In addition, his essay “Everybody’s Graphic Protest Novel: Stuck Rubber Baby and the Anxieties of Racial Difference” is included in the recently published Comics and the U.S. South (2012).
Chris Foss, associate professor of English, had an op-ed piece published in the Friday, Dec. 9 issue of The Free Lance-Star. In the article, Foss discusses the ways in which the rhetoric surrounding Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol perpetuates stereotypes of individuals with disabilities.
Claudia Emerson’s latest collection of poetry Secure the Shadow will be released in February 2012 by Louisiana State University Press. The collection contains historical pieces as well as poems centering on the deaths of the poet’s brother and father.
Emerson’s five books include “Late Wife,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, “Figure Studies.” Emerson has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Library of Congress and the Guggenheim Foundation. Former poet laureate of Virginia, she holds the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at UMW.
Mary Rigsby, professor of English, and Suzanne Sumner, professor of mathematics, gave an invited feature presentation at the Teaching Professor Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, held May 20-22, titled “BustingWalls and Overcoming Blahs: Knotty Problems and Speed Dating.” The Teaching Professor Conference is a premier international conference on teaching pedagogy at the college level, with 800 participants from 10 countries.
Rigsby and Sumner received this invitation because of their past participation in Teaching Professor conferences, and to share their
experiences as former directors of UMW’s Teaching Innovation Program. In addition, Sumner is currently on the advisory board for the Teaching Professor Conference and reviewed proposals for contributed sessions for the conference.
Claudia Emerson, English professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, will be inducted into the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers during its biennial meeting to be held during the April 14-16 Conference on Southern Literature.
Emerson will be welcomed into the fellowship alongside 11 other distinguished writers including Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller “To Kill a Mockingbird.” As part of Emerson’s induction, she will participate in a panel discussion of revision as an element of the writing process during the conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “Late Wife.” She has written five books of poetry, with a sixth forthcoming. A former Virginia poet laureate who joined the UMW faculty in 1998, she holds the Arrington distinguished chair of poetry at Mary Washington. Emerson received the Donald Justice Award for poetry from the fellowship in 2009.
A highly selective organization that seeks to recognize and encourage literature in the South, the fellowship was founded in 1987 by a group of predominantly male writers that included James Dickey, John Hope Franklin, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, Robert Penn Warren and Eudora Welty.
New fellows are nominated by current members and elected by majority vote. Fellows are writers of fiction, poetry, drama, criticism and history. Most members have been fiction writers because of the powerhouse world of Southern fiction writing. However, Emerson said that is slowly changing. “As a female poet, it was harder to get in,” she said.
Members aren’t separated by their style of writing, so new ones are judged against all other Southern writers and editors, regardless of genre, Emerson said. “I’m very excited to see fellow writers and colleagues who are already in it and who are being inducted into it now,” Emerson said. “They don’t limit to creative writers necessarily.”
To be considered for membership, a writer must have been born and raised or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South, or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience.
Emerson said members also include historians, editors, biographers and critics, which is a unique trait for the fellowship. “It’s sort of a broader consideration of what it is to be a ‘writer’,” she said. “I’m excited and honored and always interested in being a part of something that’s trying to promote good writing.”
Emerson also is excited about attending the conference, where she will interact with many writers whom she admires. “I imagine there will be a couple of good parties where you can put on your party dress and meet people you’ve admired forever,” she said.
The fellowship holds its biennial meetings during the Chattanooga Arts & Education Council Conference on Southern Literature in Chattanooga, where the fellowship’s archives are held at the University of Tennessee Lupton Library. At their meeting, the fellows elect new members, bestow awards on established and emerging writers, and deliver readings and lectures.
Gary Richards, assistant professor of English, recently published two articles. “The Artful and Crafty Ones of the French Quarter: Male Homosexuality and Faulkner’s Early Prose Writings” is included in Faulkner’s Sexualities, a volume published by University Press of Mississippi in 2010. The second article, “Queering Katrina: Gay Discourses of the Disaster in New Orleans,” appeared in the 2010 special issue of the Journal of American Studies devoted to the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
English Professors Mara N. Scanlon and D. Brady Earnhart’s interview about Walt Whitman and the famed poet’s experiences as a Civil War nurse will be rebroadcast on the public radio program “With Good Reason” beginning Saturday, October 16.
In 1862, poet Walt Whitman went to Fredericksburg to search in field hospitals for his brother who had been wounded in a Civil War battle. Shocked by the bloodshed, Whitman worked as a nurse for years through the end of the war. Scanlon and Earnhart say Whitman helped heal wounded soldiers just as he hoped his poetry could mend the war-torn nation.
Their interview, “Whitman at War,” can be heard online at withgoodreasonradio.org/2010/10/whitman-at-war-2, and it will be rebroadcast on WCVE 88.9 FM Oct. 16 at 4:30 p.m. and on WAMU 88.5 FM Monday, October 18 at 12:30 a.m.
Earnhart and Scanlon worked with UMW instructional technology specialist James Groom on the digital humanities project “Looking for Whitman: The Poetry of Place in the Life and Work of Walt Whitman.” Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project involved collaboration with three other universities.
At UMW in fall 2009, Scanlon, Earnhart and Groom taught “Digital Whitman,” a seminar incorporating the Whitman archive at the Library of Congress as well as the nearby site of a Civil War hospital, Chatham. A website designed by Groom, http://lookingforwhitman.org, connected students enrolled in the UMW course with counterparts at universities in New Jersey and New York—each in areas pivotal to Whitman’s life and work. As students investigated those locations, they shared research via digital platforms.
Scanlon, associate professor of English, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Earnhart, visiting assistant professor of English, received a bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary, an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
To listen to other UMW faculty interviews broadcast on “With Good Reason,” visit http://www.umw.edu/news/faculty.
“With Good Reason” is the only statewide public radio program in Virginia. It hosts scholars from Virginia’s public colleges and universities who discuss the latest in research, pressing social issues and the curious and whimsical. “With Good Reason” is produced for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is broadcast in partnership with public radio stations in Virginia and Washington, D.C.