Category Archives: English

Catherine Carter receives 2018 Applewhite Poetry Prize

Catherine Carter is the winner of the 2018 James Applewhite Poetry Prize in a record-breaking year of entries.

Carter’s prize-winning poem, “Womb-Room,” will be published in the 2019 print issue of the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR). In addition, Carter will receive a prize of $250 for her first-place entry. She is an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, where she teaches creative writing and English education classes.

The winner was selected by the final judge, Amber Flora Thomas, an award-winning author and an associate professor of English at East Carolina University.

“I was very moved by ‘Womb-room,’ which takes us inside the human body as a speaker considers her inability to bear a child,” said Thomas. “The speaker finds a plethora of cavernous beauty within herself, which is what we expect from a poet who understands the fertile richness of the imagination. I care deeply about poems which recognize our connection with our environment and nature.”

Carter’s third LSU Press collection of poetry, “Larvae of the Nearest Stars,” is due out in 2019. Her honors include publication in Best American Poetry 2009, winning Jacar Press’s poetry chapbook contest with “Mark of the Witch” (2014), and winning third place in the 2017 Applewhite Poetry Prize competition (“Billy Collins Pours Me a Beer,” NCLR 2018 print issue).

Margaret Bauer, NCLR editor, said that Carter is a poet who is a well-respected teacher and regularly responds to requests to review poetry collections for NCLR.

The NCLR established the James Applewhite Poetry Prize in 2011. This year, 81 poets submitted 270 poems. These are record numbers of both poems and poets for the competition. Thomas selected the winning poem from finalists picked for prize and publication consideration by NCLR poetry editor Jeffrey Franklin.

Thomas selected “Daybreak” by Sally Thomas for second place and “Dreams Speak: My Father’s Words” by Glenis Redmond for third place.

Second-place recipient Sally Thomas is from Lincolnton and is the author of two poetry chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press. She has published poetry and fiction in a variety of venues and received honors in both genres.

Redmond is a Cave Canem Fellow and the poet-in-residence at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her poetry has also appeared in such publications as Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Kakalak and African Voices.

Among the other finalists, Thomas named four poems for Honorable Mention, including “Girl Praxis” and “Self-Portrait as Wildfire” by Nilla Larsen who has a third poem, “Post-Date Sunday,” that was a finalist as well. The other two honorable mentions are “Smoke and Oreos” by Gwen Holt and “Black Girl Magic in Summers Past” by Crystal Simone Smith.

The other finalists in the 2018 competition are “How Rhodon the Tutor Prepared Cleopatra’s Son” and “In my yard are henbit” by J.S. Absher; “Branch Drop” by Richard Betz, “Bombingham,” “Fire and Brimstone” and “Forgiveness” by L. Teresa Church; “Divorce” by Kevin Dublin; “Day at a Historic Park” by Craig Friend; “Trespassing After the Hysterectomy, the Funeral” by Kimberly J. Simms; “Renovations” by Wayne Johns, “Prelude to Lust” by Jeanne Julian; “Eleanor: Suite” by Valerie Nieman; “The Ledge” by Jon Obermeyer; “Jump” by Frances J. Pearce; and “Echeveria” by Melinda Thomsen. Bauer notes that half of these poets are new to the competition.

NCLR has been published by East Carolina University since 1992 and receives additional funding from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, including the Applewhite Prize honorarium. It has won numerous awards and citations. The University of North Carolina Press has been publishing NCLR since 2017. Find submission and subscription information on NCLR’s website at www.nclr.ecu.edu.

 

-Contact: Margaret Bauer, NCLR editor, bauerm@ecu.edu, 252-328-1537

National Humanities Medal winner to visit ECU

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (Photo by Brad DeCecco)

National Humanities Medal winner Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of “Plato at the Googleplex” and “The Mind-Body Problem,” will discuss “The Curious Relationship between the Sciences and the Humanities” during an April 23 visit to East Carolina University.

Goldstein’s lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Mendenhall Great Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Goldstein is a philosopher and the author of 10 books of both fiction and nonfiction that blend sciences, humanities and the arts. In 1996, she received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the “Genius Award.”

According to the MacArthur Foundation, “Rebecca Goldstein is a writer whose novels and short stories dramatize the concerns of philosophy without sacrificing the demands of imaginative storytelling.”

In 2014, Goldstein was selected as the National Humanities Medalist, and in 2015, she was awarded the medal by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

Goldstein’s visit is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Great Books Program, Classical Studies and Gender Studies, and the Departments of English, History, Mathematics and Philosophy.

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours before the event at 252-328-6799 (voice) or 252-328-0899 (TTY).

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

ECU hosts Veterans Writing Workshop

East Carolina University will help veterans develop the confidence to tell their stories during the Veterans Writing Workshop Feb. 16-17.

Dr. Robert Siegel, associate professor of English and organizer of the Veterans Writing Workshop, said the purpose of the two-day event is to help veterans and their families preserve their stories for future generations, record history, bridge the gap between veterans and civilians and place veteran concerns in the public consciousness.

The workshop begins with a reading and open discussion at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Joyner Library’s Faulkner Gallery.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the workshop continues at 10 a.m. in Joyner Library, room 2409, with a special presentation by poet Hugh Martin. Martin, who spent six years in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2004, will read from his highly praised collection, “Stick Soldiers.”

Following Martin’s presentation, the event will continue with workshops on fiction, nonfiction and scriptwriting. All events are free and open to the public.

The Veterans Writing Workshop is co-sponsored by the ECU Division of Academic Affairs, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Joyner Library and Operation Re-entry. For more information visit ecu.edu/cs-acad/veteranswritingworkshop/index.cfm.

Martin is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, winner of the 11th annual A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions, Ltd. and winner of the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award from the Iowa Review. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Grantland, The American Poetry Review, The New Yorker and The New Republic. He was the 2014-15 Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College, and he now teaches at Ohio University where he is completing his Ph.D.

 

Contact: Robert Siegel, associate professor of English, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, siegelr@ecu.edu, 252-328-6581

 

ECU students benefit from University Writing Center donations

East Carolina University students receive valuable benefits from the University Writing Center preparing them for academic and professional success. Recent donations to the center are facilitating those advantages.

Dr. Nicole Caswell, director of the University Writing Center, pictured with a former UWC consultant

Dr. Nicole Caswell (right), director of the University Writing Center, is pictured here with former UWC consultant, Rexford Rose. Caswell is grateful for recent donations to the UWC priority fund that allows them to continue their mission of serving students. (Photos provided by Dr. Nicole Caswell.)

In fall 2017, ECU English alumni Wanda (’75) and Jon Yuhas (’78) gifted an initial $5,000 to establish the University Writing Center priority fund. The purpose of the fund is to continue the vital work performed by the center.

“The writing skills we ourselves learned at ECU have served us well in building successful careers. Writing is important to every profession,” said Wanda, executive director of the Pitt County Development Commission and a new member of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advancement Council. “In our professions, we both see well-educated people who, because their writing skills are not good, miscommunicate important information. Writing standard operating procedures, legal documents, medical instructions or providing technical specs all start with solid basic writing skills.”

Jon and Wanda Yuhas discuss the University Writing Center

ECU alumni Jon and Wanda Yuhas discuss the University Writing Center priority fund with Dr. Will Banks, professor of English, (center, yellow shirt) and Dr. Nicole Caswell (right).

However, not every question about writing can be covered in the classroom, a concept Jon knows well from when he taught freshman composition.

“Poorly written work says something about the writer’s intellect and character that is almost impossible to redeem,” said Yuhas, human resources manager at the Roberts Company in Winterville. “The ability to express thoughts in writing is crucial to success in any endeavor.”

Through the UWC, students at all levels may seek support in drafting, editing and revising written papers for university classes and preparing them for written communication projects they may encounter in their careers. All services provided are free of charge.

Monica Bloomberg

Monica Bloomberg, ECU graduate student and current consultant at the University Writing Center, is an advocate for students and enjoys impacting the lives of others.

“I have learned to be an advocate for students, a leader, a counselor and a member of a larger, dedicated family that is committed to supporting ECU’s students, faculty and staff,” said Monica Bloomberg, graduate student and consultant at the UWC. “My experiences collaborating with writers and my fellow consultants solidified my decision to pursue a service profession where I can continue interacting with the community and impacting the lives of others.”

Dr. Nicole Caswell, director of the center said, “Writers who visit the UWC might see the impact more immediately on a particular assignment, but the skills they have gained will serve them long after that assignment is completed.”

Chelsea (Cox) Mullins also worked as a consultant at the UWC from 2011 until she graduated from ECU in 2014.

Chelsea Mullins

Chelsea Mullins, ECU alumna (’14) and former University Writing Center consultant, said a few words at the UWC grand opening ceremony held Sept. 23, 2013.

“I was humbled to watch the UWC grow over the course of my undergraduate years,” said Mullins. “When I graduated, the UWC had become a special place where students were welcomed in and had access to more services than ever before.”

Recently, another $10,000 donation to the center’s priority fund by Dr. Michelle Eble, associate professor of rhetoric and technical communication in ECU’s Department of English, and her husband Shane Ernst, senior vice-president of quality at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, continues to show that the center’s mission is important.

“The director of the UWC, Dr. Nikki Caswell, has expanded the services of the center to meet ongoing student and faculty needs, and we saw an opportunity to invest in something at ECU that influences the everyday lives of students,” said Eble. “I’ve been amazed by the number of my own students who have used the services of the UWC. They are excited to share the feedback they received.”

Ernst sees the advantages the center provides students in helping prepare them for writing in their careers.

“The ability to write and communicate is an essential factor when it comes to landing an entry-level position and the potential for career advancement,” said Ernst.

Caswell said the center is eager to serve the Greenville community in the future through events that will assist the public with writing cover letters, resumes, and grants as well as filling out job applications.

“I’m grateful for the recent donations to the UWC priority fund because these resources allow us to continue our mission on campus while simultaneously working to expand our services to the Greenville community,” said Caswell.

For more information about the UWC, visit ecu.edu/cs-acad/writing/uwc/.

Chelsea Mullins helps cut the ribbon at the UWC grand opening

Chelsea Mullins (center, purple shirt), ECU alumna (’14) and former University Writing Center consultant, helps cut the ribbon at the UWC grand opening held Sept. 23, 2013.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Joyner Library celebrates excellence in student research and writing

Joyner Library announced the winners of its annual W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award for student research during an Aug. 23 ceremony held in the Janice L. Faulkner Gallery, located on the second floor of the library.

Sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library, the W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award was named in honor of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, professor emeritus of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes excellence in research and writing by students enrolled in English 1100 and 2201 composition classes during the summer and fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 semesters.

“Every August as the fall semester begins, we have the pleasure of recognizing three students whose English composition papers were selected for the W. Keats Sparrow Award,” said Jan Lewis, director for Joyner Library. “It is a wonderful way to start the new academic year and reaffirm the close connections between Joyner Library and the Department of English.”

Eligibility criteria required students’ papers to include a research component using Joyner Library’s resources.

Entries were judged on the quality of the research as well as the quality of the writing by a panel comprised of faculty from the Department of English and Joyner Library. Members of this year’s panel included: Dr. Tracy Ann Morse, director of composition/writing foundations; Grace Horne, teaching instructor, Department of English; and Meghan Wanucha, coordinator of instructional assessment, Joyner Library.

Winning the award for first place — and a $500 prize — was Jasmine M. Perry, in the department of Psychology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, for “Homophobic Attitudes in Men.”

“This award means a lot to me,” said Perry. “In my life I have never been first place at anything, so winning this award shows how I have grown as a person, and it shows how dedicated I am to my area of study.”

(Left to right) Grace Horne, Tracy Morse, Jenna Murdock, Jasmine Perry, Meghan Wanucha, and David Hisle. (Photo contributed by Joyner Library.)

(Left to right) Grace Horne, Tracy Morse, Jenna Murdock, Jasmine Perry, Meghan Wanucha, and David Hisle. (Photo contributed by Joyner Library.)

Perry said the inspiration behind her winning paper came from personal experiences with friends and family members that are homosexual.

“I know that ‘coming out’ is a hard thing to do, and it requires a lot of confidence and a strong support system,” she said. “If people around you are homophobic it can lead to emotional turmoil and possibly suicide. I am so empathetic when I hear or read stories about people being bullied or abused due to their sexuality.”

Two additional award winners were:

  • Jenna M. Murdock, majoring in elementary education in the College of Education, in second place — a $300 prize — for “Motivating Students to Read.”
  • Carly E. Shomsky, in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance, in third place — a $150 prize — for “Sensory Processing Disorder.”

Second-place winner Jenna Murdock said the competition was the perfect opportunity for her to do more research on how to motivate students to read required texts. “I really enjoyed putting this paper together and it was more than just an assignment I completed for a grade,” she said. “I was able to learn so much new and valuable information that will help me become a better teacher in the future.”

“I think it’s wonderful that Joyner Library offers awards and competitions for students,” she said. “It helps further our writing skills and allows us to explore the many resources offered by the library.”

Carly Shomsky, the third-place winner, believes students really benefit from the opportunity to participate in Joyner Libraries awards and competitions. “It not only encourages students to receive good grades, but it also offers them the feeling of accomplishment,” she said.

“This award showed me how far I have come within my writing and as a person. Hard work and determination really do pay off.”

Also deserving recognition are the instructors of the English 2201 sections that produced the winners.  Dr. Tracy Ann Morse was Jasmine Perry’s and Jenna Murdock’s instructor, and Marc Petersen was Carly Shomsky’s instructor.

“This year’s award recipients clearly selected topics relevant to their lives and majors and used the assignment to improve their discipline-based research and writing skills,” said Lewis. “Congratulations to each of them for their outstanding work.”

For more information on how to participate in next year’s awards, contact David Hisle at 328-4978 or by email at hisled@ecu.edu.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Ethnic Studies Film Series screening on March 21

ECU Ethnic Studies, Sociology department, English department, and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center present: Forbidden; Undocumented and Queer in Rural America by Tiffany Rhyard. The documentary will be shown in Sci-tech 307C on Tuesday, March 21 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Forbidden is a feature length documentary about an inspiring young man whose story is exceptional, although not unique. Moises is like the thousands of young people growing up in the United States with steadfast dreams but facing overwhelming obstacles.

If you are an undocumented queer immigrant living in the United States amidst this turbulent political climate, you are not safe and your future is at risk. When Moises Serrano was just a baby, his parents risked everything to flee Mexico and make the perilous journey across the desert in search of the American dream. After 23 years growing up in the rural south where he is forbidden to live and love, Moises sees only one option — to fight for justice.

The film chronicles Moises’ work as an activist traveling across his home state of North Carolina as a voice for his community, all while trying to forge a path for his own future.

Both the director, Tiffany Rhynard, and Moises will be attending the screening. There will be a breif Q & A after the film. This event is a Wellness Passport Event!

-by Gera s. Miles Jr., Ethnic Studies

 

Writing workshop highlights veterans’ stories

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay will be at East Carolina University March 16-17 to participate in the University-sponsored Veterans Writing Workshop, designed to coach and mentor veterans and military-connected writers to record their stories of service.

Klay joined the Marines because we were a nation at war, he says. He wrote short stories about his war, and how that war followed him home, so the American people could better understand the consequences of America’s reactions to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There were stories he had to tell — individual stories about men and women that weren’t being told on the nightly news.

Now he’s returning to eastern North Carolina to help other veterans tell their own stories.

Klay will lead a writing workshop March 16 and will be joined by fellow authors Ron Capps, Monica Haller and Dr. Fredrick Foote at Hendrix Theater that evening from 7-9 p.m. for readings and a question-and-answer session, which is open to the public and is an ECU Passport Event.

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

“I think the craft of writing is the best way we have of dealing with the most vital, painful and beautiful aspects of life. Hopefully, I’ll have something useful to say to writers who are trying to figure out how to approach subjects that are important to them,” Klay said. “Certainly, I’ve found conversations with veteran writers to be hugely important in helping me to formulate my thoughts.”

Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction for “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the war he witnessed in Iraq during a 2007 troop surge intended push back against a raging insurgency that threatened Iraq’s future.

“It’s such an odd space to be in, transferring being at war in Iraq and at peace the States, between one’s primary sense of oneself as a Marine and as a husband, as a soldier and a citizen,” Klay said. He hopes that his work, and the writing produced by the Veterans Writing Workshop, will extend a bridge to those who didn’t share the experiences of combat.

Klay continues to be affected by his time in Iraq and the continuing legacy of a war well into its second decade. In February 2017, the New York Times published an opinion piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/opinion/sunday/what-were-fighting-for.html) that commended the moral courage of individual American fighting men and women.

“I think I’ve continued to develop a respect for the depth and complexity of veteran’s experiences. I’ve also thought more about the role of American citizens more broadly, whether veteran or not, and the things that unify us as a country,” Klay said.

Veterans and military-connected writers interested in participating in the Veterans Writing workshop can visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/veteranswritingworkshop/registration.cfm to register.

 

 

-by Benjamin Abel, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Peter Makuck to read at ECU

Longtime eastern North Carolina resident Peter Makuck will present a public reading from his poetry and fiction on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in East Carolina University’s Bate building, room 1026.

(contributed photo)

(contributed photo)

Makuck, distinguished professor emeritus, taught English and creative writing at ECU from 1978 until his retirement in 2006. Founder of the internationally acclaimed literary journal Tar River Poetry, he is also the author of eight books of poetry and four collections of short stories, including one of each published in 2016.

Makuck grew up in New London, Connecticut and has a doctorate in American literature from Kent State University. He has been a Fulbright Exchange Professor at Cambery, France and a visiting writer at Brigham Young University and N.C. State University. He and his wife, Phyllis, live on Bogue Banks.

Five Makuck short stories have received honorable mentions in the Best American Short Stories collections, and a personal essay on guns was named a Best Essay of 2000. For poetry, he has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award for best book of poems by a North Carolinian.

The reading is sponsored by ECU’s Department of English. Admission is free and open to the public.

 

-by Alex Albright, ECU English Department

Pulitzer-prize winning poet coming to ECU

Pulitzer-prize winning poet Stephen Dunn will be reading from his work at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 21 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Thomas Harriet College of Arts and Sciences, the Great Books Program, the Department of English, and the Contemporary Writer’s Series.

Dunn is the author of sixteen books; his poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Nation, the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and many other journals. Since 1974 he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. Dunn has been a Visiting Professor at The University of Washington, NYU, Columbia, and The University of Michigan. 

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