Annual Literary Homecoming set for Sept. 20, 21

Celebration of the state's literary traditions at the 10th Eastern Annual North Carolina Literary Homecoming will include authors pictured above.

Celebration of the state’s literary traditions at the 10th Eastern Annual North Carolina Literary Homecoming will include authors pictured above.

East Carolina University will honor the region’s literary traditions Sept. 20 – 21. The Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming presented by the “North Carolina Literary Review and Joyner Library will offer interactive writing workshops in addition to panel presentations. This year’s theme, “North Carolina: A State of Change, A Changing State,” focuses on change in North Carolina and how it is reflected in the state’s literature.

For ten years, the ENCLH has been nourishing and revitalizing the creative spirit for writers as the event provides a place where artists and community members can interact and share ideas. The theme of the annual event mirrors the theme of the award-winning “North Carolina Literary Review’s” special feature section. The writers coming to ECU are featured in the pages of NCLR’s current and forthcoming print and online issues.

Each year, the Literary Homecoming kicks off on Friday evening with the presentation of the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration. This year the award will be presented to former North Carolina Poet Laureate and UNC–Greensboro Professor Emeritus Fred Chappell for his significant influence upon the literature of North Carolina.

Also on Friday evening, guests can enjoy a reading from Wiley Cash, author of “A Land More Kind than Home, and music by poet-musician Jim Clark of Barton College.

“Joyner Library is pleased to host the Literary Homecoming again this year,” said Jan Lewis, interim dean of the library.  “The Friday evening dessert reception, sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library, is always a wonderful way to start the weekend.  We invite members of the community to celebrate the literary traditions of North Carolina with us during this two-day event.”

On Saturday, several North Carolina writers will take part in two different panels. The first will focus on “Tarheel Literature in Black and White.” The second will focus on the emerging Latina/o voices among North Carolina writers and the resulting literary and cultural production that represents the experiences, needs, and aspirations of the Latino communities in the state.

Javier Lorenzo, chair of the Spanish Curriculum Committee at ECU, said, “Given the extraordinary growth of the Hispanic population in Eastern N.C., there is no better time to meet the authors featured in the Homecoming and to get acquainted with a literature that reflects the changing face of our state.”

At the lunch Saturday, Fred Chappell will present the 3rd James Applewhite Poetry Prize to the 2013 recipient, and Anna Jean Mayhew, author of “The Dry Grass of August, will read from her new novel in progress, “Tomorrow’s Bread.

The afternoon will feature six different workshops with visiting authors, covering the writing and presenting of poetry, fiction, playwriting, and memoir.

NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer invites everyone to read interviews and essays from many of the writers participating in this year’s Literary Homecoming, in the recently released 2013 issue of the “North Carolina Literary Review, and then meet the authors in person.

All events, except for Saturday author’s luncheon ($12), are free and open to the public. For program and registration information, go to www.ecu.edu/lithomecoming, call 252.328.1537, or e-mail lithomecoming@ecu.edu.

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The event is a recognized program for Certificate Renewal Credit for teachers. Contact Dawn Wainwright for CEU credit information at wainwrightd@ecu.edu or 252.328.4090.

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St. Amant awarded for teaching, innovation

The Society for Technical Communication (STC), the largest professional society in the field of technical communication, has chosen Kirk St.Amant as a recipient of the Society’s 2013 Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award is given in recognition of excellence in teaching and in mentorship, innovation and creativity in teaching, and contributions that change how technical communication is taught.

In selecting St. Amant for this distinction, the award committee noted his commitment to teaching and mentoring and the contributions he has made to pedagogical innovation in the field – particularly in relation to online education and the globalization/internationalization of teaching practices in the field.

St. Amant was presented with the award at the STC’s 2013 annual conference, which was held on May 5-8 in Atlanta, Ga.

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St. Amant delivers keynote presentation

East Carolina University professor Kirk St. Amant delivered the keynote presentation, “Global Growth in the Borderless World: Perspectives, Practices, and Projections” at the 2013 Red River Graduate Student Conference on April 5 -6 in Fargo, N.D.

St. Amant is professor of international studies and technical and professional communication in the Department of English, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

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ECU community mourns loss of instructor

By Kathryn Kennedy and Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Co-workers and students of East Carolina University teaching instructor Debbie O’Neal are grieving this week following her death March 31.

She and her husband – both rated pilots – were killed when their fixed-wing Lancair LC-42 aircraft crashed in a Winston-Salem residential neighborhood after experiencing engine trouble, a National Traffic Safety Board official told media on Monday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 N.C. Highway 43 N, Greenville.

An additional memorial service was held Tuesday, April 2 at the Washington Eye Center, where her husband, Dennis, worked.

O’Neal came to ECU in 2004, and this semester she was teaching three sections of English composition in the classroom and two distance-education sections of English grammar.

Department of English Chair Jeffrey Johnson spent Tuesday meeting with students in O’Neal’s classes, accompanied by staff from the ECU counseling center. He said the students were “taking it hard,” and many asked if they could reach out to her family.

“Her students know how invested she was in them,” Johnson said. “She was really outgoing, full of energy and ideas, generous with her time. All these qualities of hers…make (the loss) even harder.”

O’Neal was very involved in the ECU Language Academy, which provides intensive English-language instruction to international students and professionals. She also worked with the College of Education by developing ways to integrate English as a second language (ESL) teacher education into existing curriculum.

Marjorie Ringler, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, said she and O’Neal worked closely for years. “We were inseparable at work and as friends as well,” Ringler said Tuesday.

O’Neal was a linguist and Ringler works on partnerships with principals and school districts; together they were a great team, Ringler said. The pair recently attended an international conference in Dallas, presenting their success in teaching English as a second language in a rural eastern North Carolina school.

O’Neal engaged her classroom students as well, Ringler said, and held them to high standards.

“In the Department of English, she saw her students as her kids,” Ringler continued. “She was a mother to them because (she taught) the freshman composition class.”

She added that O’Neal kept in touch with many students and would get Facebook and email messages about how she had changed their lives. “She made sure everybody knew that she cared,” Ringler said.

“She lived life to the fullest. She was a pilot, made her own jewelry, and was always in touch with her three kids. She skied as well. What did she not do? And she tackled everything head on.”

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Folger Shakespeare Library exhibit features ECU connections

Irish mantle 1, resized

A replica of an Irish mantle, or cloak, created by East Carolina University School of Art and Design students in Robin Haller’s textile and design course is part of the exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Photo courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

By Alexa DeCarr, ECU News Services

An exhibit on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is showcasing the achievements of Dr. Thomas Herron, an associate professor of English at East Carolina University, students in ECU’s School of Art and Design and the University Multimedia Center.

The exhibit, which opened in January and runs through May 19, is named “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland” and focuses on the Irish upper class during the 16th to mid-17th century and its cultural exchanges with England. It investigates the political struggles of the period while acknowledging the ways in which English and Irish cultures influenced each other through achievements in literature, architecture and the arts.

“It goes beyond the black and white view of the interactions between the English and the Irish,” Herron said of the exhibit.

Students in ECU assistant professor Robin Haller’s textile and design course recreated a replica of an Irish mantle, which Herron said is a type of outer covering or cloak worn by the Irish. The University Multimedia Center also contributed to the exhibit by creating a 3-D computerized recreation of a tower house castle from the Middle Ages that allows viewers to get a virtual tour.

Herron said that a 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I “discovered” in Manteo while hanging in plain sight during a conference organized by the ECU English Department is on display at the exhibit as well.

“ECU has been so generous and has played a major role in the exhibit,” Herron said. “Different departments within the university have gone out of their way to help with the exhibit.”

While the exhibit focuses on Europe during the Renaissance, Herron said modern Americans can still appreciate it.

“Shakespeare is a powerful influence on the U.S. and our culture,” he said. “And many Americans have Irish roots.”

The exhibit, “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland,” features portraits, manuscripts, artifacts, family records, and rare books drawn from collections in Ireland and the United States. The exhibition includes nearly 100 items from the Folger collection, as well as materials from the National Gallery of Ireland, the University of Wisconsin, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library of Ireland, and private collections.

Brendan Kane, a historian of modern Ireland and an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, was the co-curator of the exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.folger.edu/Ireland or contact Tom Herron at herront@ecu.edu.

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ECU student selected to present research

East Carolina University student Maggie Steinhauer was one of 30 students selected to present undergraduate scholarship at the First Annual Society of Cinema and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference, scheduled for April 12-13 at the University of Notre Dame.

Steinhauer is a senior English major and film studies minor, and a student assistant for ECU Dining Services. She was chosen to present undergraduate scholarship on any aspect of cinema and media history, criticism or theory.

Steinhauer will present “’Bowties are Cool’: Fandom in the Mainstream,” on the BBC television series “Doctor Who” and the implications of social media on the evolution of fandom.

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ECU grad student debuts new online journal

East Carolina University creative writing graduate student Michael Kent Brantley has published the first issue of an online  journal entitled “What the Fiction.”  The journal is available at http://www.whatthefiction.com.

Cover art for the new journal was completed by Jim Fuess.

ECU English instructor Dean Tuck serves as associate editor for the journal.

Brantley said the work was inspired through a creative writing class taught by ECU professor Luke Whisnant, who serves as an advisory editor for the new journal. Professors Liza Wieland and Alex Albright also supported Brantley’s work.

The journal publishes fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. The first issue includes poetry from ECU graduate students Jessica Cory and Meghan Palko.

Brantley serves as a graduate assistant for Tar River Poetry (http://www.tarriverpoetry.com/) and a graduate teaching assistant in the ECU Department of English.

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Poet, critic Stephen Burt to visit ECU Feb. 7

Harvard professor and poet-critic Stephen Burt will visit East Carolina University at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in the second floor exhibit gallery at Joyner Library.

Burt’s books include “The Art of the Sonnet,” with David Mikics; “Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry,”; “Parallel Play, a book of poems”: and “Randall Jarrell and His Age.” His writings on poets and poetry appear regularly in the Nation, the London Review of Books, Boston Review, and other journals in Britain and America. His next book of poems, Belmont, will appear from Graywolf Press in 2013.

Burt wrote his second book about another poet-critic, Randall Jarrell, who  settled in North Carolina. Some of Jarrell’s books and papers have now been acquired by Joyner Library, as part of the Stuart Wright Collection, where they are now available for study. On his visit to ECU, Burt will read from his own poetry and answer questions about the creative relationship between writing poetry and writing criticism.

A recent interview with Burt by ECU English professor John Hoppenthaler, along with several of Burt’s poems, is available at http://connotationpress.com/a-poetry-congeries-with-john-hoppenthaler/1027-stephen-burt-poetry.

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Poet Featured at Greenville Gallery

North Carolina poet James Applewhite, Greenville’s City Art Gallery, and the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) will collaborate on the second annual exhibit of original art inspired by the poet’s work.

The show will feature the work of artists who have used paint, photography, sculpture, and ceramics to interpret selected poems.

City Art Gallery owner Torrey Stroud will host the opening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 20; Applewhite will read his poems at 7 p.m. The exhibit will run through Feb. 11.

The idea was suggested by artist Louis St. Lewis, a fan of poetry and short stories, whose work has been selected for inclusion in past issues of NCLR. “This was an invitational for a group of artists we represent,” Stroud said of last year’s event. “We consulted with Diane Rodman (NCLR’s Art Editor) to decide on the poet.”

NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer will introduce the poet and welcome him “home” to eastern North Carolina. Applewhite was born in Stantonsburg and is retired from Duke University after almost 40 years on the faculty. He is a four-time winner of the Roanoke Chowan Poetry Award, given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. He has received the North Carolina Award for Literature and is a 2008 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

His next book, due out in 2013 from LSU Press, will be his 12th volume of poetry. His work has been featured in several issues of NCLR.

City Art Gallery is located at 511 Red Banks Road in Greenville. More information about the exhibit, artists, and hours of operation can be found at www.cityartgreenville.com.

The North Carolina Literary Review is published annually by ECU and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. The first edition of NCLR Online, which will include art from last year’s Applewhite invitational exhibit, is due out in February. The print issue will be out in the summer. For more information, visit NCLR’s website at www.nclr.ecu.edu.

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