From (Under) The Chair’s Desk
Budget news has continued to flow from Des Moines that will surely have some effect on the context within which the English Department operates for the next few years. The good news is that the legislature reached a compromise that sees a gentle funding increase for the UI for the next fiscal year, enough to allow the tuition freeze to continue for a second year in a row. Somewhat more ominous is a change in funding mechanism being proposed by the Performance-Based Revenue Model Task Force as reported this week in the Press-Citizen and the Des Moines Register. The alteration tilts in favor of serving large numbers of in-state students, which is a formula that disfavors the University of Iowa. Don Szeszycki, VP for Finance, reported in a meeting to DEOs, that this formula could see a drop of some $54 million from the $222 million the UI currrently receives in State Appropriations. Even if phased in over a few years, that would represent a drop of some 8% in the university’s General Fund budget, which starts to look like real money in relation to the University’s operations (see here for the full UI budget).
It is worth stressing that none of this is happening rightaway, and that it will likely get modified in some ways. The task force is suggesting the UI be held harmless through an extra state allocation (surely Des Moines will be happy to give us $54M). One further recommendation proposes the de-coupling of tuition rates at the three Iowa institutions, which could mean further recalibrating of the UI’s funding model. In any event, the Regents will surely want to hear from Deloitte, whose efficiency proposals are supposed to be coming in stages soon, before making recommendations to the Governor, who will in turn need to work with the next state legislature, and all aspects of the proposals may change throughout the process. There is no immediate budget crisis, and there may not be one. It does seem likely, however, that the push for us to be active in attracting more undergraduate students will continue: in-state students bring a political premium and the possibility of more state funding; out of state bring a revenue premium, which may become yet more significant.
Of course, we are attractive to students because we are a strong department, undertaking outstanding teaching and exciting research, as I am happy to remind all constituencies. Let me end with the promise of an early summer Reading Matters to pick up on some of the remaining issues, and a turn now to the many achievements of our graduate students. With special thanks to Loren Glass, who is closing out his stint as Director of Graduate Studies, to John D’Agata, as Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program, and to Cherie Hansen-Rieskamp, who ably supported both programs and all of our graduate students, the remainder of this issue should give a good sense of the vitality, intellectual excitement, and accomplishment of graduate students within the department. Bravo, all!
From Upstairs, Director of Graduate Studies
Dear English Department graduate students, colleagues, and staff,
As always, it is a pleasure to dedicate this final issue of Reading Matters to chronicling the impressive graduate student achievements and awards of this past academic year. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Cherie Hansen-Rieskamp, who has assembled this impressive list.
This is my last year as DGS. While it’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with so many talented and motivated students, with my dedicated colleagues on the Graduate Steering Committee, and with a highly capable and compassionate program associate, it’s also been a stressful and sobering experience trying to adapt our program to current crises in the academic humanities. While I am proud of some achievements, including shrinking the size of our incoming class, participating in the development of a certificate in the Digital Humanities, and helping to develop programs preparing students for alt-ac positions, I am acutely aware that there is much more to do in improving the quality of our graduate student experience and enhancing our competiveness in this current environment of fiscal constraint and curricular transformation. I look forward to working with my successor in engaging these challenges.
As this academic year comes to a close, it is fitting to look ahead to next year by welcoming the incoming cohorts of NWP, PhD, and MA students; their names and profiles appear toward the end of this issue. Welcome to the department, class of 2014-2015--we look forward to meeting you in August!
Have a wonderful summer, everyone!
Catina Bacote, “Everything the Heart Can Hold” (Patricia Foster, dir.)
Barret Baumgart, “China Lake ” (John D’Agata, dir.)
Amy Bernhard, “Resort Home” (Patricia Foster, dir.)
Blair Braverman, “Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube” (Bonnie Sunstein, dir.)
Suzanne Cody, “Love, Sex, Shoes ” (Patricia Foster, dir.)
Olivia Dunn, “Altfits ” (Jeff Porter, dir.)
Lisa Gray Giurato, “A Fairy Tale ” (John D’Agata, dir.)
Dung Thi Ha, “Valley of Opportunity” (Bonnie Sunstein, dir.)
Elliott Krause, “All I Want is Boundless Love” (John D’Agata, dir.)
Maggie Milstein, “Mythologies ” (Jeff Porter, dir.)
Quince Mountain, “I Shall Be Like Him” (Bonnie Sunstein, dir.)
MFA Publications, Presentations, and Awards
Rachel Arndt published an essay in The New York Times about the American middle class. Her review of "Go, Dog. Go!" will appear in the June issue of The Believer.
Catina Bacote won first place in the Creative Arts division at the Jakobsen Graduate Conference. She has essays forthcoming in both The Gettysburg Review and The Southern California Review, and received a residency fellowship at the Millay Colony for the Arts.
Amy Bernhard has essays appearing in Fourth Genre, The South Loop Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Toast.
Blair Braverman sold her first book to Ecco/Harper Collins.
Molly Coon published an essay in Essay Daily.
Magda Davis’ essay "Ashes Over Havana" was selected for inclusion in this year's anthology of The Best Women's Travel Writing. She currently works as Iowa Writes Coordinator for The Daily Palette.
Gemma de Choisy published an essay entitled “Boy Soldier" in BuzzFeed, which was subsequently read by over 175,000 people. The essay is a profile of a 22-year-old snake-handling Pentecostal preacher, and was the result of three years of interviews and fieldwork. Gemma was able to complete the essay thanks to a Herodotus Award from the NWP.
Nazli Inal published an essay in Essay Daily.
Maggie Milstein has been commissioned to write a biography of Hollywood legend “Angelyne,” who is a singer and actress less known for her singing and acting than for buying billboards in LA in order to advertise her singing and acting.
Matt Owens published essays in The Oxford American, Booth, Crazyhorse, Redivider, and Hobart. He was also recently awarded the W.R. Irwin Award for Teaching Excellence given annually to two TAs who teach in the General Education Literature Department at The University of Iowa.
Helen Rubinstein has published essays this year in Slice, The Paris Review, and The Seneca Review, and her fiction is forthcoming in Day One and Trout Family Almanac. She was also selected as a 2014 Graduate Fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center.
Beatrice Smigasiewicz’s essay was selected for the Jewish Lithuania SLS Sutzkever prize. Her catalogue essay appeared alongside Abedukola Bodunrin’s exhibition, “Until one Day...” at the Chicago Artist’s Coalition. She has translations, “Hans, That Hans,” “Where to in Bratislava,” and “A Report on the Hermitage,” in Asymptote and BODY literary Magazine.
Rachel White published an essay in Essay Daily.
Lastly, nine students from the Nonfiction Writing Program have co-edited an anthology that will be published next fall. Their book is the culmination of a year-long course entitled “Building an Anthology, Building an Argument” with John D’Agata, for which the students read and discussed approximately 400 contemporary American essays, selected their favorite fifteen, and then wrote critical essays to accompany them. They also conducted interviews with the authors of each text, including Anne Carson, Wayne Koestenbaum, Mary Ruefle, Eliot Weinberger, and Paul West. Their anthology, which has yet to be titled, will be published in September 2014. The student editors are Gemma de Choisy, Quince Mountain, Maggie Milstein, Barret Baumgart, Helen Rubinstein, Suke Cody, Larry Ypil, Lisa Giurato, & Josh Wheeler.
Carl Klaus Teaching Award
First annual Herodotus Research & Travel Awards:
Carl Klaus Nonfiction Prize:
Carl Klaus Nonfiction Prize Honorable mentions:
The Annual China Fellowship
MFA Job and Further Education Congratulations
Catina Bacote (MFA ’14; Patricia Foster, dir.) has accepted a position as a 2014-2015 Provost’s Postgraduate visiting Writer at the University of Iowa.
Barret Baumgart (MFA ’14; John D’Agata, dir.) has been hired by the Division of Continuing Education to teach online creative writing courses for rural and imprisoned Iowans.
Amy Bernhard (MFA ’14; Patricia Foster, dir.) has been hired as an assistant adjunct professor of creative nonfiction in the Magid Writing Center.
2014 Incoming MFA Students
MA Graduates with Portfolio
Fellowships and Departmental Awards 2014
Marcus Bach Graduate Fellowship
Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship
Prairie Lights/Sherman Paul Dissertation Research Scholarship
Freda Dixon Malone Dissertation Research Scholarship
Frederick P.W. McDowell
Valerie Lagorio Dissertation Research Scholarship
Dickens Universe Department Tuition Scholarship
Frederick F. Seely Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship
Huston Diehl Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship
English Department Best Essay Prize
Graduate Summer Fellowship
Summer Foreign Language Scholarship
Post Comp Course Release
Futures of American Studies Travel Award
T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowship
Digital Humanities Summer Institute Tuition Scholarship
Shakespeare Association of America’s Graduate Student Grant
Department and College Teaching Awards
John C. Gerber Teaching Award
W.R. Irwin Teaching Award
2014 Outstanding University Teaching Assistant Award
2014 Outstanding Rhetoric Teaching Award
Katherine Bishop, “War in the Margins: Illustrating Anti-Imperialism in American Culture” (Harry Stecopoulos, dir.)
Thomas Blake, “Royal Materials: The Object of Queenship in Late Medieval English Romance” (Kathy Lavezzo, dir.)
Daniel Boscaljon, “Gothic Haunts” (Ed Folsom and David Wittenberg, co-dir.)
Kelly Franklin, “Out of Place: Walt Whitman and the Latin American Avant-Gardes” (Ed Folsom and Claire Fox, co-dir.)
Jacob Horn, “Tracking the Great Detective: an Investigation into Sherlock Holmes’s Persistence and Contemporary Relevance” (Corey Creekmur, dir.)
Katherine Montgomery, “Drear flight and homeless wandering”: Gender, Economics, and Crises of Identity in Mid-Victorian Women’s Fiction” (Florence Boos, dir.)
Anna Newnum, “The Poetry of Religion and the Prose of Life: From Evangelicalism to Immanence in British Women’s Writing, 1835-1925” (Florence Boos, dir.)
Taryne Taylor, “Remembering the Future, Redefining the Past: A Study of Nineteenth Century British Feminist Utopias” (Florence Boos, dir.)
Johanna Tomlinson, “Playing with Words: Child Voices in British Fantasy Literature for Children 1749-1906” (Teresa Mangum, dir.)
Angela Watkins, “Mambos, Priestesses, and Goddesses: Spiritual Healing Through Vodou in Black Women’s Narratives of Haiti and New Orleans” (Mary Lou Emery, dir.)
PhD Job Congratulations
Tom Blake (Kathy Lavezzo, dir.) has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor in English at the University of Iowa.
Daniel Boscaljon (Ed Folsom and David Wittenberg, co-dir.) has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor in English at the University of Iowa.
Blake Bronson-Bartlett (Ed Folsom, dir.) has accepted a visiting lecturer position at Dortmund Teaching Exchange Program, Dortmund, Germany.
Kelly Franklin (Ed Folsom, dir.) has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with Hillsdale College, MI.
Johanna Tomlinson (Teresa Mangum, dir.) has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor in English at the University of Iowa.
MA and PhD Publications, Presentations, and Awards
Shuhita Bhattacharjee presented “Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire” at the Conference at the University of Warwick, UK and "Detecting Objects: The Material Item and Detective Fiction" at the Symposium at the University of Portsmouth, UK.
Kelly Franklin’s article "‘Without Being Walt Whitman’: Vicente Huidobro, Whitman and the Poetics of Sight" has been accepted by Comparative American Studies. He also delivered an invited lecture, " 'The Redemptive Act': Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Artist" at JPCatholic University in November of 2013
Jennifer Loman has two forthcoming publications: "Science Fiction and the Religious Imagination," in Teaching Religion and Literature (AAR Series) Eds. Dan Boscaljon and Alan Levinovitz, Oxford University Press, and "Speak Your Riddle, Roland: Medievalism as the Key to Unlocking the Ending of Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series,” in Stephen King: Into the Millennium. Eds. Patrick McAleer and Michael Perry, Mcfarland Press. She also made the following conference presentations: "Norris' 'Lauth' as 19th-Century Rendition of Everyman" at the 14th Annual Craft Critique Culture Graduate Student Conference: (Mis)leading, and "The Scientist as Believing Unbeliever in Gregory Benford's 'Exposures" at South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA): 85th Annual Conference, 2013. She also served as Chair for the UI Council on the Status of Women, 2013-2014 and as Member of the Report Writing Team, "Undergraduate Sexual Misconduct at the University of Iowa: Results of a Campus-Wide Undergraduate Survey," 2013-2014. She was nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to the Greater Community by a Student Leader Award for the Hawkeye Student Leadership and Service Awards, 2013-2014 for her work with the Council on the Status of Women.
Elizabeth Lundberg recently published “A Sense of Wonder and Other Feminist Feelings” in Deletion: The Open Access Online Forum in Science Fiction Studies, and delivered conference presentations at the Religion, Literature, and the Arts Conference, the Midwest PCA/ACA Conference, and the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. She also coordinated the Affect & Inquiry Symposium that The University of Iowa held this spring.
Sonja Mayrhofer published “What, is Sarezyns flesch thus good?”: Cannibalism and the Humors in Richard Cœr de Lyon.” eHumanista: Journal of Iberian Studies 25 (2013): 75-93. She also presented “Otherworldly Blood: Humors and Shape-shifters in Marie de France’s Yonec,” at the 129th MLA Annual Convention 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, USA, January 2014
Jennifer Shook served as a Co-Director of Imagining America's PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Engagement) Network 2013-14 and will continue as a PAGE Co-Director 2014-15. She also organized an interdisciplinary public symposium "Life After: Activist Memorials and Digital Collaborations" at UI in October 2013 and presented on "Social Media as Process and Documentation" at the 2013 Imagining America National Conference.
Katie Montgomery, published " 'I Never Liked Long Walks': Gender, Nature and Jane Eyre's Rural Wandering," in Gender and Space in Rural Britain, 1840-1940, edited by Gemma Goodman and Charlotte Mathieson and published by Pickering and Chatto, and "Ladies Who Launch: The Argosy Magazine and Ellen Price Wood's Perilous Voyages," published in Women's Writing in December 2013.
Johanna Tomlinson presented "Playing in the Past: Heirs of Empire in E. Nesbit’s The Story of the Amulet" at the 2013 Children's Literature Association Conference. She also has an article forthcoming in Summer 2014 from Children's Literature Association Quarterly titled "‘as natural as oak growing’: Child Voices, Agency, and Empire in Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill."
2014 Incoming PhD Students
Eula Biss (MFA ’06; David Hamilton, dir.) has been offered a position on the creative writing faculty at the University of Minnesota.
Amy Butcher (MFA ’12; Robin Hemley, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the creative writing faculty at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Hali Felt (MFA ’09; Bonnie Sunstein, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the creative writing faculty at the University of Alabama.
T. Fleischmann (MFA ’10; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.
Katherine Gubbels (PhD ’10; Jon Wilcox, dir.) has accepted a tenure track assistant professor position at Adams State University.
Kerry Howley (MFA ’11; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the creative writing faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Bryan Mangano (PhD '13; Eric Gidal, dir.) has accepted a one-year position as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the English Department at Coe College and has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the UI for 2013-14.
Erin Mann (PhD ’11; Jon Wilcox, dir.) has accepted a tenure track assistant professor position at Lindenwood University.
Lucas Mann (MFA ’12; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the creative writing faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
Dylan Nice (MFA ’11; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a 1-year position as a visiting writer in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.
Jose Orduna (MFA ’13; Jeff Porter, dir.) has been hired as an adjunct assistant professor of creative nonfiction in the Magid Writing Center.
Michael Allen Potter (MFA '11; Foster, dir.) read from his first collection of essays, The Last Invisible Continent, at the end of January as one of three featured authors in The John and Winifred Smith Alumni Writer Series at Union College (New York). In March, he launched The Hydroelectric Press with a new collection of poems by Workshop Alum, Jordan Smith, which was recently featured on The Writing University.
Joseph Rodriguez (PhD ’12; Sponsler, dir.) has accepted a adjunct assistant professor position at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Kisha Schlegel (MFA ’12; Robin Hemley, dir.) has accepted a tenure track position on the creative writing faculty at Whitman College.
Elisabeth Shane (PhD ‘12; Teresa Mangum, dir.) "'Your Girls that You All Love are Mine Already': Criminal Female Sexuality in Bram Stoker's Dracula," is forthcoming in Gothic Studies.
Inara Verzemnieks (MFA ’13; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a position as visiting assistant professor on the creative writing faculty at Oregon State University.
Cutter Wood (MFA ’10; John D’Agata, dir.) has accepted a position as director of the New York City branch of 826 Valencia, tutorial program in creative writing for underprivileged youth.
Blaine Greteman was recently honored by induction into Phi Beta Kappa at Oklahoma State University as a distinguished alumni, where he gave a talk on the Role of the Humanities.
Congratulations to Claire Sponsler, whose book, The Queen’s Dumbshows: John Lydgate and the Making of Early Theater just saw release from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
In anticipation of the bicentennial celebration of Walter Scott’s famous historical novel Waverley, to be held October 2-5, in Iowa City, Anne Stapleton recently gave a talk to the Scottish Heritage Society of Iowa, in Des Moines, and next month will present "From Waverley Station to Waverly, Iowa: Walter Scott's Iowa Connections" to the Hawkeye Area Grand Gaelic Isle Society, in Cedar Rapids.
Miriam Thaggert's reading of the film adaptation of the slave narrative 12 Years a Slave was published in American Literary History. "12 Years a Slave: Jasper's Look" was published in the 26.2 (2014) issue.
Dave Wittenberg’s monograph, Time Travel, has been awarded the Sicence Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize. As the citation reads:
Positive Impact Matters
The following faculty and staff were thanked in the April 24, 2014 issue of The Daily Iowan for making a positive difference in the lives of the graduating class of 2014: Linda Bolton, Florence Boos, Matt Brown, Jen Buckley, John D'Agata, Kathleen Diffley, Barbara Eckstein, Mary Lou Emery, Patricia Foster, Claire Fox, Megan Gioielli, Blaine Greteman, Lena Hill, Michael Hill, Adam Hooks, Marie Kruger, Brooks Landon, Kathy Lavezzo, Peter Nazareth, Horace Porter, Jeff Porter, Mary Ann Rasmussen, Laura Rigal, Phillip Round, Robyn Schiff, Tom Simmons, Claire Sponsler, Anne Stapleton, Garrett Stewart, Bonnie Sunstein, Miriam Thaggert, Stephen Voyce, Jon Wilcox, Doris Witt, David Wittenberg, along with many of our graduate instructors.