Piotr Gwiazda, English, Participates in Ars Cameralis Festival, Poland

Piotr GwiazdaIn November, Piotr Gwiazda, Associate Professor of English, participated in the 23rd Ars Cameralis Festival in Katowice, one of Poland’s most prestigious arts and literary festivals. On November 15, he gave a reading from his poetry in Polish translation at Kinoteatr Rialto. On November 17, he presented a lecture “Dreams of a Common Language: On Contemporary U.S. Poetry” at the English Language Institute of the University of Silesia in Sosnowiec.

In a video interview (interview in Polish), Gwiazda described his critical and creative projects. He also commented on the Ars Cameralis Festival.

UMBC Humanities Faculty Discuss Serial in The Guardian

Serial, a spin-off show from NPR’s “This American Life,” is a podcast in which reporter Sarah Koenig reinvestigates the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore County high school student. In the series, Koenig, a former Baltimore Sun staff writer, conducts numerous interviews and delves deeply into figuring out what led to the conviction of Adnan Syed, Hae’s ex-boyfriend, for her murder. An article published December 8 in The Guardian looks into why the podcast has drawn so much interest.

Nicole King

Nicole King

Nicole King, an associate professor of American studies, is quoted in the article and comments on the narrative style of the podcast when looking at it in the context of Baltimore.

“People are so caught up with ‘whodunnit’,” she tells [Nicky Woolf, the article’s writer]. “The Hollywood ending.” For people here, she says, there will need to be some sort of a payoff – a denouement – which real life rarely, if ever, provides.

Steph Ceraso

Steph Ceraso

In addition, Steph Ceraso, an assistant professor of English, and Tanya Olson, a lecturer of English, are both referenced in the article as having started to use the podcast as a teaching tool in the classroom.

Tanya Olson

Tanya Olson

“The podcast raises all kinds of interesting questions about storytelling, memory, ethics and the research process,” Ceraso said. She discovered that some students in her class knew the families involved in the case and it sparked a heated discussion about ethics and storytelling.

To read the complete article “In Baltimore, Serial’s murder mystery is not just a whodunnit-it’s real life,” click here.

Lia Purpura, English, in The New Yorker, Orion Magazine

English Writer in Residence Lia Purpura is featured in the November 24 edition of The New Yorker. The magazine published her poem “Study with Melon.” You can read the poem in The New Yorker by clicking here. The full text of the poem is below:

Lia Purpura

Study with Melon

The stem end of a melon
is weblike, form
finding a pattern
that’s thinking itself
a density
a concentration
beginning a line
then casting it out
and moving on from,
an order established,
a gesture complete.
Completion: how
someone at a distance
might see it.

In addition, Purpura’s essay “In The Despoiled and Radiant Now” appears in the November/December issue of Orion Magazine.

Two Students From the English Department Named HASTAC Scholars for 2014-2015

Two students in UMBC’s English Department have been named HASTAC Scholars for 2014-2015. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an alliance of social scientists, artists, humanists, and other individuals and institutions committed to exploring new possibilities technology offers in shaping how people learn, teach, and communicate.

Corey Kirk ’15, English, and Dorothy Stachowiak, a Master’s student in the English Department’s Texts, Technology, and Literature Program, will share their research with a lively international community of scholars throughout the year. Kirk’s primary research interests include digital humanities, technology and gaming. Stachowiak’s interests include 21st century literacies and digital humanities. The students will receive a stipend to spend on materials to advance their research, and Steph Ceraso, an assistant professor of English, will serve as the students’ HASTAC mentor. The program presents an opportunity for the students to connect with peers and share their work.

For more information on the HASTAC Scholars program, click here.

UMBC Homecoming Big Prize Poetry Slam (10/10)

The time has arrived once again for one of UMBC’s premiere arts events this year. The annual UMBC Homecoming Big Prize Poetry Slam will be held on Friday, October 10, 2014, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the Peforming Arts & Humanities Building (PAHB) first-floor atrium. Come enjoy a night of fun and poetry while cheering on the fantastic student and alumni poets as they compete for big prizes, enjoy wonderful free food, and even win door prizes. We look forward to seeing you there!

The event is presented by the English department, Bartleby, and the UMBC Homecoming Committee.

Maryland Humanities Council One Maryland One Book Program Comes to UMBC (9/30)

On September 30th, the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) welcomes Reyna Grande, an extraordinary author of the modern Latin American immigrant experience, to UMBC.

Reyna Grande is the author of The Distance Between Us: A Memoir, the MHC’s One Maryland One Book selection for 2014. In The Distance Between Us, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience,” Grande poignantly shares her life before and after entering the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

On September 30th at 11 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom, the Dresher Center and MHC will host Ms. Grande in a special event for 300 Baltimore City high school students and selected guests. Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, will provide welcoming remarks. Dr. Gregory Thornton, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, and Phoebe Stein, Executive Director of the Maryland Humanities Council, will also attend the event. Over the past six years, the One Maryland One Book partnership has given thousands of Baltimore City students the opportunity to participate in rich and meaningful discussions about literature. “Having the author book talk on a college campus is an added bonus, since it exposes our students to one of the many college options that exist in their own backyard,” says Amy Rosenkrans, Director of Humanities for Baltimore City Public Schools.

The One Maryland One Book program is a statewide community reading program designed to bring together diverse people in communities across the state through the shared experience of reading the same book. For more information: visit www.onemarylandonebook.org.

Michele Osherow, English, Participates in the U.S. Premiere of “The Veil”

The Veil

Photo credit: St. Johnn Blondell. Actors from left to right: Michele Osherow, Steve LaRocque, Jane Squier Bruns.

This past summer, The Quotidian Theatre in Bethesda hosted the U.S. premiere of Conor McPherson’s play “The Veil,” which debuted in 2011 at London’s National Theatre. The description of the play is as follows on the Quotidian website: “Set in a haunted mansion in rural Ireland in 1822, surrounded by a restive, starving populace, ‘The Veil’ weaves Ireland’s troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental, and the circularity of time.”

Michele Osherow, an associate professor of English, played the widowed Lady Lambroke, the owner of the Irish country manor where the play takes place. Osherow and other cast members received a strong review in the Washington Post for their work: “LaRocque’s Rev. Berkeley, Decker’s Mr. Audelle, Osherow’s Lady Lambroke and Mayo’s Hannah are all well-rounded characterizations, their lines spoken with unstilted English and Irish accents.

The play ran from July 18-August 17 and in addition to the Washington Post, it received praise from MD Theatre Guide, DC Theatre Scene, Broadway World, and DC Metro Theatre Arts. To read more of the reviews and find more information about “The Veil,” click here.

Osherow has extensive experience in professional theatre and serves as the Resident Dramaturg for the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. She received a 2012 best actress nomination from D.C. Theatre Scene for her work in Brian Friel’s Afterplay (Quotidian Theatre).