Maura D’Amore was on sabbatical for 2016-2017, working on a new project on Americans’ interest in bric-a-brac as a form of convalescent child’s play after the Civil War and traveling to do research at the American Antiquarian Society. She received a research fellowship to visit the Maine Women Writer’s Collection later this year. Her essay on Little House on the Prairie appeared on Avidly last year (http://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2016/01/19/laura-had-a-feeling/), and she has recently published an article on Pinterest as a form of digital scrapbooking in NANO: North American Notes Online (http://www.nanocrit.com/issues/10-2016/crafty-bricolage-pinterest-digital-scrapbooking). An essay on Melville and bachelorhood is forthcoming in a Cambridge University Press Melville “contexts” volume. Last summer, she was accepted to a week-long “Reading Children” seminar at the American Antiquarian Society and supervised a summer research project on American Indian literature with English major Jessica Jamer. As if all that wasn’t enough, she presented a paper on literary pastiche in Little Women at C19 and a paper on glitter in Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables at a Hawthorne Society conference, and will present on Thoreau and beachwrecking at the upcoming Nineteenth-Century Studies Association in Charleston. She’s also started writing and illustrating a little children’s book on the travels of two mice, Harriet and Midge, to Cape Cod, inspired by her first trip there this past October when she began writing about Thoreau’s Cape Cod. If anyone wants to follow along, she’s publishing it in installments on a private blog and welcomes readers! Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re looking forward to the release of Greg Delanty’s book of selected poems, Selected Delanty, coming fall 2017. This book is being selected and introduced by by the prestigious critic and editor, Archie Burnett, who is currently editing The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot. In addition, Greg is working on three other books, two of which are new individual collections of poems, titled The Field Guide to People and The Hellboxer. He’s also working on a poetry primer, developed while teaching at Saint Michael’s, called A Poetry Primer: Releasing Two Birds (and more) from the One Cage. To read more on Delanty, go to http://www.gregdelanty.com or visit his Wikipedia entry.
Last May, Professor Liz Inness-Brown finished a series of independent studies with Afghan writer Rahela Mohammad Akbar ’16, working on Rahela’s novel in progress Two Birds, One Cage. Rahela has recently finished revising the book, which will be sent first to Liz’s new agent, Michael Carlisle of Inkwell Management. Liz says it was a joy to work with Rahela, especially discussing problems and solutions for each of their novels in progress; her own novel, Babar’s Father, is very close to completion. This past fall, Liz was one of the three faculty essayists responding to the first-year common text, First They Killed My Father, written by Loung Ung, SMC ’93. Liz is also the current editor of this newsletter, so please send your updates to her at email@example.com.
Will Marquess is his same dedicated self, which we all thank goodness for. He’s teaching fiction and fairy tales and listening to Paul Simon and Shostakovich. His new book of stories, Boom-shacka-lacka, has been released by Fomite Press. The English Department threw him a big release party in December; about 75 people attended, and Will read a bit from one of the stories, which was very funny and beautifully written in that familiar Will Marquess way.
Bob Niemi‘s most recent publication is “‘Bad for the glass’: Chinatown’s Skewed Rendition of the California Water Wars” in Natures and Cultures: Critical Essays on Water in Contemporary Literature and Film, edited by Paula Farca (Colorado School of Mines) [publisher TBA]. His book Robert Altman: Hollywood Maverick, published by Wallflower Press, an imprint of Columbia University Press, was released in 2016 as part of their Directors’ Cuts series. Another new book, 100 Great War Movies: The Real History Behind the Films, is forthcoming soon. This book will be Niemi’s third book for ABC-Clio, a major publisher of history-related works, based in Santa Barbara, CA.
Professor Christina Root has an article forthcoming from the journal Papers on Language and Literature (Southern Illinois U.) entitled “Natural and Nurtured Affinities: the Importance of Friendship to Goethe’s Science.” She gave a paper on Thoreau’s essay “Wild Apples” at the most recent Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference, in Boston this March. Christina has been teaching courses for the new Environmental Studies Program, and, along with Nat Lewis, designed the “Environmental Imagination” track for students.
Speaking of Nat Lewis, he reports that, in addition to his running the Environmental Studies Program, he has a co-authored book on Las Vegas and the West (Morta Las Vegas) coming out next year, and that he’s building a model railroad layout with his son (part of an ongoing interest in trains) and reading mysteries. Watch for his recommendations coming here soon in a new post called “The Reading List.”
Last year Kerry Shea gave a paper on Sheri Tepper at the AAES titled “Sheri Tepper’s Anti-Humanist Vision,” and in the spring at Norwich University’s Utopia/Dystopia symposium, she gave a talk titled “Utopian Choice in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Collins’ The Hunger Games and Tepper’s The Companions.” Meanwhile she continues hiking, kayaking, and making beautiful porcelain pottery, available online as Pickerelweed Pottery.
Lorrie Smith continues to study and teach the intersections of Africa American literature, culture, and history, with particular interest in how music (blues, jazz, hip hop) informs literature. Her participation in the 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry,” was a rich opportunity to deepen her understanding of this field. Recently, she has been exploring the ways American writers have been influenced by Buddhist thought and practice. This topic is the focus of a senior seminar she is offering in the fall semester, 2016. Also this fall, Lorrie begins a three-year term as chair of the department, adding to her long list of roles in service to the College.
Joan Wry reports that she presented a paper at the 2017 MLA Conference in Philadelphia in January: “Landscapes and Mindscapes: Deep Mapping in Edward Hitchcock’s Geology and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry.” Also, she contributed a chapter to a book that came out in December 2016: “Margaret Fuller’s ‘Raphael’s Deposition from the Cross’ and the Tribune Letters: the Mater Dolorosa’s Tripartite Rites of Passage” in Transatlantic Conversations: Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Encounters with Italy and the Atlantic World” (University of New Hampshire Press).
Tribute: The Renaissance Man of the English Department
Professor Nick Clary joined the English Department at Saint Michael’s in the fall of 1970; in that first academic year he taught four sections of College Writing, two sections of the full survey of British Literature, and two upper level sections on Shakespeare and Milton. That is a staggering course load by today’s standards, but Nick only became more energized by the challenge, and he’s been going strong ever since. Now almost 46 years later, Nick is “gradually” moving towards retirement: in July, he will hand over the reins of the highly respected Honors Program that he initially restructured in 2008 and has masterfully directed for the past eight years. Next fall, he’ll teach a single section of his signature Shakespeare course, followed by a repeat of his spring / summer—on campus / study abroad course, “Shakespeare in Performance: On Film (S’16); On Stage (SU ’16). In the year that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Nick will honor the milestone for his students with classic intensity: three consecutive semesters of upper-level Shakespeare coursework; travel to England with sixteen Saint Michael’s undergraduates who will be housed in a magnificent “college estate” with 12th century monastic origins (at which Nick’s close friend Nicolas Baldwin presides as Dean); class screenings of several of the best film versions of Shakespeare’s plays; class viewings of at least five live performances in London and Stratford-on-Avon, and substantive guidance for students researching and writing on these experiences. Later in the 2016 milestone summer, Nick will present at the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford, and continue his research, writing, and collaborative projects. We would expect nothing short of that from Professor Clary.
Nick Clary has nearly 30 notable publications including peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, and significant editing projects such as the New Variorum Hamlet and Hamletworks.org. He has presented papers at nearly 30 conferences and symposiums, in addition to organizing and chairing both a Shakespeare Symposium and a Renaissance Symposium at the college within his first five years of teaching; he also has brought the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express—now the American Shakespeare Center’s Traveling Company—to Saint Michael’s annually for the past 20 years. He’s been awarded numerous grants, fellowships, and awards, including the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1988, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1999. In a particularly notable confluence of professional activity while teaching in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Nick served simultaneously as the Associate Dean of the College, the Coordinator of the Study Abroad Program in the years before a director was hired, was tapped for the “first” First-Year Seminar Committee, developed the Student Life training program for the LEAP Retreats, volunteered within his community as the Cultural Enrichment Director of the National Youth Sports Camps, and excelled as the Men’s Varsity Tennis Coach for eight years—he still holds the coaching record for the most wins in a season and most wins overall for that sport at the college.
Saint Michael’s will be hard pressed to fill the shoes of this Renaissance Man, but the Nick Clary Legacy will most certainly live on—even if we are not exactly sure when he will fully retire. For Nick is still very much an active and intensive part of that “brave new world, / That has such people in’t” . . . and we are all the better for it. After all, we know there will be “More Anon”—with Nick, there always is.
Tribute: The beloved “Kathie B.”
The Department will greatly miss Professor Kathie Balutansky, who is retiring at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. She arrived twenty-three years ago from the University of Virginia, where she had already established herself as a promising scholar and professor of Caribbean Women’s Literature. She enriched our major with a diverse array of courses–senior seminars on Magical Realism, Julia Alvarez and Jamaica Kincaid, and Contemporary Women Writers; first-year seminars on The Examined Life and Global Studies; and courses on Caribbean Literature, multi-ethnic fiction, critical theory, gender studies, and Literature of the Americas. Most recently, she developed new courses on Creative Nonfiction (Travel Writing) and Writing the Study Abroad Experience. She is the author of one book and co-editor of two others, and she has written over two dozen articles, reviews, book chapters, and conference presentations. Kathie has a particular interest in program development and administration, which she put to great use in the initial grant to develop the Global Studies Program in 2001, contributions to the development of service learning (which she also put into practice in four service-learning trips to Haiti), organizing the international Haitian Studies Association Annual Conference in 2001, and serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2004 to 2010, during which time she oversaw the 2010 NEASC Accreditation report and evaluation team visit. For her tireless devotion to these activities, she was awarded the Norbert A. Kuntz Service Award in 2002 and the Class of 2003 Appreciation Award. There is no chance that Kathie will slow down in retirement, as she has plans to pursue her interest in geology and quantum physics, contribute to higher education projects in Haiti, complete an interdisciplinary book on Haiti, and continue master gardening and restoring a historic stone house on Isle LaMotte with her husband, John.