This Week in English | February 28-March 6, 2022

Poet Charles Bernstein to Visit Grad Seminar 

On Tuesday evening the 2019 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry winner Charles Bernstein will pay a virtual visit to the graduate seminar on “phonotextuality” being offered this spring by Steve Evans. Bernstein recently retired from the position of Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-founded the free online archive of recorded poetry PennSound in 2005. A prolific poet, essayist, and editor, Bernstein was featured in the UMaine New Writing Series in the winter of 2002 and was a keynote reader at the conference on The Poetry and Poetics of the 1970s hosted at UMaine in the summer of 2002. Bernstein and Evans both presented at Les archives sonores de la poésie / Recording in Progress, an international conference co-hosted by the university Paris-Diderot and the university Paris-Sorbonne in the fall of 2016.

Playwright and Performance Artist to Lead Workshops

Rosalie Purvis invites you to join a free workshop offered by playwright Sam Collier on Tuesday, March 1, from 3:30-4:45 on Zoom or in person. Advanced registration is required for the Zoom option; if you’d like to join us in person, or if you have any questions, please email Dr. Purvis directly. Questions to be considered include:

What makes playwriting unique? Why tell a story on stage? In this workshop, we will explore what makes a play work, how to shape a dramatic story, and how to show character through dialogue and action. Join us as we read some scenes, and come try your hand at writing your own play.

Sam Collier is a playwright and poet. Her work has been presented by Penobscot Theatre Company, Post-Industrial Productions, Flexible Grey Theatre Company, Siena Heights University, New College of Florida, Theatre Nova, the Women’s Theatre Festival, the Chicago Theatre Marathon, the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, UC Davis Ground & Field Theatre Festival, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Theater Nyx, and others. Her poems have appeared in Claw & Blossom, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mortar Magazine, The Puritan, Guernica, and elsewhere. Sam has taught writing for people of all ages, including with Interlochen Center for the Arts, the National Writers Series, Unity College, Cornell College, and the Iowa Young Writers Project. She holds an MFA in playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and co-hosts the playwriting podcast Beckett’s Babies. Sam is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she studies theater about climate change.

On Wednesday, March 3, from 3-4:45, Dr. Purvis is sponsoring a “site specific performance workshop” in which participants “will collaborate to construct improvised site-specific performances with attention to our bodies’ spatial habits and relationships. We will explore how our movement can activate or transform a site, how our movement can be shaped by a site, and how unique opportunities for communication are possible in site-specific performance. We may venture outdoors if the weather is accommodating. Dress so that you are comfortable.” The workshop will be led by Rori Smith, who is an artist, somatic movement educator and researcher of bodily experience. She holds an MFA in Dance from Temple University and is currently a doctoral student in Dance & Philosophy at The University of Maine. Her work explores the nature of sensation, how our senses connect us with our environment and the ethics of this relationship.

Harlan-Haughey Review Available Online

Sarah Harlan-Haughey’s review of The Taill of Rauf Coilȝear, edited by Ralph Hanna, recently appeared in The Medieval Review. An online version is available here. As Harlan-Haughey writes: “This ‘ballad-romance’ finally got the edition it deserves, thanks to the meticulous labor of master editor Ralph Hanna, a scholar at the height of his powers who is clearly enjoying the work.” 

A Glimpse into Advanced Fiction Workshop

Greg Howard is leading the advanced fiction writing workshop (ENG 407) this spring. He writes with this welcome update:

During workshop we’ve read brilliant stories and exciting novels and novellas in progress. We’re about to dive back into our discussion of published work and what we can learn from them. This semester we are investigating the possibilities of narrative form using Jane Allison’s craft book Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative. In the coming week we will be talking about the use of repetition and ripple in what Allison calls wavelets, tiny narrative movements that push a story. We will be discussing this technique in Danilo Kîs’s story “Encyclopedia of the Dead,” and Mariana Enriquez’s story “The Intoxicated Years”; and, since my students are often writing longer works, for the first time I will be teaching a novella in the class, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams. 

Summer Opportunities at Williamstown Theatre Festival

Associate Professor Emeritus Dick Brucher passes along the news that the Williamstown Theatre Festival has a variety of paid summer positions currently available for theatre professionals at any level of experience.

Be part of a season that promises to engage, enlighten, and entertain, work with top professionals in the American Theatre, and help create an environment that believes in leading change in the theatre industry!

You can learn more about the festival and apply for positions here.

Writing Center Workshop Series

The Writing Center will be offering a series of three workshops on “speed reading” starting on Tuesday, March 8. Full details can be found here.

This Week in English 121  was sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department on Monday, February 28, 2022. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website. If you’re on Facebook, please consider joining the newly formed English Department Group.

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