Bad Poetry Alert: “Or is it Summer?”

Disclaimer: As a professional writing student, I write poetry that is—to put it frankly—quite bad. However, it never hurts to try something new. If you want to get better at poetry (like I should), take Creative Writing, Intermediate Poetry Writing, or Creative Non-Fiction in the fall!

Or is it Summer?

Poetry really isn’t my thing,
But sometimes you just get inspired
By the beauty around you that is spring–
Or is it summer?

The dogwoods and cherry blossoms no longer bloom
But have left us with cottonwoods as consolation
To lift the finals week gloom–
Or is it summer?

My bags stand at the door,
Waiting to be filled with the last of my stuff
But I can’t escape the feeling that I have to do more
Or is it summer?

The hot sun weaves between
The threads of clouds in a patchwork sky
As students loading cars everywhere are seen
Perhaps it is summer?

Proudly, I strut out of my last test,
Knowing I totally nailed that essay,
Sailing down the hill, I wave at all the rest,
Finally, it is summer.

Categories: Creative Writing, Fun, Poetry | Leave a comment

The 10 Best Books I’ve NEVER Read

Hey, English folks!

The semester is FINALLY coming to an end! It’s almost that time to put away our textbooks and pull out our favorite pillows because summer is here and we all know what that means: SLEEP!

Just kidding. (But really…)

Besides catching up on my sleep, I plan on doing a lot of new and exciting things this summer like reading all the books I NEVER had time to read during the semester. Between the assigned readings, the ten-page papers, and the endless homework assignments, I have very little to read books I actually want to read. There are studies that have been done proving that college students don’t have enough time to read any of the things they actually want to read. Click here to know more.

So, I plan on spending my summer days, sitting in the sun catching up on my growing reading list. Here are the Ten Best Book I’ve NEVER Read.

This mysterious spin-off of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice begins six years after Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s wedding. All is grand in the Darcy household until Elizabeth’s sister, Lydia, visits one day, crying over the murder of her husband, Mr. Wickham. Being OBSESSED with all things Jane Austen, I purchased this novel at Half Price Books in hopes of rekindling my love for Mr. Darcy, but my homework demanded attention. The next thing I knew, Death Comes to Pemberley was collecting dust on my bookshelf. I plan to find out who killed Mr. Wickham this summer!


 

AS

Being a military kid (and a Bradley Cooper fan), I was first in line to see the movie based on the “most lethal sniper in U.S. Military history”. I know everyone has their own opinions about the movie, but I personally enjoyed it and wanted to know more about Chris Kyle. I bought this book at my local Target and got halfway through until school became too hectic. American Sniper has been keeping my bookmark nice and cozy, waiting for me to finish the rest of its pages.


GWTW

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”–Enough said!


BSA

I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Combs at the SOKY Book Fest this past month. Her book was recommended to me by a former professor, so I went over to her table and asked her about her work. I also attended a panel where she spoke and gave comical advice for the inspiring writers in the room. Breakfast Served Anytime caught my attention because it’s based on the program Governor School of the Arts (GSA) aka “Geek Camp”. I thought it would be neat to read a story set in Kentucky based on a program a lot of my friends had attended. I’m hoping to learn more about “Geek Camp” and Sarah Combs this summer.


TG

My best friend, Kristen, sent a message in our #FABULOUS group message we have with our other best friend, Emily, asking if we could all read the same book this summer and talk about it.

“Kinda like a book club,” she sent.

Emily mentioned The Group; a book about eight graduates who are getting ready to embrace adult life and discover the hard truth about growing up. My friends felt that we each could really relate to the novel and be able to take away something that would pertain to our lives. I guess we’ll find that out this summer.


TOOL

I first heard of Marina Keegan as the Yale graduate who died in a car crash as she was heading home for her parents anniversary. As tragic as that was, I never really paid attention to the name until I saw The Opposite of Loneliness at Barnes and Noble. The introduction was a speech that she had written to her graduating class about them embarking on a new journey outside of Yale. Her speech was inspiring and completely true; I found myself spellbound by her words in the middle of the bookstore. The book features Keegan’s short stories and essays that she had written during her time at Yale. I only had time to skim thorugh each story, but her speech was what drew me in.

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

With a quote like that, how could you not want to keep reading?


AK

I’ve started this book three different times!! I am bound and determine to finish this 800+ page novel!


 

OUT

 

My best friend’s mom always recommends me books and her next recommendation was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I also had the pleasure of seeing Gabaldon at the SOKY Book fest during her panel time, talking about her famous book series and the Showtime take on them. The panel was interesting, and I checked out the first book at the local library (yes, I still check out books), but college made it impossible to finish. I plan on checking it out again and finishing the wild tale.


 

TFA

 

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Words
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

My boss recommended the book to me, saying how the agreements Don Miguel Ruiz talks about can really change your perspective on a numerous of things in your life. We all go through troubling times and these four agreements can help us navigate ourselves through those times.


 

 

 

 

 

TLL

 

My mom read this book about a two years ago and told me it was one of the best books she’s ever read in her life. It asks its readers to think about themselves and ask the question, what wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? I picked up the book and read bits and pieces when she wasn’t reading and I REALLY enjoyed the lecture. I’m hoping to continue reading his lecture this summer


 

If your interested in any of the books I listed, you can click on them and it’ll take you their Amazon.com page.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for summer to be here. This reading list is calling my name and I’m ready to finish each and every story. So, good luck on your Finals, everyone! The end is almost here. I hope your summer will be just as fun as mine.

 

 

Categories: Fun, General, Uncategorized, Writers | Leave a comment

Warning! Wanderlust Ahead

Dr. Deborah Logan’s students are aware how culturally engaged she is when teaching, but few know how her travels, personal and professional endeavors, and research have shaped her instruction and lectures.

Logan remains busy since her arrival to the English Department in 1997. She is one of the most published members of our faculty, having written twenty-five multi-volume books with another forthcoming, as well as serving as Senior Editor and General Manager of Victorians Journal of Literature and Culture.
Formerly known as the Victorian Newsletter, one of the first changes Logan initiated when she took the reins in 2007 was to update the format from 1952, changing the size and shape to look like a “regular journal.” She thenLogan-group photo Indian women made it peer-reviewed, which has proven to be “time-consuming… People are busy so it’s really hard to arrange and navigate,” Logan reflects. She has also welcomed international scholars to the journal as well, making it a multi-faceted commentary on Victorian literature and culture.

Another culturally-focused literary work Logan devotes her time to is the forthcoming book, The Indian Ladies Magazine: Raj and Swaraj. The monograph studies this English-language magazine, written by Indian women, for Indian women, through its literary criticism, original poetry, stories, novelettes, serials, and dramas. The magazine seeks to empower women, strengthening them intellectually and engaging them in the independence movement. Altogether, Logan has traveled to India on six different occasions; she was awarded a Fulbright during the 2012 spring semester where she did research on Indian women writers and gave guest talks at universities throughout the country. She did additional research in Kolkata during the fall of 2013.

Her interest in India was sparked by a writer many students do not hear about, but Dr. Logan is working on changing that. “I became interested in India because of Harriet Martineau, who wrote extensively about India,” Logan confessed. “During the colonial era, Indian women’s English-language literature was very heavily influenced by Victorian literature—so there was a real direct connection for me.”

Logan-Grand CanyonLogan was first introduced to the work of Harriet Martineau her first semester of graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I was so amazed by her accomplishments, and I wondered why I’d never heard of her before,” Logan recalls. As she explored the author’s history and collections of writing, Logan realized her academic career would be best spent reviving Martineau’s literary legacy. “So, a lot of what I’ve been doing is bringing some of her work back into print,” she reveals.

Logan edited Martineau’s letters, which she says was fun since Martineau “knew everybody who was anybody in the 19th century. I just did her letters, but there is a lot of correspondence back and forth from really famous authors and politicians.” The collections of letters, Logan says, are housed in around fifty archives throughout the world, most of which she has visited.

Logan integrates Martineau’s fiction and nonfiction into Victorian studies classes, “emphasizing the importance of recuperating women authors from obscurity. Martineau is also significant for her prominent role as an advocate for American abolitionism in Britain’s periodical press.”

What Logan does teach in her classes is much appreciated by students who have taken her courses in World Literature and Victorian Literature. “All of the works we read helped me develop a better understanding of literature in general, especially when dealing with gender roles and feminist themes,” remarks Jessica Smith, a senior English Literature major from Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, who took Logan’s Victorian Lit class her first semester at WKU. “I can honestly say that she helped me prepare for the rest of my time at the university with that class. She is engaging and assigns excellent, interesting reading material!”
In addition to the stimulating reading Logan assigns, students note what Bowling Green native and senior David Gifford calls her “global-mindedness.” Gifford recalls that, “particularly in her World Lit class, I really came to grasp the notion that literature isn’t made in a vLogan- Temple Babyacuum, and that it inevitably reflects the culture which produced it… Dr. Logan helped foster… viewing literature from a cultural perspective.”

Students next semester will get to experience this “global-mindedness” first-hand abroad with Dr. Logan at Harlaxton College, Grantham, England this coming fall. It will be her first teaching abroad venture. Her other upcoming projects include a new edition of Harriet Martineau’s first biography. “There are a lot of materials in there that have since been destroyed, so this is the only place that you can find it anywhere, on the planet. I’m excited about that!”
With her many accomplishments, contributions, teaching philosophies and cultural awareness, literature at WKU would not be the same without Dr. Deborah Logan. If you’re interested in taking a class abroad at Harlaxton College, be sure to visit here for more information!

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Need Motivation? Watch this!

photo from: theithacan.org

As the end of the semester approaches, many of us are…well, quite done with school for the moment. As we boot up our computers to write that 9 page research paper we wonder why on Earth we thought it was a good idea to procrastinate this long. Those of us fortunate enough to be enrolled in multiple English classes have the pleasure of more than one 20 page reading assignment due by tomorrow (and that font is tiny y’all!) or two huge (like 40% of your grade huge) projects due on the same day.

Basically, we all just need a little more motivation so that we can finish strong. Today, I’m giving you that motivation in the form of reflection. Think back to that fateful day when you officially decided that you were going to be an English major. You were so excited to study literature, linguistics, writing, and everything in between that you bought your books 3 months early and eagerly flipped through the pages, drinking in that new book smell. You may not have had a clue what job you wanted after graduation (and perhaps, like me, you still don’t), but you were confident that no matter what career you chose, English was the way to get there.

To help you get into the English-y mood and dust off that last piece of motivation, watch Dr. Hollyfield’s video below about why WKU’s English Department and the English major in general are so important to everyday life. According to our faculty and students, here, it’s not just the traditional English major, but it teaches you how to think and how language functions. It gives you a love and joy of literature that is magnified by the study abroad and study away courses available to you. There are also internships every semester that allow you to sample different careers while the Ashen Egg and Zephyrus allow you to try your hand at publishing. But perhaps Dr. Berry says it best, “The English major teaches students communication, and you can take that and transfer it to all kinds of different trades.” So it’s like you always knew: no matter where you want to go, English is the way to get there.

 

Categories: Careers, english department, Fun, Internship Opps, Study Abroad, Study Away, Sundance | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A New Addition to WKU: MFA in Creative Writing

Dr. David Bell

Dr. David Bell

I met with Dr. Bell during his office hours to talk about the recent development of the MFA program. I expressed to him my surprise and told him how fast it all seemed to happened.

“Oh, but it did, it really did,” he said.

Dr. Bell is the director of the Creative Writing program at WKU, but this development was in the works long before he got here.

“I believe there was an attempt,” he said, “some time before I got here, but things happened so fast because it had to happen now.” A normal MFA program  takes two to three years to develop, but a small committee of five here at WKU made it happen in a year.

“He said we could have a program,” Dr. Bell told me, talking about Provost Dr. Gordon Emslie. “But we had to do it now. So we went to work.”

The program will be a FULLY FUNDED (Dr. Bell made it clear to emphasize that point) two-year course that will teach students how to hone their craft and give them real and valuable life experience. They will offer tracks in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and script writing.  This program will prepare students for lives as writers, but also require each student to have a secondary concentration–either in literature, composition and rhetoric, or teaching English as a second language–to help them become more marketable in different fields.

When asked what this meant for the department and the university as a whole, Dr. Bell said it would raise the profile of WKU.  “This is the second traditional and residential program in the state; Kentucky being the other one. Everyone else is low-residency.” This will raise the popularity of WKU, figuratively putting us on the map and making us more competitive with other universities.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Dr. Bell said.

I asked Dr. Bell what he would tell students who felt like getting a MFA in creative.

“Don’t you think it’s a risk,” I asked, “a big one at that?”

He laughed, reminding me that everything in life is basically a risk; if it wasn’t, what was the point? I agreed with him, but I reminded him as well the need for security and the fear of not having all because a small group of us pursued a passion over an easy job offer. Dr. Bell said he believed if someone truly pursued their passion, and never gave up…they would get what they were hoping for.

“You’re only gonna go around once,” he told me. “So you might as well take the chance.”

So that’s what I have to say to you! If you are interested in the new MFA in Creative Writing, click here to read more about the requirements and qualifications. I encourage all CW students who are curious about graduate programs to take a look at this great opportunity offered here in our Cherry Hall home. It’s not too good to be true.

Take the risk and apply. You only go around once.

 

 

Categories: Careers, General, Main Campus, Uncategorized, WKU, Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s New With Goldenrod Poetry Festival?

Tonight’s the night for all you poetry fanatics! The Goldenrod Poetry Festival is tonight, and the winner will be selected by Saeed Jones from among these finalists:

  • “A Walk After Midnight on Repeat” by Sara Ann Alexander
  • “Coffee and Chai” by Shay Barlow
  • “SomewhereInAmerica” by James Buchanan
  • “John Lennon: A Day in the Rye” by Derek Ellis
  • “Cartoon Ghost” by Kirby Fields
  • “The Moon is a Shady Queen” by Isiah Fish
  • “Genealogy” by Jarred Johnson
  • “One Taste” by Megan Seitz
  • “Welcome to Hell: A Red Carpet Event, Hosted by Joan Rivers” by Renée Stewart
  • “Understanding” by Jordan Upton

“There’s nothing new there,” you say, but several things have changed since the last posting.

Unfortunately, health concerns prevent Saeed Jones from attending the festival in person. However, the English Club officers and advisers have worked extremely hard to create a compromise: Jones will Skype into the session in order to announce the winners as well as do his own reading!

In order to accommodate the technological need, the venue has been changed to Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium (which is great because the chairs are comfortable, the room is big, and there’s not one but two screens to see Jones on).

Each of the finalists will also have the opportunity on a future date to have an individual Skype session with Jones where they will workshop the student’s poetry together. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Though this event may not have turned out like anyone expected, it’s great that we live in a world where technology allows us to continue despite the roadblocks that come up along the way.

Don’t forget—TONIGHT—7 PM—GRH Auditorium!

Categories: Awards, Creative Writing, English Club, Events, free event, Guest Speakers, Guest Writer, Poetry, Readings, Writing Contest | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

~Careers in English~

In ENG 402: Editing and Publishing, Dr. Jones hosts a visiting professional series in order to give students a realistic idea about the career opportunities that are available for English majors. This series has brought in employees Maggie Harris, Mac Kern, and Sarah Slatton from KirkpatrickPrice and editor and publisher, Steve Vest, from Kentucky Monthly. 

This Friday, Amy Brack and Amanda Adams will be visiting the class to talk about their careers as editors for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit. Both Brack and Adams are alumnae of WKU!! Before accepting the position as a legislative editor back in ’99, Brack taught part-time and worked full-time in both book and magazine publishing before becoming an editor. Brack met Adams when she came to WKU in 2013 for a similar class visit and hired Adams upon graduation.

This class visit will take place in Cherry Hall 104 at 1:50-2:45 p.m. and there will be an informal meet and greet following the session after in the room right next door (CH 105). All students are welcome to attend and ask any questions they have about the editing business!

So mark it on your calendar: APRIL 24th 1:50-2:45 p.m.

Categories: Careers, Events, Main Campus, Uncategorized, WKU | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Ayesha Hardison Discusses Jane Crow

Have these April showers kept you in your room for far too long? Do you like study breaks? Are you looking for something to do on a Thursday afternoon?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to the Downing Student Union 3025 on Thursday, April 30 from 4:00-5:30 PM for a talk by Dr. Ayesha Hardison entitled, “Of Maids and Ladies: The Ethics of Living Jane Crow.”

ayesha jane crowHardison is an Associate Professor of English at Ohio University and is the author of the recent book Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature. Her talk and the following discussion will provide both students and faculty with an opportunity to interact with a scholar at the cutting edge of research in literary studies. 

In her book, Hardison explores how African American women lived through and resisted Jim Crow segregation. Using the literature of the times, Hardison examines the ways in which African American writers combated “Jane Crow,” or the simultaneous racism and sexism enforced by Jim Crow segregation, by speaking out about black women’s experiences.

History LessonJim Crow Laws consisted of legislation from the 1880s into the 1960s that enforced segregation of blacks and whites in the United States. If you’d like to learn more about Jim Crow laws, click here.

This event takes learning beyond the four walls of a classroom in Cherry Hall. Hardison’s focus on race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as art’s ability to speak to their intersections, adds a new dimension to literary analysis that any English major would love to explore.

What’s extremely interesting about Hardison’s work is that she recovers the under-studied and under-valued work of people during the Writing Through Jane CrowCivil Rights movement. Take Pauli Murray for instance. She was a Civil Rights activist whose transgender experiences often leave her forgotten in Civil Rights history. Then there is Jackie Ormes. She was the first black woman to draw her own syndicated comic strip. Unfortunately, these writers and several others have been hidden beneath history, but now Hardison has uncovered them so that the world may rediscover them and their achievements.

WKU English Department’s Dr. Chris Lewis says,

“I encourage students to use this event as a barometer of where literary studies as a field is today and where it is going. Hardison’s work will likely surprise, unsettle, and provoke you and your ideas about U.S. history and African American literature, as the best scholarship in these areas should.

This sounds like it will be an amazing opportunity. English majors of every concentration should put out their rain boots, grab their umbrellas, and participate in this exciting event!

Don’t forget: April 30—4 PM—DSU 3025

Categories: Books, Guest Speakers, WKU Events | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warren-Brooks Award: Dr. Richard Russell

complementary of baylor.edu

Dr. Richard Russell

Thursday, April 23 at 4:00 pm, Dr. Richard Russell will be giving a presentation about his book “Seamus Heaney’s Regions“. Dr. Russell is an English professor and the Graduate Program Director at Baylor University. He is also the director of the Beall Poetry Festival: a three day celebration of contemporary poets. (Go check it out!)

The Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award is an honor given to those who have an outstanding work of literary scholarship or criticism published within the year. It recognizes work that employs in a significant way the methods associated with “close reading” texts. That’s exactly what Dr. Russell’s “Seamus Heaney’s Regions” does with Seamus Heaney’s poems.

Poet Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize back in 1995 for his lyrical beauty and ethical depth in his poems, often inspired by his home region of Northern Ireland. Dr. Russell felt that the poetry Heaney created had potential resolutions to the conflicts that had troubled Northern Ireland for many years. Heaney was a big believer in ideas and his poetry reflected that. The book explored Heaney’s work from before his first published poetry volume, Death of a Naturalist(’66), to his most recent volume, the elegiac Human Chain (’10).

Dr. Russell’s contribution to the study of Heaney’s work has been praised by many including Wadham College, Oxford; The College of William and Mary; and Durham University.

So if you’re interested in learning more about the Warren-Brooks award, Heaney’s poetry, or Dr. Russell himself, you should come out on Thursday and sit in on the presentation, held in the RPW Room in Cherry Hall!

Categories: Events, Main Campus, Writers | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Proyecta 100,000 Comes to WKU

As some of you may heard via the article on WKU News, the WKU English Department will host a group of 7 Mexican scholars during the month of June as one of the first steps of Proyecta 100,000.

proyecta100mil-eua

If you’re anything like me, your first questions is: “What is Proyecta 100,000?” According to the Bilateral Forum of Higher Education, Innovation and Research, it is “a Mexican proposal that sets the goal of 100 thousand Mexican students going to study in the United States and 50 thousand U.S. students studying in Mexico by 2018.” Other goals are to encourage language teaching and promote exchange opportunities.

Now you’re wondering, “How was WKU chosen to participate?” Well, I asked Dr. Alison Youngblood, assistant professor of English, and these are her answers:

  1. How was WKU selected to participate in this program? Was there an application, and if so, what was the timeline?

In order for a university to participate in the Proyecta program, it has to be a designated Proyecta partner. I contacted the Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis in December of last year.  In February, I received an invitation to officially apply for a range of scholarship programs; I selected the intensive English program.  I worked with the English Dept. and the ESLI to submit our proposal, and we heard back in March.

  1. Why did they decide to bring the students and faculty here during the summer session?

Proyecta offers intensive English scholarships each semester.  WKU also applied for a fall group of scholars, and we will hear back later in the year.  The program runs continuously until 2018.

  1. What is the goal of their visit?

To improve their English language skills and be immersed in the local culture.

  1. Since students from Mexico will be at WKU, are there any plans to send WKU students to Mexico?

There are no plans that I can share at this time to send WKU students to institutions in Mexico in association with the Proyecta program. However, there may be other initiatives around campus for interested students (Check out the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning).

  1. If students would like to get involved with this project in the future, what would their roles be and what steps do they need to take?

Interested students should contact me via email.  We are still building the experience now, and we would welcome any interested volunteers.

Proyecta-estudiantes-EU

 

June 2015 marks one of the first steps to link two countries educationally that are already strong economically. If you’re going to be in Bowling Green or would love to help students get to know this great language we call English, be sure to email Dr. Youngblood to see how you can get involved!
Categories: english department, English Teaching, Events, WKU | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment