Stover Opens Spring Speakers Series

by Amanda Nicklaus

Dr. Andrea Stover opened the English Department’s annual Spring Speakers Series last Friday, Feb. 17 in Massey 103 with a presentation entitled “Virginia Woolf in the Age of Trump.”

Anyone who has taken a class with Dr. Andrea Stover can attest to her cheerful disposition, her passion for writing, and her love for Virginia Woolf. With this combination in mind, it would surprise no one that every seat in the room was filled last Friday, as students and faculty alike gathered eagerly anticipating Stover’s presentation.

1014588

Holding up a poster, Stover began by telling her audience of her participation in the recent Women’s March. On the poster was a quote by, of course, Virginia Woolf: “As a woman my country is the whole world.” The Women’s March, in providing a platform for minority voices to speak, prompted Stover to wonder about ways in which we can use our voices, and she turned to Woolf’s book-length essay “The Three Guineas” for guidance. Woolf observed that wealth promotes “power of some at the cost of others.” Guineas, Stover explained, were the currency of the slave trade, representative of the fact that Britain’s wealth and power were built on racism and slavery. Although she didn’t make any specific parallels, the audience was aware of the all-too-relevant reference to current events.

Continue reading “Stover Opens Spring Speakers Series”

Big Turnout for Read-In

Yesterday afternoon, approximately 125 Belmont students, faculty, and staff gathered for Belmont’s celebration of the 28th Annual African American Read-In. Sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, this national event seeks “to promote diversity in…literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American authors” (NCTE “Council Chronicle,” 2014).

During the hour-long event, 16 volunteer readers gave voice to the poetry of Robert Hayden, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and others. Several passages from James Baldwin and James Weldon Johnson were shared, and other readings ranged from a children’s book written by Kesha Rushing (“Terrell and Keke’s Adventures through Time”) to poetry by Mae Cowdrey (“The Young Voice Cries”). The audience was treated to fiction by Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, and Ralph Ellison.

20170222_1516341

Belmont English faculty readers included Charmion Gustke, Caresse John, Sue Trout, Jason Lovvorn, David Curtis, and Wyeth Burgess. History professor Pete Kuryla also read.

Although it was the first African American Read-In held at Belmont in many years, it promises to be a rewarding annual tradition.

“Paterson”: Poetry of the Pedestrian

by Manuel Lagos

Each evening, in his neat blue work jacket lunchbox swinging with each stride, he walks back from work at the bus station. He rights the crooked mailbox in his yard, and enters the little house he calls home. Inside awaits his wife and their dog.

paterson

“Hello, sweetie.” She says, curly hair askew, the smell of fresh paint filling the house.  “Hello, honey.” He replies. He is Paterson.

paterson-poster

“Paterson” shows a week in the life of Paterson (Adam Driver), a bus driver in Paterson, N.J., who keeps a secret notebook full of poetry. Every workday begins with Paterson waking up next to his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and checking his watch. Each workday ends with Paterson walking his English bulldog, Marvin, and popping into the local bar for a beer.

Continue reading ““Paterson”: Poetry of the Pedestrian”

Salon@615 Brings Zadie Smith to Nashville

By Victoria Pan

Named by the BBC among the top 20 most influential people in British culture and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle for 2016, Zadie Smith is a rising star in the literary world. When she spoke at Belmont’s McAfee Concert Hall on the evening of January 19 she admitted to the crowd that in fact, just the other week, the Obamas invited her and a couple of other authors to lunch.

swing-time

“He said, ‘Now I’m sure you’re all wondering why I called you here’, and I immediately thought, ‘Secret mission?!?!'” she quipped, to the delight of her audience.

She leaves the impression that this wit keeps her grounded. When she spoke about her then-presidential luncheon, she said that she was impressed with how much public opinion of Obama matched with his actual private personality. Whether or not you view that as a strength or a weakness in the case of former president Barack Obama, that’s also the kind of attitude Smith has about herself: what you see is what you get.

Continue reading “Salon@615 Brings Zadie Smith to Nashville”