MVNU English and ILA Majors to present at state research conference.
Congratulations to Priscilla Radcliffe (English), Jackie Duncan (ILA), and Annelise Mason (ILA), who will present papers at the College English Association of Ohio Conference this weekend in Youngstown, OH. Dr. Dora Hawthorne will chair the panel.
Dr. Dora Hawthorne, Assistant Professor of English, spoke in the MVNU Chapel during the J-term session. Her lecture title was “Imaging God in Literature: Does the Truth Need Fiction?” Click through to listen to her lecture, which was part of the MVNU J-term Faculty Lecture series.
"Does reading a novel for a few hours make you feel smarter? You’re not alone: a new study suggests that reading novels heightens activity in the left temporal cortex, also known as the part of the brain associated with receptivity to language. The best part? The changes last for five days."
Sometimes the notes are ferocious, skirmishes against the author raging along the borders of every page in tiny black script. If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - “Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!” - that kind of thing. I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like who wrote “Don’t be a ninny” alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page. One scrawls “Metaphor” next to a stanza of Eliot’s. Another notes the presence of “Irony” fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.
Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, hands cupped around their mouths. “Absolutely,” they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin. “Yes.” “Bull’s-eye.” “My man!” Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines.
And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written “Man vs. Nature” in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge.
Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird singing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page– anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer. I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page
a few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil– by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet– “Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”
And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are,” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.
Interview with Jake Reber, 2012 graduate and current grad student
1. What year did you graduate from MVNU? 2011
2. What are you studying in your graduate program? English/Poetics. I wrote my thesis on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s poetics of process. I am studying at the University of Buffalo.
3. How does graduate school differ from your undergraduate experience? In what ways do you feel MVNU prepared you for where you are now? Graduate school was far more intensive: more reading, more writing, more thinking, more anxiety, and less sleeping. This complete immersion allows you to really engage with your work at a high level, and results in more thoughtful work. Mount Vernon gave me a broad knowledge of the field, and allowed me to develop the basic skills I needed for graduate school. My studies at UB were focued on contemporary poetry/poetics, which was very different than anything that was offered at Mount Vernon. But, even while I was at MVNU, my professors were open to these texts.
4. What is your favorite genre to read? I really like a lot of hybrid work, things that break down traditional lines and expectations of genre. Recently, I’ve been really into the work put out through Troll Thread and Gaus-PDF. They are doing some wild/exciting/reckless work, taking advantage of the possibilities of the digital venue for poetry/art.
“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hopes for literary forms? Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered?”
—Annie Dillard “Write Till You Drop”—Read more here.