Yeo To Participate in SAA Workshop

YeoDr. Jayme Yeo, Assistant Professor of English, will participate in a workshop at the Shakespeare Association of America’s annual meeting April 2-5 in Vancouver, BC. During the workshop, she will discuss research-based-learning and the digital humanities, including her own students’ work for the Map of Early Modern London’s interactive map and encyclopedia, found at   Check back here soon! Her students will shortly be publishing their original work on this growing scholarly website.


McDowell Wins, Publishes, Reads, Plans to Crush Opposition

GaryAssistant Professor of English Dr. Gary McDowell has had a busy year. His third book-length manuscript of poems, Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None, recently won the 2015 Burnside Review Book Award. The collection will be published by Burnside Review Books in spring 2016.  As part of the Et Al Reading Series, Dr. McDowell will be reading from his work on April 12th, 8:00 p.m., at Dino’s (411 Galatin Avenue). He also is slated to star in the Nashville version of Literary Death Match (described by McDowell as a “poetry reading on steroids with an American Idol slant”) on April 15th at The Stone Fox (712 51st Avenue North) at 8:35 p.m. Tickets are $7 preorder, $10 at the door.

Gustke Receives NEH Grant

CharmionDr. Charmion Gustke has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to participate in the Summer Institute “Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller” in Concord, Mass. Gustke will be one of 25 scholars participating in the two week program, focusing on antislavery, women’s rights, and the treatment of Native Americans during the antebellum period. Project faculty will investigate how these critical efforts were informed by the historical and religious underpinnings of Transcendentalism’s reform agenda as a whole. The Seminar will therefore explore Transcendentalists’ motivation to correct the inequities of America’s educational and religious institutions, their transatlantic relationships with social activists across the ocean, their burgeoning awareness of an environmental consciousness, and their ability for merging the intellectual transformation in 19th- century science with their reform ethic.

John Talks Feminisms for Spring Speakers Series

CaresseOn Monday, March 30, in the second installment of the English Club’s Spring Speakers Series, Dr. Caresse John, Associate Professor of English, talked before a packed room about why we still need feminism and why being a bad feminist is better than being no feminist at all. Her presentation invoked Roxane Gay’s 2014 essay collection, Bad Feminist, which became a New York Times Best Seller and reinvigorated questions about feminism’s place in contemporary culture. In this context, Dr. John discussed a range of issues facing today’s feminists. Admitting that Bad Feminist frustrated her at times, she argued nevertheless that the collection may offer a model that feminists need (and that we all need) to effectively confront these issues.

Pence and Day Read for Deep Song Series

DeepSongOn March 27, for the Spring installment of The Deep Song Reading Series at Belmont University, poets Charlotte Pence and Adam Day read from their work and then answered questions from the audience.

Charlotte Pence is a poet and critic and is the author of two chapbooks, Weaves a Clear Night (Winner of the Flying Trout Chapbook Award, 2011) and The Branches, the Axe, the Missing (Winner of the Black River Chapbook Award, 2012). Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Rattle, Tar River Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, and many other journals. Many Small Fires, her first full-length collection, will be released in January 2015 by Black Lawrence Press. She is married to the fiction writer Adam Prince and is an Assistant Professor of English and creative writing at Eastern Illinois University.DeepSongLogo

Adam Day is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, a PEN Emerging Writers Award, and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. His work has appeared in Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, AGNI, The Iowa Review, and others. His first collection, Model of a City in Civil War, is forthcoming in April from Sarabande Books in Louisville.

Alumni Feature: Eric Detweiler

by Dylan Loggins, Belmont English major

detweiler copyEric Detweiler, Belmont alumnus, currently co-produces the “Zeugma” podcast, a media channel that features University of Texas graduate students who discuss “rhetoric, digital literacies, literature, and linguistics.”

Detweiler’s interest in these topics grew out his early experiences as an English major at Belmont University.  In his first semester of college, he took a writing course with Dr. Bonnie Smith Whitehouse, who had just begun to teach at the university. From this class, Detweiler developed an interest in rhetoric. “That course was my first brush with rhetorical approaches to reading and writing,” he recalls, “and [she] convinced me to switch my major to English with a writing emphasis.” Detweiler also cites Dr. Linda Holt’s Theories of Writing, Dr. Cynthia Cox’s Advanced Composition, Dr. Robbie Pinter’s Writing and Spirituality, and Dr. David Curtis’s Senior Seminar as influential classes. “They taught me to think about language’s social, political, historical, scientific, and theoretical dimensions,” he says. “The reading and writing I assign undergraduates, my interest in the politics of language education, my belief in the importance of developing a vocabulary to talk about and reflect on your own writing and others’—all those things are deeply influenced by what I learned and studied at Belmont.”

Post-Belmont, Detweiler immediately found a new home at the University of Louisville, where he jumped straight into a master’s degree program. “I had a notion that I would become a creative writer,” he said, “but U of L’s program had great faculty in rhetoric and composition.” In addition to taking courses from them, Detweiler also spent two years teaching classes of his own, as an adjunct, at various Nashville campuses, Belmont included. He found himself in UT’s PhD program soon after. “Engaging with students and working on their writing was, I realized, a practical extension of what I’d liked most about my studies at Belmont, plus I realized I was not great at writing fiction and poetry,” Detweiler remarks. “Scholars working in rhetoric and composition also have a deep commitment to teaching–one I’d seen embodied by my professors at Belmont–that I respect a lot.”

In discussing the Zeugma podcast, Detweiler noted that, while podcasts are not his preferred medium for discussing information, it is a platform in which he feels both “very comfortable and constantly disoriented.” He explains, “There are fewer established conventions for using audio in academic settings than there are for academic writing, and so podcasts can offer opportunities for experimentation, invention, and sheer weirdness that are sometimes closed off when you’re writing. I also like the way you can incorporate different voices–their rhythms, inflections, worldviews, and so on–into audio work.”

Detweiler was willing enough to “risk a couple of predictions” on the future of rhetoric. He feels that rhetoric, at the undergraduate level, will be taught differently, as he believes that we will see some decrease in first-year writing requirements at four-year universities, as community colleges dual-credit programs in high schools start to pick up some of that work. He also believes that rhetoric and writing faculty will begin to shift their focus toward building majors as opposed to teaching general-education classes. Citing Rutgers professor Jim Brown as an influential voice in this regard, Detweiler notes: “At present, ‘digital humanities’ or ‘digital rhetoric’ is still somewhat specialized work, but as more and more of what we compose and the ways we compose happens in digital spaces, it seems likely to me that ‘digital rhetoric’ or ‘digital humanities’ will become less distinguishable from ‘rhetoric’ or ‘the humanities’ more broadly.”

For more information on Detweiler, his team, and the Zeugma podcast, visit:

Gustke Has Book Chapter Accepted

charmion_gustkeCharmion Gustke’s “The Trafficking of Mrs. Forrester: Prostitution and Willa Cather’s A Lost Lady” will appear in Cather Studies 11: Willa Cather at the Modernist Crux, published by the University of Nebraska Press. Gustke’s article explores the exchange and objectification of Cather’s illusive Mrs. Forrester in light of the rise of prostitution in Denver in the early 1900’s and the subsequent social outcry against “the white slave trade.”