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Miscellany, The Department News

Department of English


16 April 2019

Elliot Brandsma, who graduated a few years back, has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the 2019-2020 year. His concentration will be on 19th and 20th Swedish and Icelandic literature and literary Modernism's relationship to Scandinavia. The university awarded him a full funding offer, including a welcome scholarship, a professional development stipend (to study Swedish in Sweden next summer), a service-free first-year fellowship, a tuition waiver, and a four-year TAship. Elliot has also received a writer's residency at a cultural center in Sweden for the upcoming summer. It is located in the old grade school of the Swedish poet Harry Martinson, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1974. While there, he will undertake biographical research on the poet's life and legacy and hopes to spend some time in Stockholm meeting and interviewing some of the author’s family members and old friends.

Rebecca Bell-Metereau published Transgender Cinema with Rutgers University Press and presented "Siren Songs of Sex and Death: Want that Climax Loud, Fast or Violent?" at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Seattle.

"Sometimes There Is a Day," a poem by Professor of Creative Writing Naomi Shihab Nye, appears in the most recent issue of The New York Times Magazine with an introduction by poet Rita Dove.

Cyrus Cassells has been named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow for his creative work in poetry. Announcements will soon be appearing in The New York Times and many other venues. Here is the link to Cyrus’s profile page at the Guggenheim Foundation:

Leah Schwebel presented “Allusive Rivalry in Poetic Triumphs” at the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium last week. She’ll present “What’s in Criseyde’s Book?” at the Harvard Bloomfield Conference: Reading Then, Reading Now, taking place from April 18-21 in Cambridge MA.

Writing Center tutor Jen Cardenas presented "Batman, God of Capitalism: Radical Individualism in American Mythology" at the Batman in Popular Culture conference held at Bowling Green State University. 

Mark Busby was featured in a Houston Chronicle news article about John Graves’ Goodbye to a River

Department of English


31 January 2019


The Provost has approved the following English faculty to receive Development Leave for 2019-20, pending approval by the Board of Regents in February: Allan Chavkin (Awarded Leave for the full year academic year, one of only ten faculty from across campus to receive Leave plus the President’s and Provost’s supplement. Allan is the third faculty member in English to receive the full-year supplement, following Cyrus Cassells and Doug Dorst, since the program’s inception), Cyrus Cassells (Fall 2019), Kitty Ledbetter (Fall 2019), Dan Lochman (Spring 2020), Scott Mogull (Fall 2019), and Octavio Pimentel (Spring 2020).

Leah Schwebel’s “What’s in Criseyde’s Book,” appears in the latest issue of The Chaucer Review

Octavio Pimentel will present “Pinche Racism! Will it Ever be OK to be Brown/Black?” at the 2019 Southwest Conference on Latin American Studies, to be held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. At the same conference, MA Literature student Victoria Kuykendall will present "Zootopia: A Positive Critical Discourse Analysis on Tackling Sexism and Racism.”

Steve Wilson's fifth collection of poetry, The Reaches, will be published later this year by Finishing Line Press. 

Debra Monroe will judge the Associated Writing Program’s 2019 book competition and publication prize in the category of creative nonfiction. The AWP Creative Nonfiction Book Award is $2,500 and publication with the University of Georgia Press.

Kitty Ledbetter has been offered a contract from Edinburgh University Press for her book project, Gossip, Celebrity, and Gendered Spaces: Edmund Yates and Victorian Periodicals.

Kathleen Peirce is a finalist for Texas Poet Laureate.

Cyrus Cassells recently was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism by The Washington Spectator for his 2018 reviews appearing in the publication. Last year he reviewed American Crime (Season 2), Call Me By Your Name, Disobedience, A Fantastic Woman, Fences, Get Out, The Handmaid's Tale (Season 2), and Moonlight. His January review of A Star is Born is in print and will be available to read online the first week of February; reviews of Roma and If Beale Street Could Talk are slated for the spring. Due to several pre-orders ahead of its March 28 publication date, Cyrus’ new book of translations, Still Life with Children, has been named the #1 New Release in Spanish Poetry on Amazon.

Last December, Lecturer Vanessa Couto Johnson's first full-length book of poetry, pungent dins concentric, was published by Tolsun Books. The book has been favorably reviewed in RHINO Reviews and Publishers Weekly, with the Chicago Tribune also praising the book as one of the best poetry collections of 2018: “A title like ‘pungent dins concentric’ conjures minor Language poetry circa 1986, but Vanessa Couto Johnson’s debut couldn’t be less desiccated.” You can read the reviews here: ; ; The book is available through , Amazon, and other book retailers.

Assistant Professor Cecily Parks appears on the most recent episode of the Nocturne podcast ("Quiet Transmission"), talking the role of the night in her own poems, and in writing by Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau. She reads excerpts from an essay on night poetics that is forthcoming in Conjunctions this summer. Her poem "Luna Moth" has been set to music by Assistant Professor of Composition Michael Ippolito (School of Music, Texas State University) and will be included in a performance by soprano Joélle Harvey and pianist Allen Perriello on February 13, 2019 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Joe Falocco is currently playing Capulet in the Florida Shakespeare Theatre production of "Romeo and Juliet." The show has performed in Pinecrest, Coconut Grove, and Boca Raton, and will finish its run in Hollywood (Florida) this coming weekend. A review will soon be published in the peer-reviewed publication Reviewing Shakespeare.

Rob Tally will be the keynote speaker at the Charles F. Fraker Graduate Conference, to be held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 15-16, 2019. The conference is organized by the graduate students in the Romance Languages and Literatures Program there. In addition to his keynote address, titled "The Politics of Geocriticism," he will also be conducting a workshop on spatial criticism and theory, using his 2018 essay "In the Deserts of Cartography: Building, Dwelling, Mapping."

Texas State senior English major Chisom Ogoke's paper "Sekoia and the Books of the Galápagos: Narrating Biological Anthropology through Magical Realism" was selected for presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, in April. Selectors noted that her abstract was chosen from more than 4,000 submissions for demonstrating a unique contribution to her field of study.