Monday, September 28, 2009

Update: BU English Alum Nate Horst

After graduating from Belmont in May 2003, I accepted an invitation to serve in Mali with the Peace Corps. I spent two years in a small village of 500 learning languages, building relationships, and attempting development projects for which I had little qualification to undertake. With the help and support of a very organized and motivated village, I managed to build a school, install a potable water pump, erect an agricultural storage facility, conduct maternity and infant health classes, and start a small tree nursery business.

One sentence makes it sound so smooth. It wasn’t. I stumbled and blundered my way to results that, in my opinion, were mostly positive. Development work is a complicated matter. There are consequences to consider, incentives to interpret, and politics to circumvent. But from the dizzying complexity comes a fundamental picture of heartbreaking absurdity and a profound sense that things do not have to be this way. For me, that sense became a motivating mantra. Things must not be this way.

After working for two years in the non-profit sector, I applied to graduate school to study international economics, finance and development. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Johns Hopkins University School Advanced of International Studies in Washington, D.C. My focus has turned towards the potential of micro finance schemes to increase the access of the poor to basic financial services, a lack of which has proven to be a major obstacle to economic development.

I consider myself fortunate to have lived in a place like Mali, and to have experienced what life can feel like without the white noise of advertisements and instant information. But I also consider myself fortunate to have profited from so many advantages, a Belmont education being paramount. My training as an English major prepared me well for my coming career by teaching me how to communicate clearly, think creatively, and consider every possibility when searching for answers to complicated problems. I continue to take the lessons of those four years with me, in work and in life.

(a version of this story first appeared in the English Department Newsletter )

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

English Club Meeting on Friday

This Friday at 10 in WHB 209. Lots of announcements and organizational issues to resolve (including figuring out when Bright Star is going to make it to Nashville so we can organize a field trip).

Monday, September 21, 2009

BU English Majors Launch Literary Journal

This past summer, BU English major Logan Franks, along with Will Hoekenga and the recently graduated Jason Hardy, launched an online literary journal called Trapeze. We asked Logan to fill us in on the details.

So tell us how and when the idea for Trapeze originated.

At the end of a semester, mixed-feelings develop. There’s the sense of moving forward in life, but we also have the feeling of leaving behind a comfortable atmosphere. In writing classes, we can share our writings with a small group of people and become comfortable in the skin of a writer. The semester ends and we’re left with that feeling of, “What now? What do I do with my work? Do I keep writing?”

At the end of this past spring semester, we felt like there needed to be a place for people to continue to share their writing. The want to form a community-like atmosphere that extends beyond the classroom is what shaped the idea for Trapeze. We thought having a place to submit pieces and then also be able to read local writers’ works would encompass that feeling of community. We don’t want people to have to wonder, “What now?” We wanted to create a place that supports that feeling of living comfortably in the skin of a writer. Trapeze is a place that won’t disappear with the change of seasons, a place in which writers can feel comfortable and be among other writers.

Why an online journal, and what were your inspirations?

Trapeze is online simply because it’s easier to access and can encompass a wider audience. Online journals are also easier to manage than printed material because honestly, we’re college students and don’t have the funds or means to launch a printed journal.

We were somewhat inspired by the idea that we had never seen a student-run journal in this format before. We also were inspired by the idea that, in Nashville, songwriters have an endless amount of opportunities and places where they can join together. We wanted to create a similar support system for prose and poetry writers. We want Trapeze to be that support system, that community to give a reason to keep writing. Knowing other writers helps writers continue to write.

What, ideally, will result from publishing this journal?

Well, the website is set up to give writers in and around Nashville a means of sharing their work with each other and any other interested party that happens to be roaming around in cyberspace. It is also intended to help foster community among writers in the area. In the future, once the online community has been formed, we plan to organize and facilitate events among writers in Nashville (readings, discussions, etc.).

Why "Trapeze"?

The name Trapeze came from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "A Coney Island of the Mind No. 15", which shows the poet as an acrobat who is "constantly risking absurdity and death," as well as Bob Dylan's claim in the '60s that he was not a poet, but a trapeze artist. Basically, we see this website as a place where writers can take risks and put their work out for all to see. We like to think the name encompasses both the danger and the beauty of doing so.

What kind(s) of submissions are you looking for, and how should people submit their work?

The types of works we are looking for are Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction, and Essays/Criticisms. We didn’t want to only accept “creative” pieces like poetry and stories so we wanted to add in the latter category. We want people to see their work published and we didn’t want to narrow their options if they feel more comfortable with academic writing. To submit pieces, we have a link on our website, to the Submissions page with the email address to use.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last Two Events in the Symposium

Sunday afternoon, BU English alum Ken Roberts will host a viewing and discussion of Sean Penn's 2007 film Into the Wild, the Christopher McCandless story, from 2:30 to 5 in LCVA 117.

Monday at 10:00 in MBC 100, Symposium organizers Dr. Annette Sisson and Dr. Andrea Stover will lead a panel discussion of what we learned at this year's very successful event!

Intern at Southern Inspired!

(submitted by Professor Sue Trout) Tomorrow at 3 pm in room 107 of the Wheeler building, representatives from Southern Inspired magazine will be interviewing our English majors for internship opportunities. If you are attending, please bring your resume and a couple of writing samples. Needless to say, this is a great opportunity--we've never had a publisher come looking exclusively for our interns. Please don't let this opportunity pass you by. If you have not and are interested in coming by, please email by first thing in the morning--she has to give them an estimate of people coming.

If you are planning to come, take a few minutes to check out their website so that you will know what they are about.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Humanities Symposium Lineup

Today the Humanities Symposium features a talk by Dr. Abigail Jahiel of Illinois Wesleyan University at 8:30; a panel discussion at 10:00 in the Troutt Theater featuring Mary Oliver, Janisse Ray, John Tallmadge, and Helen Atwan; a talk by Dr. Helen Shapiro of American University at 1:00; and two documentary films tonight at 7:30 in the Multi-Media Hall of the Bunch Library. For a full listing of events, click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jam-packed Thursday at the Humanities Symposium

Today's highlights include a nature walk this afternoon with Dr. John Tallmadge (3:30 at the Bell Tower); Janisse Ray on "Nature, Community, and the Life We Dream" (5:00, Bunch Library Multi-Media Hall); and a poetry reading by Mary Oliver (7:00, Belmont Heights Baptist Church). Find the complete schedule here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today at the Humanities Symposium

Wednesday's events at the 8th Annual Humanities Symposium include a movement class run by Adrienne Young (11:00 at the Black Box Theater); “Seeds: A Story of Self-Cultivation” by BU English Alum Micah Stover (3:00 at the Leu Art Gallery in the Bunch Library); a talk by Dr. John Tallmadg, “Invisible Landscapes: Learning from Nature in the City” from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Bunch Library Multi-Media Hall follwed by refreshments in the Leu Art Gallery from 5:30-6:15; and “Religion, Politics, and Public Good: A Buddhist Perspective,” a talk by Dr. Peter Hershock of the East-West Center.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today at the Humanities Symposium

Tuesday's schedule at the Humanities Symposium includes lectures by BU English professors Dr. Doug Murray ("Landscape and National Identities") and Dr. Annette Sisson ("Nature and Conscience and Consciousness: The Pastoral Hero and the Sympathetic Imagination"). For a full schedule of Symposium events, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Humanities Symposium Kickoff Lecture Named for Monteverde

The School of Humanities has named the inaugural Humanities Symposium lecture for Dr. Maggie Monteverde, BU English professor and outgoing Associate Dean. Dr. Monteverde was presented a plaque commemorating the designation by this year's Symposium organizers, Professors Annette Sisson and Andrea Stover, on Monday morning in the Massey Board Room.

Dr. Monteverde then kicked off the Symposium with her lecture, "Reverdie: The Eternal Rebirth of the Human Spirit in Nature." It's been a big year for Dr. Monteverde, who was recently named Assistant Provost for International Education. Earlier in 2009, Dr. Monteverde was named Executive Director of the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (which is moving its offices to Belmont's campus) and won the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award. Congrats, Dr. Monteverde!

Today at the Humanities Symposium

Monday's Humanities Symposium Events include the kickoff lecture by Dr. Maggie Monteverde ("Reverdie: the eternal rebirth of the human spirit in nature") at 10:00 in the Massey Board Room. Other BU English speakers today include Dr. Robbie Pinter (noon in the Massey Board Room), Dr. Danielle Alexander (4:00 LCVA 117) and a panel featuring Dr. Bonnie Smith (2:00 Massey Board Room). Come out and enjoy the "local" flavor of today's speakers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jordan Christy Packs 'em In

Jordan Christy, BU English alum and author of How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World (purchase here), packed Beaman A&B on Friday. Jordan read from her book, talked about how it came about, and answered questions from the audience.

Friday afternoon, she met with several English majors and faculty to talk about the nuts and bolts of publishing the book, including developing a readership and hiring agents and publicists, among other things.

Jordan emphasized 'starting small,' which I'll use to remind you that BU English is looking for people to write up Symposium events, Southern Festival of Books events, etc. It's a great place to get your 'clip' portfolio started!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deadline Extended for Blackfriars Trip

Dr. Wells is still looking for a few people to round out the bus going to Staunton, Virginia, on October 9-11. Participants will get to see Henry IV (Part one), Much Ado about Nothing and George Villiers’ The Rehearsal using practices approximating those original to Shakespeare’s theatre. The theatrical space itself is an attempt to recreate Blackfriars, Shakespeare’s private, indoor theatre (with some welcome modern allowances, such as seat cushions) where his company began performing plays in 1608. This is high quality theatre in a beautiful historical setting.

Price: $180 (CHEAP!) includes bus transportation, a double room (shared with one other person), reserved seat tickets for all three plays, a tour of the facilities. Meals are not included, but food is reasonable in town (a list and map will be included)

Make checks to Belmont University and turn them in to Dr. James Wells, Wheeler 200i, along with the application.

See the following URL for more details on Blackfriars and the plays:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jordan Christy Convo, English Club Event This Friday

This Friday, September 11, at 10:00 in Beaman A&B, recent Belmont graduate Jordan Christy reads from and discusses her new book, How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World, published in August by Hatchette Press. (There is PG Convo credit for this event!) At 2:00 on Friday in Wheeler 101, Jordan will talk to English Clubbers and other interested folks about how she took this idea from Dr. Hutchins' class to a published book with a tour and Today Show appearance!