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1.  Announcements

The CSUN English Department was greatly saddened to learn of the loss of Laura Salwet, a graduate student and TA in the Creative Writing Program, beloved and respected by all who met her. Anyone who remembers Laura will recall a real light in our program. Lively, spirited and among the most passionate members of any classroom, Laura represented the best of our Department. She had a tender and poetic sensibility and was a promising writer of hybrid fiction. Her planned narrative thesis featured flashes of poetry and a circling leitmotif of bees. She adored nature and had a giving spirit. Often, she brought gifts from Puerto Rico to professors and meals of sofrito beans and rice to her fellow students. Known for her moral compass and fierce dedication to her art, she held a B.A. from UCLA and was nearing the completion of her M.A. at CSUN, with plans to graduate in Spring 2012. Tragically, though, she passed away from leukemia in September 2011, after a long battle and a difficult relapse. She left behind a husband and a young daughter, and a legacy of elegance and lyricism. She will be missed.

In happier news, we are all glad to welcome Leslie Yamashita, who will be helping us out in a variety of ways while Tonie is on maternity leave, which started yesterday.   You should feel free to drop by and say hello and make her feel welcome.  Meantime, hang in there, Tonie. We are all rooting for you. And good luck.

On Saturday, February 24, CSUN held its 16th Annual Student Research & Creative Works Symposium in which seven of our outstanding graduate student presented: Norma Aceves, Corri Ditch, Kristin Cornelius, Jessica Glick,  Richard McGinis, Sean Pessin, and Paul Rauch.  And the winners are:  First Place goes to Corri Ditch for her paper, “Hamilton and Robinson: Camouflaging Wollstoncraftian Thetic Ruptures with Ventriloquism,” (Faculty Adviser, Ranita Chatterjee); and Second Place goes to Richard McGinis for his paper, “More’s Law and the Problems with Lacan” (Faculty Adviser, Kate Haake).

CSUN graduate students and the AGSE staged another fantastic Academic Conference, “Shattering,” on Saturday March 3, 2012. Or, as Graduate Adviser Ranita Chatterjee reports, “With 36 student presenters (graduate and some undergraduate students), 12 moderators, one keynote speaker who came from UCSB first thing in the morning in a rented car (after experiencing car problems at 8 am), and around 80 participants (about 65 at the 3:40 pm keynote talk), the AGSE (Association of Graduate Students in English) conference this past Saturday was a great success. The panels had an effortless and thematically unified mix of creative writing readings, literary interpretations, and rhetorical analysis that truly embodied the conference title and theme Shattering.”  Rumor has it that the keynote speaker Dr. Julie Carlson, was especially impressed. Well done, AGSE!

And if you liked that one (or if you missed it), don’t forget there’s another exciting student conference coming up. Please plan to be there for “Sex …or Something Like It,” when CSUN’s Sigma Tau Delta will be presenting its annual colloquium. The event will take place on March 17, beginning at  at 8:30 a.m. sharp and continuing until 3:00p.m., featuring panels of undergraduate and graduate students, and a keynote addres, “Pregnant Men, Heteroflexible Women, and Gaga Feminism,” by Dr. Judith “Jack” Halberstam. Free breakfast and lunch included. What could be better?

The Northridge Creative Writing Circle staged the fabulously successful first sponsored reading on February 16,  featuring Pushcart Prize-nominated poet Eric Morago. More than one hundred people turned out to hear poems together. And the CSUN Critical Theory Club had its first meeting of the semester. A fabulous time was had by all discussing Helene Cixous’ “The Laugh of the Medusa” with our many members and  guest moderator, Kate Haake (me), who apparently scowled at all the right people and moments.

Graduate student and TA Kristin Cornelius has recently started a local chapter at CSUN of an international organization called 4Humanities. The 4Humanities Collective is an international organization that “provides an online platform for humanities advocacy.”  The local chapter, 4Humanities@CSUN, is sponsored by the Center for the Digital Humanities, and offers an excellent opportunity for both students and faculty to get involved in multi-institution collaborations. The next meeting of 4Humanities@CSUN will be a project planning session with UC Santa Barbara on Monday, March 12, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m in JR 319. There will also be an information session from 1:00-2:00 in ST 703. Anyone interested can come to learn what 4Humanities is all about, what kinds of opportunities it offers, and what kinds of collaborative activities are planned. Please help spread the word and encourage all those who might be interested to attend.

Nominations are being sought for the 2012 Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.  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 21, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. All materials must be received in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs by the application deadline which is Monday, April 9.

For those of you who need something to read, the February 2012 edition of the JIL is now in the conference room. And the March/April Writer’s Chronicle is too.

Speaking of reading, the Graduate Reading Series (G.R.S.) would like to invite you, your friends, and your family to the second of the spring 2012 readings. Alejandra Lucero Canaan, Susana Aguilar-Marcelo, and Sanam Shahmiri will be performing their work for the delight of the people who show up. Come enjoy their readings, the refreshments, and the company of your classmates Friday, March 9, at 7:00 p.m. in the English Reading Room, JR 319.  For those of you who have question or comments, or want to get involved, please email Hudit Simonyanhudit.simonyan.972@my.csun.edu; George Fekaris george.fekaris.36@my.csun.edu; Jon Beadle jon.beadle.50@my.csun.edu,; or Sean Pessin, sean.pessin.38@my.csun.edu.

The Spring 2012 Northridge Review is hitting the racks on  Friday, March 23, in the Noski Auditorium at 7 p.m.  (Please note the change of venue.) The celebration will include a lively reading, refreshments, and–a surprise? The terrific and hardworking staff and writers of the review would love for you to join them and bring all your family, friends, classmates, and buddies of all sorts. Be there or be square.

What Books Press, an imprint of Los Angeles’ Glass Table Collective, is pleased to announce its Spring 2012 list, featuring two books by CSUN faculty, due out March 31. Hugely exciting, Mona Houghton will be publishing her debut work of fiction, Frottage & Even As We Speak, two novellas.  And Kate Haake (me, again) will be publishing a new novel, The Time of Quarantine.  Please come help us celebrate at one or more of the following readings: Saturday, March 31, Beyond Baroque, 7:00 p.m., with Chuck Rosenthal and CSUN’s Ramon Garcia; Sunday, April 15, Book Soup, 4:00 p.m.; and Saturday, April 21, The Last Bookstore (officially recognized as one of the world’s twenty most beautiful bookstores), 7:00 p.m. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2.  Reminders

Patricia Kalayjian and Emily Magruder will be hosting the spring meeting of the Southern California Society for the Study of American Women Writers at CSU Dominguez Hills on March 11.  They are reading Clarence: A Tale of Our Times (1830), by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, edited by Melissa Homestead and Ellen Foster and newly reissued by Broadview.  The meeting will be from 11:30a.m. until 3:00p.m., and lunch will be provided. All are invited. For more information, please contact Beth Wightman.

The Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) is inviting faculty to become readers. The WPE is given eight times per calendar year, and faculty readers are invited on a rotating basis. All readings take place on the Saturday following the exam and begin at 8:30 am. Readers are paid a stipend of $300 for the day and a light breakfast/lunch is served. Come and meet your colleagues from across the campus, share ideas on what constitutes good student writing, and develop a common vocabulary for discussing that writing. Please send a current CV to the UDWPE office at udwpe@csun.edu if you are interested in participating in this collegial activity.

Just a reminder that all full and part-time faculty have been invited to participate in the 2012 graduation ceremony of the College of Humanities, which will take place on May 23, at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Oviatt Library. As before, they have extended the generous offer to provide regalia for those of willing to participate as marshalls or attending faculty, and we are reminded that our presence at the event will have a marked impact on our students and their families. Please remember to fill out your form and send them to the Dean’s Office no later than Tuesday, March 20. Really, graduation is a splendid event.

3.  Opportunities

The National Endowment for the Humanities has just announced its Fellowships competition. This program is almost identical to the recently announced Awards for Faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Fellowships support research of value to humanities scholars or general audiences. Designed to be flexible to suit your needs, guidelines allow you to define your audience, type of research, and award period.  Both awards provide a stipend of $4,200 per full-time month, up to a maximum of 12 full-time months ($50,400). While not restricted to faculty from Hispanic-Serving Institutions, those faculty are explicitly encouraged to apply to the Fellowships competition, and individuals are welcome to apply to both programs concurrently. The deadline for submission: May 1. Additional information can be found at http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/fellowships.html. Please contact Teresa Morrison, COH Grants & Sponsored Projects Officer, at x6096 as soon as possible if you have any questions about the program(s) or if you’re interested in applying!

The Suisun Valley Review of Solano College is proudly accepting submissions of original poetry, prose, short fiction, and visual media for its Spring 2012 edition.  Submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter including the contributor’s name, address, telephone number, email, and two or three lines of biographical information, and should be sent to Suisun Valley Review, English Department/Humanities, Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield, CA 94534, or emailed to suisunvalleyreview@gmail.com. Please also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for snail mail submissions.

4.  Achievements

Former (and much missed) staff member Kavi Bowerman had a fabulous debut of his new short film, The Red Light, on Sunday, February 26, at the New Beverly Cinema. Congratulations, Kavi! And congratulations, too, to our very own Frank De La Santo for his riveting film debut in this same film.

Fred Field participated in the Program Performance Review of the Linguistics Program at Cal State, Fullerton this past February 17.  He was a member of a three-person review team.

Bobby Lopez’s first scholarly monograph, The Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients, was published in October by Rowman & Littlefield’s academic imprint. The first print run seems to have been sold, and on this print run Rowman & Littlefield and Amazon have dropped the retail price to $32. Link to Amazon buy page: http://preview.tinyurl.com/4yxo2lj. Here is the official synopsis: In The Colorful Conservative, R.O.P. López culls important insights into American culture from the works of Phillis Wheatley, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, William Wells Brown, and Walt Whitman. López contends that many of the tensions that emerged prior to the Civil War remain unresolved; thus, the nineteenth century never ended and Americans still live in the literary framework of the 1800s. Beyond political distinctions of the left and the right, there are really four poles: The Left, The Conformist Burkeans, The Anarchist-Nihilist-Libertarians, and The Colorful Conservatives. The Left and the Colorful Conservatives are the two poles most at odds with each other. The Colorful Conservatives, López argues, encompass these five American authors and are the driving force behind many unique paradoxes in the United States’ political culture.