David Haynes, English, Kimbilio Nurtures Black Writers

Poets and Writers

Originally Posted: February 10, 2016

While Cave Canem’s annual retreat for African American poets has been changing the literary landscape for the past twenty years, the writing community has lacked a similar resource for African American fiction writers. That is, it did until 2013, when writers David Haynes and Sanderia Smith launched the Kimbilio Retreat. Now in its third year, the retreat is held annually in Taos, New Mexico, and is dedicated to supporting and empowering black fiction writers from America and the greater African diaspora. READ MORE

English professor’s poem about SMU’s Dallas Hall published in Thomas Jefferson-inspired anthology

SMU News

Originally Posted: February 11, 2016

Fresh off contributing to SMU being named The Most Beautiful Campus in America by the Huffington Post, SMU’s campus centerpiece, Dallas Hall, has inspired a homespun poem that was published Tuesday alongside the works of Pulitzer prize winners in the poetry anthology Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press).

That’s Jefferson as in Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

What’s the connection between Dallas Hall and one of America’s founding fathers? It doesn’t take Nicholas Cage and a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence to find out.

“When the founders of SMU went to Chicago to find an architect for their first building, they said they wanted Dallas Hall to look like The Rotunda at the University of Virginia (which was designed by Jefferson), but of course bigger,” says SMU Hughes Professor in English Willard Spiegelman. The author of the Dallas Hall-inspired poem explains, “My first thought was, ‘Jefferson went to the prairie.’”

The poem, titled Prairie Rotunda, is one of 50 poems featured in Monticello in Mind. READ MORE

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English, amid Pulitzer prize-winners in new anthology of poems inspired by Thomas Jefferson

University of Virginia Press:

get-img“In Monticello in Mind, poet Lisa Russ Spaar collects fifty contemporary poems–most original to this anthology–that engage the complex legacy of Thomas Jefferson and his plantation home at Monticello. The anthology features a roster of poets both emerging and established–including Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Claudia Emerson, Terrance Hayes, Robert Hass, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Tretheway, Charles Wright” and Willard Spieglman. His poem “Prairie Rotunda” was written about SMU’s most iconic buiding, Dallas Hall. READ MORE

Valentine’s Ideas, courtesy of Bumble

Imprint

Originally Posted: February 3, 2016

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Dedman College alumnus Matt Alexander featuring Valentine’s day gift idea’s from Bumble, a company founded by another Dedman College alumna, Whitney Wolfe.

Over the past year or so, it’s been a pleasure to watch the rapid rise and success of Bumble, an innovative dating app, which seeks to create a better, safer, and more enjoyable experience for men and women alike.

From prominent coverage in the press to creative pop-ups at events around the world, the team at Bumble has got a masterful idea of how to foster a fantastic community of people.

And it’s made all the better by the fact that I knew some members of their team — namely Whitney Wolfe, their founder, and Alex Williamson, their head of marketing — at university.

Given the three of us graduated within a year or two of each other and went onto found companies swirling around the realms of technology and culture, we’ve been in loose touch in recent months, looking for a chance to bring our respective companies together. And, finally, we’ve found an ideal chance to work with them: to help prepare you, unsuspecting men and women, for Valentine’s Day. READ MORE

Angela Ards, English, releases new book, Words of Witness: Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown

Originally Posted: February 1, 2016

Ards

WORDS OF WITNESS by Angela Ards, an Associate Professor of English at SMU, explores how black women writers craft life stories to engage and shape our politics. In it, she argues that these autobiographers offer counter-memories to official, and often nostalgic, understandings of the civil rights and Black Power movements; in pushing against past visions of black struggle, they reveal the needs and concerns of the present. Written to show the role of culture in movement-building, WORDS OF WITNESS charts new political ethics to guide our organizing now that it is movement time once more. READ MORE

Greg Brownderville, English, The People Making Us a Well-Read City

Dallas Innovates

Originally Posted: January 29, 2016

The Dallas literary renaissance is upon us—and it has arrived quickly.

“There was a huge gap here even just two and a half years ago,” says Will Evans, founder of Deep Vellum Publishing. “It’s happened really fast that Dallas has started to feel like a literary city.”

Evans attributes the growing literary scene to the independent book stores that have sprouted up around the Dallas area. The Wild Detectives, which opened in early 2014 and is run by Javier Garcia del Moral and Paco Vique, is a coffee-booze-book stop in Bishop Arts. Evans’s Deep Vellum, a publishing house known for its international translations, is gearing up to open its own store, Deep Vellum Books. There’s also Serj Books, which vends coffee, local food, and a small but lovely selection of handpicked books.

“Where do you go to see people who are into the same stuff as you, if you’re into writing—which is a solitary activity—or reading—which is also a solitary activity? Now you have book stores, and suddenly Dallas feels more literary,” Evans says. “When the Wild Detectives opened, Dallas went from nothing on the literary map to being a place—it gave us a sense of place, purpose, and community.”

Evans stresses that the stock of these small book shops—indie books, translated titles, works written by local authors or printed by local publishers—is different from that of a place like Half Price Books, known for its massive flagship store and rows upon rows of marked-down bestsellers.

“I really appreciate, as an author, that Wild Detectives goes out of its way to feature local authors,” says Greg Brownderville, SMU associate professor, poet, and published author of two books, Gust and Deep Down in the Delta. “When I walk into Wild Detectives, often they’ll have one of my books prominently displayed. Local authors really appreciate that.”READ MORE

Former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan headed to SMU Feb. 25

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: January 21, 2016

Southern Methodist University is bringing former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to campus next month.

Ryan served as laureate from 2008 through 2010, then won the  Pulitzer Prize and a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship grant.

She’ll speak at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Dedman Life Sciences Building Room 131, 6501 Airline Court, following a 6 p.m. reception.  Sponsors are SMU English Professor Willard Spiegelman, the SMU Department of English and the Gilbert Lecture Series. READ MORE

Dedman College Alumnus and Cardiologist John Harper prescribes a dose of good literature “to make us better people”

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: January 19, 2016

A doctor’s mission: Showing why literature matters to medicine

During four years of medical school, Dr. Susan Oh kept herself from reading books other than those related to her studies.

“Even though I wanted to, it would be like, ‘No, I need to further my knowledge and be the best physician I can be,’” says dermatology resident Oh, 42.

Then she met Dr. John Harper, the Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas cardiologist whose sixth annual “Literature + Medicine” conference will be held Tuesday. And she began to realize that her love of the written word could add an unexpected dimension to being a physician.

“Reading,” says Harper, who has an English degree from Southern Methodist University, “makes us better people, and better people are better doctors.”

In his Friday morning Coffee With Cardiology teaching sessions, which Oh attends even on her days off, Harper doesn’t just take residents and medical students on rounds and discusses cases. He also brings music for them to absorb and essays, poems and short stories for them to read — or, he says, to “lean in and listen” as he reads aloud. He accompanies his students to museums and invites them to his home to discuss literature. READ MORE

EVENT: MLK Day Symposium at University of Dallas with guest speaker Professor Darryl Dickson-Carr

Event Date: Jan 18, 2016
Time: 11 am-1 pm
Free and open to the public

MLK Day Symposium at University of Dallas. “The ‘Birthright of Freedom’: Reading ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ in Light of #BlackLivesMatter and Missouri” with guest speaker Professor Darryl Dickson-Carr, Chair of the SMU English Department. RSVP to agthompson@udallas.edu by Jan. 14 at 5 p.m.

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