Category: English – News

Seigel Named 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow

M. Bartley Seigel
Photocredit: Adam Johnson

M. Bartley Seigel (HU) has been named a 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets. Seigel, director of the Michigan Tech Writing Center and an associate professor of creative writing and literature, is one of only 23 poets laureate of cities and states across the U.S. to receive the honor.

“I’m really humbled and honored by this fellowship,” said Seigel, who was selected as the 2021-22 Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate in January. “While it’s always been something of a challenge making art at an institution where attention is so firmly fixed elsewhere, my unique positionality in this pond of scientists and engineers has held me accountable to my words in unexpected and fortuitous ways. I wouldn’t be the poet I am were I not where I am, and were I not in the close company of so many different and exceptional minds.”

As a Poet Laureate Fellow, Seigel receives an award of $50,000 in support of his art, a portion of which is set aside to lead a public poetry program. He intends to collaborate with regional public and tribal high school teachers to launch the Upper Peninsula Young Poets Program. The program will introduce high school-aged students in the U.P. to the diversity and transformative power of poetry, encourage their emerging voices and provide them with a free college-level writing workshop.

In a press release announcing the 2021 Fellows, President and Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets Jennifer Benka said, “As we begin emerging from COVID-19 restrictions, poetry — which has provided such comfort these past 15 months — will continue to be a source of insight. We are honored and humbled to fund poets who are devoted to their own craft and also their community. Poets will most certainly help guide us forward.”

Through its Poets Laureate Fellowship program, the Academy of American Poets has become the largest financial supporter of poets in the nation. The fellowship program is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which in January 2020 awarded the Academy $4.5 million to fund the program.


Van Kooy’s paper for London conference examines ‘the plantationoscene’

Associate Professor Dana Van Kooy presented her essay, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” recently at The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World III conference, sponsored by the New College at Oxford University.

Invoking the neologism “plantationoscene,” the paper from Van Kooy, who directs Tech’s English program, examines John Fawcett’s pantomime, “Obi; or Three-Finger’d Jack,” which opened at London’s Haymarket Theatre in 1800. Linking the era (cene) to the performance and visual reproduction of specific theatrical scenes, this neologism offers an alternative framework for interpreting Fawcett’s pantomime, which assembled scenes of plantation life and its corresponding devastation into a formulaic plot.

Focusing on stage descriptions and those scenes advertised on its playbills, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” draws attention to the production of a visual ecology that reconfigured the colonial landscape.

In her abstract, Van Kooy established the relevance of the topic: “Throughout The Atlantic World, the plantation system marked a period of human and ecological disaster, one that theaters in Britain and the United States readily transformed into captivating spectacles throughout 18th and 19th centuries. The scale of this devastation continues to impact society in myriad ways, including racialized violence and policies that associate people and labor practices with ‘natural’ and/or geographical spaces.”


11th Annual Feminists Reading Feminists

closeup of a young caucasian woman in pajamas reading a book in bed

Join us for the 11th annual Feminists Reading Feminists event hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Humanities Department. Help us pay homage to the contributions of diverse feminist scholars and activists who have inspired us and continue to shape our evolving world.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow (March 31) via ZOOM. We encourage you to sign up through our Google form ahead of time (or submit a video/picture through the Google form if you cannot attend) and at our virtual event via ZOOM, be prepared to share a chosen passage from your favorite text, your favorite video/audio clip, or simply participate by listening and engaging with those sharing.

Your selection should take five minutes or less to read or view. Prose, poetry and media are welcome. There will be time at the end for those who did not sign up ahead of time to participate in an open reading, ALL are welcome. Please join us virtually to engage in meaningful dialogue and celebrating the women’s history month – near and far – as a community. If you’re part of the dialogue, you’re part of the solution.


Dana Van Kooy at Yale University

Dana Van Kooy, associate professor and director of the English program (HU), was a 2018-19 fellow at the Lewis Walpole library at Yale University in May-June. While there, she gave two presentations about her research for her book project, Atlantic Configurations and the Aesthetics of Disappearance. One presentation was given at the Lewis Walpole library and another at the Yale Center for British Art.

Her essay, “Speculative Tragedy and Spatial Play: Scaling Byron’s Sardanapalus,” was published in Studies in Romanticism (Spring 2019). This essay explores how Byron reformulated the conventions of tragedy during the Romantic period, creating an alternative—speculative and utopian—framework that provided audiences with more expansive rubrics of heroism, history, and empire.


Van Kooy Selected to Receive Fulbright Award

Dana Van KooyDana Van Kooy (HU) has been selected to receive the 2019-20 Fulbright National Library of Scotland Award. She will spend six months at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh researching topics relevant to her current book project, “Atlantic Configurations of Modernity and the Aesthetics of Disappearance.”

Van Kooy will also contribute to the library’s public lecture program, and reach out to several universities in Scotland to facilitate conversations about her research.


New work from Dana Van Kooy

Dana Van Kooy‘s (HU) review essay, “Re-printing, Re-citing, and Re-circulating Romanticisms and the Question of Commitment” has been published in European Romantic Review, Vol. 30, Issue 1. Dr. Van Kooy also recently attended the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Study (ASECS) in Denver, Colorado where she presented her paper, “The Plantation as Modern Configuration, Infrastructure, and Literary Form,” on the panel, “Ghost Acres: Climates and Ecologies of the Georgic.”

Savage Vision: Of Maroons, Black Men, and Violence

Paul Youngquist, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, will deliver the talk, “Savage Vision: Of Maroons, Black Men and Violence” from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Thursday (April 4) in ChemSci 102.

This talk will focus on how Maroons were depicted by white colonial settlers in Jamaica in the aftermath of the Second Maroon War (1795-96) and connect these portraits to how young black men are represented in the news media today.

This talk is sponsored by the English program in the Humanities department.


Stephanie Carpenter Publishes Book Review

Stephanie CarpenterStephanie Carpenter has published an omnibus book review in the Fall 2018 issue of The Missouri Review. Her piece, “The End of the World as We Know It: Four Novels of Climate Change,” considers new novels by Louise Erdrich, Jenni Fagan, Paul Kingsnorth and James Bradley. Carpenter will again teach Literature and the Environment (HU 3508) in Fall 2020.


Award-winning Fiction Writer Diane Cook to Read Tuesday

Diane CookAward-winning fiction writer Diane Cook will give a reading from her work from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 6) in ME-EM 112.

Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature, and was formerly a producer for the public radio show This American Life. Man V. Nature was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, Believer Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

Cook’s stories have appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Granta and elsewhere and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Cook is the recipient of a 2016 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Michigan native, she has served as a National Park volunteer on Isle Royale.

The reading is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow, with books available for purchase at the door.

This event is sponsored by the English Program, Department of Humanities and the Visiting Professor Lecturer/Scholar Series (VPLSS), which is funded by a grant to the Provost’s Office from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.


Stephanie Carpenter Gives Talk and Reading at Flint Literary Festival

Stephanie CarpenterStephanie Carpenter, senior lecturer in creative writing and literature, was a featured reader at the second annual Flint Literary Festival held on October 27.

Carpenter gave a talk called “Re-creating History,” reading from her own fiction and discussing how creative writers use objects and documents to imagine or uncover stories at the margins of the historical record.

Mona Hanna-Attisha and Journalist Anna Clark headlined the festival, reading from their works about the ongoing Flint water crisis.