Voices of the Rainbow Event: Colum McCann

With regret, this evening's reading by Colum McCann has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We will reschedule the event and look forward to our next reading on Tuesday, April 7, at 12 noon with Ellen Litman and Natalie Handal. Thank you.

Thursday, April 2, 6 pm, Health Sciences Building, Room 119

Colum McCann, a native of Ireland, has written two collections of short stories and four novels, the most recent of which, Let the New World Spin, will appear later this year. He has published widely in such venues as The New Yorker and Paris Review. His film, Everything in this Country Must, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.

MFA Reading Series Event

Spoken Word in the Myth of Being

A reading by students in John High's Spring 2009 section of ENG 191 (the Senior Seminar for undergraduate English majors who are concentrating in Creative Writing).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Kumble Theatre, First Floor, Humanities Building

Free Admission


Alane Celeste
Michael Philip
Enid Hernandez
Barbara Mavrigiannakis
Leslie Conley
Kelly O'Connell
John High

Click image to see larger version of the flyer for this event:

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Robert Spector

Please join us for a gathering in memory of Dr. Robert D. Spector on March 26, 2009 at 11:00AM in the Humanities Building 4th Floor Lounge.

Please bring any poems, songs, stories, and so on, that you would like to share.

Refreshments will be served.

Click here to read more about Dr. Spector.

Undergraduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2009

[This post is a duplication of a message that already went out in e-mail and snail mail from Wayne Berninger to English majors.]

Registration is underway for Summer & Fall 2009!

You are now able to register yourself online—no more paper registration cards! No more standing in line at the Registrar! However, it is STILL important that you make an appointment to meet with me so that we can both be sure you are taking the proper classes. You should meet with me even if you have another advisor elsewhere (e.g., Honors or a second major department, etc.). Nobody else on campus can advise you as effectively about the English major as I can! In order to avoid course cancellations due to under-enrollment, I want to register as many of you as possible during Early Registration. Therefore, no matter what, as soon as you get this letter, get in touch with me, so I know your status.

If you are planning to register for Summer and/or Fall 2009, make an appointment now. I am in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (Let me know if you are not and we will work something out.)

If you already know that you will have to wait until Late Registration to register, let me know that now, so I know when I can expect you. We could even go ahead and make January appointments now!

If you are not planning to register at all for Summer or Fall 2009, tell me, so I know not to expect to hear from you. Let me know when you do plan to enroll again. This will save us both the bother of unnecessary letters and e-mails in the meantime.

If you are graduating this semester, we definitely need to meet, just to make sure your transcript is in order; you don’t want any surprises.

If you have changed your major to something other than English, or if you are no longer attending LIU, let me know, and I will remove your name from my list (and stop bothering you with letters and e-mails!).

No matter what, please start planning your schedule before you meet with me. Visit the English Department website to review the requirements for your concentration and to see what courses you need. Then see the enclosed brochure for descriptions of courses the English Department is offering in Summer & Fall 2009.

I thank you for your cooperation, and I look forward to meeting with you!

The following is copied from the flyer that went out containing course descriptions of 100+ level English courses for Summer & Fall 2009...

Advanced English Courses
Summer Session One 2009

(May 18 -- June 29)

English 180—Genre Studies: American Detective Fiction (Class ID# 7835)
Professor Donald McCrary
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00-4:50 PM

This course will satisfy a requirement in the Literature concentration. You can also use it to satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.

According to critic Brian McHale, the detective novel, in its search for truth and certainty, is the quintessential modernist fiction. Even in our so-called postmodern society, detective fiction is wildly popular, as evidenced by the proliferation of detective novels that address unique perspectives of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and, yes, postmodernism. While the roots of American detective fiction are widely debated, with critics locating diverse sources from classical literature to Edgar Allan Poe, it is indisputable that American writers created a unique type of detective fiction, influencing everything from French cinema to modern constructions of masculinity. In this course, we will analyze psychological, philosophical, epistemological, social, and cultural ideas and themes within American detective fiction, as we attempt to answer this framing question: What does American detective fiction have to tell us about ourselves and the world in which we live? To answer these framing questions, students will explore detective fiction through a variety of critical lenses, including film theory, discourse analysis, critical race theory, genre studies, queer theory, and psycholinguistics. In addition to critical texts, students will read detective fiction representing a wide range of identities, including African-American, Asian, Hispanic, gay, feminist, and traditionalist. Writers students will read include Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Walter Mosley, Amanda Cross, Barbara Neely, RD Zimmerman, Naomi Hirahara, and Paul Auster. Each week students will read, discuss, and write about both creative and critical texts. Students will write a critical essay of at least eight pages in length or a creative detective fiction work with critical analysis of at least fifteen pages. Students will also make a twenty-minute presentation of one of the assigned course texts.

Advanced English Courses
Fall 2009

English 101—Introduction to English Studies (Class ID# 2949)
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:45 pm

This course is REQUIRED for English majors in all three concentrations (Literature, Creative Writing, Writing & Rhetoric). You MUST take ENG 101 within the first two semesters after completing the core English courses (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 Fall 2009, then you MUST take it in Spring 2010. Yes, you MAY take other advanced ENG courses at the same time as ENG 101.

This introductory course maps out the field of English studies and provides a foundation for the more advanced study of literature, rhetoric, and writing. During the course of the semester, we will familiarize ourselves with the basic outlines of literary history, define the various kinds of literary writing (genres), learn the fundamentals of prosody (the theory of versification), engage with highlights of the critical tradition, and talk about the history of English studies at large. Most importantly, we will perform close readings of literary texts to see what makes them “work,” both thematically and aesthetically, and we will practice our own creative and analytical writing faculties. Finally, we will learn about career prospects and professional opportunities for English majors. A course pack with primary sources (drawn from British literature) as well as secondary texts will be provided.

English 103—Workshop in the Essay: Explorations in Writing—Writer & Style (Class ID# 6026)
Professor Michael Bokor
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

This course satisfies a requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric may take this class twice.

This course is useful for students looking for opportunities to improve their own styles for effective academic, professional, and nonfiction writing. You may be familiar with the rhetorical concept of “style” and why it is considered an important factor in determining the success or otherwise of any piece of writing; and you may also think that you have your own “style” of writing. But what exactly is “style” and where does it come from? Does “style” exist on its own, independent of the writer? Does it exist before the text, in the text, or outside the text? This course explores the theoretical, cultural, and discursive aspects of “style” and seeks to help students examine how factors such as language, culture, society, politics, and the writer’s personality define and shape the writer’s “style.” The course is designed to help students understand how “style” (manner—or the how) affects the texts (matter—or the what) that they produce. It aims at helping students discover strategies for improving their own styles to be able to satisfy the needs of their audiences. Some of the pertinent questions that will drive teaching and learning in this course: What is valued as “style”? Can a writer improve his or her “style”? How can s/he do so? Is style the reflection of the personality, taste, and experience of the writer of the text? Or is it the reflection of the culture of the writer’s society? Is it true that style is the writer or the writer’s society in disguise? This course is designed to be a writing workshop, which means that a significant portion of class time will be devoted to writing and talking about your writing. Each of you will be required to present your work on a regular basis. The instructional goals of this course are: to introduce you to academic (and nonacademic) writing and how style influences the rhetorical choices that writers make; to help you improve your critical thinking skills through academic inquiry/research; and to help you improve your writing skills. By the end of the semester, you should: Develop a high degree of clarity, fluency, and appropriateness in your writing; learn how to appreciate style within the context of genre-specific discourses; and use knowledge on style to improve your own writing. Required texts: Course Packet of photocopied essays and articles (to be provided) and Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (9th ed.), by Joseph M. Williams (New York: Pearson, 2006).

English 104—Creative Writing: Poet’s Theatre—Spoken Poetry & Life Stories (Class ID# 2193)
Professor John High
Mondays 6:00-8:30 pm

This course satisfies a requirement in the Creative Writing concentration. It can also satisfy an ENG elective requirement in the Literature concentration. English majors concentrating in Creative Writing may take this class twice.

This class is designed for anyone who has ever wanted to write creatively yet who is not sure how to begin or how to move beyond where they are presently in their own writing. In this course, we will explore our own lives as material to sculpt and rehearse in dramatic verse and to perform in a Poet’s Theatre. How do we create the magic of language for the stage? How do we mine our experiences, our pasts, and our dreams and get beneath the surface of words? In this course, you will explore your own vision and myth of the world through poetic expression. Topics will include—getting started with the spoken poem, making it alive for you, and establishing a passionate discipline. The course will also zero in on backbone issues of style and technique, ranging from those of characterization and plotting in poetic diction, continuity and vividness of imagery, clarity and music, and the use of phrasing and dramatic structure. There will be weekly creative writing prompts and group discussions to guide you through the writing journey where we will investigate our life stories and give them shape through the language of our own poetic voices. What is a spoken poem—what is beneath a monologue or soliloquy, a dramatic dialogue? How do we transform our written expression for a theatrical venue? What is at the heart of a story’s crisis and meaning? What do we mean when we talk about taking chances in writing? We'll look at the work of ancient and contemporary writers as well as younger voices publishing/performing today. Feedback will focus on motivating you to tap the undefined territory of your own imagination in order to more fully cultivate and mature your voice/s and styles. The goal of the course includes a final theatrical performance and completion of a chapbook and/or anthology of our work.

English 128—Early British Literatures: Making of English Literary Traditions (Class ID# 2395)
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 pm

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.

What does it mean to be English and how does language contribute to the construction of identity? Why do we study early English literature and what kinds of things are we to learn from the texts? How did English literary traditions evolve over time to create a cohesive identity and culture for its people? This course will begin a chronological survey of the development of English literary traditions beginning in the ninth century. Students will gain an understanding of the evolution of the English language from its earliest forms to the more modern version of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. By examining the geographic and cultural boundaries as they change over the centuries, students will gain a better grasp of the fluidity of “English” or “British” identity. Finally, students will learn how the form of literature—poetry, prose, drama—changes over time and contributes to the evolving culture.

English 150—Studies in Ethnic Literature: The Spanish Caribbean (Class ID# 13243)
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays 6-8:30 pm

This semester only, we are allowing this course to satisfy the ENG 169 requirement in the Literature concentration. If you have already taken ENG 169 before, then you can use this course as an upper-division ENG elective in the Literature concentration. This course can also satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. If you have already taken ENG 150 before (for any concentration), please be aware that you are allowed to take it twice for credit.

This course will examine the issues of language, identity, and diaspora of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In The Repeating Island, the Cuban theorist, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, called this island chain a “meta-archipelago” because the sea and land borders that might seem initially to separate these isles in fact link them beyond the boundaries of the nation-language-island. We will explore the myth of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, which details the vision of this Christian Saint/Santería Goddess above the waves by three people, two Indigenous men and one African man, as a marker of an inclusive Caribbean cultural hybridity that rejects the easy formation of exclusive cultural and linguistic barriers. We will pay special attention to the writings of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba with a wide-ranging, fluid vision of Caribbean culture prevalent amid this dynamic chain of islands and in the larger diasporic world. We will read writers such as José Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier, Julia Alavarez, Cristina Garcia, and Rosario Ferré as we investigate the structures and struggles of individual and collective identity.

English 158—Early Literatures of the United States (Class ID# 2047)
Professor Michael Bennett
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 pm

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 will examine works of literature written before 1865 in what is now the United States. The theme of the course is "American Myths, U.S. Realities." We will explore the contrasts between the myths that have produced America and the lived realities of those who reside within the borders of the United States. Rather than focusing on a few "master¬pieces," we will read a wide variety of short prose pieces and poetry, much of which has not received a great deal of study. We will also discuss the "major authors" traditional¬ly associated with the period, but we will examine them from a comparative perspective: Cooper's version of the frontier juxtaposed with that of Native American narratives; Emerson's tran¬scenden¬talism compared with the immanent concerns of abolitionist writers; Hawthorne's romanti¬cism versus that of the women writers he flippantly dismissed. In order to make such comparisons, we will examine the different traditions that arose from America's various cultural contexts—Native, Hispanic, Anglo, African—to provide an histori¬cally grounded survey of early American literature.

English 165—Poetry Workshop: No Time Like The Present (Class ID# 2197)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-2:45 pm

This course satisfies a requirement in the Creative Writing concentration. It can also satisfy an ENG elective requirement in the Literature concentration. English majors concentrating in Creative Writing may take this class twice.

Our goal is to expand the definition of poetry, to see what's possible, both as writers and readers. We'll do this by paying close attention to the way poetry changes through time and how much great poetry is a reflection of the age in which it was written. We'll also discuss the act of writing poetry as one of risk-taking and investigation and how nothing ever changes unless you experiment or try something new. Most of all, we'll observe our various selves in the present moment and explore the ways of transforming ordinary daily life into poems. The present isn't all we have—but it's a place to start from. Let's write our poems by looking around us and seeing what's there. Some of the poets we'll look at closely are William Carlos Williams, Charles Reznikoff, Ted Berrigan, Robert Creeley, Bernadette Mayer, Amiri Baraka, Jack Spicer, Alice Notley, Anne Waldman, Gary Snyder, James Schuyler, Frank O'Hara, and Allen Ginsberg. Much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing your work.

English 170—Literary Periods & Movements: Histories of Home—American Domesticity (Class ID# 6028)
Professor Leah Dilworth
Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 pm

This course will satisfy a requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also be used to satisfy a literature requirement in the Creative Writing concentration or in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. If you have already taken ENG 170 before (for any concentration), please be aware that you are allowed to take it twice for credit.

“Home Sweet Home.” “Home is where the heart is.” “There’s no place like home.” When they think of “home,” Americans are likely to feel warm, familial sentiments such as these. But home can be a complicated place, at once safe and stifling, private yet constantly evoked in public life, a place set apart from, yet deeply implicated in, global economies. This course will examine the history of the concept of home in American culture, from the mid-nineteenth century “cult of domesticity” to the current Department of Homeland Security. Along the way we will consider how “home” has been understood in terms of race, class, and gender and what it means to be “homeless.” We will read and examine a wide variety of texts, including domestic manuals by Catharine Beecher, Oprah Winfrey, and Martha Stewart; Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Toni Morrison’s Beloved; Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”; Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers; and the 1975 movie The Stepford Wives.

English 172—Contemporary Rhetorical Theory (Class ID# 6029)
Professor John Killoran
Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:45

This course is required in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be used to satisfy an ENG elective requirement in the Literature concentration.

How does a political candidate’s speech rouse voters? How does a lawyer’s argument sway jurors? How does an organization’s advertisement influence consumers? How do a song’s lyrics move listeners? In this course, we aim to answer these and similar questions about the nature and power of language. The course is an elective for students across the disciplines as well as in English who seek to understand the persuasive effect of language in their personal lives, their communities, and their careers. Students will learn perspectives to help them recognize how language persuades us of what we believe and whom we believe. By the end of the semester, students will have developed their sensitivity to the power in others’ use of language and will become more empowered in their own use of language.

MFA Reading Series Event

Ars Poetica: Meditations on the Line & the Myth of Being


Eric Alter
Mike Atkinson
Jeremy Beauregard
John High
Tiffany Johnson
Danielle Moskowitz
Uche Nduka
Mary Walker
Giorgios Qure-Lacroix Retsinas

When & Where Details

Sunday, March 29, 4:00-5:30 PM
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (at the foot of First Street)
Between Houston & Bleecker
Across from CBGB's

F train to 2nd Ave
4 or 6 to Bleecker

2 drink minimum

Contact danielle.delgiudice@brooklyn.liu.edu for more information

click the image to see a larger version of the poster for this event: