Puget Sound English Department

March 26, 2010

Writing Contest: Creative Nonfiction

This announcement of a very profitable writing contest for students comes to us somewhat circuitously, via Zanzibar, where Professor Julie Christoph and her family are spending a year on a Fulbright-sponsored research and teaching venture. You can find their family blog, featuring photos, reflections on life in Zanzibar, and thoughts on life in a very different culture here. Thanks, Professor Christoph, for the heads up!

Note that the deadline is April 29, and the awards range up to $10,000.

The Norman Mailer Writers Colony and the National Council of Teachers of English are pleased to invite submissions for the 2010 Norman Mailer College Writing Awards for Creative Nonfiction.

Cash prizes of up to $10,000 will be awarded to National Winners. Four finalists in each category will be awarded trophies. Sixteen semifinalists in each category will be awarded certificates.

Submission Guidelines
Norman Mailer produced extraordinary works in many genres, including the category of this year’s award: Creative Nonfiction. Students may submit work in any of the subgenres of creative nonfiction: memoir or autobiography, essay, literary journalism, profiles of people or places, and so on. Whatever its type, the best work will be true material presented with compelling literary merit.

Entries will be accepted online only and may include one or more pieces of writing. Winners receive travel and lodging to attend the Colony’s National Award Ceremony. Entries accepted March 22 – April 29, 2010, Noon CST.

* The Two-Year College Competition is open to first- and second-year full-time students enrolled in a community college, junior college, technical college. Maximum 15 single-spaced pages.
* The Four-Year College Competition is open to current full-time students. Maximum 15 single-spaced pages. The college winner receives a scholarship to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony during the summer of 2011.

Students may submit one or more pieces of writing. Although there are page limits for these pieces, quality is far more important than quantity. No late entries will be accepted.

For complete submission guidelines and judging criteria, or to submit an entry, visit the NCTE website. If you have any questions, please contact me directly at nmw@ncte.org. I wish your students the best of luck!

Best regards,
Lucas Beals
Marketing Specialist
National Council of Teachers of English
(877) 369-6283

March 23, 2010

Campus News Updates for Current Students

A round-up of information about departmental and campus events:

Don’t forget Creative Writing Days: March 24 & 25.

1. The Department’s pre-registration informational and social session will take place on Thursday, April 1 in Trimble Forum from 5-6:30 p.m. Please drop by to get information about Fall courses offered by English Department faculty, including cross-listed courses and core courses. Bring a friend, have some refreshments, and mingle with faculty and students.

2. As you are thinking ahead to fall, remember that those of you who need or want to write a thesis now have the option of a designated course (English 493) in which to do so. The course emphasizes research and writing, and uses a workshop approach to producing your thesis. Contact Professor Joshi (pjoshi@pugetsound.edu) for more information.

3. Detailed course descriptions for Fall will be available at the department event; you can also find them at the Department website under “Fall Courses”
Descriptions are being updated daily, so check back for more information.

4. Don’t overlook the opportunities for fellowships; Sharon Chambers-Gordon (scgordon@pugetsound.edu) reminds us that there is a Fellowships website with more information, and that there will be a Fellowships Forum on Wednesday, April 14th, at 5:00 PM in Wyatt 109.

5. Finally, don’t forget to submit your original work to Crosscurrents Literary Magazine (ccr@pugetsound.edu) and/or to the Departmental Writing Awards contests (Deadline April 2; information in the Dept. of English, Wyatt 335).

March 3, 2010

Seattle Metropolitan Magazine: Summer Internships

For interested juniors/seniors/alums in the Seattle area, Seattle Metropolitan magazine is looking for editorial, web, and art interns for this summer. The deadline is March 15th for all internships. (They are unpaid, unfortunately.) Good luck, everyone!

February 24, 2010

The Death of Irony

Apparently, the move to embrace the “snark”–a new mark of punctuation intended to help readers interpret irony or sarcasm–is gaining ground. The mark–for those of you whose communication devices lack it–is most simply indicated by adding a tilde (~) immediately after the period following a sentence meant to be read ironically, or sarcastically. The creators of The Snark’s self-appointed official website (“Home of the Verbal Irony Mark”) offer a history of attempts to designate irony, presumably as wielded by authors less skilled that Jonathan Swift, whose 1729 satire “A Modest Proposal” is, I believe, still the gold standard for literary irony.

The site also offers a somewhat apologetic explanation for the slippage between sarcasm and irony, deferring to the linguistic gods of popular usage (see “FAQs”), along with instructions for adding the snark to your compositional and punctuational arsenal (usefully provided along a continuum from borderline-computer-illiterate users to the highly technologically savvy).

Will it catch on? Should it? If verbal irony is made visible to everyone, will it still be…well…ironic? Or does part of the effect of irony rely on its potential for exclusivity?

Your English faculty await the latest developments in this saga with bated breath.~

October 21, 2009

New Words and Definitions from the Mensa Contest

Filed under: Quotations,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 4:37 pm

A correspondent has alerted us to some of the results of the Washington Post‘s Mensa word-challenge:

“The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1.   Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2.   Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an [ a—–e].
3.   Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you  realize it was your money to start with.

4.   Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a  hillbilly.

5.   Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6.   Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about  yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7.   Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
8.   Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
9.   Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these  really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.”

October 16, 2009

Professor Christoph Blogs From Zanzibar

Filed under: International,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 7:52 pm

Professor Julie Christoph of the English Department is spending the academic year in Zanzibar as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer, and, fortunately for us, she is recording many of her (and her family’s) experiences and responses with the following Web log:


September 13, 2009

The Fallacy Files

Filed under: Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 11:25 pm


(the portrait is of Aspasia, Greek rhetorician)

One of many gifts left by the rhetorical tradition from Sicily, Greece, Rome, and elsewhere is a taxonomy of fallacies, also known as faulty arguments.  On the Web, <strong>The Fallacy Files</strong> site helps rhetoricians and others keep track of these fallacies:

<a href=”http://www.fallacyfiles.org/index.html”>http://www.fallacyfiles.org/index.html</a>

August 31, 2009

If Your Writing Needs a Boost, . . .

Filed under: Alumni News,Creative Writing,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 12:59 am

If you haven’t written something in a while and would like to get the writing going again, you might look at a blog by Puget Sound alum (and published writer) Terry Bain:


The blog provides short, simple prompts that ask you to write a “leaf”–a word, phrase, sentence, line, or passage–about accessible topics Terry selects.

August 21, 2009

Leigh Hunt

Filed under: Literature,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 1:02 am
Tags: ,


The Poetry Foundation has assembled an informative online overview of the life and work of Leigh Hunt, a lesser but nonetheless fascinating British poet, essayist, editor, and novelist from the Romantic (earlier 19th century) period.  Although Hunt may now be best known for a few lyric poems, including “Jenny Kissed Me” and “Abou Ben Adhem,” he was actually a pioneering editor and reviewer. The most notable journal he edited was the Examiner. As the image at left demonstrates, Hunt was also a stylish dresser.

Here is a link to the overview:


August 14, 2009

A Venerable Book About Etymology

Filed under: Literature,Publishing,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 9:10 pm

Barnes and Noble has just reissued Owen Barfield‘s History In English Words, first published in 1953 and revised in 1967. It comes complete with a foreword by W. H. Auden.

Next Page »