So Poe: A Dead Poet’s Society Get-Together on Edgar Allen Poe

On Friday, the 20th of October, a handful of English students and professors Curtis and McDonnell congregated for a Dead Poet’s Society reading in the gazebo near Maddox and Wright Halls. It’s the gazebo with a statue of a raven on the tip of its roof that, with its endless and forbidding croak, seems to beckon for a group of nerdy Poe-enthusiasts to read and geek out there. While I obviously attended the meeting, I was not one of those Poe-enthusiasts only because I haven’t read that much Poe. I’m not certain if my colleagues were Poe-enthusiasts either, but there was one obvious Poe-enthusiast, the same one who organized the event and came up with the idea of having a Poe-day and a Dead Poet’s Society, and this was Dr. Curtis. Before the reading started, Dr. Curtis informed us of Poe’s life, and more specifically his death, since this was, after all, Dead Poet’s Society.

On an October night in 1849, Poe had disappeared from the city of Baltimore. He had been visiting his family in Richmond, Virginia. But he then turned up—and most likely turned up—in Baltimore on election day and was found unconscious in a gutter and wearing ill-fitting clothes. Many people suspected that because it was election day he was being used to conduct voter fraud. People now think he died of rabies because he kept falling in and out of consciousness and Dr. R. Michael Benitez wrote an article that pieces together various accounts of his death and argues quite persuasively for the possibility of his dying of rabies. So he very well could have been bitten by a rabid dog, a raccoon, or hopefully a bat.

The first reading was the hardest to start because nobody wanted to go first. Dr. Curtis didn’t want to start because he knew that he would get too intense. He told us that after “The Raven” came out it became a performance piece. Poe made a lot more money performing it and his other poems than he did publishing them. Curtis told us that women and nervous persons were highly affected in accounts of the time by what Poe wrote and that he developed a celebrity status by performing his works. Thus provided the context for Curtis’s reluctance to read first: when he reads Poe, watch out. He performs. “Let the crazy man in the gazebo do his thing” he said. Continue reading “So Poe: A Dead Poet’s Society Get-Together on Edgar Allen Poe”

English Majors Devour Halloween Brunch


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A goodly gathering of English folk.

There was plenty of good food and geeky conversation as the English majors gathered for the Halloween brunch last Friday in Beaman A&B. Costumed professors and students, while not in the majority, were readily evident, and a good time seemed to be had by all.

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Dr. McDonald helps prepare the food table.
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Professor Trout’s cupcake hotel featured plenty of cleavers, bats, and skulls on red velvet cupcakes.
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Professors John and Trout dressed as the Grady daughters from “The Shining.”
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Ben came dressed as Maxx. Or did Maxx come dressed as Ben?

English Club Serves at Family Literacy Day

At this year’s Family Literacy Day—a Belmont-sponsored event that celebrates reading and encourages young readers in grades pre-K through 6—students from the Belmont English Club hosted a variety of reading circles. Topics/themes included Dr. Seuss, super heroes, food, dogs, Disney, and fairy tales.

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English Club To Hold Bake Sale For Pine Ridge

m&mEach year Belmont English majors hold a bake sale in order to fund a literacy program for the children at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  This year, the sale will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 22-23) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the lobby of McWhorter Hall.  Both students and professors always bake their hearts out, so please show up to support their efforts and bring cash and an appetite!

English Club and English Classes Participate in Family Literacy Day

A variety of students connected to the English Department served as volunteers at Belmont University’s 15th Annual Family Literacy Day, held April 11 at Easley Community Center and E.S. Rose Park. The event  is aimed at children from pre-K through Grade 6 and their families and is designed to celebrate the joys of reading. The primary focus of the event is reading circles, groups that read books to children in association with chosen themes.  This year, the Belmont English Club hosted five reading circles, and students from Dr. Jason Lovvorn’s Third Year Writing (ENG 3010) classes hosted three reading circles. Their themes included Dr. Seuss, Cats and Dogs, Food, Superheroes, Dragons and Dinosaurs, Animals, Space and Sports, and Fairy Tales. Additional information about Family Literacy Day can be found at the event website:

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