English major Shanti Blees edited a book by his father, Tom Blees, on climate change and energy-issues. The title is Prescription for the Planet: The Painless Remedy for Our Energy & Environmental Crises. Booksurge is the publisher; the book came out in 2008 and is garnering acclaim. Prescription for the Planet is available via amazon.com and other online sources. Congratulations to Shanti and his father.
Tuesday, February 24, writer Junot Diaz will be the featured speaker for the Seattle Arts & Lecture series. Many of you may have read Junot’s fabulous Pulitzer-prize winning book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. If you have not read this book, read it now! The voice of this novel’s narrator is unparalleled in contemporary American letters. The lecture starts at 7:30pm and will be held in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. For more information on tickets, go here: http://www.lectures.org
If you can’t get tickets to the very popular Diaz lecture, then head on over to Elliot Bay Books in downtown Seattle and hear the fabulously talented Yiyun Li. Let me tell you: this young writer is so talented. Her debut book of short stories A Thousand Years of Good Prayers won all kinds of awards. Now her debut novel The Vagrants tells the story of the 1979 execution of a Chinese counterrevolutionary in the small town of Muddy River. Not only can Li write, but she has a story to tell. I am guessing that the bookstore will be packed for this special treat.
Some junior and senior English majors may be considering graduate school, which includes an M.A.T. (which customarily leads to teaching high school), an M.F.A in creative writing, or a Ph.D. in literature or rhetoric/composition studies. For a perspective on the Ph.D. versus the M.F.A., you might want to look at the following blog:
Also, professors in the English Department itself have earned Ph.D.s, M.A.s, and/or M.F.A.s, so feel free to ask us questions, too.
One basic consideration is time. A Ph.D. in literature or rhetoric usually takes 7-8 years to complete (after the B.A.), whereas an M.F.A. usually takes about two years.
I recently returned from an annual conference given by the Associated Writing Programs, an organization for teachers and graduate students of Creative Writing. This year, 8000 people gathered in Chicago for a 4 day whirlwind of panels, readings, receptions, and general mingling. I attended readings by Marilynne Robinson, Bharati Mukherjee, ZZ Packer, Dorothy Allison, and Lucille Clifton. My favorite panel (which was on omniscient POV in fiction) included Robert Boswell and Antonya Nelson. The AWP is a special conference and always leaves one feeling inspired and renewed in the commitment to continue in this difficult pursuit. Grad students sit alongside Pulitzer prize winners who sit alongside emerging writers, all bound by a love for words and stories.
Todd Benjamin, '73
President Thomas will host “An Evening With CNN Analyst Todd Benjamin” on Monday, March 2, 2009 in Kilworth Chapel, starting at 7:00 p.m.
Todd graduated from Puget Sound in 1973. He has worked for CNN as a news anchor, business reporter, and analyst for over two decades. He was mostly recently based in London.
With the audience on March 2, Todd will discuss the global economy, perceptions of the media, and his interviews with such notable figures as Alan Greenspan and Jack Welch. He may well be open to questions about employment-opportunities in different kinds of broadcast-meida, so bring those sorts of questions, too.
The event is sponsored by the Catharine Gould Chism Fund.
English major Adam Restad won the “Bad Poe” parody-contest sponsored by SymPOEsium. Well done, Adam! Adam’s also the editor of Crosscurrents, which will soon be looking for poems, stories, and other work from students for its Spring 2009 issue.
Adam’s entry (and other entries) in the Bad Poe Contest will soon appear on the SymPOEsium website, along with an archive of lectures, images, and other material:
More lectures and panels occur today (Friday), the last day of the symposium. Hearty congratulations to Professors Alison Tracy Hale, Tiffany Aldrich MacBain, and Mita Mahato, as well as many other organizers and presenters, on creating such a great week-long event. A special word of thanks to President Thomas for taking time out of his impossibly busy schedule to lecture on Poe and detective fiction.
Writer Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a former WWII internee, will speak at the following event: ” Living History, Writing History Japanese American internment Day of Remembrance”–Tuesday, March 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of Wheelock Student Center.
Also on the panel will be Ron Magden, a Tacoma historian (who writes about Pierce County internees) and David Patneaude (who wrote a young adult book about internment).
The event is hosted by the Diversity Theme Year, APASU, the Department of English, the Department of History, and the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching.
This occurrence is probably just coincidental, but sources close to Collins Library report that a raven has applied for, and received, a library-card. Visit the main floor of the library for further details.
Meanwhile, SymPOEsium is in full swing (like a pendulum).
Tonight’s featured SymPOEsium event is a lecture by President Ron Thomas on Poe and detective fiction. The lecture will be in the Rotunda, and it starts at 7:00 p.m.
Both New York University (NYU) and the University of Denver hold Summer Publishing Institutes for those interested in professions in publishing, including, writing, editing, and production. The institutes feature workshops on a variety of topics, and participants are able to meet editors, publishers, agents, and writers. Posters about these institutes are up in the English Department in Wyatt Hall, but of course you may also search “summer publishing institute” at NYU and/or the University of Denver online for more information.
Recent alum Michelle Brittan, who is pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing at California State University, Fresno, has written to tell us she will have four poems in an anthology being edited by Naomi Shihab Nye titled Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25. Moreover, the title of the anthology is taken from a line in one of Michelle’s poems. The anthology will be published by Greenwillow, a division of HarperCollins. Michelle speaks highly of the program at CSU Fresno and has invited English majors here who are interested in M.F.A. programs to contact her through the English Department and writing program there, and she will be glad to provide her perspective on graduate school. Michelle reports that the well-known poet Nye will read at CSU Fresno in April.
Congratulations to Michelle.