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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GWS 5000-001: Recent Great Feminist Lit

Although not showing up yet in the Novasis Master Schedule or Schedulr, spring course GWS 5000-001, a seminar on "Recent Great Feminist Lit," would count for the English major.  It’s taught by Dr. Heather Hicks, and it meets TR 2:30-3:45.  One additional note:  despite its number, it does not count as an English senior seminar.

Prof. Hicks at last week's reception

Halloween Coffee Break This Wednesday!

Monday, October 26, 2015

English Fall Reception

"It had nothing to do with my major, but it had everything to do with what I learned in my major." (The words are from senior English major Amanda Eliades' presentation at the reception;  Amanda was referencing a job offer she received from a financial software company.)

The Advisory Committee table

Dr. Mary Mullen joined the English faculty this fall.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

English Department at the Majors Fair

Regina Paparo and Kristina Sumfleth, two of the department's representatives at the fair

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Humanities Day with the English Department

Prof. Alan Drew read from his first novel, Gardens of Water

Prof. Heather Hicks, English Majors Francesca Cocchi, Kevin Madden, Christie Leonard, Prof. Jody Ross

Poe in New Jersey

Junior English major Larry Flynn had an uncanny encounter with Edgar Allan Poe over fall break.

Writes Larry:
On my drive home for fall break, I found myself strolling through the cobblestone paths of a shopping village in New Jersey, looking at Halloween decorations at my mother’s request.
Moral of the story: mothers are convincing. Alternative interpretation: I’m a patient son.

Surrounding the brick pathways were dozens of scarecrows for a small-town scarecrow festival. Some were basic, like the upside-down scarecrow next to a keg of beer, or others just poorly constructed, like the ghastly white face and button-eyes of Progressive’s “Flo.”

Then Edgar Allan Poe struck my eye.

An eerie mask protruded from his horrifying frame, looking oddly like Frankenstein’s beast, except the raven perched on his right shoulder gave away his identity. In a way, the scarecrow is a work of art, reflecting the creepiness of Poe’s gothic poetry. At the bottom was a copy of Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” which I had just read in my junior seminar.

Even in a vacation from my English courses, I could not escape the influence of brilliant literature. Perhaps that’s the “moral of the story.”

The New Jersey Poe scarecrow

Monday, October 19, 2015

Marielle Alexander: English Department Offers Caulfield, Conversation, Candor

Marielle Alexander, a senior English major, reported on “Wildcat in the Rye," a recent English department event, for the Villanovan. The text of her article—and her pictures from the event—appear below. The Villanovan article can be found here.

Approximately 90 freshmen gathered to hear Villanova professor Kamran Javadizadeh and English department students read from and analyze J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in the second floor common room of Good Counsel Hall on Oct. 7 during the department’s annual discussion of literature for first-year students.

The event, organized by Javadizadeh and ACS approved, aimed to interest students in the English major and to demonstrate the new perspectives on often familiar writing that the department provides in its many course offerings.

“The English department at Villanova sees itself as a home for students who love books—students who want to talk and write about them, who want to discover new books to read, and who want to reread familiar books in new ways,” Javadizadeh said. “I think that when we can see an old favorite (like “The Catcher in the Rye”) with new eyes, we learn just as much about ourselves as we do about the book in question. Events like Wildcat in the Rye are meant to extend those experiences of discovery—which happen all the time in English classes—into the everyday spaces of student life. If that leads curious first-year students into our classes, so much the better.”

Professor Javadizadeh with English students James Butler, Rachel Panny and Clare Yoder.
The students in attendance relaxed in chairs, lounged on the carpeted floor, leaned against the room’s red brick walls and even perched on the balcony above. Despite the chaos and concerns of midterm week, they appeared eager to discover or, in some cases, revisit Salinger’s career-defining novel.

Held at 7 p.m., the event also provided pizza and cookies to the students.

Javadizadeh started the conversation by speaking briefly about the English department, his plan for the evening and his own reactions rereading the novel several times.

“Certain passages have stuck with me and have been important to me,” Javadizadeh said. “The words stay the same, but the reading experience is different because I’m different and reading in different settings.”

A combination of six undergraduate and graduate English students then read aloud from the novel’s evocative thirteenth chapter, in which Holden Caulfield interacts with a prostitute in unforeseen ways.
Following the reading, English majors formed and led small discussion groups to examine specific themes, characterizations and concepts presented in the chapter.

Freshman biology major Sophia Hernandez, who has never read The Catcher in the Rye, appreciated that the event included those with no prior knowledge of the novel in these groups.

“If I had read the book, I would have been able to offer more insight,” Hernandez said. “But Professor Javadizadeh gave an excellent summary, and the chapter we read was intriguing. I’m actually going to buy the book because it’s very interesting, and I definitely would come to an event like this again. I’m glad it’s open to students from all majors.”

The English students leading the discussion groups described similarly positive experiences.

“I got a lot of participation from non-English majors, and it was very valuable,” graduate student Laura Tscherry said. “I’m glad so many non-English majors came to the event.”

Wildcat in the Rye is one of several English department events throughout the year open to both majors and non-majors. The department will host its semiannual pre-registration reception on Friday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Speakers’ Corner of Falvey Memorial Library. The event will provide information about the department and its spring course offerings and will offer lunch as well as a raffle of literary items.

Prof. Cathy Staples' poem in Poetry magazine

Prof. Cathy Staples has a poem, “Vert,” in the October 2015 Poetry magazine.  Click here for the magazine's table of contents and a link to the poem.

Humanities Day

Colin Keane and Teeth People

Recent Villanova graduate and English major Colin Keane ('13) is a founding member of the Brooklyn-based band Teeth People, a self-described "fiercely rhythmic indie rock group."  On a stroll down Greenpoint’s Norman Avenue one night, fellow band member to be Wyatt Bertz asked Colin as they passed a dental office, “What would you call the group of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, etc. that work with teeth?” to which Keane replied, “teeth people,” much to the amusement of Bertz.  “Teeth People” became a running joke between the two and the working title of their joint project.  Colin says that he "also grew to like the band name for its simplicity and universality, and the fact that it anagrams to “Peel The Poet,” a concept that he imagines as the poet peeling away all layers of pretension in himself to reveal his pure, real personality."

Since its formation in 2014, Teeth People has released three self-recorded records and performed at a variety of venues in the New York metropolitan area.  Says the band, Colin's "focus on poetry and the band's ever-evolving rhythmic orchestra promise to deliver Teeth People's best and fourth self-recorded album, Let's Go, in November."  Click here for more information.

Colin Keane and Wyatt Bertz
Teeth People

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2016 Keystone Summer Internship Program

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is now accepting applications from any student who is interested in the 2016 Keystone Summer Internship Program.  Please visit the organization's website here and follow these steps:
1.   Click to the top right hand side and click “about”
2.   Scroll down and click on “join”
3.   At the middle of the page click on “internships”
4.   Click on “Keystone Summer Internships”
5.   Towards the right you will see a link to “Keystone Internship Application”

Please fill out the application and other paperwork required.  Students can email the application to
ra-phmcinterns@pa.gov or mail it to:
Internship Programs
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
300 North Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-0024

The website says that “typically interns work Monday through Friday, 7.5 hours per day,” but there are circumstances in which it could be fewer total hours, though never below 20 hours per week.

Remember that to receive credit for an internship, you must apply at our Internship Office.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Polis, the literary magazine on campus, is seeking submissions from students of poetry, short fiction, etc., for its fall publication.

Here's more information from Lucy Finnegan, the magazine's current editor-in-chief:
Are you a writer? What about a photographer? Or maybe both? Share your art with the Villanova community! Participate in this year’s Polis Literary Magazine’s Art Contest. We accept photographs, poems, short fiction, etc. Winners of the best submitted photograph and written work will receive a $25 prize. Please email all submissions to polislitmag@gmail.com by Friday, October 23rd, at 5:00 P.M. Any photographs should be submitted in .tiff format. Should you have any further questions, please contact Lucy Finnegan at lfinneg1@villanova.edu.