Nine Inducted into Sigma Tau Delta

PrintLast Wednesday, nine BU English majors were inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors Society. Family, faculty, and friends gathered to watch the cording ceremony. After opening remarks by Sigma Tau Delta sponsor Dr. Charmion Gustke, the honorees were corded by faculty members. Congratulations to these wonderful English majors!

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L to R: Samantha Binnie, Rachel Petty, Hope Moore, Zenna Daker, Chris Tully, Lindsey Knapp, Jacqueline Skokna, Audrey Fenstermaker, and Dr. Charmion Gustke
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Dr. Gustke and Kathleen Albritton

BU English Majors Share the Joy of Reading at Family Literacy Day 2018

As usual, Belmont BU English majors were out in force for Family Literacy Day this past Saturday, sharing their love of reading and books in general!

English Club Hosts Fundraising Bake Sale

By Rachel Petty

The Belmont University English Club will sponsor a bake sale to raise money for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Monday, March 26 and Tuesday, March 27 in the main lobby of McWhorter Hall.

The bake sale is an annual event for the English Club, and it is the department’s way of supporting a community in need.  “About a decade ago, we had a small group of professors who wanted to develop a relationship with the community of Pine Ridge,” said English Club faculty sponsor Sue Trout. “After their first trip there, one of our English professors, Cynthia Cox, spoke movingly about that life-changing and uplifting experience. But she also pointed out the crushing poverty that community continues to suffer.”

Each year, proceeds from the bake sale help fund Pine Ridge’s after-school literacy program. English department faculty member Dr. Robbie Pinter personally delivers the money raised from the bake sale during a yearly Maymester trip that she co-leads with religion professor Andy Watts.

Students and faculty in the English department will collaborate to bake treats and sell them to the Belmont community before students leave for Easter Break. “Buy a cookie and teach a child to read!” Professor Trout encouraged.

Sweets will be available for purchase in the McWhorter lobby from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet at the Troutt Theater

By Victoria Pan

Let’s be honest. I don’t have to try my hardest to convince anybody reading this blog in their spare time to go see a Shakespeare production. We all know how important it is to support the arts. We all can imagine what a difficult job it is to make Shakespearean language flow off our modern tongues and seem as alive and fresh as it was and still should be. We all know how difficult it is, in these days where I can pick any show I want from halfway across the globe (not just the Globe itself), thanks to the Internet, to keep audiences’ attention riveted on plays that no longer really need spoiler alerts. Especially audiences composed of elementary, middle, and high schoolers, which the poor folks at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival have been saddled with entertaining every day for the past two or three weeks.

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Despite all those budding Shakespeareans, this is not a watered-down production of Hamlet. Sure, this is not the place for anything too avant-garde, but it’s still Hamlet in all of its cerebral, philosophical glory. I could tell you about how masterful Sam Ashdown is as a Hamlet, and how he uses all of his not-inconsiderable energy to bring the full force of Hamlet’s conflict between emotion and reason to the stage. I could tell you about how urgent a production this is, how gripping and driven and tangled it is with all those competing ambitions. I could tell you how unexpectedly funny it is in its wittiest moments, and how tickled you’ll be once you realize you recognize some of Belmont’s own professors in the cast, if you’re familiar with our theater department.

I could tell you about how, even though I’ve read Hamlet countless times from middle school to college, as someone who knows some of those lines by heart (I’ve written on them! Multiple times!), I still felt tears threatening to spill by the end of the play.

But that’s beside the point. Continue reading “Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet at the Troutt Theater”

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?

Deep Song Poetry Reading: Matthew Guenette

By Victoria Pan

A lot of people think of poetry as something loftier and more inaccessible than prose. Despite its relative concision, it’s somehow still intimidating, with its stanzas and line breaks organized in a way that makes some feel like they need a cryptography degree just to figure out what’s going on. Matthew Guenette used to feel the same way before he got into writing, calling all the poetry he read in school “old” and “faraway”.

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Matthew Guenette

If that’s the case, then his poetry is modern and immediate, featuring everyday life in all of its questionable glory. Guenette’s first writing inspirations were comics, and it shows in his poetry. His is a humor that a more highbrow reviewer would call “earthy”, which really just means he’s not afraid to get elbows-deep into life’s sh*t, sometimes literally. Case in point: his new chapbook, American Busboy, is based on his experiences busing tables to get through college. It contains moments that personally, as someone currently working at a restaurant to get through college, made me say “Oh, my God” out loud.

Continue reading “Deep Song Poetry Reading: Matthew Guenette”