Puget Sound English Department

April 11, 2011

Department Reading: Karin Lin-Greenberg

Please join us on Wednesday, April 13, at 4 p.m., in Wyatt 313 for a reading by Karin Lin-Greenberg, Visiting Assistant Professor at The College of Wooster and candidate for the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing. She will be reading “Prized Possession,” from her collection Those We Miss When They Are Gone. There will be refreshments, of course, and a chance to ask questions of our candidate.

March 23, 2011

Lots of Opportunities for Fame and (Metaphorical) Fortune!

1. Please note that the deadline for submissions to our outstanding literary and arts magazine, Crosscurrents, has been extended to this Friday, March 25, at midnight. Submit your 3 art, 3 poems, 2 prose, and 1 “other” to ccr@pugetsound.edu!

2. Departmental Awards: The deadline to submit your work for any of these is Friday, April 1 in the Department Office (Wyatt 335).
All awards require blind (anonymous), typed submissions; for all awards, please include a cover sheet with your name, the title of your submission, and the name of the contest.
A. The Heuston Literature Prize: Currently enrolled students may submit a paper from a 400-level Literature or Theory class.
B. The Nixeon Civille Handy Poetry Contest: Current students may submit one unpublished poem of no more than 50 lines.
C. The Esther B. Wagner Prize in Fiction: Current students may submit one story of not more than 25 pages.

All awards are sponsored by the Department of English.

October 1, 2010

Recognition for a stellar teacher and colleague

Those of you lucky enough to have worked with Professor Bev Conner during her illustrious career here will be utterly unsurprised to hear that she’s just received an award as “Best Teacher” for 2010 from the Tacoma Weekly. Her insight, generosity, and wisdom have nurtured so many of our graduates, and she continues to develop creativity among our students.

There’s a link to a pdf of the page on our departmental faculty news page.

Congratulations, Bev! We’re honored to work with you.

August 20, 2010

More on The Atlas of Love

A Seattle Times review.

Plans are in the works for a reading/conversation on the Puget Sound campus with Professor Frankel. The tentative date is September 23, and there will be copies of her book available for purchase. More as the plans coalesce.

August 4, 2010

Hear Professor Frankel read her new novel

As we eagerly await the August 17 publication date of Laurie Frankel’s The Atlas of Love (St. Martin’s Press, $23.99–or order your copy in advance here), news of several local and nearby opportunities to purchase a copy, have your copy signed, or simply enjoy an author’s reading by one of our favorite and most talented faculty members:

Elliott Bay Bookstore, Seattle
Sat. Aug 21
4 pm

Village Books, Bellingham, WA
Sun. Sept. 12
4 pm

Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
Fri. Sept 24
Time TBD

July 2, 2010

W.S. Merwin to be next Poet Laureate

Filed under: Creative Writing,Literature — ATH @ 7:26 am

Accomplished and multiply-honored poet W.S. Merwin will be the next U.S. Poet Laureate. Merwin is known for his tremendous productivity, the variety of his interventions into the language, and his extensive work with translation. At 83, Merwin is among the last of a bumper crop of U.S. poets (including John Ashbery, Allan Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Frank O’Hara) born in the late 1920s, and provides a direct link between American literary modernists like Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot and contemporary multicultural poets and writers. Merwin will travel from his home in Hawaii to deliver a poem at the Library of Congress on October 25.

April 14, 2010

National Poetry Month: “The God Who Loves You”

Filed under: Creative Writing,Literature — ATH @ 10:49 pm
Tags: ,

For those of you just tuning in, in honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve asked members of our department community–faculty, students, alums, and others–to share with us a favorite poem. If you’d like to help us celebrate the role of poetry in our lives, please send an email to ajtracy@pugetsound.edu with the following information: 1) Author; 2) Title; 3) A short excerpt; 4) A brief (1-2 sentences) comment on why you find this poem meaningful and/or worthy of our attention.

Professor Priti Joshi writes of Carl Dennis’s “The God Who Loves You”: “I relish this poem for its “what if” stance, its mocking tenderness, and its gentle insistence on authorizing one’s life. I love the poem’s humor, but more its compassion about human frailty.”

The God Who Loves You

by Carl Dennis

It must be troubling for the god who loves you

To ponder how much happier you’d be today

Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.

It must be painful for him to watch you on Friday evenings

Driving home from the office, content with your week-

Three fine houses sold to deserving families-

Knowing as he does exactly what would have happened

Had you gone to your second choice for college,

Knowing the roommate you’d have been allotted

Whose ardent opinions on painting and music

Would have kindled in you a lifelong passion.

A life thirty points above the life you’re living

On any scale of satisfaction. And every point

A thorn in the side of the god who loves you.

You don’t want that, a large-souled man like you

Who tries to withhold from your wife the day’s disappointments

So she can save her empathy for the children.

And would you want this god to compare your wife

With the woman you were destined to meet on the other campus?

It hurts you to think of him ranking the conversation

You’d have enjoyed over there higher in insight

Than the conversation you’re used to.

And think how this loving god would feel

Knowing that the man next in line for your wife

Would have pleased her more than you ever will

Even on your best days, when you really try.

Can you sleep at night believing a god like that

Is pacing his cloudy bedroom, harassed by alternatives

You’re spared by ignorance? The difference between what is

And what could have been will remain alive for him

Even after you cease existing, after you catch a chill

Running out in the snow for the morning paper,

Losing eleven years that the god who loves you

Will feel compelled to imagine scene by scene

Unless you come to the rescue by imagining him

No wiser than you are, no god at all, only a friend

No closer than the actual friend you made at college,

The one you haven’t written in months. Sit down tonight

And write him about the life you can talk about

With a claim to authority, the life you’ve witnessed,

Which for all you know is the life you’ve chosen.


National Poetry Month: Something Completely Different

Filed under: Creative Writing,Literature — ATH @ 4:21 pm
Tags: ,

Ordinarily, spring is associated with images of joy, rebirth, and celebration. Professor and author Bev Conner, however, has chosen a powerful reminder that beauty can be found in unexpected ways and places. I think I need to own a copy of this one.

Bev says of her selection: “A few years ago, I heard Alberto Rios read from his volume of poetry The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), poems set in a town that straddles the American/Mexican border. Among the poems that have stayed with me ever since, for good or for ill, is his unsparingly unsentimental “Rabbits and Fire.” As writers we’re constantly reminded to show more than we tell, that facts—specific and vivid—make the case, as Rios does here, reminding us that there is much of nature we would rather not face, like the animals every year that are caught in wildfires.”

Everything’s been said
But one last thing about the desert,
And it’s awful: During brush fires in the Sonoran desert . . .
Jackrabbits can get caught in the flames,
No matter how fast and big and strong and sleek they are . . .
And their fur catches fire.
Of course, they run away from the flame,
Finding movement even when there is none to be found,
Jumping big and high over the wave of fire, or backing
Even harder through the impenetrable
Tangle of hardened saguaro
And prickly pear and cholla and barrel . . .
They don’t know they’re on fire at first,
Running so fast . . .
But then the rabbits tire
And the fire catches up,
Stuck onto them like the needles of the cactus,
Which at first must be what they think they feel on their skins . . .
And of course, they ignite the brush and dried weeds
All over again, making more fire, all around them.
I’m sorry for the rabbits.
And I’m sorry for us
To know this.

Just in Time for Spring

As part of our ongoing celebration of National Poetry Month, Professor (and noted poet) Hans Ostrom reminds us that

e.e. cummings’ poem, “in Just-“ still seems exceptionally well suited to the first bright days of Spring. Some parts of may seem a bit dated, such as the references to hop-scotch, jump-rope, and playing marbles (for example), but the exuberance of the language holds up well, and “mud-luscious” seems especially pertinent to the lawns at UPS.
[N.B. Professor Ostrom’s careful and time-consuming reconstruction of the poem’s unique spacing is not, unfortunately, surviving the “wordpress” formatting template. While your webmasters confer, here’s a link to a formatted version (scroll down; it’s the 4th or 5th poem on the page)].

in Just-

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan whistles
e.e. cummings

April 6, 2010

In Honor of Poetry Month: Participation!

In honor of National Poetry Month, and in order to celebrate the power of language, we’ll be featuring some snippets from favorite poems of members (current, past, and vicarious) of the department, along with their brief statements of why they chose this work or author, and why the work is meaningful to them or worthy of your attention. These suggestions can be personal, idiosyncratic, iconoclastic. Original work is highly encourage, and your diligent webmasters will try to feature all that we receive. If you’d like to contribute something, please email the following information to ajtracy@pugetsound.edu:
1. The poem’s title
2. The poem’s author (publication information, where relevant, is appreciated)
3. A brief excerpt that can be included without bringing down the wrath of various publishers and copyright attorneys
4. 1-2 sentences about why you chose this work or selection–anything from its place in your own development as a reader and writer, to a personal memory it evokes, or the sentiment in conveys.

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