From the Chair: Looking Forward

This year is bittersweet, as is any year in which we face the retirement of a long-time colleague, great teacher, and friend. Despite our sorrow over Charlie Smith’s departure, we are excited for him as he begins new projects and, as a department, for our vision of the future as we undertake new ventures and explore opportunities.

This year we are searching for a full-time poet to add to the ranks of our Creative Writing faculty, not with the intention of replacing our beloved colleague and extraordinary poet, Jack Myers, whom we lost two years ago, but with the hope of continuing the legacy he established. We seek someone like Myers who can both produce great works for publication and inspire our students in their own creative endeavors.

This year is also a time for celebration. Former Chair Ezra Greenspan is a dual recipient of the National Humanities Center and National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowships – both tremendous honors, and rarely, if ever, granted to the same scholar. Greenspan is currently at the NHC in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, doing research on two important projects, both of which are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this issue.

Willard Spiegelman spent a month in the fall as a Fellow at the Bogliasco Center near Genoa, working on new projects. He has, as usual, been busy writing: journalism for The Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, and Opera News; and criticism to be published in Blackwell’s Companion to Romantic Poetry, The Cambridge History of American Poetry, “Parnassus,” “The New Haven Review,” and The Wordsworth Circle. He is a Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Arts and Humanities.

Angela Ards, whom Erudition covered last Fall as a recipient of the prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship, has yet again won an important honor, a Fellowship at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard, the preeminent institute in her field. There, she continues to do research on her monograph, Affirmative Acts: The Ethics of Self-Fashioning in Contemporary African American Women’s Autobiography. Lisa Siraganian, too, has moved to Cambridge, MA, this year, where she is a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, doing research on her second book, Technicolor Textuality: Corporate Aesthetics, Literature, and Experiential Color in Late Modernism, 1930-1970. Watch for Siraganian’s first book, Modernism’s Other Work: The Art Object’s Political Life, soon to appear from Oxford University Press in January, 2012.

Dominic Smith’s new novel, Bright and Distant Shores, was released in the US in September 2011 to starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. The book was shortlisted for Australia’s The Age Book of the Year and the Vance Palmer Fiction Prize. Prof. Smith was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters this past spring.

Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, one of our newest colleagues, has organized an extensive series of interdisciplinary panels and symposia on the subject of immigration for the spring semester. Working with faculty from across the campus from various departments both in and outside of Dedman College, and bringing in nationally recognized scholars from around the country, Sae-Saue has scheduled talks, films, and classroom visits. Many of these events will be open to the public and will offer students and the university community opportunities to consider this important topic in more complete and sophisticated ways than before.

We await the arrival of spring with events, discussions, our annual Literary Festival and the coming of our newest colleague, Tim Cassedy. Cassedy is coming from New York University, fresh from his work at the Lewis Walpole Library where he has had a research fellowship: stay tuned for a profile on him in our spring edition.

And we welcome you. Join us. Go to smu.edu/English for the latest listing of events. Become a friend of the SMU English Department Alumni. Stay in touch. We look forward to celebrating together.

-Nina Schwartz, department of English chair

About Ruby Kim

STU UnGrad
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