Come to Professor Bowman’s retirement reception

In fall of 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University received two grants to improve programs and departments within the Liberal Arts College. But one of the biggest improvements came with the hiring of Professor Barbara Bowman, who established film studies on this campus and introduced new courses on Victorian literature and the humanities. Later she would develop courses in women’s studies before IWU had a women’s studies program, and would introduce numerous courses on British literature—her main area of specialization. Needless to say, the courses she’s offered over the past 34 years have had a profound effect on the many students she’s taught.

Barb is retiring at the end of this semester, and students, alumni, faculty, staff, and other members of the Wesleyan family can thank Barb for her years of service and wish her well at an open house reception on Thursday, April 8. The reception will be held in the Cartwright Room of Memorial Center from 4-6 p.m. Stop by for conversation and refreshments. And no, English majors, Barb’s famous cheesecake will not be served. This event is being catered!

Reminder: STD Book Club tomorrow

Tomorrow, April 1, is the Sigma Tau Delta Book Club featuring this year’s selection, Professor Lynn DeVore‘s Vietnam war novel, A Feast of Light—no fooling. While a 12:15 p.m. discussion in the Cartwright Room of Memorial Center is intended for only those who have read the book—a time to share thoughts and questions— everyone is invited to the 4 p.m. Q&A in Beckman Auditorium, Ames Library. There, Lynn will talk about the creative process and answer questions about the book and its construction.

The events are sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta. And not that anyone needs a reason to come, but those who attend the 4 p.m. session will have a chance to win A Feast of Light t-shirts.

. . . and the collaboration continues

Last September, Professor Michael Theune and English alum Chip Corwin (’05), who is currently Adjunct Instructor of English at Heartland Community College, presented a collaborative work-in-progress: The Divine Pregunta, a playful response to Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions.

On March 23-24 the pair will travel to Canton, Missouri to take their now-completed project on the road. They were invited to conduct a workshop on writing collaborative poetry and also read from the manuscript at the 9th Annual Culver-Stockton College Young Writers’ Conference. Not surprisingly, they’re also at work on a second manuscript. Their collaborative “Selections from The Book of Exclamations” appears in Issue #5 of Anti- online journal.

And speaking of student-faculty connections, Austin Smith, who won the Academy of American Poets Prize as a student here in 2003, has four poems forthcoming in Pleides. Introducing that group of poems? Mike Theune.

Faculty update: Lincoln and Shakespeare and poets (oh my)

Professor Robert Bray was invited to speak at the annual Symposium of the Abraham Lincoln Institute in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, March 20, he will present a talk on Lincoln’s reading, including the iconic president’s love of Shakespeare.

Professor Mary Ann Bushman will participate in a workshop at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference in Chicago, April 1-3.

Professor Joanne Diaz will also attend the Shakespeare conference. She was invited to be part of a seminar on “The Word against Word: Shakespeare and Scripture.” As an assistant editor for Triquarterly, Joanne will also work the magazine’s bookstall at the Associated Writing Programs conference April 9-11.

Professor Michael Theune will also attend the AWP conference in Denver, Colorado, where he will speak on two panels: “Hybrid Aesthetics and Its Discontents” and ”Reinventing the Wheel: The Tradition of Innovation in Poetry.” In addition, his essay-review of “Impolitic: Kent Johnson’s Radical Hybridity” appears in the most recent issue of Pleides (30:1), and his essay “Negative Capability T wang dillo dee,” a critique of contemporary uses of John Keats’s famous phrase “Negative Capability,” is forthcoming in the online journal Jacket. Also forthcoming are essays in two books:  “The Quarrelsome Poem” (Mentor & Muse: From Poets to Poets, SIU Press, 2010) and “Trust the Turn” (Poets on Teaching, Univ. of Iowa, 2010).

And yours truly received a McCormick Foundation Award to attend the Associated Press Managing Editors’ NewsTrain Chicagoland seminar at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, March 26-27.

Tongue & Ink details announced

Attention creative writers: the event of the year is upon us. The annual Tongue & Ink Conference, sponsored by IWU’s student literary magazine, Tributaries, in conjunction with Illinois State University’s Euphemism, will take place next Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27. And it’s FREE. All you have to do is go to the Tributaries website to register.

The headliners this year will be performance poet Robbie Q Telfer, poet Mary Jo Bang, and fiction writer Pinckney Benedict. All events except for meals and the Blue Moon Coffeehouse will take place at the IWU’s Center for Natural Sciences.

Included will be sessions on multi-modal composition, surrealism/”gurlesque,” translation, writing what you don’t know, the 1000 Journals Project: IWU Edition, tech workshops led by the three guest writers, and songwriting with Blue Moon Coffeehouse’s John Gorka. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, March 26

3-4pm—Registration

4-5pm—Mary Jo Bang keynote reading

5-6pm—Mary Jo Bang technical workshop

6-8pm—Dinner (included)

8-10pm—Slam, featuring Robbie Q Telfer

10-late o’clock—Party at Professor Theune’s

Saturday, March 27

9:30-10:30am—Session, Group 1

10:30-11:30—Session, Group 2

11:30-1pm—Lunch

1-2pm—Robbie Q Telfer Workshop & Gorka’s songwriting session

2-3pm—Pinckney Benedict technical workshop

3-4pm—Pinckney Benedict keynote reading

4-6pm—Dinner

6-8pm—Tributaries release party

8-10—Blue Moon Coffeehouse

10-late o’clock—Closing Party

Check the Tributaries website for further information.

A second English major will attend Oxford next year

Korey Williams (’12), an English-writing and music double major, just learned that he was accepted into the IFSA-Butler Visiting Student program for fall 2010-11. Korey will study at Hertford, ranked sixth among the 36 colleges that constitute Oxford University. That’s what attracted Korey to Hertford—”its extremely high standards of scholastic achievement. What also attracted me to Hertford are its central location and the fact that it sits right across from the gorgeous Bodleian Library,” Korey said. “Hertford has a remarkable music scene and is known as one of the friendliest and most welcoming colleges at Oxford. I am most excited about everything.”

This makes the second English major accepted by a highly competitive program to study at Oxford next year . . . and coincidentally, the second Williams. Amanda Williams (’12) will study at Pembroke College.

Korey, who works in the English department as a Student Assistant, will be especially missed next fall. But he’ll be practically on the steps of one of the largest libraries at Oxford, one which includes an extensive collection of rare 17th-century manuscripts. Needless to say, every faculty member is jealous!

2010-11 Career Center opportunity announced

The Hart Career Center is looking for candidates for its paraprofessional Career Peer Advisor program for the 2010-11 academic year—an internship calibre opportunity that requires a 10-hour per week commitment. And students are not required to have a work study job need to qualify.

The Communications Specialist will edit and produce a monthly edition of the Career Connections newsletter on a Mac and contribute features and articles to each issue. In addition, the specialist will oversee distribution of the newsletter and collaborate with the internship coordinator to write and edit internship publications, among other duties. Qualifications: strong writing skills, knowledge of Macs and desktop publishing (InDesign, Quark, and Photoshop), interviewing skills, and ability to make deadlines. Must be a First-year, sophomore, or junior. To apply, access Titan CareerLink, complete a profile, upload your resume (under “documents”) and enter “Communications Specialist” under the Jobs and Internships keyword search. A cover letter is required in which you include what specific skills/abilities you would bring to the job and what interests you about becoming a Career Peer. English majors have frequently held this position in the past.

CornBelters seek summer interns

The fledgling Normal CornBelters, who will begin playing A-baseball in the West Division of the Frontier League on May 21, 2010, are looking for two Media Relations Interns for the summer of their exciting inaugural season. The team is managed by former Houston Astros manager Hal Lanier and will play in a brand new stadium on the site of Heartland College. The unpaid internships must be taken for college credit.

Duties will include assisting with press releases, game notes and interviews; serving as liaison with local media; on-air broadcasting; designing and posting writings on the CornBelters website. Mass communication majors preferred, but English majors will be considered. And IWU students have a great chance because senior English major Melinda McNeil has already done a bang-up job as the CornBelters’ first media intern (and even got to wear the mascot costume). Writing skills/experience preferred, but candidates must appreciate the history of baseball and broadcasting, be able to work independently, follow instructions, and have a positive attitude/willingness to learn. To apply, email cover letter, resume and writing sample to Jon Young: jyoung@normalbaseball.com.

Eight majors to present papers at St. Francis

Eight Illinois Wesleyan students had papers accepted and will share their research at the Undergraduate Conference on English Language and Literature, sponsored by the University of St. Francis. The oldest of its kind, the St. Francis conference in Joliet includes undergraduates from universities as far away as Canada. IWU students have actively participated over the years, but eight is a new record, according to Professor Dan Terkla. He should know. For the past seven years he’s encouraged his students to submit abstracts and coached them after their papers have been accepted—which is why you’ll see a preponderance of medieval literature topics.

Congratulations to the students who will participate in the 19th annual Undergraduate Conference on English Language and Literature on March 19-20:

Maribeth Dahlberg, ’11 (“Literature of Maps? Geographic Versus Literary Pilgrimage in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales”)

Jeffrey Danzinger, ’10 (“Does Death Die?: Donne’s Holy Sonnet and Margaret Edson’s play Wit”)

Amy Fairgrieve, ’12 (“Courtly Love? Fascination with Female Sexuality in Medieval Literature”)

Anne Marquette, ’10 (“Gypons, Foot-Mandles, and Vernicles: Applied Costume Rhetoric in Three Canterbury Tales”)

Linda Martin, ‘10 (“The Dark Places of Psychology: Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves”)

Kylie Peters, ’12 (“Sir Gawain and the Benefits and Hazards of ‘Luf-Talkyng’”)

Claire Shoup, ’11 (“Powerful Beauty: Emanation and Utilization in the Canterbury Tales”)

Nathaniel Strauss, ’10 (“American Kitsch in Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America”)