Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Karen Trosset: 10 Years with The Today Show

1987 Villanova graduate and English major Karen Trosset is a producer for NBC News. Since 2003, Trosset has worked with NBC producing special projects and exclusive interviews for the “Today Show,” “Dateline,” and “Rock Center.” Prior to NBC, Trosset worked her way up from her first job at ABC News as administrative assistant to the producer of “Good Morning America.” Her work has taken her all over the world, and she has covered events such as the Gulf War, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the papal succession in Vatican City. Trosset has won six Emmy Awards, the 2001 Peabody Award for coverage of September 11, and the 2010 More Award for Media Orthopedic Reporting Excellence.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Emily Tifft's Supreme Court Summer Internship

Villanova English and GWS major Emily Tifft had a summer internship in the Curator's Office of the Supreme Court.  Emily's narrative about the experience follows.

Sitting in the English gateway course "Ways of Reading," I thought I understood Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. Somehow, however, all of the many lessons from Professor Megan Quigley seemed much more pressing when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the one asking the in-depth questions about the book’s literary insights.

This summer, I had many such literary debates and discussions with Supreme Court Justices, attorneys, ambassadors, and, on occasion, tourists. How is this possible? This summer, I worked as the Visitor Programs Intern in the Curator’s Office of the Supreme Court of the United States. In this position, I gave daily public lectures in the Courtroom about the history, architecture, and function of the Supreme Court. I led private tours around the building for family, friends, and personal guests of the Justices. I compiled research for the Court’s Curator on extrajudicial activities of all former Supreme Court Justices, and created scavenger hunts for children through the dozens of Justices’ portraits in the Court’s main hall. Each day at the Supreme Court was different; whether I was consoling a swarm of angry protestors or entertaining female judges from Afghanistan, I was constantly busy, always learning and growing as a leader.

My summer experience at the Supreme Court was life-changing. It inspired in me a passion for politics and a deepened interest in gender’s relation to law and government. And while my summer consisted of conversations both literary and legal, my English major was a force that continually opened doors for me based on my reading and writing skills. I am forever grateful for the skills the major has given me—and I cannot wait to see how I will continue to use those skills in my next professional pursuit.

Emily Tifft, center, with her fellow Curatorial interns in the Supreme Court's private library

The Great Catsby

Dr. Joseph Lennon Meets with the President of Ireland and the Irish Prime Minister

Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Villanova Irish Studies and Associate Professor of English, has just returned from a trip to Ireland with a group of Villanova administrators, including Father Peter Donohue. The visit included meetings with both the President and the Prime Minister of Ireland to discuss the ongoing work of Villanova's Irish Studies Program.

Teresa O'Neill, Mike O'Neill, Dr. Joseph Lennon, VillanovaPresident Peter Donohue, Ireland President Michael D. Higgins, Ronnie Delaney, Tony Ponturo, George Kolb, Dr. Mary Madec
Discussing Villanova's Irish Studies program

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Prof. Lisa Sewell Wins the Tenth Gate Prize

LISA SEWELL is the WINNER of the First Annual Tenth Gate Prize!

English department professor Lisa Sewell has won the 2014 Tenth Gate prize for her poetry manuscript, Impossible Object. The prize includes a cash award of $1000 and book publication in the spring of 2015. The imprint was founded to honor and publish mid-career poets.

Impossible Object is Sewell's fourth poetry collection, following the chapbook Long Corridor (Seven Kitchens Press, 2009), and full-length collections Name Withheld (Four Way Books, 2006) and The Way Out (Alice James Books, 1998).

Says Series Editor Leslie McGrath, "Lisa Sewell's poems are shot through with an adhesive intelligence born of the accretion of craft, discernment, and engagement with the world. This is exactly the kind of collection for which the Tenth Gate prize was developed."

Sewell is also co-editor, with Claudia Rankine, of two essay collections that focus on 21st Century North American poets. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Paris Review and Harvard Review. She has been awarded a Leeway Foundation Grant and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is the first annual award of the Tenth Gate Prize, an imprint of The Word Works.  Impossible Object will be available by advance order for $17 plus $4 shipping and handling at The Word Works website (click here) or from SPD.

Prof. Lisa Sewell

English Department Advisory Committee 2014-15

Students on the Advisory Committee serve as consultants for the English department and as advisors for younger majors and prospective majors.  This fall they will also be involved in the planning of a variety of special events.  We have found the committee to be an invaluable departmental resource and would welcome your contribution to it. Please contact Prof. Michael Berthold if you are interested in joining.

Some members of this year's committee:  Jenny Lee, Aisha Chughtai, Kelly Kohler, Marielle Alexander

Marielle Alexander
I am a Junior English major with minors in Writing and Rhetoric and Psychology.  I plat to attend graduate school at Villanova for secondary education and go on to teach secondary school English.  I am also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and I volunteer at various university and community events.

Aisha Chughtai
I am a Biology and English double major with minors in Spanish and Humanities.  My aspirations include attending medical school and pursuing global health initiatives, and my background as an English major will definitely help propel me in this career, because it allows me to bring new perspectives and ideas to an otherwise largely scientific field.

Eugene Gonzales (Junior)

Kelly Kohler
I am a Junior English and Education major.  I am extremely interested in teaching English at the high school level and was fortunate enough to get a teaching internship this past summer.  In the future I hope to attend graduate school and continue to explore the possibilities presented to me by my degree in English.

Jenny Lee
I am a Senior English major from Haworth, New Jersey.  I am also pursuing a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric as well as a minor in Communications.  After graduating, I hope to go into online publishing and write articles for various digital platforms.

Danielle Sekerak
I am a junior English major from Monroe, Ct.  Before stepping onto Villanova’s campus as a freshman, I made a pact with myself that I would graduate from college with a degree in something that I loved.  I did not want my college experience to be clouded with classes that I didn’t enjoy.  I had always had a special affinity for English, and although I came in as pre-med, I declared my English major first semester of my sophomore year.  Since then, I’ve taken a variety of courses, and what I have truly come to love about the English major is that when I read and write, I feel most like myself.  This major is very much a learning process and an expressive one;  I’ve learned more about myself while taking these classes than in any other classes. My English courses have definitely enhanced my attention to detail and my ability to properly articulate my thoughts; these skills—among others—have helped me in my roles outside of the classroom. For example, I served on the Orientation Steering Committee and was able to apply what I learned in the classroom to this campus activity. Although I am not entirely sure what I want to do after I graduate, I know that being able to critically think and then express those thoughts will help me in any job.

Lily Suh (Senior)

Kristina Sumfleth
I am a Junior English major with minors in Irish Studies and Classics. I am an aspiring photographer who is currently aiming to go to graduate school for photography in New York City and eventually I would like to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. My favorite books are currently The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and Jane Eyre.  I also have a penchant for poetry, especially the work of Emily Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe and William Butler Yeats. This past summer I studied abroad in Galway through the Irish Studies Program and also worked at a local newspaper in my hometown as a freelance photojournalist. While at Villanova during the year I am a photographer for the Villanovan, on the Judo Club, and last year I was a part of the Sophomore Service Learning Community.

Jessica Swoboda
I am a Senior English major with a second major in Humanities on the Honors Thesis track.  I spent this past summer researching representations of grace in the works of Flannery O'Connor.  At the conclusion of the summer, I was able to make an argument about O'Connor's newly published A Prayer Journal (2013), based on the Thomistic account of grace, art, and virtue in Jacques Maritain's Art and Scholasticism (1920).  For my Honors Thesis, I'm using O'Connor as my gateway into the question: how is the supernatural represented in 20th century literature in a secular society? Aside from my interest in 20th century literature and love for the English major, I'm also a member of the Varsity Field Hockey team and a tutor in the Writing Center.

Villanova on Set

Villanova on Set: Film, TV, and Entertainment Industry Immersion Program
Applications are being accepted for the 2015 Villanova on Set Program.  Villanova on Set is designed to expose Villanova students to the various facets of the Hollywood television and film industry, and the English department has been involved with the planning of the program.  Over a six-day period, students will gain an understanding of the culture and geography of Los Angeles, creative and production processes, the importance of networking, and the basics of business and media management. Potential site visits include Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, NBC Universal, HBO, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Technicolor, United Talent Agency, UCLA, and Illuminate. Potential social activities include tourist stops and sightseeing in and around Los Angeles and Hollywood.

The program runs from January 4-9, 2015, and is open to students from all schools and colleges at Villanova.  The application deadline is Oct. 20.  For additional information, click here.  If you have questions, please contact:  ii.luscri@villanova.edu

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Prof. Lutes and Nelly Bly

Radio station WHYY (90.9 FM) will be interviewing Prof. Jean Lutes about her edition of Nelly Bly this Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 am.  The interview may be linked to a Philadelphia Fringe festival show about Nellie Bly, Nellie/Nellie, a music-driven dance theater exploration of Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House.  Nellie/Nellie is playing this Thursday through Saturday  at 8:00 pm at the Broad Street Ministry (in their big historic sanctuary in Center City). Tickets are free and you can click here to reserve them.

You can also click here to listen to Prof. Lutes' July 4 discussion of Nelly Bly on the WBEZ "Nerdette Podcast"--the Great Lady Nerds of American History special.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nelson Rice ('15) at Sports Illustrated

Senior English major Nelson Rice, this year's Sports Illustrated intern, has published a piece in the magazine on former Villanova basketball coach Jack Kraft.  Here's Nelson's article: