Break out the streamers, hankies, and champagne—and welcome to the maiden voyage of the English department newsletter! In the following digital pages you will encounter a number of familiar names and faces, and some new ones as well. You will find news about faculty, students, and fellow alumni. You might even find a poem or two. But before we set sail and boldly launch upon the deep, let me take this opportunity on behalf of the department to send warm greetings to you, our extended English department family. That is, though this venture is a new one for us, it is not a departure so much as an arrival: a chance to share the department’s news with alumni and friends, and to encourage our one-time students to reconnect with us. To borrow from Walt Whitman, you are more to us, and more in our meditations, than you might suppose.
This is my fifteenth year at St. Michael’s College and I am delighted to say that the third floor of St. Edmund’s Hall remains a spirited home of literary explorations, both a cutting edge and a refuge. Over the last few years we have added two remarkable colleagues: Tim Mackin, who runs the Writing Center and teaches both composition and literature; and Maura D’Amore, who specializes in 19th Century American literature. And come fall, Joan Wry (whom many of you will remember) will be joining the department after eight years of heroic service as the dean of undergraduates. The department continues to teach an eclectic range of courses both traditional and esoteric, with classes on topics such as Travel Writing, Shakespeare, Melville, Nature Writing, and Digital Literature. And, in addition to our Literature minor, we now offer a minor in Creative Writing that is already an enormous success. Of course, the engine of the entire enterprise is and will always be our students, who continue to inspire us with their energy, intelligence, curiosity, and kindness. In the best possible sense: same as it ever was.
Our hope is to publish a departmental newsletter every spring, sharing our collective stories. But the time is always ripe for new narratives, anecdotes, and tall tales—so please take this introductory note as an invitation to renew the journey with us. Drop a line. Say hello. In the meantime: Anchors Aweigh!
Nat Lewis, Chair, Department of English