Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christina Beasley BA '12 Wins Poetry Award

Christina Beasley. Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

The first-place winner of this year's Academy of American Poets' University and College Poetry Prize is Christina Beasley '12, an International Affairs major and Creative Writing minor. Christina will receive a $100 prize and a one-year membership to the Academy.

Honorable mention goes to senior Annie-Rose Strasser, an English and Creative Writing major.

Thanks to grants from the Jenny McKean Moore Fund for Writers and Columbian College in 1990, GW was able to join the influential Academy, founded in 1934 to support American poets and their work. In doing so, we became eligible to award an annual $100 prize--named in memory of English Prof. A.E. Claeyssens--for the best original poem or group of poems by a GW student.

When the college prizes were first offered in 1955, ten schools gave them out. Today some 180 colleges and universities participate. Many American poets won their first recognition with an Academy College Poetry Prize (Sylvia Plath, Louise Gluck, James Merrill, among them) ... along with some of our own creative writing teachers. Every five years the Academy publishes and distributes an anthology of selected prize-winning poems.

Visit the Academy's website to find out more about its fun e-newsletter and iPhone app (a poem a day!). And here, courtesy of Christina Beasley, is one of her prize-winning poems: 

Cruciform: Unbeginning

A god flower has naked space between
her petals. A sharp scaffolding like
the ribs of a hot window pane, and then,
welled eyes of a bromeliad.

Leaves grasp the ground with vein-pronged
tongues, lunge toward making, she is doused
with human bees who try to make her live forever.

No, she will not always be in season,
this elegy-stem, this prettiest nape of the bud.
The corolla. Her thorns twist, pulse, they hold
her anyway, there are holes in their palms for it.

Her hymn-hum a whorl of swears that only
flora would use. The fragile pain. Her broken
stem sweated with wick.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poet Denise Duhamel to Read Monday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Denise Duhamel, a terrific and prolific poet, will be reading at GW on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. in 1957 E Street, Room 213. The reading is the final event of the Jenny McKean Moore series this year.
Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including Ka-Ching!, Two and Two, Mille et un sentiments, and Kinky. Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including: Ka-Ching!, Two and Two, Mille et un sentiments, and Kinky, which includes poems about Barbie dolls. A winner of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she has been anthologized widely. Her work has appeared in four volumes of The Best American Poetry. Duhamel teaches creative writing and literature at Florida International University. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sana Krasikov Reading Thursday is Last JLL Event of 2011

Prose writer Sana Krasikov. Photo by Staci Schwartz.
Prizewinning prose writer SanaKrasikov will read on Thursday night at 7 in the Marvin Center Amphitheater (3rd floor), concluding this year's amazing Jewish Literature Live series curated by Prof. Faye Moskowtiz.  
Krasikov, a Russian emigre,  is author of the collection of short stories, One More Year.  Her stories have appeared in New Yorker the The Atlantic Monthly. A profile of Krasikov from The Village Voice (from whence the beautiful and sad photograph above is taken) appears here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

English Department in the News/Kudos

Thomas Mallon and his CW colleagues offer one-on-one instruction to to aspiring writers.
This month's E-magazine from Columbian College leads with two items about English:
Here are some additional kudos:
  • CW faculty member Lisa Page, President of the Pen/Faulkner Board of Directors, will be moderating an event May 2 at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, part of the PEN World Voices Festival. The reading will feature writers from Sudan, the United States, and Sweden.
  • Prof. Patty Chu spoke at a March 22 event hosted by the Asia Society Washington, on a panel titled "Homeward Bound: Chinese Reverse Migration and Identity." Prof. Chu shared her research--some of it based on personal experience--about the Chinese-American diaspora and narratives of return to China.
  • Samuel Fitzpatrick, an English major who graduated in January 2008, has received a fellowship to pursue at Ph.D. in English at the University of Iowa. At GW, Fitzpatrick was inspired by courses in African American literature, by Prof. Jennifer James's "Ethnicity and Place" course, and by Prof. Tony Lopez's "Caribbean Cultural Studies" course. At Iowa he will focus on Postcolonial Studies. "The idea of empire and its impact on the world's people has always been swirling around in my mind as a subject of interest," he writes. Now it's full steam ahead!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daria-Ann Martineau Wins 2011 Student Poetry Contest

Daria-Ann Martineau is the winner of a $500 prize for her poem "Orchids."

The English Department congratulates senior Daria-Ann Martineau, a speech and hearing major and creative writing minor, for her poem "Orchids," which won this year's Student Poetry Prize, awarded to the best poem submitted by a student at George Washington University. Martineau's poem, originally written for Prof. Gregory Pardlo's ENGL 107 class last fall, was the unanimous choice of the three faculty judges, who called it "exceptionally well crafted as well as bold and substantive."

In addition to being an accomplished poet, Daria-Ann is secretary of GW's chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association and corresponding secretary of GW's Caribbean Students Organization. Thanks to Daria-Ann for her kind permission to publish her poem below.


Needle to my ribcage,
the tattooist imprints the flowers.
My pores break open at the seal
where he places the tip,
unleashing pearls of blood
that blend into purple.

I have chosen this emblem
after seeing orchids in a wedding.
I fell in love:
with corollas meshed into the bride's veil
and centred in her bouquet.
The petals--
jewel hues against white dress--
protruding as defiant tongues,

The convolutions of their shape,
wine-coloured communion
            spilling into concavity.
Undeniable as pure sin.

At home I disrobe,
view my beautifully crafted scar,
remember how orchids first pierced me,
a breathy Oh buds   at my mouth.

Monday, April 11, 2011

English Department Welcomes E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow reading at Funger Hall last week.
E.L. Doctorow's campus visit and reading last week were a high point of the spring semester for the English Department. Doctorow visited Prof. Faye Moskowitz's Jewish Literature Live class in the morning, talking to students about his novel The Book of Daniel, and then gave a public reading to more than 200 people gathered in Funger 108 in the evening. In between, he attended a dinner thrown in his honor at the F Street House, where members of the department were joined by President and Mrs. Knapp, Provost Lerman, Dean Barratt, and various Trustees of the University, including JLL supporter David Bruce Smith, in celebrating Doctorow's many achievements.

GW Today has a piece about Doctorow's visit (we are shamelessly sampling their photo above); here is an account by Paula Mejia, the English department student blogger:

Last Thursday, I had the unbelievable opportunity to attend a reading and a conversation with distinguished Jewish American author E.L. Doctorow. I'm going to go ahead and admit that I didn't take great notes- I found myself too enthralled by Doctorow's story and words- but I'll try to describe it as best as I can!

After a brief introduction by Prof. Faye Moskowitz, who had set up the event as a part of her Jewish Literature Live course, a humble Doctorow approached the stand amid a lecture hall of thunderous applause. "I've never been compared to Sinatra before," he said sheepishly, referring to Prof. Moskowitz's equation of her "giddiness" at introducing Doctorow to her giddiness, as a young woman, at Frank Sinatra. He then briefly introduced "Writer in the Family," the story from his new collection All the Time in the World. Doctorow connected with the audience by speaking about how "Everyone always talks about the writer in the family, which can be embarrassing."

After the reading, Doctorow answered questions from the audience. He spoke about evolving as a writer--where images, phrases, and pieces of music were the "evocative feelings that incited the private excitement in the mind." He offered advice to young writers, saying that he had no aesthetic manifesto. "Give yourself to the writing and trust it. Ideas are always there--we carry them around."

But perhaps the most compelling of questions, at least for me, was the first one.

"How much of what you write is true?" called a voice from the crowd.
"Does it sound true?" replied Doctorow.
"Well, yes."
"Then it is true."


Monday, April 4, 2011

E.L. Doctorow to Read Thursday in Funger 108

E.L. Doctorow will visit with students and then give a public reading Thursday.
On April 7, the English Department will be hosting a reading by acclaimed writer E.L. Doctorow.

The author of eleven novels, Doctorow has received numerous awards for his work, including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Doctorow has also "pioneered the technique of presenting an era as a quilt showing multiple points of view, all in an effort to make sense of a particular time and place," says Prof. Faye Moskowitz. This is especially emphasized in his work The Book of Daniel, a fictionalized account of what happens to the children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg after their parents were found guilty of espionage and executed in 1953. Doctorow's reading is a part of Prof. Moskowitz's Jewish Literature Live course, which works to bring Jewish American authors to the class and to readings.

The reading will follow Doctorow's visit to the class, during which Doctorow will speak about his latest book, a short story collection titled All the Time in the World.

Don't miss out! The event is open to the public and will be held in Funger 108 at 7:30 pm.

~ Paula

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recent Graduate Student Accomplishments

Mark DeCicco won the award for best graduate paper at the recent meeting of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (check out the guest speaker). His prize: publication in the Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts, a scholarly journal with a substantial  readership.

Lowell Duckert was selected for Honorable Mention in the 2011 competition for the Philip Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award at GWU. This University-wide competition recognizes the contributions of graduate teaching assistants to the quality of education at GW.  The award is named for a former GW Trustee.

Erin Sheley's essay on victim impact statements as expressions of criminal harm just been accepted by the Indiana Law Journal, a top-25 law review associated with Indiana University Bloomington. This is a special honor because Erin's work was in competition with that of law school professors.

Jessica Frazier, who is writing her dissertation on "Fashion's Travel Narratives: English Novelties, Global Trade Networks, and the Early Modern Theatre" (under the direction of Prof. Gil Harris) won admission a highly competitive NEH summer seminar on "Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global."  Jessica will receive a stipend of $3900, and will join some of the world's top scholars of Shakespeare and early modern drama. Only two spots in the NEH seminar were reserved for graduate students.

Congratulations, all!