Graduate Courses, Spring 2010

English 502 Writers on Writing (Class ID# 9453)
Professor John High
Mondays 6:30-8:50 pm

The course will offer readings and discussions with prominent fiction writers and poets. The guest writers will meet with us weekly during the course of the semester to discuss and read from their work. The purpose of the course is to give us a chance to interact with and question a diverse range of visiting guest writers about their processes and techniques in an effort to expand and further develop our own writing. As with all of our process courses, the goal is to learn-in this case, first-hand-from other writers and their writings in order to better inform our sense of what it means to be a poet or fiction writer today.

In addition to reading at least one book by each visiting writer, the students are required to submit weekly reading journals that dialogue with the work of each visiting author. These journals will contain questions and responses prepared before the writer visits and used as take-off points for discussion with the author. There will be additional creative writing assignments, which evolve from the ideas and techniques of the visiting writers and our class discussions. On days when there are no visitors we will read, discuss, and workshop our own work. Students' journals and revised creative assignments will be compiled in a Critical & Creative Chapbook at the end of the semester.

Guest Writers & dates of their visits follow:

Fanny Howe (April 12) is the recipient of the 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Presented annually by the Poetry Foundation to a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition, the Ruth Lilly Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets. In recent years she has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Howe is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including Gone (University of California Press, 2003), Selected Poems (UC Press, 2000), On the Ground (Graywolf Press, 2004), and The Lyrics (Graywolf, 2007). She has also written novels, five of which have been collected in one volume called Radical Love. She has written two collections of essays,The Wedding Dress (UC Press, 2003) and The Winter Sun (Graywolf, 2009). She has lectured in creative writing at Tufts University, Emerson College, Columbia University, Yale University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jaime Manrique (April 19) was born in Colombia. His first book of poems, Los adoradores de la luna, received his country's National Book Award. In Spanish, he also wrote a volume of stories, and a collection of film reviews. He has written four novels in English: Our Lives Are the RiversTwilight at the Equator,Latin Moon in Manhattan, and Colombian Gold--translated into many languages. Manrique is the author of the volumes of poems My Night with Federico García LorcaTarzan, My Body, Christopher ColumbusSor Juana's Love Poems, co-translated with Joan Larkin; and the memoir Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. His reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book ReviewSalonWashington Post Book WorldBOMB, and many other publications. Among his honors are grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He has worked as an associate professor in the M.F.A. program in writing at Columbia University and was recently a Distinguished Visiting Author at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He's a member of the Board of Trustees of PEN American Center, and he chairs the Open Book Committee.

Albert Mobilio (March 29) is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award (2000) and the National Book Critics Circle award for excellence in reviewing (1999). His poetry, fiction, and criticism have appeared inHarper's, the Village VoiceGrand StreetPEN AmericaCabinetBombTin HouseDenver QuarterlyFence, the Brooklyn Rail, the New York Times Book Review, and Black Clock. Anthologies include Fetish: An Anthology of Fetish Fiction (1998); War of Words: 20 Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature (2001); Cooking and Stealing: The Tin House Nonfiction Reader (2004);The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology (2006), and Poets on Teaching (forthcoming). His books of poetry include Bendable SiegeThe GeographicsMe with Animal Towering, and Touch Wood (forthcoming). He is an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at the New School's Eugene Lang College and the co-editor of Bookforum.

Murat Nemet-Nejat (March 1) is presently working on the poem The Structure of Escape. His work includes the poems Turkish VoicesVocabularies of SpaceIo's SongAlphabet Dialogues / Penis Monologues (a collaboration with Standard Schaeffer); the books of translation Eda: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry, edited by Murat Nemet-Nejat (Talisman Books, 2004);A Blind Cat Black and Orthodoxies (Sun & Moon Press, 1997); and I, Orhan Veli (Hanging Loose Press 1989); and the essays "Ideas Towards a Theory of Translation in Eda" (Talisman, 2007), "The Peripheral Space of Photography" (Green Integers Press, 2004), "A Godless Sufism: Ideas on 20th Century Poetry" (Talisman, 1995), and "Questions of Accent" (The Exquisite Corpse, 1993). Murat Nemet-Nejat's essay/memoir "Istanbul Noir" and his translation of the Turkish poet Seyhan Ertozçelik's book Rosestrikes and Coffee Grinds will be published by Talisman Press in 2010.

Akilah Oliver will be here March 8. Her most recent chapbooks are The Putterer's Notebook(Belladonna Press, 2006), a (A)ugust (Portable Labs at Yo-Yo Press, 2007), and An Arriving Guard of Angels Thusly Coming to Greet (Farfalla, McMillan & Parrish, 2004). She is also the author of the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Smokeproof/Erudite Fangs, 1999), a book of experimental prose poetry honored by the PEN American Center's "Open Book" award. She has been artist in residence at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Los Angeles, and has received grants from the California Arts Council, The Flintridge Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Naropa University. She is currently core faculty at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics' Summer Writing Program at Naropa University. She lives in Brooklyn.

Karen Russell (February 8) has been featured in both the New Yorker's debut fiction issue and New Yorkmagazine's list of 25 people to watch under the age of 26. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker,GrantaConjunctionsZoetrope, and Best American Short Stories 2007 (edited by Stephen King) and 2008 (edited by Salman Rushdie). Her collection of stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was named a Best Book of 2006 by the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times; in 2007 Russell was included in Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. She was selected as a 2009-10 fiction fellow by The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Colson Whitehead will be here February 22. His first novel, The Intuitionist, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award. John Henry Days followed in 2001 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The novel received the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The Colossus of New York, a book of essays about the city, was published in 2003 and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Apex Hides the Hurt (2006), a novel, was a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Award. His most recent novel, Sag Harbor, was published in 2009. Whitehead's reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, the New YorkerNew York magazine, Harper's and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Matvei Yankelevich (February 1) is the author of Boris by the Sea (Octopus, 2009) and the long poem,The Present Work (Palm Press, 2006). He edited and translated Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Ardis/Overlook, 2009). He is a co-translator of Oberiu: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern, 2006). His translation of Vladimir Mayakovsky's poem "A Cloud in Pants" is included in Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and About Mayakovsky (FSG, 2008). His translations from Russian have appeared in The New YorkerHarper'sNew American Writing,CircumferenceCalqueBombay GinPoetryCutbank, and other journals. His poems have been published in periodicals including Boston ReviewOpen CityFence, and Tantalum; and in on-line publications such as Action Yes!Hotel St. George, and 3am. His essays on Russian-American poets appear on-line in Octopus Magazine. He teaches at Hunter College and Columbia University. He is a founding editor of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he designs books, co-edits 6x6, and curates the Eastern European Poets Series.

English 509 Sociolinguistics and the Teaching of Writing (Class ID# 19425)
Professor Patricia Stephens
Mondays 6:30-8:20

In this course, we will explore the complex intersections between language and society. We will look at variation in language as a means of understanding the ways in which different discourses both construct and are constructed by identities and cultures. As teachers of writing, what do we need to know about how and why discourses vary and shift in terms of issues of class, race, gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, and other factors in our own and our students' lives? What can sociolinguistic theories teach us not only about students' educational experiences but also about our own views of pedagogy and assessment? Readings will include selections from Labov, Vygotsky, Tannen, Gilyard, Smitherman, Delpit, Villanueva, Bourdieu, and others.

English 522 Academic Writing Workshop (Class ID# 19426)
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Tuesdays 6:30-8:20 pm

Academic writing, as one academic tells us, "consists of rule- and strategy-based practices, done in interaction with others for some kind of personal and professional gain, and …learned through repeated practice rather than just from a guidebook of how to play" (Casanave). This course will introduce the participants to the rules and strategies employed in the writing of academic papers, and, more importantly, engage them in practices that academics pursue regularly: designing research projects, writing proposals, drafting papers, and revising them according to peer readers' comments. (Rarely is an academic paper published without revision, often done more than once.)

The major text in the course is, tentatively, John Swales' Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings, which is supplemented by a collection of articles and book chapters by various authors who approach the topic from objective as well as personal perspectives. Proposals and manuscripts submitted to a book that the instructor has just edited will be used to simulate the real process. The participants are invited to act as editors, who review the submissions and write comments and, at times, rejection letters according to their understanding of good academic writing.

The participants will also bring to class an academic paper in progress (not all papers written in an academic setting are academic papers, though), and, using the class as a workshop, they will confer with other participants as the paper progresses through various stages to its completion.

A reading journal will keep an on-going record of your thoughts on the reading and reflections on the editing and writing practices.

The final portfolio for the course, therefore, should include a number of reviews, a reading journal, and an academic paper completed in the course.

The course will help you begin perceiving yourself as a member of the academic community, having experienced the hard work, at times frustration, and gratification of intellectual exploration and writing.

English 523 Fiction Writing Workshop (Class ID# 10153)
Professor Alex Mindt, Distinguished Visiting Author
Wednesdays 4:00-6:20 pm

This workshop will consist of intense and thoughtful exploration of the craft of fiction as writers, readers, and editors. Assigned reading includes such authors as ZZ Packer, Sherman Alexie, Myla Goldberg, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, Jorge Luis Borges, and James Joyce.

Alex Mindt is the author of Male of the Species, a collection of short stories which was a finalist for The Pen/Bingham Award, The William Saroyan Prize, and the Washington State Book Award. He is the recipient of the Charles Angoff Award and The Pushcart Prize, and is presently at work on a novel, Song Of The Dead.

English 524 Poetry Writing Workshop: Noon At Two O'clock (Class ID# 8219)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Thursdays 6:30-8:50 pm

The work of the poet is to create new meanings--word clusters and images that defy dictionary "definitions" or connotations. Taking this as the premise--that language allows us to time-travel--to be in two places at once, to exist in the past, present and future simultaneously, we'll look closely at the poets of the last century who tried their best to merge reality and dream, who managed to stare down the abyss without falling in. We'll start with the Dadaists and Surrealists--notably Andre Breton, Robert Desnos, Tristan Tzara--and work our way through the poets of the New York School--Barbara Guest, John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, Ted Berrigan, and James Schuyler, while also paying close attention to explorers like Gertrude Stein, Aime Cesaire, Fernando Pessoa, Laura Riding, Alice Notley, Vellmir Khlebnikov, Clark Coolidge and Henri Michaux--all poets who expanded the boundaries of what poetry can be.

These poets will be our models and guides, but much of the workshop will be spent reading and testing out our own experiments. We will also join forces to create a collaborative work as well.

English 525 Play Writing Workshop
Creating Characters: Their Dramas, Their Fictions
(Class ID# 10149)
Professor Jessica Hagedorn
Wednesdays 6:30-8:50pm

In this workshop, we will explore strategies for creating compelling characters and writing kick-ass dialogue. How do we give our characters distinct positions in a short story, novel or a play that develop perspective, tension and purpose? We will examine and utilize the techniques of fiction writers and playwrights as varied as Harold Pinter, Denis Johnson, Sarah Kane, Wallace Shawn, Junot Diaz, Antonya Nelson and others. Be prepared for in-class improvs and writing exercises which will include creating monologues and scenes. A portfolio of revised writing assignments will be due at the end of the semester.

ENG 527 Professional Writing Workshop: Technical Writing (Class ID# 9455)
Professor John Killoran
Thursdays 6:30-8:20 pm

As college-educated professionals, much of what we write within and beyond college would be called "technical" writing: educational and training materials, research reports, proposals, administrative records, marketing documentation, and flurries of email postings. Alas, the measure of our technical writing is the experience we create for our all-too-human readers: often uninformed, impatient, hypercritical, and only occasionally appreciative. However, our writing's usability can influence how readers read and process (or skim and misunderstand) our documents, and then make decisions or take action based on that experience.

This course will explore the technical writing field's research and best practices on how to write up information and design documents in such a way as to be optimally read, understood, and appreciated by real audiences. For their main course assignments, students will have some leeway to pursue their academic or professional interests, such as by writing instructional material for undergraduate students, employees, or customers in their field of study or employment. Students will also observe, video-record, and interview readers as they read, act on, and reflect on their reading experience. By the end of the course, students will understand how such factors as sentence structure, form, rhetorical stance, document design, and cultural context influence readers, and students will have improved their ability to guide their readers through a cooperative and informative reading experience.

English 649 Seminar in British Literature
Twentieth-Century British Novel (Class ID# 19873)
Professor Maria McGarrity
Tuesdays 6:30-8:20 pm

This course will focus on twentieth-century British literature, specifically the novel. The twentieth century is an era that can be periodized not simply by chronology but also by global cultural events and their aftermaths. The sense of after-ness in the twentieth-century becomes evident in the many "posts" in contemporary literary and cultural studies, such as postcolonialism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, and post cold war. Kwame Anthony Appiah has famously inquired: "Is the Post- in Postmodern the Post- in Postcolonial?" We will endeavor to formulate a response to such a provocative question.
We will examine the ways in which the events, eras, theories, and their aftermaths become imagined in novels during this time period. While reading on average 1 novel a week, we will begin with a study of British modernism and continue to chart the development of twentieth-century literature through the latter half of the twentieth century. Paying attention to the role of the artist in society, we will attempt to determine if the various "posts" in our reading are distinct, related, arbitrary, and/or inevitable, and what their implications might be for contemporary studies of British culture.

Required Texts: Barker, Regeneration; Forster, A Passage to India; Fowles, The Ebony Tower; Greene,The Power and the Glory; Ishiguro, Remains of the Day; Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; McEwan, Atonement; Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival; Smith, White Teeth; Unsworth, Pascali's Island; Woolf, Between the Acts.

English 700 Practicum in the Teaching of Composition (Class ID# 7523)
Professor Donald McCrary
Thursdays 4:20-6:10 pm

The course will examine theoretical and practical implications of teaching and tutoring writing. Although the emphasis will be on college writing instruction, most of the theories and practices we discuss will be relevant to secondary education teaching. However, the emphasis will be training students to teach in the writing program at LIU/Brooklyn. The course will examine important teaching issues such as constructing course syllabi, integrating reading and writing assignments, promoting process writing, responding to student papers, addressing the linguistic needs and abilities of a multicultural student population, and managing student behavior in the classroom. The course will focus on praxis and the writing issues/concerns of students at the university.

Students will write a journal entry for each course reading, create a syllabus that reflects their theoretical and practical approach to writing instruction, and, possibly, write an observation of an instructor's teaching.

Possible texts for the course include The St.Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing.

English 707 Methods of Research and Criticism (Class ID# 7699)
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Wednesdays 6:30-8:20 pm

This course is designed to acquaint students with graduate-level literary and rhetorical theory and with methods of research and documentation. Its aims are twofold: 1) to engage in the practice of literary and rhetorical analysis as a means of joining scholarly conversations and enriching ways of reading and teaching literature; and 2) to give an overview of the history and range of critical theory. To that end, although we will focus on three critical approaches-historicist, feminist, and rhetorical-we will set them in the context of various critical theories practiced today. To grasp the dialectic between theory and literature, we will read primary texts from literary movements--realism/naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism--that simultaneously continue and break from the past. Along with Edith Wharton's House of Mirth, we will read short stories and poems by authors such as Balzac, W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ann Petry, Faulkner, Richard Wright, Joyce, Tillie Olsen, Borges, Barth, Junot Diaz, and others. As we collectively apply different critical theories to these diverse readings, each student will choose a text and a critical approach as the basis for an individual research project, which will include a proposal, an annotated bibliography, and an essay. In addition to the research essay, an oral presentation will be required.

Sigma Tau Delta Fundraiser

The English Honor Society is holding a fundraiser on December 14 and 15 (Monday and Tuesday) from 12-4 in the lobby in front of Student Services (3rd Floor, Pratt Building). We’re selling children’s books and chocolate. Please stop by!

Everything is under $5.

Holiday Party!

The English Department
cordially invites you to our


Thursday, December 10th, 2009
4:00 p.m. until....

We are asking the all participants bring in a dish.


This year we are adding a game, so be prepared.

MFA Reading Series Events: November

You are invited to two readings by students in the MFA program in creative writing at Long Island University

at the 11th Street Bar
510 E. 11th Street
(between Avenues A & B in Manhattan)

MFA'd in the Dooryard Blooming

Monday, November 23


Lily Almendarez
John Casquarelli
marita casartelli downes
Christine Gans
Yani Gonzalez
Stephanie Gray
Tony Iantosca
Rachel Jackson
Tiffany Johnson
Jamey Jones
Elspeth MacDonald
Uche Nduka
Jon L. Peacock
Giorgios Retsinas
Jhon Sanchez

Let Me Tell You Something

Monday, November 30

Eric Alter
Alicia Berbenick
Patia Braithwaite
Christine Francavilla
Tejan Green
Gulay Isik
Tamara Lebron
Zahra Patterson
Mary Walker
Jessica Wedge

Workshop: How to Create Independent Student Writing Groups

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program and The Writing Center invite the LIU Brooklyn Campus Community to a Workshop...

How to Create Independent Student Writing Groups

When & Where

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Pratt Building, Room 120

What it's About

♦ Are you interested in fostering student writing outside the classroom?

♦ Would you like to introduce students to a process whereby they learn to become effective readers and editors of their own and each other’s writing?

♦ Would you like to see and hear from a practicing LIU student writing group?

This workshop is for faculty who would like to sow the seeds of independent student writing groups in their classes as well as for students who would like to start up their own groups. All are welcome to find out how small clusters of students can "workshop" their way together from freshman year to graduation (or for shorter stints, if desired), gaining valuable skills and confidence with peer support (and having fun).

We will discuss how such groups operate and how to form them, as well as
demonstrate workshopping in action by students who have done it successfully in the
past (with a Q & A). Follow-up information and support will be provided.

Please RSVP to William Burgos at or ext. 1094.

MFA Reading Series Event: Brenda Coultas, Visiting Writing (Fall 2009)

BRENDA COULTAS, visiting writer in the MFA program, Fall 2009, will read her work.

Reception and book signing afterwards.

When & Where

Friday, November 13, 5 PM
4th floor lounge, H building, Long Island University, Brooklyn

Brenda Coultas is the author of A Handmade Museum (2003) and The Marvelous Bones of Time (2007), both published by Coffee House Books. She is the recipient of the 2004 Norma Farber First Book Award for A Handmade Museum, a Greenwald grant from The Academy of American Poets, and a 2005 fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Before becoming a poet, she was a farmer, a carny, a taffy maker, a park ranger, a waitress in a disco ballroom, and the second woman welder in Firestone Steel's history. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including Conjunctions, Epoch, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, The Denver Review and Open City.

"Equally at ease in the city and the country, Brenda Coultas is a spiritual archaeologist of dumpsters and farm fields, an observer of the derelict and everyday folks. Her vivid voice is like no other I have encountered, and the originality of her work is matched by the genuine wisdom of its perceptions." --Bradford Morrow

Voices of the Rainbow Event: Roger Sedarat & Tiphanie Yanique

When & Where

Tuesday, Nov. 10, noon
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Roger Sedarat teaches in the MFA Program at Queens College. He is author of the poetry collection, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic (winner of the Hollis Summers Prize) and the chapbook From Tehran to Texas.

Tiphanie Yanique, a native of the Virgin Islands, teaches at Drew University. She is an award-winning author of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony will be published in 2010.

Honoring Robert Donald Spector

Join us to celebrate the life of our teacher, friend, and colleague...

Robert Donald Spector

Wednesday, 11/18/2009
Kumble Theater
Brooklyn Campus, Long Island University

Please RSVP by 11/6 @ 718 488 1003.

LIU English Department Book Scholarship for Spring 2010

The English department gives out FIVE $100 award certificates for books every spring and fall semester. A student may win the award multiple times in different semesters. Apply now!

Eligibility: The student must be registered for an upper-division course in English (numbered 100 and above) for Spring 2010. Majors and non-majors are welcome.

Pick up an application in the ENG Department today!

You will need to give the following information on the application:

Student name
Student ID
Email & phone contact
Your Major at LIU
List of all English courses you have taken at LIU Brooklyn

Then you must put your application in Wayne Berninger’s mail box, English Department, 4th Floor, Humanities Building.

The Book Scholarship program is generously funded by Barnes&Noble, through the Brooklyn Campus Bookstore.


Online Registration Started October 19. Meet With Your Advisor Now & Register Early!

English Majors — If you are an English major, you should meet with Wayne Berninger (the English Department’s new Registration Advisor) as early as possible to plan your schedule in preparation for the beginning of Online Registration on October 19. Doing so will help ensure that courses are not cancelled and that you don’t have to scramble to find replacement courses at the last minute. Attached to this flyer you will find descriptions of the courses we’re offering in Spring 2010. Consult the English Department website to determine which courses you still need for your particular concentration (i.e., Creative Writing, Literature, or Writing & Rhetoric). Contact Wayne Berninger in the English Department at 718-780-4328 or via e-mail at

Non-English Majors — Advanced English courses aren’t only for English majors! The writing and analytical skills that students gain in English classes are very useful in a variety of professional careers. Even if you are not majoring in English, you can still take upper-division English courses--as long as you have completed ENG 16 and two courses from ENG 61-62-63-64. If you really want to build up your transcript, consider an English Minor, which consists of any four English courses numbered 100 or above. Note: According to the Brooklyn Campus Undergraduate Bulletin, “Any minor satisfies the distribution requirement.” This is true no matter what division your major is in! If you’d like more information about minoring in English—or if you think you might like to major in English— contact Wayne Berninger in the English Department at 718-780-4328 or via e-mail at


English 101 Introduction to English Studies (Class ID# 7293)
Professor Jonathan Haynes
Wednesdays 6-8:30 pm

This course is required for English majors in all three concentrations (Literature, Creative Writing, Writing & Rhetoric). You must take it at some point within the first two semesters after completing the core English courses (i.e., ENG 16 and two courses from ENG 61-62-63-64). If you are at this stage and you don’t take ENG 101 in Spring 2010, then you must take it in Spring 2011. Yes, you may take other advanced ENG courses at the same time as ENG 101.

This course provides students with tools and intellectual background that will serve as a basis for more advanced studies in the English major, whether in writing and rhetoric, creative writing, or literature. Much of the course will center on genre. We will examine examples of various genres (the novel, the essay, lyric poetry, drama, and cinema). Our discussions of what genres are and of how they operate will be informed by forays into the history of literature and the history of critical thinking about literature and rhetoric, including contemporary theoretical approaches. Students will integrate primary and secondary sources in a substantial essay on a topic they choose. We will also talk about what sorts of career opportunities a degree in English may lead to.


English 129 Later British Literatures (Class ID# 8079)
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

For English majors, this course is required in the Literature concentration. It can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.

This course has a double focus: we will explore the themes of romance and gender relations, social class conflict, war, and sanity/insanity in British literature from the mid-nineteenth century onward. At the same time, we will study the assigned texts as representatives of one of the three dominant literary modes of Western literature, i.e. realism, modernism, and postmodernism. We begin with two realistic novels: Great Expectations (1861) by Charles Dickens and Silas Marner (1861) by George Eliot. Next, we will explore Modernism, including poetry by W.B. Yeats, H.D. and T.S. Eliot, and two novels related to World War I, i.e. Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier (1918) and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room (1922). Our postmodern segment will begin with No Man’s Land (1975), a hilarious play by Harold Pinter. We will continue with Jeanette Winterson’s intriguingly strange Lighthousekeeping (2004), and end up with a modern re-imagining of Great Expectations, i.e. Lloyd Jones’s novel Mister Pip (2006).


English 137 Shakespeare (Class ID# 19423)
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Mondays 6:00-8:30 pm

For English majors, this course will satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.

William Shakespeare is considered to be the finest poet and playwright of the English language and this course will explore the reasons why. To understand Shakespeare and appreciate the legacy he has left for English drama, students will begin the exploration of his impressive oeuvre with context. The Elizabethan stage flourished after a time of enormous political, religious, and social upheaval in England. As a part of the European Renaissance, drama and other forms of literature opened up and began to explore themes and ideas beyond the divine. Theater, though not the high-brow form of entertainment that it is today, began to flourish and playwrights began writing for contemporary audiences, which included aristocrats and commoners alike. A performance did not take place in a fancy setting with hushed audiences being respectfully quiet so that every nuance of the actors’ expressions could be appreciated. Instead, theater was a rowdy affair with actively critical audiences who would not hesitate to the let the actor or playwright know if they found the show boring! Reading drama is somewhat artificial and does not fully convey this contextual meaning of the work. In order to offset this artificiality, students will view film versions and see one performance of a play. In addition, students will be expected to work in groups to reproduce a scene. Shakespeare, to be fully understood, must be read, watched, and performed!


English 159 Literatures of the U.S. Since 1865—High and Low Culture (Class ID# 7083)
Professor Carol Allen
Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:45 pm

For English majors, this course is required in the Literature concentration. It can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.

This course begins with the shift in American culture that occurred during the nineteenth century when high and low sectors began to be defined, calcified and defended, a transition that continues to impact on us today. We will chart how major American artists have responded to this dichotomy with their texts that range from novels, to drama, to poetry and essays. Following such a path will also lead us to concentrate heavily on class, public space, racial and ethnic difference, youth movements, and such ideas as margin versus center and cosmopolitanism versus regionalism. Be prepared for a variety of assignments that will include trips to cultural institutions, informal writing, presentations, in-class essays and a longer project. You will learn about the major movements in American literary development from the Civil War to present, hone your critical reading skills, perfect your writing, and command an informed opinion about the ongoing cultural “wars” that shape us today. Required texts might include Highbrow, Lowbrow, Lawrence Levine; The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett; As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner; Sula, Toni Morrison; A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams; The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead; The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri.


English 166 Fiction Writing Workshop (Class Id# 7275)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays 6:30-8:50 pm

For English majors, this course will satisfy a creative-writing elective requirement in the Creative Writing concentration. It can also satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. English majors concentrating in Creative Writing may take this class two times for credit.

This workshop will focus on the way autobiography overlaps with fiction and how the past is fictionalized as a way of keeping it alive. The premise is that the source of most fiction is fading memories, whether we're aware of it or not. Though Jack Kerouac is the most obvious exponent of this method, we'll look at other writers of the last century (Marguerite Duras, Thomas Bernhard, Lydia Davis, John Edgar Wideman, Georges Perec, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Laura Riding, Jamaica Kincaid, James Ellroy, Maurice Blanchot) who struggle to cross the borders between fiction and life story. We'll concentrate on the conventions of fiction—plot, character, conflict--with an eye towards expanding on what's already been done. Our writing projects will include working with secrets, memories, observations, opinions, overheard conversations—fragments of everything.


English 173 Writing in the Community (Class ID# 19424)
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

For English majors, this course will satisfy a writing-and-rhetoric requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric may take this class two times for credit.

This course will acquaint you with writing about, in, and for communities and organizations—neighborhoods, schools, work-places, museums, non-profits, and other social spaces. Although our main focus will be on writing in and for communities, we will first consider how and why they form, develop, thrive, decay, and sometimes “come back.” We will examine their histories, everyday practices, and rules, asking how boundaries are drawn, policy decisions made, and individuals classified as insiders or outsiders, players or spectators. Second, we will go into communities to investigate and practice the kinds of writing done in communities, such as neighborhood blogs, grant proposals, organizational fliers and brochures, and museum exhibition texts. And third, we will write for a community—a flier, brochure, proposal, report, or other type of document—and possibly also facilitate writing within a community, for example, working with elders or high school youth to enable them to give voice to their ideas, hopes, and or dreams. In addition to encouraging experimentation with multimodal, digital and print essays, the class will create a blog based on your research projects.


English 175 Writing for the Professions (Class ID# 9451)
Professor Michael Bokor
Thursdays 4:30-5:45 pm

For English majors, this course will satisfy a writing-and-rhetoric requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric may take this class two times for credit.

Most successful transactions in business rely on clear and concise communication, which makes those with effective writing skills indispensable in any organization. An essential aspect of this success is targeted, persuasive writing. The results writers want from their e-mails, proposals, recommendation reports, and other documents hinge on their ability to grab their audiences’ attention and persuade them to act on the ideas in the documents they produce. But what exactly do writers do at the work place to write successfully? This course will focus on strategies for effective writing at the work place; it is good for students looking for opportunities to improve their skills for professional writing in their careers. Through practical hands-on exercises in this course, you will:

• Acquire specific skills to analyze and solve your writing problems;
• Learn how to develop effective writing skills to generate documents that convey credible messages and project a professional image;
• Learn how to eliminate barriers between you and your audience(s); and
• Develop skills for conducting effective research in a workplace setting.


English 190 Senior Seminar in Literature (Class ID# 6759)
Professor Leah Dilworth (Instructor Subject to Change Depending on Enrollment)
Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 pm

This course is required for English majors concentrating in Literature. If you register for this course, and it cancels due to low enrollment, consult one of the Co-chairs of the English Department (either Professor Leah Dilworth or Professor Sealy Gilles) or the Undergraduate Registration Advisor (Wayne Berninger). We can arrange for you to take it as a Tutorial.

This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25 pages) on topics of their own choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write an informal proposal, a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. Students will also read and critique each other’s work. Required reading will include essays on research methods and writing as well as a literary text and selected critical essays.


English 191 Senior Seminar in Creative Writing (Class ID# 7869)
Professor Lewis Warsh (Instructor Subject to Change Depending on Enrollment)
Day/Time TBA

This course is required for English majors concentrating in Creative Writing. If you register for this course, and it cancels due to low enrollment, consult one of the Co-chairs of the English Department (either Professor Leah Dilworth or Professor Sealy Gilles) or the Undergraduate Registration Advisor (Wayne Berninger). We can arrange for you to take it as a Tutorial.

We will investigate the lives and writings of various authors (Gertrude Stein, Arthur Rimbaud, Robert Creeley, Zora Neale Hurston and Frank O’Hara, among others); attend and report on poetry readings—and give readings ourselves; go to museums; listen to music; keep intensive reading journals. Our final project will be putting together a manuscript of our writing.


English 192 Senior Seminar In Writing & Rhetoric (Class ID# 7099)
Professor Deborah Mutnick (Instructor Subject to Change Depending on Enrollment)
Day/Time TBA

This course is required for English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric. If you register for this course, and it cancels due to low enrollment, consult one of the Co-chairs of the English Department (either Professor Leah Dilworth or Professor Sealy Gilles) or the Undergraduate Registration Advisor (Wayne Berninger). We can arrange for you to take it as a Tutorial.


English 207 Existence in Black: Black Existentialism in American Literature and Philosophy (Class ID# 19895) / Cross-listed with PHI 180 & HUM 180, each with its own Class ID#.
Professor Joseph Filonowicz (Philosophy) &
Professor Orlando Warren (English)
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00-1:15 pm

Prerequisites: ENG 16 and one philosophy core course (PHI 61 or 62; or HHP 21 or 22), or permission of the instructors. For English majors, this course will satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.

Black existentialism is a modern American intellectual tradition that is perhaps best summed up in a single question: “What is to be done in a world of nearly a universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black folk?” (Lewis Gordon, introduction to Existence in Black). Born from the soil of the actual historical experience of blacks, it stands at the intersection of three distinct philosophical and literary forces: first, the European tradition of existentialism that culminates in the works of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone deBeauvoir; secondly, the work of Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, who first documented the historical constitution of black defiance to black devaluation as “a madness or social deviance”; finally––and importantly––black American social thought as represented in the poems, plays, essays and narratives of Frederick Douglass, Alain Locke, W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Elison, James Weldon Johnson, Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Malcolm X and other prominent black writers. A new generation of black American authors has recently stepped forth to synthesize these forces explicitly into a coherent and exciting philosophy of human existence, addressed to thoughtful people everywhere.

In this new course a professor of literature and a professor of philosophy will collaborate in guiding students on an adventure of reflection, a study of the existential dilemmas that have always confronted black thinkers and writers (indeed all black people) simply in virtue of their being black. The object is to gain rich insight into a major concern of both modern literature and modern philosophy: the walls that isolate and separate men and women from one another and alienate them even from themselves. What does the “curtain of color” do to people on both sides of that curtain? In the words of Abraham Chapman (in his introduction to Black Voices), “If, in addition to aesthetic delight, we turn to literature for its power of human illumination, both as mirror and lamp, then certainly the mirrors and lamps created by the black writers have a special value for America––if we are ready to look at the truths they expose.”

Students who participate actively and study carefully should achieve just such insight and illumination, as well as improve their analytical and argumentative writing skills. An atmosphere of mutual respect and consideration in the seminar will hopefully also assist students in improving their interpersonal skills, especially when discussing with others matters of identity and race. Weekly in-class and bi-weekly formal written assignments will be read and evaluated (but not formally graded) by both professors; students will revise these and incorporate them into a final (fully annotated) project (portfolio), which will be graded. Attendance and participation will determine approximately half of students’ final grades in the course, with the quality of their final portfolios counting for the other half. The course will be enhanced by visits from guest speakers and at least one (optional) field trip. Participants in this seminar will be asked to present some of their conclusions in an “open class” for the benefit of interested students from across the campus. Our texts will be Lewis R. Gordon, editor, Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy; and Abraham Chapman, editor, Black Voices: An Anthology of Afro-American Literature. These will be supplemented by brief photocopied excerpts from recent scholarship in the area of black existentialism.



Tthe following Honors electives (taught by English Department faculty) will satisfy an English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. They can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. Please discuss your situation with Wayne Berninger in the English Department before you register for any of these. Again, you may only register for these courses if you are in the Honors Program.

HHE 150 Mythology of Ireland (Class ID# 19466), Professor Maria McGarrity, Th 3-5:30

HHE 153 Life Journeys: Wisdom and Forgiveness (Class ID# 19469), Professor John High, M 2-4:30

HSM 110 Myth & Gender in Ancient World (Class ID# 8803), Professor Sealy Gilles, M 6-8:30



The Global College Program of Long Island University invites English majors to study abroad for a semester or a year at one of our centers—Costa Rica, Japan, China, or India. Not only will you have the opportunity to study and travel in a foreign country while earning credit towards your major, but you will also become immersed in another culture, develop your global awareness and cross-cultural communication skills, and be provided with a variety of internship and service learning opportunities. At all centers, students are encouraged to engage in independent-study projects relevant to their academic interests.

The Costa Rica Program in Heredia offers home stays with Costa Rican families, internships throughout the region, and courses in writing, Latin American studies, cross-cultural research methods, Latin American literature, Spanish language, global health and traditional healing, peace and reconciliation studies, environmental studies, and an introduction to experiential education.

The India Program in Bangalore enables students to explore the country’s religious and cultural diversity, the caste system, travel writing, environmental issues, the situation of Tibetan refugees, and the status of women. Students also have the opportunity to study India’s art forms, dance, and music.

The China Program in Hangzhou allows students to study a wide range of topics including the history of China, religious life in China, traditional Chinese medicine, poetry, women’s issues, calligraphy, taiji, Mandarin Chinese language and modernization and economic development.

The Comparative Religion and Culture Program enables students to engage in intensive study of the teachings, rituals, and spiritual practices of the world’s major religions while exploring cross-cultural issues such as identity, human rights, peace and reconciliation, and world citizenship. During the fall semester, students travel in Taiwan and Thailand, and during the spring semester, students travel throughout India and Turkey while they immerse themselves in the religions and cultures of these countries. The courses offered in the fall include: Comparison: Theory and Method, Religions and Modernity in Taiwan, Culture and Society of Taiwan, and Religions and Modernity in Thailand. The following courses are offered in the spring: Comparison: Practice and Critique, Religions and Modernity in India, History and Society in India, and Religions and Modernity in Turkey.

The Australia Program in Byron Bay is offered only during the spring semester. Students explore the relationships between people and their environment from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students travel throughout Australia and take courses that focus on indigenous peoples, the natural history, ecological diversity and related social and cultural contexts of Australia through seminars, field trips, service learning and internships.

Long Island University Financial Aid can be applied to all Global College overseas programs. For more information call 718 488 3409 or e-mail

Fifteen (15) $5000 scholarships are available to study on Global College programs during the Spring 2010 semester.

English Majors who are interested in Global College should see the back of this page for the English Department’s Guidelines for English Majors Studying Abroad in the Global College Program—please do not register for Global College without meeting with us first!


The following are guidelines for undergraduate English majors who wish to study abroad through the Global College Program and apply the credits earned toward their upper-division English major requirements.

 Student must receive permission from Undergraduate Registration Advisor (Wayne Berninger) and Chair of English to enroll in Global College. See Mr. Berninger FIRST, before you do anything else.

 Before going abroad, student must have completed ENG 16, COS 50, and six credits from ENG 61-62-63-64.

 A maximum of 12 Global College credits may be applied toward upper-division English major requirements.

 During any semester abroad, student must take 6 credits (or equivalent) in English. Independent study may be arranged, in consultation with Undergraduate Advisor and Chair of English.


 Tuition, fees, and room & board abroad is about the same as tuition, fees, and room & board at the Brooklyn Campus.

 University financial aid and scholarships are transferable to Global College. However, students should be aware that there are no work-study opportunities abroad. Also, athletes who receive free room and board at the Brooklyn Campus are not automatically eligible for same while abroad. Department of Athletics may agree to provide athletes with a stipend to cover Global College room & board fees. Students are urged to discuss this possibility with the Department of Athletics before they decide to study abroad.

 Global College has additional sources of scholarships for students studying abroad.

Voices of the Rainbow Event: Kevin Baker

When & Where

Monday, October 26, 6 PM
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Kevin Baker has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, and Harper’s magazine. He is the author of the historical novels Sometimes You See It, Paradise Alley, Strivers Row, and Dreamland, set largely in Coney Island.

Book Party in Honor of Maria McGarrity & Srividhya Swaminathan

Join us for a book party to celebrate the publication of two new books by English Department Faculty.

Maria McGarrity – Washed by the Gulf Stream: the Historic and Geographic Relation of Irish and Caribbean Literature


Srividhya Swaminathan – Debating the Slave Trade: Rhetoric of British National Identity, 1759–1815

Monday, November 16
4:30 – 6 pm
Humanities building
4th floor lounge

Schweizer Award, May 2009: Bookshelves for Humanities Building Fourth Floor Lounge

No Schweizer award for best M.A. thesis was awarded in the spring of 2009 because there were no nominations. Bernard & Liang Schweizer instead donated the prize money of $300 to purchase bookshelves for the 4th floor lounge in the Humanities Building--as part of the Humanities Division's ongoing effort to refurbish that space. More info on that project is forthcoming.

The Liang and Bernard Schweizer Thesis Award was created to recognize professional promise and to reward academic excellence and intellectual maturity among the outgoing M.A. students at the LIU-Brooklyn English Department. The Award shall be presented each May at the English Department Awards Ceremony. The first award year was 2008, and the winner was Helen C. Seo, for "Evelyn Waugh: 'Change and Decay in All Around I See'," an interdisciplinary study of Waugh's fiction from a literary critical and media studies perspective.

The prize money is $300, to be paid to the winner by check.

The award shall be given to the most rigorously intellectual, original, and important Master's thesis submitted by an M.A. student during the academic year preceding the award. The award shall be given to a student in the M.A. program, either for a thesis in Literature, in Professional Writing, or in Writing & Rhetoric.

The thesis advisor shall make the nomination on behalf of the student.

The Award Committee shall be composed of three to four judges.

Six weeks prior to the Award Ceremony, Professor Bernard Schweizer will solicit recommendations from all faculty for the best thesis written during the preceding academic year. The recommendations shall be discursive and clearly indicate the strengths of the nominated thesis. A copy of the thesis is to be submitted to Bernard Schweizer together with the recommendation by the set deadline.

The committee of judges shall meet once prior to the last department meeting of the academic year to determine a winner. If there is no natural consensus, a vote shall be taken.

The Liang and Bernard Schweizer Thesis Award shall be given out as long as Bernard Schweizer teaches at Long Island University.

Watch this space for the next call for applications and the announcement of future winner(s)!

Fall 2009 English Department Book Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the students who won English Department book scholarships for Fall 2009:

Stephanie Carlin (Music Theory major)
Michelle Young (English major)
Franchesca Castano (English major)
Theresa Gorella (Biology major)
Sophie Bloomfield (English major).

The English department gives out FIVE $100 award certificates for books every spring and fall semester. A student may win the award multiple times in different semesters. Eligibility: The student must be registered for an upper-division course in English (numbered 100 and above) in the semester immediately following the awarding of the certificate. Majors and non-majors are welcome.

We will accept another round of applications near the end of the Fall 2009 semester for use in Spring 2010.

Watch this space!

Annual English Department Awards Ceremony

I'm late in posting this announcement, but on May 5, 2009, the English Department held its annual Awards Ceremony, at which the following awards were presented:

Excellence in English, Undergraduate

Nikki Alimonda
Barbara Joseph

Excellence in English, Undergraduate

Katuraka Alston
Christy Bright
Nell Del Giudice
Charulata Dyal
Jacqueline McCormick
Cherisse Mayers
Lindsey Miller
Jessica Rogers
Charles Thorne

The Edward Edelman and Susanne Popper-Edelman English Essay Prizes

Tashana Thompson (Developmental Essay)

Essay Title: "New York"

Professor Deborah Mutnick's Citation: In her book, The Situation and the Story: The Art of the Personal Narrative, Vivian Gornick writes: "The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say" (13). She goes on to suggest that once the crucial elements of story and narrative persona become clear, other elements of the essay such as clarity, diction, and syntax also fall into place. Tashana Thompson's essay "New York" is a fine example of this crystallization. From her suburban high school graduation to Manhattan's canyons of skyscrapers and across the Brooklyn Bridge, Tashana blazes a path for herself and for us: "I stepped out of the subway car, and made my way up the stairs. As I entered the streets of Brooklyn, I felt like a gazelle in a lion's den. The busy streets roared as cars zipped by, leaving a whirlwind of smoke and dust behind. Walking down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, I smell the aroma of cheese pizza and the exhaust from the honking cars. Amazing how everyone is in a hurry in this city, I think, as a woman walking towards me, vigorously biting into her ruby red apple, tries to keep her balance as she buries her head in the Wall Street Journal. The heavy, cold, smoked-filled breeze tugs at my navy blue wool jacket; I pull my bag closer to my quivering ribs. Moving to New York City was one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. Who would have thought a quiet small town girl from the suburbs of Connecticut, would be attending a multi-cultural urban school in the heart of downtown Brooklyn?" Capturing the ethos of the big city for a young newcomer, Tashana succeeds in creating a persona who sees New York City anew, telling an old story of the transformative powers of the city with fresh insight. She achieves just that clarity, precision, and syntactic grace that Gornick describes, and in so doing, she richly deserves the Edelman Popper Award for the best English 14 essay in 2008-09.

Rebecca Scher (Freshman Essay)
Essay Title: "A Jury of your Peers"

Professor John B. Killoran's Citation: The best citation I can offer for Rebecca's writing is to describe her essay. The essay is about how lawyers consider race when selecting jurors and whether such considerations are racist. The essay engages with a diverse range of sources: not just a course reading but also the U.S. Constitution, the Magna Carta, a law journal article, a Time magazine article, and interviews with two lawyers. So it engages the issue at many levels and from diverse perspectives. And it's well written. Ask yourself for a moment, How would you start off such an essay? Here's Rebecca's opening sentence: "One of the first questions asked after the jury was selected for the infamous trial of OJ Simpson, the black football player accused of murdering his white wife, was what was the racial make-up of the panel." Rebecca thereby makes her essay topical for contemporary readers, but does not dwell on the Simpson case. Yet at the very end, she returns to Simpson, this time his second trial. So with this ending the essay goes full circle, but also symbolically advances.

Robert Barnes (Core Literature)

Essay Title: "God, War, and Morality in God is Dead"

Professor Bernard Schweizer's Citation: Robert Barnes's essay "God, War, and Morality in God is Dead" is a superbly clear and intelligent elucidation of a challenging, complex text. He maturely engages the deeper implications of the text, rather than simply passing judgment on the brazen blasphemy of a story in which God literally dies in Sudan and then is eaten by a pack of feral dogs, who promptly become new objects of fanatical worship. Robert sheds a revealing light on the paradoxical presence of biblical allusions in this apparently anti-theistical text, and he deftly explains the author's social and political vision. Robert's advanced critical skills are evidenced in many lucid and engaging interpretive statements and in an overall thematic cohesion and rhetorical progression that makes his essay a real pleasure to read.

Sophie Vranian (Upper Division)

Essay Title: "Politics of Food in Contemporary Nigeria"

Professor Jonathan Haynes's Citation: Sophie Vranian's essay "Politics of Food in Contemporary Nigeria," written for English 170: Contemporary African Literature and Film, was the unanimous choice of the judges for best upper-level essay. A study of the ways in which food figures in Sefi Atta's recent novel Everything Good Will Come, the essay illustrates Sophie's skill and flair as a literary critic, which allows her to deal with the novel in all its literary complexity. It also puts fully on display her education as a Global College student, which has given her an acute and practiced ability to find her way around foreign cultures and a sophisticated, interdisciplinary understanding of how societies work, in all their complexity. The passion for social justice that comes through clearly in everything Sophie says or writes, and is in fact palpable even when she's just sitting there in class biding her time, is also integral to a Global College education, but I expect she already had that passion before she came to LIU. I like to see this award as a celebration of the connection between the English Department and Global College, which we hope will grow deeper and stronger. Her essay also demonstrates, in its wonderful clarity and incisiveness, that Sophie Vranian is smart as hell.

Franchesca Castano (Senior Thesis)

Essay Title: "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Vision of feminism and American culture during turn-of-the-century America"

Professor Jonathan Haynes's Citation: It will come as no surprise to anyone in this year's Senior Seminar that Franchesca Castano has won the senior thesis prize for "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Vision of feminism and American culture during turn-of-the-century America." In writing a senior thesis, half the battle is staying on top of the process of designing, researching, and writing such a long project. Every step of the way, from informal proposal to the final presentation, Franchesca delivered on time and up to specifications, setting the standard for the class. The interest of her topic was always obvious and her prose was always lucid and pleasant. Her essay became steadily more fascinating as she developed one of its facets after another, setting Frank Baum's familiar story in the contexts of rural Kansas at the turn of the 20th century, children's literature, and popular culture. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is her two-pronged argument about Baum's feminism, establishing a direct personal connection-Baum's mother-in-law was a close associate of Elizabeth Cady Stanton-and providing an acute reading of Dorothy as a strong female character surrounded by pathetically weak males. Franchesca's thesis is a fitting culmination to her excellent career as an English major, and we are proud to send her off down the yellow brick road with this additional honor.

The Esther Hyneman Awards

Jeremy Beauregard & Christine Gans (Poetry)
Yoav Ben Yosef & Christy Bright (Fiction)

The Louis & Ann Parascandola Graduate Award

Nell del Giudice & Jessica Rogers

New Inductees to Sigma Tau Delta, Omicron Zeta Chapter

Andrea Cox, undergraduate
Zamir Khan, undergraduate
Zahra Patterson, graduate
Jon Peacock, graduate

Congratulations, everyone!

Read more about each of these prizes/awards by visiting the English Department website. Click one of the links in the column to the right, under "SPECIFIC PAGES WITHIN ENGLISH DEPARTMENT WEBSITE." Thanks.

MFA Panel Discussion Event: The Literary Marketplace in the 21st Century

The MFA Creative Writing Program at Long Island University presents a panel discussion:

The Literary Marketplace in the 21st Century

Moderated by Jessica Hagedorn, with special guests:

Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards;

Stuart Bernstein — literary agent, Stuart Bernstein Representation For Artists;

Jenni Ferrari-Alder — literary agent, Brickhouse Literary Agency;

Rakesh Satyal — editor at Harper Collins and author of the acclaimed novel, Blue Boy.

When & Where

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 6:30pm — 8pm
English Faculty Lounge, 4th floor Humanities Bldg.
Reception after the discussion.

click here to RSVP

Barbara Henning Distinguished Service Award--First Winner: Nell del Guidice

Established in 2009, the Barbara Henning Distinguished Service Award is not an annual award but will be given periodically by the faculty of the Department to a graduate student in appreciation for exceptional service to the English Department.

Barbara Henning, a poet and novelist, was for many years a professor in the English Department at Long Island University. She was Chair of the department from September 1997 to August 2000. She designed the creative writing program, both graduate and undergraduate, and advised all the creative writing students. She was also director of the freshman writing program for three years and a writing specialist for HEOP. She retired in 2005 to concentrate on her writing. For the latest information about Professor Henning's publications, visit her website.

Nell del Giudice, the first winner of the Award, was announced at the English Department's annual awards ceremony in May 2009.

Nell was the assistant to the director of the MFA program in creative writing from February 2008 through May 2009. She coordinated the many readings--both off and on campus--that took place during this time, and was involved in all phases of this program. As the MFA assistant, she participated in the Associated Writing Programs conference in Chicago in February 2009. An accomplished actress, Nell received her BA from Bennington College and graduated from the Brooklyn Campus MFA program in creative writing in May 2009.

Congratulations, Nell!

Voices of the Rainbow Event: Thomas Sayers Ellis & Jacqueline Bishop

Wednesday, October 7, noon
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Thomas Sayers Ellis is a poet and photographer from Washington, DC. He co-founded the Dark Room Collective and teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. He has been published in Grand Street, Ploughshares, and The Best American Poetry (1997, 2001) and is the author of the highly praised collection, The Maverick Room.

Jacqueline Bishop is a Jamaican-born poet, fiction writer, painter, and filmmaker. She is the founding editor of Calabash: A journal of Caribbean Arts & Letters. She is author of The River’s Song (novel) and Fauna (poetry). Her latest collection of poetry is Snapshots from Istanbul.

Faculty Forum Event

The Richard L. Conolly College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites the LIU Brooklyn Campus community to a Faculty Forum presentation by Professor Harriet Malinowitz of the English Department.

Title & Topic

"Sometimes Something is True*: Ethos in the Work of Jewish Anti-Zionist Writers"

Ethos is a term that comes from Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and refers to a persuasive appeal grounded in the trustworthy character of a speaker. This talk looks at the role of ethos in the work of Jewish writers who have used their “Jewishness” to challenge Zionist discourses and practices.

Harriet Malinowitz will discuss Jewish writers--including members of the Israeli military, religious figures, Holocaust survivors and their children, Israeli academics, journalists, and historians--who have contended, in various forms and in different historical periods, that a Jewish state is not a viable, desirable, or just idea.

* The title comes from a remark by Daniel Okrent, former public editor of The New York Times, who once said, “The pursuit of balance can create imbalance, because sometimes something is true.” (This became popularly known as “Okrent’s Law.”)

When & Where

Monday, October 5, 2009
3:00-4:30 p.m., Library Learning Center, Room 515

Refreshments will be served

For further information, please contact Gladys Schrynemakers (718-488-1001) or William Burgos (718-488-1094).

Note: This is part of the Campus-wide Faculty Forum program; it is not part of the English Department's own Faculty Forum: Works in Progress program.

Voices of the Rainbow--Fall 2009 Schedule of Readings


Thomas Sayers Ellis & Jacqueline Bishop
Wednesday, October 7, noon
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Thomas Sayers Ellis is a poet and photographer from Washington, DC. He co-founded the Dark Room Collective and teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. He has been published in Grand Street, Ploughshares, and The Best American Poetry (1997, 2001) and is the author of the highly praised collection, The Maverick Room.

Jacqueline Bishop is a Jamaican-born poet, fiction writer, painter, and filmmaker. She is the founding editor of Calabash: A journal of Caribbean Arts & Letters. She is author of The River’s Song (novel) and Fauna (poetry). Her latest collection of poetry is Snapshots from Istanbul.

Kevin Baker
Monday, October 26, 6 PM
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Kevin Baker has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, and Harper’s magazine. He is the author of the historical novels Sometimes You See It, Paradise Alley, Strivers Row, and Dreamland, set largely in Coney Island.

Roger Sedarat & Tiphanie Yanique
Tuesday, Nov. 10, noon
Health Sciences Building, Room 121

Roger Sedarat teaches in the MFA Program at Queens College. He is author of the poetry collection, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic.

Tiphanie Yanique, a native of the Virgin Islands, teaches at Drew University. She is an award-winning author of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony will be published in 2010.

All events are free and open to the public.

Funding provided by the Provost’s Office.

Watch this blog for further announcements (to include room information).

Contact Professor Maria McGarrity or Professor Louis Parascandola for further information.

English Department Faculty in the News

Esther Hyneman, Professor Emerita of English, is interviewed in a recent L.A. Times article about a shelter for abused women in Afghanistan.

Kudos to Professor Hyneman for her contributions to this important work.

MFA Reading Series Event: Students from Barbara Henning's "Traditions & Lineages" Summer Class

When & Where

6:30 PM, Thursday June 25th
LIU Brooklyn campus
4th floor English Dept Lounge

6pm refreshments
6:30 reading starts sharp!


Lillian Grigas
Christine Gans
Eric Alter
Zahra Patterson
Stephanie Gray
Tiffany Johnson
Yoav Ben Yosef
Danielle Moskowitz
Liliana Almendarez
Yani Gonzalez
Shani Ferri-Manor
Jamey Jones

Graduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2009

Summer Session One 2009

(May 16 - June 29)

English 504--Traditions & Lineages
Class ID# 5723
Professor Barbara Henning
Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-8:15 pm

This is writing workshop and reading seminar. You will be reading books and participating in writing workshops. In this seminar we will be doing close reading of five books (fiction poetry) from 20th-to-21st Century writers, examining how these poetics work within or transform the poetics of previous movements or traditions such as Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, Oulipo, Cubism, Negritude, Magic Realism, Projective Verse, Language Writing, the Beat Generation and Investigative Poetry. With each book, we’ll also be reading short excerpts from earlier works. The goal of the class is to introduce you to some new writers, some new ways of writing, and to perhaps become more aware of the roots of your own practice.

Generally, our schedule will work as follows: On Thursdays we will discuss the new books and handouts. On Tuesdays we will hold a writing workshop. The assignment for the workshop will relate to the readings. When the readings are assigned, you must also write a two to three page informal response to the book (and handouts) and be prepared to share it with the class. At the end of the semester (6 weeks!), you will submit a 4-5 page informal consideration of the class and how you might now consider your own writing practice in light of the works you read during the semester.

The books we will be reading will be as follows:

Aime Cesaire. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
Italo Calvino. Invisible Cities
Harryette Mullen. Sleeping with the Dictionary
Roberto Bolano. By Night in Chile
Juliana Spahr. This Connection of Everyone With Lungs.

Summer Session Two 2009

(July 6 - August 16)

English 579--Seminar in Special Studies: Good or Evil?: Debating Slavery in the 18th Century
Class ID# 7836
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-8:15 pm

The end of the 18th century witnessed one of the most dynamic social movements in British history--the movement to abolish the slave trade. No other movement at this time enlisted such a diverse array of authors and literary media to argue both for and against abolition. This course will analyze a representative sampling of antislavery and proslavery literature in order to understand the major arguments that shaped the literary landscape in the late eighteenth century. We will mix traditional literary periods in order to examine gothic, sentimental, Romantic, and neo-classical texts by major writers of the time. We will also take a broader definition of the term "literature" and look at essays and pamphlets published to argue for each side. Additionally, students travel to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to learn how to approach and conduct archival research. Students will engage in rhetorical analysis and an examination of creative techniques in examining a range of texts that truly represent the greater diversity of English and West Indian writers of the later eighteenth century.

Fall 2009

English 503--Theory of Writing
Remembering the Present
Class ID# 4175
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays 6:30-8:50 pm

Writing theory is an all encompassing endeavor. It must take into account both the past and the present while pointing instructively towards the future. Many great 20th-Century theorists were fiction writers and poets themselves--their theoretical work derived from their practice as creative writers. One goal of this course is to develop and articulate our own sense of what we want to do as writers and what we expect as readers. We will use the ideas expressed in these essays to inspire and inform our own work.

Another goal is to create a dialogue between ourselves and these authors. Ezra Pound's notable quote (I'm paraphrasing) : "Don't take advice from anyone who hasn't written a great work" is something to keep in mind. What gives anyone the right to theorize? One of the ongoing threads in this class will be an attempt to understand the place of theory in our work as writers, beginning with the inescapable question: "Is it necessary?"

Among the authors we will read are Henry James, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, Laura Riding, Gertrude Stein, Roland Barthes, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Walter Benjamin, M.M. Bakhtin, Tzvetan Todorov, Maurice Blanchot, James Baldwin, Charles Olson, Frank O'Hara, Ralph Ellison, Amiri Baraka, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Lyn Hejinian.

English 520--Advanced Writing Workshop
Non-Fiction Writing
Class ID# 6030
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Mondays 4:10-6:00 pm


This is an intensive writing workshop with a focus on the personal essay. The first few weeks will be devoted to reading personal essays by published authors and analyzing their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, and their use of language. We will then move to a workshop format in which students read and critique each other's essays in detail. The goal of the workshop is to help the writer move toward effective revision; each student will be expected to produce either one long (20-30 pages) or two shorter (10-15 pages) revised piece(s) of creative nonfiction by the end of the term. We will use as a common text Philip Lopate's The Art of the Personal Essay, as well as selected handouts. The writers we will read may include George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Natalia Ginzburg, Atul Gawande, Richard Rodriguez, Patricia Williams, Cherie Moraga, Vivian Gornick, Adrienne Rich, and Gayle Pemberton.

English 523--Fiction Writing Workshop
Short-Shorts, Meta-Fictions & Cross-Genre Writing
Class ID# 1389
Professor John High
Wednesdays 4:00-6:20 pm

What critics generally refer to as the 'experimental' story has actually existed since the beginning of storytelling across the world and throughout different cultures, continents, and mythologies. In this course we'll examine the phenomenon of metafictions, short-short stories & cross-genre writing as an innovative form in contemporary writing that builds on such traditions. These 1-2-3 page stories often combine elements of poetry, parable, and performance writing within the basic framework of narrative. Their sudden impact results from both their brevity as well as their quick and potentially explosive pacing. This is an intensive writing workshop in which we will focus on our own stories and process of writing. We'll study the essential framework of fiction (character, setting, plot, pov, etc.…), while exploring the still undefined territory of the experimental narrative in forms ranging from postcard stories to flash fictions. How can we craft our narratives to move with urgency, immediacy, and surprise? Short, episodic writing requires a vitality of voice, the sudden and unexpected in plotting and conflict, and the mind's careful meditation on the subtle nuances and meaning of events. Particular attention must be paid to the sentence--how do we sculpt the line to get to the core essence? What is left unsaid? Where are the silences? How do we find the poetry of the prose?

We'll look at ancient parables and mythic writings as well as at what's being published now as a way to examine how other writers are experimenting with ways to tell a story. We'll read texts ranging from those of the ancient Sufi, Navajo, Eskimo, and Egyptian parables to stories by Yasunari Kawabata, Jayne Anne Phillips, Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, Diane Williams, Lydia Davis, John Berger, Jamaica Kincaid, Jorge Luis Borges, Roberto Bolanño, Fanny Howe, Sam Shepard, John Edgar Wideman, and Michael Ondaatje. The course will include writing exercises that draw from childhood memories, personal experience, and the landscape of dreams. So we'll explore the possibilities of episodic writing in our work without restrictions of genre jurisdiction or hierarchy. The goal of the course includes completion of a chapbook of revised works of short fiction, a public reading and class party.

English 524--Poetry Writing Workshop
The City Below
Class ID# 1005
Visiting Poet Brenda Coultas
Thursdays 6:30-8:50 pm

In this workshop we will take our cue from the streets by writing about what is under our feet and surrounding us. We will root through the detritus, material and non-material, to discover lost histories of the city. Students will create a long work or series of related poems on this theme of the lost/hidden or perhaps even the imaginary city. This work could include investigations into extinct industries, disappeared populations or personalities, or buried ecologies. Students will go deep rather than wide in their excavation of an aspect of the city now lost or obscured by time or neglect. Expect in-class writing and sharing. We will borrow from the techniques of investigative poetics and poetics of place, and consider how our own voice or history may be influenced by the neglected city.

Our models include Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Italo Calvino, W.C.Williams, Lorine Niedecker, and onward into 21st century with Eleni Sikelianos, Anselm Berrigan, Renee Gladman, Marcella Durand and others.

Brenda Coultas is the author of The Marvelous Bones of Time (2008) and A Handmade Museum(2003) from Coffee House Press. A Handmade Museum won the Norma Farber Award from The Poetry Society of America, and a Greenwall Fund publishing grant from the Academy of American Poets. Since coming to New York City in 1994, she has served as program assistant and series curator at the Poetry Project in NYC, and along with Eleni Sikelianos, she edited the Poetry Project Newsletter. Coultas has taught at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and at the Study Abroad on The Bowery poetry program at Bowery Arts and Science, and the Poetry Project in New York City. Her writing can be found in many publications including: ConjunctionsBrooklyn RailTrickhouse, and the Denver Review. Other books include Early Films (Rodent Press) and A Summer Newsreel (Second Story Press). She received a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellowship in 2005 and is currently a LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) artist-in-residence.

English 528--Seminar: Beautiful Bold Brutal Bolaño
[Note: Even though this course is taught by MFA faculty, this is a LITERATURE course!]
Class ID# 6032
Professor Jessica Hagedorn and Visiting Writer Jaime Manrique
Wednesdays 6:30-8:50 pm

We investigate the works of the late, great Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, who died in 2003 at the young and tender age of fifty. Readings will include the gritty, sexy and sublime poems of The Romantic Dogs, as well as selections from Bolaño's prodigious and astonishing fiction: Last Evenings On EarthDistant Starand the epic and terrifying 2666. We may even throw in an excerpt from the equally epic The Savage Detectives and screen a film which provides historical context for Roberto Bolaño's life and times. We will explore cultural myth-making, "magical realism" and other movements in Latin American literature (which Bolaño and his gang of agents provocateurs were rebelling against), and what it means to read literature in translation.

Jaime Manrique was born in Colombia. His first book of poems, Los adoradores de la luna, received his country's National Book Award. In Spanish, he also wrote a volume of stories, and a collection of film reviews. He has written four novels in English: Our Lives Are the RiversTwilight at the EquatorLatin Moon in Manhattan, and Colombian Gold-- translated to many languages. Manrique is the author of the volumes of poems My Night with Federico García LorcaTarzan, My Body, Christopher Columbus;Sor Juana's Love Poems, co-translated with Joan Larkin; and the memoir Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. His reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewSalon,Washington Post Book WorldBOMB, and many other publications. Among his honors are grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He has worked as an associate professor in the M.F.A. program in writing at Columbia University from 2002 to the present. He's a member of the Board of Trustees of PEN American Center, and he chairs the Open Book Committee.

English 620: Theories of Writing & Rhetoric
Class ID# 13244
Professor Patricia Stephens
Thursdays 4:10-6:00 pm

In this course, we will examine rhetorical theories that help us understand and teach persuasive and analytic writing in the 21st century. We will start by reading some of the ancient rhetorics of Aristotle and the Sophists and then move into more contemporary (19th & 20th century) works by Gertrude Buck, Kenneth Burke, Michel Foucault, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Geneva Smitherman, Paulo Freire, Stephen Toulmin, James Berlin, Keith Gilyard, and others. As we read these texts, we will also look at the ways in which these rhetorical theories have influenced how writing has been taught in American universities.

Along the way, our explorations will be guided by many questions: What is rhetoric? Why is it important to learn about rhetorical strategies, particularly for those of us who teach reading and writing? What sorts of persuasive techniques have rhetoricians proposed? How have rhetorical theories influenced the teaching of writing in the United States? Should rhetorical strategies be taught in the writing class? If so, how? How do we distinguish between persuasion and propaganda? What is "truth," and how do we present "truthful" claims in academic and public writing? What is meant by terms such as "objectivity" and "bias"? What is the role of social context in individuals' acts of construing and constructing knowledge?

Each student will be responsible for 1) making a presentation to the class on one of the theories we read, suggesting questions for investigation and potential pedagogical applications; 2) transforming the oral presentation into a short written essay; 3) a 10-page paper which will address a theoretical question of the student's choosing.

English 624--Seminar in American Literature
African-American Narrative
Class ID# 6033
Professor Carol Allen
Tuesdays 4:10-6:00 pm

This course looks at fictional and nonfictional narrative accounts by African American writers from the Slave Narrative to Barack Obama's recent autobiography. We examine closely four slave narratives from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries written respectively by Equiano, Douglass, Jacobs, and Wilson (hers is technically billed as a novel). Then we move on to the Harlem Renaissance and study texts by DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Zora Neale Hurston, and James Weldon Johnson. Our final unit highlights contemporary texts that may include narratives by John Edgar Wideman (perhaps Fanon), Shange and Kennedy (to explore why African American women resist narrative), and Obama. We will foreground such questions as why do African Americans write autobiography and/or fictional accounts that use first person narration, what are the gender differences, and what are the politics of writing for an audience that may be unfamiliar with the cultural currency in the text.
Several papers and presentations will be required.

English 646--Individual and Small Group Writing Instruction
Class ID# 4173
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Wednesdays 6:10-8:00 pm

This course is designed to introduce tutors and teachers to the theories and practices of tutoring writing (one-on-one, small groups, and online), with an emphasis on the specific needs of writers who use the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Center. Practical concerns about tutoring will be addressed: structuring sessions and setting goals; assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing; developing strategies to teach planning, drafting, organizing, revising, proofreading and editing; working on specific grammatical issues; helping students with reading comprehension; responding to ESL concerns; noticing interpersonal dynamics and maintaining boundaries; and building awareness of cultural and ethnic differences. Participants will also become familiar with the curriculum and pedagogy of the LIU/Brooklyn Writing Program and interdisciplinary writing concerns (through WAC) on campus. Classes will be conducted as seminars/workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. All students are required to tutor for one hour per week during the semester and attend staff development meetings at the Writing Center. Each participant will write an observation report of a session conducted by another tutor and audio/video tape one session with a student (for use in a self-study).

English 650--Seminar in Medieval Literature
Arthurian Traditions
Class ID# 6034
Professor Sealy Gilles
Mondays 6:10-8:00 pm

Tales of the legendary Celtic king Arthur Pendragon and his court have captured political, historical, and artistic imaginations since the first mention of Arthur in the ninth century by the Welsh chronicler, Nennius. The most complete, and fantastic, records of Arthur and his court are literary, and it is this tradition that forms the core of the seminar. The narratives have enormous appeal; they are exotic, fast-paced, and full of emotion. They also raise difficult questions concerning gender, class, and the exercise of power. There are no easy answers in Arthur's court, where adultery strains deep personal loyalties, and heroism has many shades. Issues of personal integrity and authority combine with the fundamental otherness of the Middle Ages to create a challenging and intriguing body of literature. The last third of the course will explore 19th and 20th century incarnations of Arthurian legends, from Tennyson's Idylls of the King to Monty Python and Kennedy's Camelot. The seminar culminates in a research project and presentation. Possible topics include: studies of archaeological evidence; incarnations of Arthur's court in the visual arts, opera, or politics; theoretical approaches such as gender studies or new historicism; prophecy and magic; and creative projects such as an original short story, narrative poem, or set of lyrics accompanied by a metatext.