Department of English News

Disability Film Series Screening

Playing Thursday February 26th, 2015 @ 5:30 pm in Bate 1032

Open to all ECU students and Faculty

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

On 8 December 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings, but physically paralyzed with what’s known as locked-in syndrome, with the only exception of some movement in his head and eyes. His right eye had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem. The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months (four hours a day). Using partner-assisted scanning, a transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The feature film is based on Bauby’s memoir and was nominated for four Academy Awards.

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TALGS conference tomorrow

The TESOL and Applied Linguistics Graduate Student (TALGS) Conference will take place tomorrow, Feb. 21, in the Rivers Building. Registration begins at 8 am; and the conference will run from 9 am-5 pm. Dr. William Grabe and Dr. Fredricka Stoller will be the keynote speakers.

Disability Film Series Screening

Playing Thursday February 19th, 2015 @ 5:30pm in Bate 1032

Open to all ECU students and Faculty

Freaks (1932)

What set this film apart from director Tod Browning’s earlier efforts was the fact that genuine circus and carnival sideshow performers were cast as the freaks: Harry Earls and his equally diminutive sister Daisy, Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, legless Johnny Eck, armless-legless Randian (who rolls cigarettes with his teeth), androgynous Josephine-Joseph, “pinheads” Schlitzie, Elvira, Jennie Lee Snow, and so on. Upon its initial release, Freaks was greeted with such revulsion from movie-house audiences that MGM spent the next 30 years distancing themselves as far from the project as possible. For many years available only in a truncated reissue version titled Nature’s Mistakes, Freaks was eventually restored to its original release print.

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“You don’t hate the South?” Faculty Speaker Series presentation

HoppenthalerJohn Hoppenthaler will present “You don’t hate the South? they ask.  You don’t hate it?’:  Natasha Trethewey’s South” at noon Monday, Feb. 23, in Bate 2024 as part of the 2015 Faculty Speaker Series.

John describes his talk as follows: “Natasha Trethewey’s relationship to the South, the place of her birth and where she now chooses to work and live, seems clear; as she writes in a 2005 Virginia Quarterly Review essay, “it is a love/hate relationship.” One of her poetry’s primary occupations is with historical erasure as it relates to the obfuscation of the stories of African-Americans. Complicit in such erasure, the Southern poetic tradition is the battleground wherein Trethewey chooses to make her case.”

The Faculty Speaker Series Committee invites anyone interested to attend for the talk, snacks, and scintillating discussion.

Hoppenthaler publishes third volume of poetry

HoppenthalerJohn Hoppenthaler, an associate professor in the English Department, has just published his third volume of poems, Domestic Garden, with Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Hoppenthaler will give a number of readings in the weeks to come, including at Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Xavier University of New Orleans, the University of Minnesota, and Towson University. He and department graduate Al Maggines also will read in at Scuppernong Books (which is co-owned by department graduate Brian Lampkin) in Greensboro at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. Finally, Hoppenthaler will  do a joint reading with English department Professor Liza Wieland at 8 p.m. April 1 on the second floor of Joyner Library.

Read ECU’s full press release on Hoppenthaler’s new publication, or visit the press’s page to purchase the volume.

ECU hosts fourth annual SCCI

SCCI logo copyThe Symposium on Communicating Complex Information will be Feb. 23-24 at the East Carolina Heart Institute in Greenville NC on the East Carolina University medical campus. Organized by technical and professional communication professor Michael Albers, this will be the symposium’s fourth year.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Lisa Meloncon of the University of Cincinnati. Meloncon’s presentation is entitled “Better than a sharp stick in the eye: Lessons about communicating complex information from a cross-disciplinary research project,” and it explores a multi-year, cross-disciplinary research project involving lessons learned about the growing importance of research study design, data visualization, and the public-ness of research for technical communicators.

Other sessions will focus on content production and distribution, pedagogy for complex information, designing for government agencies, designing and testing for varying audiences, connecting to the community, scientific information design, information visualization, meeting individual needs, and complex information in large systems. Graduate student Kristi Wiley, assistant professor Guiseppe Getto, professor Kirk St. Amant, and professor Michael Albers all will represent the ECU Department of English on the program.
SCCI explores the relationships between and within the contexts that affect complex information, information design, information architecture, user experience, and usability.  It seeks to examine how design and content choices influence people’s behavior when interacting with complex information, and how the knowledge of situational context improves the design of complex information systems. SCCI fosters an integrated approach to the design of complex information by bringing together members from a range of research and practitioner communities.

Visit SCCI’s website for full details and program.

New NCLR issue focuses on NC writing beyond the state’s borders

Cover image of the most recent issue of NCLR

The online issue was released in January with cover art by Winston-Salem artist Mona Wu, a native of China, and design by the journal’s art director, Dana Ezzell Gay, a faculty member of Meredith College in Raleigh.

The theme of this year’s issues of the award-winning North Carolina Literary Review is “North Carolina Literature in a Global Context.”

The writers and artists in this year’s issues share a common bond: they have called North Carolina home. However, not all were born here, not all still live here, and some have written works set in other states and countries. NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer writes in the issue’s introduction, “Perhaps it is the variety of life experiences of all of these writers that explains the quality of the literature of the Old North State.”

Stories and books reviewed in the 2015 online issue span the globe from Malaysia and China to Texas and Florida. Jude Whelchel’s story “Big Joy Family” explores the joys and struggles of an international adoption. Georgia-born writer Taylor Brown, now a resident of Wilmington, NC, sets his story in a mining community grappling with the dangers and complexities of union strikes and Vietnam War soldiers returning home. The global online issue also includes poetry by New York natives Grace C. Ocasio and Marylin Hervieux and New England native Richard Betz, among others. These poets were finalists in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition; the winning poem will be published in the print issue, due out in the summer.

Content in the online issue complements, but is independent of, the forthcoming print issue. For example, the 2015 online issue includes a short essay introducing Monique Truong; the print issue will contain a full interview with Truong. Whelchel and Brown’s short stories, published in the online issue, were finalists in the 2014 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition; the winning story by Laura Herbst will be published in the print issue.

NCLR is published by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

Learn more about NCLR online here.

NCLR honored for editorial achievement

The Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) announced the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) is the winner of the 2014 Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement at the Modern Language Association conference in Vancouver on January 8. This is the journal’s fifth award from this allied organization of the Modern Language Association.

The Phoenix Award is given to a journal that has “launched an overall effort of revitalization or transformation within the previous 3 years.” NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer submitted to this category to call attention to NCLR’s expansion in 2012 to add a second issue each year, an open-access electronic issue titled NCLR Online. Book reviews are now published in these issues, she reports, “to reach as broad an audience as possible, our mission being to promote North Carolina writers.”

One of the CELJ judges said of NCLR, “What’s most impressive about the recent changes is . . . using online publishing to increase dissemination and take advantage of various digital affordances, while also preserving the gorgeous printed volume.”

Read the full story on NCLR’s webpage.

TESOL & Applied Linguistics Graduate Student Conference 2015

On February 21, 2015, the English Department will host the 12th annual TESOL and Applied Linguistics Graduate Student Conference—or TALGS conference. The conference aims to provide a serious yet relaxed forum for professional discourse on a variety of topics relevant to the study of language, granting a comfortable environment for discussion between students, researchers, and teachers.

Conference will be held in the Rivers Building. Registration begins 8:00 AM

This year, we are very fortunate to have Dr. William Grabe and Dr. Fredricka L. StollerStoller photoBill—both from Northern Arizona University—as our keynote speakers. Their morning plenary  will address commonly held myths about second language (L2) reading and replace them with effective instructional practices. Their afternoon workshop will extend their discussion of effective L2 reading instruction practices through a demonstration of strategic-reader training.

Proposals are welcome from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. Proposal submission guidelines can be found here:


For more information, please contact Mark D. Johnson at