poetry collection, OPERA ON TV is now available for pre-order from The Operating System Press.

The Complete Letters of Willa Cather received a Scholarly Editions Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Phase II. Andrew Jewell, Professor of Digital Projects in the UNL Libraries and UNL English Ph.D., is Editor; Melissa Homestead, Professor of English, is Associate Editor; Emily Rau, Ph.D. candidate in English, is Managing Editor; and Kari Ronning, Research Associate Professor of English, is a Contributing Editor. Graduate and undergraduate students in English will also be working on Phase II.

Fulbright participantsUnder the leadership of Dr. Sonia Feigenbaum and the direction of Chris Dunsmore, Programs in English as a Second Language hosted the U.S. State Departments’ prestigious Fulbright for Graduate Students Program in summer 2018. Twenty-seven participants, who are now beginning graduate study at universities around the U.S., became familiar with U.S. culture, focusing on higher education. During their 4-week Nebraska stay, the Fellows, who are from 17 countries, took intensive graduate writing and speech courses taught by Emily Herrick, Tim Janda and Jane Miller. In addition, UNL faculty experts presented sessions on topics such as cultural awareness, U.S. social issues, the legal system, and media. Civic engagement projects and trips to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Nebraska History Museum, the State Capitol and a Saltdogs baseball game also introduced students to the local culture. As the grant is renewable, UNL and PIESL look forward to seeing future Fulbright scholars for the next several summers.

The stage adaptation for Chigozie Obioma’s novel, The Fishermen, premiered in at the HOME theatre in Manchester UK to sold-out audiences during an initial two-week run. It is now playing every day at the Edinburgh Fringe festival after which it will commence a ten-city tour in the UK. The play, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan and directed by Jack McNamara of New Perspectives theatre is being critically acclaimed with a Guardian review.

Nicole Gray and Ken Price were awarded the Boydston Essay Prize at the Association for Documentary Editing conference in June. Their essay, “The Letters in the Litter: Messy Boundaries and Other Conundrums in Editing Walt Whitman’s Correspondence,” was selected as the best essay in the field of scholarly editing for 2016-2017. The essay grew out of the ongoing work of the Walt Whitman Archive to edit Whitman’s two-way correspondence. That work recently gained additional support from a one-year grant of $105,000 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. In addition to Nicole, recent UNL PhDs Caterina Bernardini and Kevin McMullen along with Caitlin Henry also contributed to the correspondence. The work of the project is advanced in collaboration with several colleagues at the University of Iowa.

Patrick T. Randolph’s book, Empty Shoes: Poems on the Hungry and the Homeless, (2009, Popcorn Press) continues to generate about 1,000 dollars each year in sales, which he then donates to Feeding America.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

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