I have been rereading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, as it’s one of my favorites — and one of my few digressions from contemporary nonfiction or poetry. I first encountered this book in an AP Literature course and fell in love with its humbler characters. I love and hate Pip, of course, as I expect most readers … More Inclusion Unknown: Revisiting Great Expectations
Each semester I share with students a list of the books and articles that I have used to develop the methods and concepts for my courses. Some may see this as pretentious — me handing them a long list and saying “Look how much I’ve read!” I don’t have a problem with that: scholars and … More Bibliography as Invitation
Yesterday I read poetry at JaxbyJax 2018, and it was an absolute blast! Chris Gabbard and I read in the Whiteway Realty conference room, a cozy space that offered many lighting options for me. I read best under dim lights, and every time I plan to read in public, I worry about whether the … More Clips from JaxbyJax 2018!
Dear readers, it’s that time again! Time to spend 30 days of April showers celebrating poetry — reading it, writing it, thinking about writing it! I’m excited to report some fantastic festivities at both campuses where I teach! Follow the hyperlinks to find the Facebook events for each item. Downtown Campus Spoken Word Open Mic, … More Celebrating National Poetry Month 2018!
My reading goal for 2017 was 35 books. Below you’ll find several of my favorite themes – ecology, music, spirituality, and grammar. But there are also several books about Jane Austen as July marked the 200th anniversary of her death. I’m feeling rather hip as many of these books actually came out in 2017, so … More 37 Books in 2017
The young writer struggles with self-definition. So many incredible reputations hover above us, casting sparks in all directions. Every established literary presence is crisp and luminous, an identity in complete control of its own labels. So I ask my poetry for this control, and it withers. I find I possess nothing worthy of a poem. … More I Ask My Poetry
I have always been a front-row student. Drawn to the first row of desks or tables by temperament and visual disability, I preferred to be as close to the teacher—and presumably the action—as possible. I never questioned this self-placement: to me, the front row was a reverential space, sanctified by scholarship and enthusiasm. Plus, the … More Divining the Catalyst: A Response to the Writing of Oliver Sacks
In May of this year, I followed a friend’s recommendation and began reading His Majesty’s Dragon, a novel by Naomi Novik. The book is the first in Novik’s Temeraire series, a historical fantasy narrative that chronicles the adventures of Capt. Will Laurence and his combat dragon, Temeraire. Reviews often describe this series as “the Napoleonic … More Of Dogs and Dragons
“To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity, that alone is living the artist’s life, in understanding as in … More “Affluentia Poesis”: Meeting Poetry in the Universe of Possibility
In the midst of chaotic or new experiences, I am always soothed by the familiar. So as this semester began, I decided to return to the work of one of my favorite fantasy writers, Sherwood Smith. I first encountered Smith’s novels Crown Duel and Court Duel in high school, both books bound together in a … More Craft and Fantasy: A Response to Sherwood Smith
When I was nine years old, I longed to use the words amiable, countenance, and clergyman – though they never appeared in my spelling or phonics workbooks. I knew what it meant if a manor was entailed away, and I guessed that £2,000 in the 19th century was a sizable fortune. I understood that the … More Lasting Impressions
May is turning out to be a literary month for me. I’ve created an account on Goodreads to keep numerical track of how many books I’m currently reading. So far, Goodreads says I’m reading 13. As I’ve listed several collections of poetry in this category – collections I read a few poems at a time – my … More Sweet Response
In my freshman composition courses, the students read a variety of scholarly articles, poems, short stories, style guides, and essays. During our discussion of the writer-reader relationship, I like to work in a chapter from Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing. I choose the chapter “Communion: Nobody to Nobody,” in which … More Immortal Welcome
As a blind woman, I do not court silence. The absence of sound in the presence of other people often makes me apprehensive. With no audible messages, I’m left to wonder what others are thinking and doing. This anxiety intensifies when I stand before my students. Are my students texting? passing notes? sleeping? While they … More Fear and Form
If a friendship starts with a conversation about books, the two friends are hardly surprised when literature itself becomes a third, equal presence in the relationship. This is how things began for Katie and me. Katie became my first “college friend” when an orientation team leader asked her to look after me. Both Katie and … More “Singing Over the Bones”: The Miracle of Art and Intention