Puget Sound English Department

March 27, 2009

Pen American Center

Filed under: Activities off Campus — upsenglish @ 10:26 pm

2009_pwv_homepage1Since we’ve just announced Hans Ostrom’s nomination to the Pen American Center, it seems appropriate to mention a BIG event coming up that will be hosted by the parent organization.  April 27-May 3, Pen World Voices will host a weeklong international literature festival in New York City (I know, I know.  All the cool stuff happens in NY).  Well, there is no reason we can’t visit the website and dream, is there?

Perusing the website will not only allow us to give a “virtual” shout-out to our old favorites in this category, but also to learn the names of some folks we have yet to discover.  Writers will include Edwidge Danticat, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Jaime Manrique, Biel Mesquida, Roxana Robinson, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Marlon James, Richard Ford, Neil Gaiman, Laila Lalami, etc.  And although Zadie Smith is not on the list of expected writers, her husband Nick Laird is, so I’m expecting that the young British sensation will be lurking in the hallways somewhere.

Click here to learn more about the festival:  http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/1096


Edible-Book Festival

Filed under: Events on Campus,Literature — O. @ 10:12 pm

Some delicious news from Collins Library Director Jane Carlin:

“For the third consecutive year, Collins Memorial Library will participate in the international edible book festival. There are a few restrictions in creating an edible book – namely that it’s made of food and is inspired by a book. Past entries have included such delicious titles as: Green Eggs and Ham, Olive or Twist (Oliver Twist), and Sisterhood of the Traveling Ants (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).”

 Show Hours
11 am – 4 pm
Entry Drop-Off
Between 7:30 – 11 am
People’s Choice Voting
11 am – 12:40 pm
Awards Ceremony
12:45 pm (Tea & a specially prepared edible book will be served.)

“Entries will be judged in categories: “Most Delicious,” “Most Creative,” “Most Literary,” and “Best Student Entry.” (This one being awarded a $25 gift card to the UPS Bookstore.) A ‘celebrity’  judging panel is soon to be announced.”

For more information, contact:
Patt Leonard, Collins Library, (253) 879-2651.

Last Day to Submit Poems, Stories, and Essays

Filed under: Creative Writing,Events on Campus,Literature — O. @ 5:54 pm

Today is the last day to submit poems to the Nixeon Civille Handy poetry contest, stories to the Wagner fiction conteSt, and essays to the Heuston Literature Prize contest.  Submit your work at the English Department, 3rd floor of Wyatt Hall, where there are posters that provide details about each contest.

Also, this is the last day to submit poems and stories to Crosscurrents.

. . . And the English Department’s Pre-Registration Extravaganza will occur on March 31, from 5:30-6:30.  The venue (incorrectly reported earlier) is WYATT HALL 109.

Creative-Writing News From the Faculty





Professor Laurie Frankel’s literary novel, Naked Love, has been accepted for publication by St. Martin’s Press and is scheduled to appear in 2010. . . Professor Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s literary-historical novel, Wench, will be published next year, too, by HarperCollins. . .Professor Ann Putnam’s memoir, Full Moon at Noontide: A Daughter’s Last Goodbye, will be published by Southern Methodist University Press this year . . .Professor Bill Kupinse received a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission to edit a book of poems by writers in the region. The book is called In the Shadow of Tahoma: Poems From the City of Destiny, and it will be published soon by Exquisite Disarray Press, which will also bring out Bill’s own collection of poems, Fallow. . . .Professor Beverly Conner has two book-manuscripts under consideration by publishers. One is the novel, Where Light Is A Place, and the other is a collection of short stories, Mercury in Retrograde. . . .Professor Hans Ostrom accepted a nomination to join the PEN/American Center and has completed a novel called Without One. . . Bill Kupinse and Hans Ostrom will read their poetry on April 30 on campus, and at the reading Tacoma’s new Poet Laureate will be announced (Bill currently holds that position). . . . Chief Librarian Jane Carlin has established the Collins Press, which will produce broadsides, bookmarks, and other fine publications using a hand-press and drawing on the talents of printer Chandler O’Leary and others.

March 24, 2009

Good News All Around and The Pre-Registration Extravaganza

. . . Current student Miriam Lipman-Hopkins has had a poem accepted for publication by a national journal . . . Former student Sarah Jackson has been accepted into the Children’s Literature program at Hollins College . . . Professor Julie Nelson Christoph has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Lectureship in Tanzania for next year . . .Visiting Assistant Professor Laurie Frankel has had a novel accepted for publication . . . and the Bygone Bureau, established by Puget Sound students, has won an award. For an earlier post on the Bygone Bureau, please see . . .


The department’s pre-registration extravaganza will occur on  Tuesday, March 31, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., in Trimble Forum. There you will find descriptions of Fall 2009 courses, other English majors and minors with whom to hobnob, professors to talk with about courses, and printed descriptions of all the courses. Rumor has it there will be some food and beverages available, too.  Thanks to Professors Alison Tracy Hale, Laurie Frankel, and Lydia Fisher for organizing this event once again.

March 23, 2009

Friday’s Deadlines For Writers

Filed under: Creative Writing,Events on Campus,Publishing — O. @ 4:30 pm





Friday, March 27, is the deadline by which to submit . . . poems to the Nixeon Civille Handy contest, short stories to the Esther Wagner fiction contest, essays to the Heuston Literature Prize contest, and poems or short stories to Crosscurrents.

Guidelines for the contests appear on posters in Wyatt Hall and elsewhere, and entries should be submitted at the English Department’s main office, third floor of Wyatt.

If you have any questions about Crosscurrents, the campus literary magazine, contact editor Adam Restad.

March 13, 2009

Quotations for Spring, Etc.

blossomsHere’s hoping everyone has a pleasant, safe Spring Break. . . .

. . . .Reminder: deadlines for Crosscurrents, the Wagner fiction contest, the N.C. Handy poetry contest, and the Heuston literature contest are coming up. . . .

And here are two quotations for Spring, courtesy of Webster’s New Explorer Dictionary of Quotations (Massachusetts: Merriam-Wegbster, 2000;  pp. 371-373):

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind”

(In the case of Tacoma this particular year, the answer might be “Yes.”)

And here are some of the most optimistic lines to be found in English poetry:

The year’s at the spring

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hill-side’s dew pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in his heaven–

All’s right with the world.

–Robert Browning, Pippa Passes

March 6, 2009

Poetry Out Loud and Living History, Writing History

Filed under: Creative Writing,Events on Campus,Literature — O. @ 10:04 pm




  Bruce George

On Saturday, March 7, Bruce George, Co-Founder of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and a Peabody Award Winner, will headline “Poetry Out Loud” on campus. The program will start at 7:30 in Schneebeck Concert Hall and is free with a Puget Sound student i.d.

On Tuesday, the interactive panel-discussion, “Living History, Writing History,” will take place at 5:00 in the Rotunda of Wheelock Student Center.  The panel-members are Hiroshi Kashiwagi, author of Swimming in the American and Shoe Box Plays, David Patneaude (’09),  author of the young-adult novel Thin Wood Walls, and Ronald Magden, Ph.D., Tacoma historian and author.  The event is free and open to the public, and it is hosted by the Diversity Theme Year, APASU, the Departments of English and History, the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching, and the Densho Project.  Refreshments will be provided.

March 5, 2009

Crosscurrents and Writing-Contests

There is still time to send poems, short stories, and other kinds of submissions to Puget Sound’s literary magazine, Crosscurrents. Look for posters in Wyatt Hall and elsewhere.

The annual writing-contests sponsored by the English Department are now open. The include the Nixeon Civille Handy poetry contest, the Esther Wagner short-fiction contest, and the Heuston contest for essays writtein in upper-level English literature classes.   The poetry and short-fiction contests are open to all current Puget Sound students.

For more information and guidelines, see posters in Wyatt Hall and elsewhere, and/or visit the English Department main office, where submissions are to be made.

. . . And good luck!

Flannery O’Connor

Filed under: Creative Writing,Literature — upsenglish @ 6:22 pm

everythingthatrisesoconnor1As a native Southerner, I often like to return to the stories of Flannery O’Connor.  Her stories always set the standard of the southern tradition for me, the rich contradictions, complexities and ironies of the New South.  Every time I would go to writing events, famous writers would mention her book of essays:  Mystery and Manners.  I often recommend this book to my Creative Writing students, although I am unsure if they take me up on it.  After all, what does the South have to do with the Pacific Northwest?  Okay, if you are reading this blog post just do one thing for me.  Read the very first essay in the collection:  “The King of the Birds.”  It is about her obsession with peacocks.  And it is fascinating!  Talk about metaphor!  And her talent seems so effortless.  It just may make you keep going.

Now there is a biography out about her life by Brad Gooch.  I find the review of it in the NY Times quite intriguing.  It is one of the better-written NYT reviews.  (It actually makes me want to read the book!)  You must read this review, if only to learn a little something about this fascinating writer. (Click here to read)  Here is a snippet:

Flannery. She liked to drink Coca-Cola mixed with coffee. She gave her mother, Regina, a mule for Mother’s Day. She went to bed at 9 and said she was always glad to get there. After ­Kennedy’s ­assassination she said: “I am sad about the president. But I like the new one.” As a child she sewed outfits for her chickens and wanted to be a ­cartoonist.

And another:

She applied for a Guggenheim several times but never received one. Robert Lowell was her great champion, as were Robert Fitzgerald and Robert Giroux. Godmother to one of the Fitzgeralds’ six children, she could never remember the child’s name. Truman Capote and Tennesse Williams made her “plumb sick.” As for Kafka, she couldn’t read him through and was distressed when compared to him. She also did not care for Carson McCullers.

Oh me, oh my. I must continue:

Although she was a devout Catholic, almost all of her characters, haunted, tested, and redeemed, are Protestant.In her avid reading, she found Protestant theologians superior to Catholic ones, though she was pleased to discover Teilhard de Chardin. She read a lot of theology because she believed it made her writing bolder. When she went to the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, she said, she “didn’t know a short story from an ad in the newspaper.” Yet she quickly became a star there and “scared the boys to death with her irony,” as a teacher put it.

I hope this blog post has inspired someone to revisit this fascinating writer…

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