Department of English News

Congrats to David Poston!

The Department of English congratulates alumnus David Poston on the publication of his poetry collection, Slow of Study. It was published this month by Main Street Rag Publishing in Charlotte.

Poston taught for thirty years in various public schools, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and at Charlotte’s Young Writers’ Workshop, and he continues to teach occasional creative writing workshops. His previous poetry collections are My Father Reading Greek and Postmodern Bourgeois Poetaster Blues, winner of the Randall Jarrell/Harperprints Chapbook Competition. He lives in Gastonia, North Carolina.

For more information on alumni authors, visit the Alumni Bookshelf page at:

Banks, West-Puckett speak on NWPRadio

Last night, Dr. Will Banks, Director of the University Writing Program and the Tar River Writing Project, and Steph West-Puckett, doctoral student in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication at ECU and Associate Director of the Tar River Writing Project, were invited guests on NWPRadio, a weekly radio show which showcases various work going on across the National Writing Project network. They were invited on to discuss “Pop-Up and Make,” a radical new educational initiative at J. H. Rose high school for which they received a $20,000 grant from the John Legend Show Me Campaign and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (

“Pop-Up and Make” represents an extensive partnership with Rose high school. Teachers and students from J. H. Rose worked with TRWP leadership in summer 2014 to design pop-up maker spaces for the school. These spaces focus on using hands-on, engaged learning activities to help young people make knowledge and build literacy skills. This project was one of only 14 selected in the country.

To hear the recorded radio show (1 hour):

Kitta publishes Diagnosing Folklore

Congratulations to Dr. Andrea Kitta on the publication of her new co-authored book, Diagnosing Folklore: Perspectives on Disability Health and Trauma. The University Press of Mississippi sponsored a panel about this book at the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting.

With contributions by Sheila Bock, London Brickley, Olivia Caldeira, Diane E. Goldstein, Darcy Holtgrave, Kate Parker Horigan, Michael Owen Jones, Elaine J. Lawless, Amy Shuman, Annie Tucker, and Kristiana Willsey, Diagnosing Folklore provides an inclusive forum for an expansive conversation on the sensitive, raw, and powerful processes that shape and imbue meaning in the lives of individuals and communities beleaguered by medical stigmatization, conflicting public perceptions, and contextual constraints. This volume aims to showcase current ideas and debates, as well as promote the larger study of disability, health, and trauma within folkloristics, helping bridge the gaps between the folklore discipline and disability studies.

This book consists of three sections, each dedicated to key issues in disability, health, and trauma. It explores the confluence of disability, ethnography, and the stigmatized vernacular through communicative competence, esoteric and exoteric groups in the Special Olympics, and the role of family in stigmatized communities. Then, it considers knowledge, belief, and treatment in regional and ethnic communities with case studies from the Latino/a community in Los Angeles, Javanese Indonesia, and Middle America. Lastly, the volume looks to the performance of mental illness, stigma, and trauma through contemporary legends about mental illness, vlogs on bipolar disorder, medical fetishism, and veteran’s stories.

Go here to learn more about the book:

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Screening of Smoke Signals

The Interfaith Pirates will be hosting a screening of SMOKE SIGNALS, followed by a panel discussion with Lee Johnson (Religious Studies), Amanda Ann Klein (Film Studies) and Mike Tierno (media production) about the depiction of faith (and non-faith) in the media. The event is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Rivers 269.

Watch the trailer here:

Snacks will be provided!


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Parille lauded by famed cartoonist

In a recent interview, cartoon artist/illustrator/screenwriter Daniel Clowes was asked about ECU English Associate Professor Ken Parille’s research. Dr. Parille is the editor of the Daniel Clowes reader, and here is what Clowes had to say:

“God, talk about what a great privilege, to have someone like that who pays such close attention that he points out things that I never noticed about my own work.”

Check out the screenshot below or read the full interview.

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Dr. Parille has published essays on Louisa May Alcott and boyhood, the mother-son relationship in antebellum America, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, cartoonist Abner Dean, TV bandleader Lawrence Welk, and other subjects. His writing has appeared in The Best American Comics Criticism, Children’s Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, Papers on Language and Literature, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Boston Review, Comic Art, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and The Believer. His monograph Boys at Home: Discipline, Masculinity, and ‘The Boy-Problem’ in Nineteenth-Century American Literature was published in 2009, and Daniel Clowes: Conversations, which he co-edited with Isaac Cates, was released in 2010 by the University Press of Mississippi. Dr. Parille also writes a monthly column for The Comics Journal.

2016 CCCC Annual Convention


Congratulations to ECU English Department Faculty and Graduate Students who will be presenting their super smart, super exciting original research at the world’s largest professional conference for researching and teaching composition, The Conference on College Composition and Communication, in April 2016.


ECU Department of English Faculty:

– Dr. Will Banks

– Dr. Nikki Caswell

– Dr. Matt Cox

– Dr. Erin Frost

– Dr. Joyce Middleton


ECU Department of English PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication Students:

– Janine Butler

– Stephanie West-Puckett


ECU Department of English MA in English (Rhetoric and Composition Concentration) Student:

– Rex Rose


We are proud to have you represent ECU so favorably!

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Klein


Dr. Amanda Klein is an associate professor of film studies in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a BA from Cornell University, and a Master’s and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.





. . .

Where are you from?

I am from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania originally but I moved to Greenville from Pittsburgh in 2007, where I had been living with my husband and daughter as I finished my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.

What brought you to ECU?

The simplest answer is: they offered me a job! As you probably know, there are far more PhD students than there are tenure track jobs. Most graduate students apply to 50 or more positions in the hopes of snagging one. I was lucky enough to get an offer my first year on the market and now, here we are, 9 years later.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

 My intention when I first entered grad school was to pursue a PhD in English literature. But all MA students were required to take an introductory film course and I fell in love with the discipline and switched my course of study. So while I received my PhD from an English department, I specialized in film studies.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

As a Northerner, coming to Greenville was definitely a cultural adjustment. I had previously lived in Charleston, SC for a year so that gave me a taste of life in the South. But overall, I feel like I am still learning new things about Eastern North Carolina. I’ve really come to love this are and its culture. I feel lucky to be able to experience a region that is so different than the one I grew up in.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Just landing a tenure track job and then getting tenure are probably the biggest achievements for me, because tenured positions are increasingly rare these days. I see so many brilliant qualified scholars going on the market year after year and coming back empty-handed as the market shrinks. I know I’m one of the few lucky ones.

But I think my biggest achievement has been raising two children while also getting tenure. It’s so hard for mothers in academia and I hope that, much as I was inspired by my professors in grad school who had children and still maintained their research profiles and teaching excellence, I might be inspiring to younger scholars who are considering starting families of their own. We shouldn’t have to choose between being professors and being mothers.

What is your favorite part of your job?

As much as I enjoy research and writing, I would have to say that teaching is definitely my favorite part of my job. Sometimes academics get too deep into their own scholarship and forget about the whole point of going into this profession, which is sharing knowledge with students. I love seeing students get excited about media studies and I love seeing them apply what they’ve learned to the world around them. Media literacy is one of the most important skills students need, and I am so grateful to be able to teach those skills every semester.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I like all of my classes but I had a particularly rewarding experience teaching Women, Identity and Difference 2 years ago. Here is the description:

“This seminar explores the different ways that American cinema has attempted to represent women. Beginning with the documentary Miss Representation, this course explores how American cinema represents women from different races, economic classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities and body types. The course will explore different facets of a particular American identity from the perspective of mainstream films to independent and experimental features. In addition to looking at isolated identities and what it means to be an African American, white, working class, or disabled woman in America, this course will also focus on intersectionality, or the ways that multiple systems of oppression are felt on individual bodies and how they intersect.”

I loved this class because the material was very challenging and potentially uncomfortable for students; race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, etc. are often tough for students to grapple with in a serious way. Students are afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending others with such topics. But those students really rose to the challenge and it was inspiring to witness. They were careful and nuanced and really just listened to each other. At the end of the semester one of my students gave me greatest compliment I have ever received in my SPOTS evaluations. S/he wrote: “I feel like I am a better person for having taken this course.” I mean, how can you top that? That’s the goal for me as a teacher—to help shape responsible, thoughtful, ethical citizens.