On February 4, in the Vince Gill Room of the Curb Event Center, Dr. Gary McDowell read poems from two of his volumes of poetry, American Amen and the recently published collection, Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral. Dr. McDowell ended the reading with selections from his newest, unpublished work and then fielded questions from the audience about writing and process. Dr. McDowell is the co-editor of the best-selling anthology, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice(Rose Metal Press, 2010). His writing has won awards from Minnetonka Review, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, Dream Horse Press, The National Poetry Review, and others, and his poems and essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, New England Review, and Quarterly West.
On Monday, February 2, before a packed room at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Dr. Charmion Gustke presented ideas about Willa Cather and her novel, The Professor’s House, and then led a lengthy discussion about themes, historical elements and biographical specifics connected to the book. Dr. Gustke’s scholarly interests include the intersection of post-colonial theory and American literature, Empire Studies (particularly South African Literature), and the work, both fiction and nonfiction, of Willa Cather, on which Dr. Gustke has published articles. In the summer of 2012 she was awarded a James Woodress Research Grant from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln to explore Cather’s later work in light of the Great Depression.
Dr. Annette Sisson, director of the M.A. in English program, and recent graduates of that program, Allison Belt and Hillary Rector, presented at the 86th annual meeting of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA), Nov. 7-9, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. The topic of this year’s conference was “Sustainability and the Humanities,” and their special session was entitled “Wendell Berry and Sustainability.” Their individual paper titles were:
- Annette Sisson: “Does It Sustain Life & Community?—The Only Question on the Test in Berry’s Educational Program”
- Allison Belt: “My Year of Living with Berry: Out of the Classroom and into the Field (Literally)”
- Hillary Rector: “Stewarding Our Stories: Wendell Berry and Cultural Sustainability”