Volume 40:12

March 20th, 2014

1. Announcements

We begin this issue of Thursday’s Notes with the sad announcement that we have lost another of our warmly remembered emeritus colleagues, Lary Hazelton Gibson, who passed away recently after a struggle with pneumonia and heart problems. After earning his PhD in English from the University of Oregon, Lary taught at Fordham University from 1967-1969 and then joined our department in 1969. A writer of poetry, novels, short stories and film and television scripts, Lary taught creative writing, along with courses in contemporary literature, and was instrumental in the development of the department’s literary magazine program. Lary was promoted to Associate Professor in 1975 and to Professor in 1980. He joined the Faculty Early Retirement program and was granted emeritus status in 2001. In particular, Lary was noted for his generous support of student achievement, shepherding many, many students through independent studies. Here, one such student, our own Mona Houghton, remembers Lary fondly:

One of the luckier chance occurrences of my life happened in the mid-eighties when I walked into Lary Gibson’s creative writing class. I was in my early thirties and desperate to find the story-maker I had lost track of in my twenties—and there was kind and patient Lary holding  open the door. I couldn’t have landed a better guide at that juncture. He kept me coming back with his kind encouragement, his low-key humor, his ability to call me out without scaring me away—and the years whizzed by. And during them all, I always knew if I lost my way on the yellow brick road that I could find a seat in Lary’s  office and he would have the time and patience to ease me back to where I needed to be. Above all, he was a teacher and his students never doubted his love of being in the trenches with all of us. I feel totally confident in saying  there are thousands of people, who, like me, hold Lary, and many memories of him, close to their hearts.

In other sad news, our sympathies go out to Lisa Riccomini and her mother Linda who lost their father and husband, Marino John Riccomini, this past week. The obituary can be read here: http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/obituaries/index/x152644613/Marino-John-Riccomini.

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting  news on the cliff-hanger ending to our last edition of Thursday’s Notes to find out what Bob Noreen has actually been charged with in his recent appointment by the U.S. Department of Education to a five member panel, the long wait is now over. Bob, with his panel, will be reviewing the English exams being prepared for the “Race to the Top” national Common Core program. A daunting task. Closer to home, Bob supervises the scoring of the CSU English Placement Test for the Educational Testing Service, and also for the Early Assessment Program (EAP). And he’s also been traveling, having visited  65 countries to date in retirement. This edition of TN will find him either on in New Zealand or on a cruise around the South Sea Islands (Bora Bora, Tahiti, Fiji, et.al.). Bon voyage, Bob!

As we start to gear up for the end of the term, it’s time to think about nominating students for our various department awards, along with the University-wide 2014 Outstanding Graduating Senior Awards. Four exceptional students will be selected for this award based on academic excellence, campus and community service, and exceptional achievements or personal life circumstances that have been overcome. Each student will receive a $1,000 award, which will be presented during the Honors Convocation ceremony at the Oviatt Library Lawn on Monday, May 16, 2014, at 6:00 PM. Candidates must submit an Application Form (available online at http://www.csun.edu/studentaffairs/ogsa/ ) and two letters of recommendation (one of which must be from a CSUN faculty member).  All materials must be received in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs by the application deadline which is Monday, April 14, 2014.

The faculty general election is taking place now! This is an important opportunity to participate in faculty governance and decide who will represent us as Faculty Officers, Statewide Academic Senators, and Senators-at-Large, so please log on and cast your vote here http://www.csun.edu/senate/electionballot. The election will end on March 26 at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. If you have questions, experience technical difficulties, and/or would prefer a paper ballot, please contact Heidi Wolfbauer in the Faculty Senate Office (heidiw@csun.edu or X3263).

Please do what you can to support next year’s first year students (sure to be another bumper crop) by coming to one or more of the Postmortal Previews. Choose April 1, 2, or 3 and come learn about the book from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. each day, in CIELO (SH 439). For more information, please see http://www.csun.edu/afye/Postmortal-for-Faculty-and-Staff.html#Preview. And for more on the book, don’t miss the upcoming Postmortal Book Discussions on April 21, April 23, and July 17. Details at http://www.csun.edu/afye/Postmortal-for-Faculty-and-Staff.html. For more information or to RSVP: x6535 or cheryl.spector@csun.edu.

Here’s a big thanks to Bob Chianese for alerting us to The Big Read project in Ventura. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, this year’s main books is Tim Obrien’s The Things They Carried. Bob be participating with a presentation at the Topping Room on Monday April 7 at 7:00 pm in the downtown library, talking about why O’Brien chose fiction to tell the “real” story of a group of soldiers he fought with. For more information about this and other related events, please see http://www.cityofventura.net/bigread.

Stephanie Satie will be performing her  solo play, Silent Witnesses, directed by Anita Khanzadian, based on interviews with Child Survivors of the Holocaust at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. 90025, for one night only, Saturday, May 10th at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office : 310-477-2055 ext. 2. They are open after 1:00 until curtain time Tuesdays -Sunday, with student and senior discounts available only by phone or at the box office.

Please announce to your students that we will be celebrating the publication of the Northridge Review Spring 2014 Issue at  The Planetarium BP3100 (or Citrus Hall CH3100) on April 18, 2014, starting at 7 p.m. It will be a party. Invite  family and friends. There will be refreshments and wonderful entertainment.

The Northridge Creative Writing Circle has two big readings coming up. On March 27th. at 7 p.m. the NCWC, is hosting Kate Gale in Chaparral Hall room 5126. Kate Gale, a CSUN alum, is the author of several poetry collections and is the founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press and an editor of the Los Angeles Review. And on April 21, also at 7 p.m. in Chaparral Hall room 5126, the NCWC will be hosting Jerry Stahl, Joseph Mattson, and Tyson Cornell. Save the date now and look for more details in the coming weeks. 

2. Reminders

Sigma Tau Delta is holding its annual conference, “ISMs: An Exploration into the Invisible Barriers of Classification,” this Saturday, March 22, in the USU. Beginning at 8:15 with breakfast and a meet and greet, followed by scintillating panels throughout the day, the conference features, well, scintillating panels, and a keynote address by Dodie Bellamy, author of nine prose works, including Academonia and The Buddhist, at 2:30 in the afternoon. Please try to come out and support our students and visiting student presenters and enjoy their terrific work.

The Office of Community Engagement has now opened the grant cycle for 2014-15. The purpose of this grant is to support faculty in revising a current course to reflect service learning pedagogy for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. The project must be developed in collaboration with a non-profit community-based organization, provide a meaningful service-learning experience for students, and fulfill a need defined by the community organization. Funded faculty will receive $1000 and be required to revise the course and implement the new syllabus during the 2014 – 2015 AY. The application is due by April 14, 2014. Interested? Please contact me Joyce Burstein at joyce.burstein@csun.edu. And while you are working on your excellent ideas, you won’t want to miss the Last Minute Service Learning Grant Advice from the Office of Community Engagement. This worksop will take place on April 1 and April 2, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. i CIELO Conference Room 439. Drop by to receive some advice on preparing your Service Learning Grant Application from Dr. Joyce Burstein, and have a few refreshments as well.

3. Opportunities

Glimmer Train‘s Short Fiction Contest has a March 31 deadline coming up for work with a “family matters” theme. 1st place wins $1,500 and, of course, publication in Glimmer Train Stories; 2nd place wins $500, or, if published, $700; and 3rd place wins $300, or, if published, $700. The reading fee is $15 per story. Winners and finalists will be officially announced in the June 1 bulletin, and contacted directly by the previous week. Three CSUN students and/or alum — Karlee Johnson, Justin Le Torre, and Gina Srmabekian — have already earned recognitions in this noteworthy competition. Let’s keep it up, CSUN writers!

4. Achievements

Esteemed former colleague, Brian Leung (2002-2006), has been appointed  Director of Creative Writing at Purdue University, starting in Fall 2014. In February, he learned that his application for a grant to direct the U.S. Department of State Institute on Contemporary American Literature in summer 2014 at the University of Louisville has been approved. The grant brings scholars in Contemporary American Literature from 18 different countries to Louisville for six weeks of study, and for travel within the U.S. to meet important scholars and U.S. writers. Brian will marry his partner of four and a half years this spring.

Kim Young‘s terrific book of poems, Night Radio, was one of two finalists for the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Congratulations to Kim on this notable distinction. Kim also has a review, “The Self as Sediment,” of Judith Kitchen’s book length essay The Circus Train coming out in the Los Angeles Review of Books at the end of March.