Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Sweet Welcome Back

As I write this, most courses for the Fall 2010 semester will already have met once. It's hard to believe that summer is over and that the new school year has officially begun.

But there is candy (see above) to sweeten the transition. The bowl in the photo--taken just minutes ago! it's still full!--features various departmental favorites: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers Minis, and two varieties of Hershey's Nuggets. It also features miniature Tootsie Rolls, Double Bubble gum (so delicious, and yet ... so fleeting), Smarties, and various hard candies which may well languish there until 2011.

Ah, the office candy bowl. Therein resides an archive of our daily lives circa 2010. On the go, multitasking, social networking, with nary a spare minute for refueling, let alone a leisurely meal.

So, grab some candy and your caffeinated drink of choice, and welcome back!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thanks to Recent Donors to GW English

The English Department relies on the generous gifts of its friends, especially its alumni friends, to maintain the excellence of the programs we offer to undergraduates and graduate students. Donor contributions allow us to present lectures and readings, fund scholarly travel, and underwrite research at all levels, from undergraduate to full professor.

We thank the following people who gave gifts to the department between June 1 and July 31, 2010.

Ms. Christine A. Coleman '91
Mr. Winston Eldridge '85
Mrs. Brenda Montague '78
Ms. Rhoda Ritzenberg '67
Ms. Anna K. Sagal '07
Ms. Lauren D. Simonetti '02
Mr. John George Sussek, III '79

Giving a gift to the English Department is easy. You can donate in 3 ways:

  • Securely online at www.gwu.edu/give2gw. Just choose “other” under designation and type in the English Department

  • By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University and with "English Department" in the memo line, to:

The George Washington University

2100 M Street NW, Suite 310

Washington, DC 20052

  • By phone by calling the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dog Days Update

Definitions of "dog days" differ from source to source. In common parlance, "dog days" refers to the sultry days of late summer, when the dog star, Sirius, rises along with the sun. The online etymology dictionary notes that in Europe, the period between July 3 and August 11 traditionally has been thought of as "the hottest and most unwholesome time of the year."

I am happy to say that we have not let the unwholesome DC summer weather defeat us. We are sweaty, but unwilted! Like the dog in this photo, we have remained defiant in the face of rising mercury.

Here's a report from the trenches about what some of your favorite people have been doing lately:

Although the article has not yet been posted online, Washingtonian magazine featured GW Creative Writing Director Thomas Mallon in "Ghosts of the Past," which ran in its July 2010 issue. "Infatuated with Washington," goes the teaser, "Thomas Mallon gave up literary life in New York to live amid our stories and history."

GW British Council Writer-in-Residence Howard Jacobson, who spent a snowy February with us in 2009, has just been longlisted for the 2010 Mann Booker Prize. This is the third time Jacobson has been longlisted; his 2006 novel "Kalooki Nights," the subject of our 2009 Big Read, is his most recent book to have received the honor.

David McAleavey spent a month in residence in El Gouna, Egypt, on the Red Sea, where he wrote lots of poems. David has work forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, Poet Lore, and even Modern Haiku, among others. A couple of short pieces have appeared in Divine Dirt Quarterly.

Holly Dugan's book manuscript on the role of smell in early modern culture has been accepted for publication by Johns Hopkins University Press. Congratulations, Holly!

Gil Harris's new book "Shakespeare and Literary Theory" is due out any second from Oxford University Press. Hey, wait, didn't Gil just published "Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare"? Oh yeah: that book comes out in paperback (from University of Pennsylvania Press) later this year.

Jeffrey Cohen attended a New Chaucer Society conference in Siena, Italy, where he organized two panels on "Touching the Past," presented in a medievalist blogging session, and ate gelato. Jeffrey's blog was recently cited in an Inside Higher Ed piece on the "medieval war" over Arizona. And did we mention that he was given much love in July by GW Today?

Chris Sten organized and chaired a panel and roundtable discussion on "Melville, Media, New Media: Appropriation, Adaptation, Remixing," at the inaugural C19 Conference at Penn State in May. According to Chris, "the panel included everything from contemporary painting to a 3-minute YouTube version of "Moby Dick."

Gregory Pardlo taught at the Callaloo Workshop at Texas A&M in May; read at the Brooklyn Public Library and at Summerstage in Central Park in June; taught workshops in New Hampshire in July, and will be reading at the New York Writers Coalition Fort Greene Park Summer Lit Fest in late August. If you're in South Beach, check out The Betsy, a "boutique" hotel with copies of Gregory's and (former Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Residence) Ed Skoog's books in every room. You can check out his recent work here.

Margaret Soltan was voted first runner-up in the Harvard Club's 2010 Bloomsday Reading in Washington, DC in June. Bloomsday, of course, celebrates James Joyce's novel "Ulysses" with public readings. Margaret read from the chapters "Lestrygonians" and "Sirens." She writes about it on her blog, UniversityDiaries.

In June, Gayle Wald presented her work at Humboldt University in Berlin; in July, she spent a hot day in her office being filmed for a forthcoming BBC/Antelope Productions TV documentary about Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

I mean that literally: the sound of air conditioners gets picked up by microphones, so our office a/c had to be off for the better part of 6 hours. Did someone say dog days?