Monday, January 21, 2019

Ashland Poetry Press Author Michael S. Moos's Book Adopted in Poetry Course

Michael S. Moos's The Idea of the Garden, the most recent publication by the Ashland Poetry Press, has been adopted as a textbook in a poetry class at Saint Catherine's University in Saint Paul, MN. Moos's book won the Press's prestigious Snyder Prize in 2017.

The Ashland Poetry Press, founded in 1969, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Dr. Naomi Saslaw Publishes Article

Dr. Naomi Saslaw has published an article on "The Nun's Priest's Tale" in the journal Literary Imagination. The article considers the relationship between the tale's elusive elements and their significance for the meaning of the tale overall. 

Dr. Saslaw joined the Ashland University faculty in 1969. Her areas of expertise include Chaucer, Shakespeare, and modern Jewish literature. In addition to her training in literature, Dr. Saslaw holds a J.D. from Cleveland Marshall College of Law and has contributed to work in biomedical ethics.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Sigma Tau Delta Closes Out the Year Strong with New Inductees and Events

AU's chapter of the English Honorary Society Sigma Tau Delta ended a very successful fall semester with a range of activities, including an election, a writing workshop for the local Girl Scouts, open mic nights, and an induction ceremony in which seven new members were welcomed into the society.

Pictured are Sara Ludwig (Co-President) and new inductees Rachel Barkley (Co-President), Audrey Ashbrook, Emily Beaver, Sarah Norris, Naomi Sims, Liz Bucci (not pictured), and Kellie Pleshinger (not pictured).

The department looks forward to Sigma Tau Delta's contributions in the spring semester!

Creative Writing Alumna María Cardona Reflects on Her Graduate Studies and New Job

The department congratulates María Cardona who recently completed her Masters in Translation Studies at University College Cork in Ireland and has started a new position as writer, editor, and marketing specialist for a Nebraska-based Hispanic Ministry magazine. Cardona had these reflections to share on graduate school and finding work as a writer.

What Can You Even Do With A Writing Degree?
Marieugenia Cardona
When I finished my Creative Writing degree in 2017 I was excited but also terrified. As happy as I was that I’d pursued my dream to become a writer, I was also nervous about what kind of job my degree could translate to. If there was one thing I was sure of, it was that I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher which eliminated the go-to career choice. I still wanted to be a writer and to this day I still do, but I knew I needed something else to keep a roof over my head and food on the table.
            A few months after graduation I shipped off to Cork, Ireland to complete my Masters in Translation Studies. After having done a semester of my undergrad at UCC, I was sure I wanted to go back and I was looking forward to it. Studying in Ireland was one of the greatest experiences of my life. While I did have a bit of trouble adjusting to no longer being an English major but a Translation one, as I settled into my new role and my new home, great things happened and amazing people came into my life.
            However, when summer came, the same dread of “what now?” that I’d experienced upon completing my BA returned and I was faced with a difficult position. I’d fallen in love with Ireland and Europe in general and I wanted nothing more than to stay. By now I’d had a poem and a personal essay published so I felt more confident in my ability to “make it” but these publications weren’t paying any bills.
            I spent most of my summer working a housekeeping job, completing my MA thesis, and looking for work in Europe. This proved to be quite a hardship. Countless applications and interviews for content writing and editing jobs kept leading to the same results: I was qualified enough, but they just couldn’t swing the visa. I was feeling helpless and frustrated with myself because I felt that had I pursued a more traditional degree, job hunting would be easier.
            In fairness, I knew this wasn’t true because many of my friends (both European, Puerto Rican, and American) were struggling to find jobs in their field. I was at least thankful that I’d been doing content writing and editing during my undergrad which gave me the experience most jobs required. Regardless, I was still frustrated by jobs requiring ridiculously high years of experience as well as skills that weren’t directly connected to a Creative Writing degree.
            When October came, I had to leave Ireland and I felt truly discouraged. I’d lost out on so many opportunities due to Visa issues and I was sick of the job hunting process. Over 200 job applications to 10 different countries later, I received an email inviting me to a final interview for a job as a writer, editor, and marketing specialist for a Hispanic Ministry magazine based in Nebraska. Every day after I got the job I kept expecting a call or an email saying something had gone wrong and the job was no longer mine.
            Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I’ve just moved out to Nebraska and feel so happy to be able to actually make money from my writing while also being able to help others. And as cheesy as it may sound, I am grateful for the English department at AU every day because I know every single success I’ve had has been because of the amazing faculty in the department. If you asked me a year ago what I was going to do with a Creative Writing degree, I would’ve said I had no idea, but now I finally have an answer to that pesky question: I’m going to write.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Integrated Language Arts Major Corinne Spisz Accepts Job in South Carolina

Hilton Head Island High School emblem

Senior Integrated Language Arts major Corinne Spisz had accepted a job at Hilton Head Island High School in Hilton Head, SC. She will be teaching 11th-grade American literature. Spisz, who graduates later this month, has spent her final semester student teaching in South Carolina. In addition to her teaching excellence as evidenced by her upcoming job, Spisz has been an active and integral part of the department as a member of the English honorary society Sigma Tau Delta and as a dedicated Writing Assistant at the campus writing center. Spisz has also demonstrated her mastery of high-quality literary analysis through her presentation earlier this year, titled "'To His Coy Mistress': The Irony of Time and Love," at Ashland University's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium (URCA).

The department is holding a graduation reception to celebrate Spisz's accomplishments on Wednesday, December 12 from 2-3 PM in the Bixler Lounge.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Dr. Deborah Fleming's Forthcoming Book: Resurrection of the Wild

Dr. Deborah Fleming's forthcoming book, Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio's Natural Landscape, is slated to appear in April 2019 from The Kent State University Press. The book is comprised of fourteen connected essays which the press describes as
lyrical meditations [that] delve into life on Fleming’s farm, the impacts of the mining and drilling industries, fox hunting, homesteading families, the lives of agriculturalist Louis Bromfield and John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed), and Ohio’s Amish community. Fleming finds that our very concept of freedom must be redefined to include preservation and respect for the natural world. Ultimately, Resurrection of the Wild becomes a compelling argument for the importance of ecological preservation in Ohio, and Fleming’s perspective will resonate with readers both within and beyond this “forgotten” state’s borders. 
Acclaim for Dr. Fleming's book includes a blurb by esteemed essayist Scott Russell Sanders. Fleming has also been invited as one of 60 authors to be featured at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment's conference at the University of California, Davis in June 2019. She will also represent River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative and Ashland Poetry Press at a book fair at Lakeland Community College later this month and will conduct a workshop on fiction for students from several community colleges.

Resurrection of the Wild is only the latest contribution by Dr. Fleming to her considerable body of work. Dr. Fleming is an equestrian, mountain climber, and organic gardener who writes poetry, fiction, essays, and works of scholarship. The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, and Ashland University, she has published books on Yeats, Jeffers, and Synge and has edited two collections of essays on Yeats. Three of her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sigma Tau Delta Members Organize Writing Workshop for Local Girl Scouts

On November 8, Sigma Tau Delta members invited local Girl Scouts to campus for a writing workshop during which participants engaged in story-telling and collaborative writing. Nine young writers were in attendance to hone their creative skills. 

Senior Integrated Language Arts (ILA) major Zoe Jenkins reflects that "This event was meaningful to me because I will be teaching students how to write someday. Even though these girls were much younger than the students I will teach, it was rewarding to see how excited they were to write. Their responses were really creative." Junior Creative Writing and English major Emily Beaver, who also helped facilitate the event, had this to share: "As an English major, this event was meaningful to me because when I was their age, I was always writing or drawing stories. I loved having the opportunity to be included in their excitement for writing and to even feel like a child again." Asked what the most memorable thing about the workshop was for her, Beaver replied that it was "seeing how enthusiastic the girls were while they were writing and sharing their stories."

Zoe Jenkins assists participants during the workshop.