May 1999

Volume 17

Number 5



In This Issue:

From The Chair

In Print

Panels & 

Awards & 





Luke Whisnant

Assistant Editor

Reid Anderson

Written by

Reid Anderson

Luke Whisnant


Gabrielle Brant

Reid Anderson


The Common Reader

From The Chair

As the spring semester begins to come to a close, the Department of English can be heard issuing a collective sigh of relief, for many faculty have commented that this has been one of the more stressful years in memory.  All are looking forward to a more tranquil fall semester leading into the new millennium. 

At press time, the internal search for a permanent department chair was ongoing.  Chaired by Scott Snyder of the Department of Geology, the search committee of Professors Bauer, P. Bizzaro, Farr and Makuck hope to bring the search to a conclusion by the end of this semester.

Other searches within the department continue at various stages of progress, with three searches having been concluded successfully.  As reported earlier, Laura Micciche, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has accepted a position in Composition and Rhetoric.  Also joining the faculty are Ellen Arnold, a specialist in Native American Literature, and Agnes Bolonyai, a specialist in Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language.  Arnold and Bolonyai are completing their doctorates at Emory University and the University of South Carolina, respectively.  Ms. Bolonyai was recently named the outstanding graduate student at the University of South Carolina. 

On-campus interviews are now taking place for the vacancy in Shakespeare/Renaissance literature; the search committee plans to make its recommendation concerning that position by the end of the semester.  The search for a faculty member with expertise in Technical and Professional Communication, however, has been continued into the fall semester. 

<  Dowell

At the last scheduled meeting of the Department of English, the faculty presented Professor Malcolm South with a retirement gift of a limited edition print.  The department noted the last "official" departmental meeting for two other faculty: 

Paul Dowell, who will be taking phased retirement, but will continue to work on a part-time basis as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

<  Howell

Jim Howell, who is officially retiring from the state system, but plans to teach intermittently as his schedule and Social Security regulations permit.

With the close of the spring semester come final examinations, posting of grades (electronically only this spring!), and departmental and university graduation ceremonies. Only three days later, the first summer session begins!  And so we continue our work.

In concluding this column, I'd like to thank all members of the department--faculty, staff, and students--for their support and hard work during these two years of my tenure as acting chair.  It has been an honor, and most of the time a pleasure, to have served in the position. 

--Bruce Southard

In Print

Two new books by faculty, the usual reviews and articles and poems, and a former student's first national publication are the highlights of this issue's works in print.  As always, click on the link text for more information. 

Ice: New Writing on Hockey, an anthology of poetry, fiction, and essays edited by Dale Jacobs, has just been published by Spotted Cow Press (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). 

<  C. Sullivan

Young Adult Science Fiction, an anthology of essays edited by C.W. Sullivan III,was published in April by Greenwood Publications.  This collection is both a topical and historical examination of science fiction for young adults, and is a companion volume to Sullivan's Science Fiction for Young Readers (Greenwood 1993), in which the essays examined specific authors.  Included in this new volume are "American Young Adult Science Fiction Since 1947," by Sullivan, "No Grownups Please: A Study of the American Science Fiction Film," by James Craig Holte, and "Science Fiction in Comic Books: Science Fiction Colonizes a Fantasy Medium," by Donald E. Palumbo

<  A. Sullivan

Meanwhile, under the same roof . . .  Ann B. Sullivan's short story "Wartime Reflections" has just appeared in the May/June issue of the young-adult magazine Cicada, a bi-monthly publication of the Cricket Publishing Group. Sullivan's story was written for Luke Whisnant's Advanced Fiction Writing course in the fall of 1996.

Patrick Bizzaro's poems "The Pattern of Shadows" and "Swimming the Earth" were published in the April 1999 issue of Independence Boulevard.

Peter Makuck's review of Annie Dillard's new book For the Time Being appeared in the News & Observer on Sunday, April 11th.

Lillian Robinson's "Before The Second Sex," a review of Simone de Beauvoir's ATransatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren and "America Day by Day," was published in the April 1999 issue of Women's Review of Books.

Terese Thonus's article "Dominance in Academic Writing Tutorials: Gender, Language Proficiency and the Offering of Suggestions" appears in the current issue of Discourse & Society (vol.10).

Panels & Presentations

Here's the Spring '99 conference roundup, with special emphasis on our stellar crop of current graduate students: 

<   Benjamin

A number of ECU students and faculty presented papers at the Eighth Annual Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia on March 26-27: Marguerite Benjamin presented "On the Basis of Color: When the Aesthetic Overshadows the Intellect"; Sharon D. Raynor presented "The Colonial Alienation and Dehumanization of Boro: The Psychology of the Oppressed in Ngugi Wa Thiongo's Weep Not, Child"; . . . 

<   Crooks

. . . Kathy Crooks gave "A Product of Apartheid";  Washella Turner presented "The Influence of Mimicry Present in Naipaul's The Mimic Men"; Reginald Watson gave "Was Heathcliff and Bertha Black?: Images of Blackness in the Works of Charlotte and Emily Bronte and Jean Rhys"; and Seodial Deena presented his "Parallels Between Postcolonialism and the Bible."  Deena also organized and chaired a session, "Of Mimes and Men." 

Resa Crane Bizzaro presented "The Role of the Personal in Constructing a History of Composition Studies," at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Atlanta on Thursday, March 25, 1999.  Earlier that day, she was introduced at the meeting's opening session with the other Scholars for the Dream Travel Award recipients.  Also at the CCCC, Patrick Bizzaro gave his paper "What I Learned in Grad School, or Literary Training and the Theorizing of Composition." 

< The "Good Girls"

At the Southeastern Women's Studies Association Conference in Raleigh this past March, graduate students (left to right) Debbie Barwick, Gabrielle Brant, Lynne Frye, and Mary Carroll-Hackett presented a roundtable discussion / workshop entitled "Words Good Girls Don't Use: The Writing Process and Self-Censorship." The program got such positive response that it was reprised here at ECU on April 30, with a number of faculty and students attending. Also at the SWSA conference, Rick Taylor presented "Children As Fearful Consequence From Moll to Roxana."

The 59th Annual Convention of the College Language Association, held at Fayetteville State University on April 14-18, featured Sharon D. Raynor's "Conquering Nihilism in Black America: Folk Traditions, Folk Wisdom, and Survival Strategies in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Your Blues Ain't Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell"; Washella Turner's "Ralph Singh's and the Invisible Man's Search for Identity under Oppressive Conditions"; Reginald Watson's "The Mulato Image of Ridicule: Self-hatred as Seen in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and John O. Killens's The Cotillion"; and Seodial Deena's "Wit and Feminist Humor in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea." Deena also organized and chaired a session, "Identity and Survival Strategies in Works by Ellison, Morrison, Hurston, and Larsen." 

<   Turner

Deena also gave a Rivers Foundation Lecture, "Disorder and Mimicry through Colonial Apparatuses in V. S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men," at ECU on April 7, 1999; participated in and took a group of seven faculty and students to "Race and Representation: A Millennial Affair? Keynote by Toni Morrison," at Duke University, April 9-10; and gave "Religion and the Modern American Novel: Alice Walker's The Color Purple," at the New Bern-Craven County Library March 17, as part of "Let's Talk About It," organized by Duke University. Sharon Raynor and Washella Turner also served as Scholars for the "Let's Talk About It" Lecture Series; Turner's topic was Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (March 31).

Since the last issue of TCR, Patrick Bizzaro has conducted two four-session workshops for the School of Business's Professional Programs for the GMAT Preparation and GRE Preparation, a Praxis I Workshop for the school of Education, and two workshops entitled  "Writing On the Job" for Glaxo Wellcome; he also presented "Responding to Student Poems" at the Children's Literature Conference in Greenville on April 16. 

<   Baldwin

Here's an old item that somehow has heretofore slipped through the Common Reader cracks: Karen Baldwin presented her paper "The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island as Metaphor and Means for Contemporary Legends of Celebrated Loss in Eastern North Carolina" at the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, Sixteenth International Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Conference, Innsbruck, Austria, in July 1998.  Baldwin presented a local version of this paper in a panel entitled "Literary and Cultural Studies of Roanoke Colonization," part of "Roanoke Colonization: An Interdisciplinary Conference," sponsored by Roanoke Colonies Research Office and the Southern Coastal Heritage Program, September 1998, in Manteo. 

Julie Fay recently gave poetry readings at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and the Associated Writing Programs Annual Conference in Albany NY.

At last month's International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Jim Holte presented "Blade: Return to Revulsion," was named to the Lord Ruthven Awards Committee, and was inducted into the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. 

< Lovett

Todd Lovett's mixed media performance piece, "Objects in This Mirror," was presented on April 29th in ECU's Jenkins Auditorium.  Featuring music, text, and video images composed by Lovett, "Objects" was commissioned by People Act and made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. 

Peter Makuck gave recent readings at Mitchell Community College in Statesville (March 30), West Liberty State College in West Virginia (April 12), and the College of the Albermarle in Elizabeth City (April 21). 

At the National Popular Culture Association meeting in San Diego, in early April, Don Palumbo presented "Chaos-Theory Concepts and Structures in Asimov's Robot Stories and Novels: Positronic Brains and Feedback Loops." Palumbo attended the conference as PCA Film Area Chair, having organized some 14 film area sessions for the meeting, and as the series co-advisor recruiting book proposals for Greenwood Press' "Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy" series.

During March '99, Lillian Robinson gave her lecture "In the Night Market: Commercial Sex in Contemporary Thailand" at the University of Missouri, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Houston; the latter appearance, coupled with Robinson's lecture "The  False Claim of Rape and the Liberal Consensus: Lessons from Scottsboro and Massie," was presented as part of The Martha Ganow Houston Lectures.  Robinson has also given two recent readings from her novel Murder Most Puzzling: one in Houston (March 29), and one in New York City (April 26). 

Terese Thonus presented "NS-NNS Interaction in Academic Writing Tutorials: Discourse Analysis and Its Interpretations" at the American Association for Applied Linguistics annual conference in Stamford, Connecticut on March 7th.  Thonus also presented "Tutoring 'Methodology as Mythology': Tutors' Directive Instruction" with Laura Plummer at the National Writing Centers Association annual conference in Bloomington, Indiana on April 15, 1999.

Reginald Watson's play "Black Voices from the Past" was performed by the ECU Thespians of Diversity on March 30th.  Watson also moderated a Black Issues forum titled "The Plight of Black America as We Enter the New Millennium" on April 24th in New Bern, NC; judged an Optimist Club speech contest on March 29th; and hosted two "Minority Voices" programs on WITN-TV 7 on April 28 and May 5. 

Awards & Appointments

<   Jakubowski

Glenda Jakubowski, last year's Russell Christman Scholar, has recently won two prestigious awards: the East Carolina University Outstanding Adult Student Award, and the James M. Cox, Jr. Foundation / Daily Reflector Scholarship, a $2,500 award which includes the possiblity of an internship at the Reflector.

Three departmental awards were announced at the faculty meeting on April 28: The Department of English Research Award went to Patrick Bizzaro; the Department of English Service Award was shared by Douglas McMillan and Sherry Southard; and the Bertie E. Fearing Excellence in Teaching Award was given to Jim Holte.

Patrick Bizzaro served as Outside Program Reviewer for the Department of English, Theatre and Language at UNC-Pembroke on April 12th.

<   Sutton

Senior English major Laura Elizabeth Sutton has been awarded the Amos "Doc" Abrams Undergraduate Essay Award by the North Carolina Folklore Society for her "Lydia Lives at the Jamestown Bridge: A 'Vanishing Hitchhiker' in North Carolina," a research paper written for Karen Baldwin's American Folklore class.  ("Lydia" also won the department's Farr Essay Contest last year.) The award consisted of a cash prize and a certificate given at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Folklore Society on April 24th in Columbia, NC. 


<   Jacobs

Dr. J: Congratulations to Heidi Jacobs, who on April 15, at the University of Nebraska, successfully defended her dissertation, Subversive Sentimentalism: Nineteenth-Century  American Women's Writing as Political Rhetoric.

Mike Hamer wrote the musical score and acted as consultant for the script on "Wheelchair Dancer," a children's musical play produced by Jelly Educational Theater.  The play had a three week run in the Raleigh Triangle area, with performances in the schools during the week and public performances on Saturday mornings on March 13, 20, and 27.

Patrick Bizzaro and Bruce Southard attended the Graduate Director Retreat in Atlantic Beach on April 9-10. 

From the Editor

Gentle Readers may have noticed that with this issue, we've broken free from the tyranny of alphabetical order.  (Actually, for technical reasons, it has simply become damn near impossible to fit items around the photos in strict A-B-C hierarchy.)  Let no one be offended by randomness and unexpected juxtapositions. Being in one place and not another should not suggest any value judgment. The editor strives for impartiality whenever he puts on his size seven-and-three-quarters editing hat. 

While that hat is still on, I'd like to thank each of you who has contributed to TCR this year with news items, responses, or suggestions.  And special thanks are due to this year's assistant editors, Reid Anderson and Tony Morace. 

The next issue of The Common Reader will be published in early September; we'll have a call for copy in late August. Please save all news and notes until then.  Happy Summer!

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