Winter 2020

Chair's message | Welcoming new faculty, hosting alumni visitors

Lots of good things are happening in the English Department. It was just one year ago that we celebrated the major renovation of Ellis Hall with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building aesthetics are quite beautiful, but even more impressive is that Ellis Hall was awarded LEED Gold Certification for its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. I would like to invite you to campus to see our amazing completely renovated building…. 

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Alumni news

Notable Alumni | Aaron Schwarz advancing digital platforms for American Airlines

Aaron Schwarz manages digital platforms for American Airlines as a senior analyst of new product development. He is also responsible for creating an engaging, forward-thinking and seamless user experience across all digital platforms. 

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Fuller publishes 'Got Gout' for Folger Shakespeare Library

April Fuller recently co-authored a post with Laurel Bassett on "Got Gout? Eighteenth-Century Global “Remedies” in Mary Kettilby’s Receipt Book" for The Folger Shakespeare Library. 

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Jack Kolkmeyer, from Peace Corps to poetry

Jack Kolkmeyer's fourth book of poetry, "Deeper Soul," is about to be published. Kolkmeyer was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa from 1969-72 and greatly influenced by the emerging writers of that time, especially Leopold Senghor, Chinua Achebe and Amos Tutuola. 

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Phyllis Ann Talley passes at 91

Phyllis Ann (Patterson) Talley of Dublin, Ohio, died Dec. 30 at the age of 91. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University in 1950. 

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Poet Stanley Plumly dies

Stanley Plumly edited the Ohio Review and the Iowa Review and several anthologies of poetry. In 2018, he published “Elegy Landscapes: Constable and Turner and the Intimate Sublime,” in which he examined the artistic temperaments of British painters John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. 

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More English alumni news.
Career corner

Quitslund on '5 reasons English majors land the job'

"Being an English major usually means you will have sets of skills that are flexible, and that will make you valuable to any employer. You will meet English majors in virtually any career path," Dr. Beth Quitslund told Peterson’s. 

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Online degrees well suited for dual enrollment teachers

The College of Arts & Sciences now offers three programs well suited for secondary schoolteachers who are seeking opportunities to earn the necessary credentials to instruct college-level, dual enrollment courses.

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Faculty news

Crowl delivers paper, keynote and contributes to several books

Sam Crowl, Trustee Professor of English Emeritus, remains active as he approaches 50 years of teaching and writing at Ohio University. 

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English retirement social honors Drs. Connor, Hartley, Singh

Although specializing in different fields—Dr. Joan Connor in creative writing (fiction), Dr. Gabriel Hartley in 20th-century poetry, and Dr. Amritjit Singh in African-American literature—all three contributed immensely to OHIO’s English Department in their own unique way. 

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Mda: Toni Morrison 'imbued me with the courage to stretch the limits of myth'

“My affinity to her was on her use of what scholars call magical realism. She hated that label. But it was not for her to choose what to be called. It is never up to us writers but it is the role of scholars to categorize our work and place it in its pigeonhole according to the characteristics they observe in it. So she complained to no avail. She hated other labels too that were quite complimentary to her; for instance, that she was a ‘poetic writer’. She felt that when people spoke of her lyricism it took focus away from the power of her stories,” said Dr. Zakes Mda. 
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Marciniak named Presidential Research Scholar

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Katarzyna Marciniak has contributed to the development of transnational cinema and postsocialist media studies in relationship to Eastern European cultures. 
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Gradin, alumni edit book on 'Storytelling in Queer Appalachia'

Drs. Hillery Glasby, Sherrie Gradin and Rachael Ryerson edited the book “Storytelling in Queer Appalachia: Imagining and Writing the Unspeakable Other," published by the West Virginia University Press. 
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Moore's 'The Story Cure' reprinted in Chinese edition

Dinty W. Moore's book “The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir” was reprinted in a Chinese edition, titled “Story prescription: The story is so beautiful.”
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Rosser named general editor of Hollis Summers Poetry Prize

The Ohio University Press welcomes esteemed poet and Professor of English J. Allyn Rosser as general editor of the annual Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. David Sanders, founder and general editor of the poetry prize, is retiring after 20 years of devoted service. 
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Chang publishes essay on 'Drawing the Oankali: Imagining Race, Gender, and the Posthuman in Butler's Dawn'

According to Dr. Edmond Chang, "Octavia Butler'sXenogensis trilogy—Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago—imagines a post-apocalyptic Earth where humanity has been 'saved' by the Oankali, an alien race with the ability to manipulate genetic material. As in most of her science fiction, Butler unflinchingly engages questions of race, gender, sexuality, power, and what it means to be 'human.'" 
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LeMay wins 2019 CutBank Chapbook Prize for 'Remember Me'

The associate professor of English’s long essay will be published in the literary journal this year.
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Spriggs's poem tops list of 600 social justice publications

Topping the list of the most-viewed poems is Dr. Bianca Spriggs’s “To the woman I saw today who wept in her car.” 
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Student news

NEA talks to Martin on 'Searing Imagery that Captures the Pathos and Atmosphere of War'

Graduate student Hugh Martin told NEA writer Rebecca Sutton: "Poetry was the first medium that I came to as far as trying to think about my experience and reflect upon it. I became very comfortable with thinking about imagery, thinking about short scenes, thinking about persona of certain speakers, and trying to capture something with as little language as possible."
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Babcock and Distel coedit Sherwood Anderson book

Graduate students Aaron Babcock and Kristin Distel published and presented in a variety of venues about Ohio author Sherwood Anderson and other Midwestern writers.
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Ritzenthaler publishes 'The Ribboncutters' and 'A Good Place Gone'

Graduate student Melanie Ritzenthaler published two of her stories—"The Ribboncutters" in the fall 2019 issue of West Branch and "A Good Place Gone" in the triple issue (winter, spring, summer 2019) of Cimarron Review.
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Pickering publishes two poems on

"'Golden Eagle' emerges from a drive on New Year’s Eve last year. My wife and I traveled from Kansas to New Mexico. We were somewhere beyond Liberal, KS (poet B.H. Fairchild’s Kansas), driving through hard-scrabble towns, past intermittent grain elevators, and surrounded by a lot of open space. The wind pushed over the fields blowing snow that swirled along the two-lane road. That’s where we saw the eagle, and it saw us," says graduate student Paul Pickering.
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Walsh publishes 'Portrait of a Becoming' on Pigeon Pages

Candace Walsh’s story is, as Pigeon Pages puts it, "about the complicated relationships women have with each other and with themselves." It's also about a photograph, desire, identity, and New York City.
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Bossiere awarded 2019 Allushuski Graduate Fellowship by WGSS

The Allushuski Fellowship honors Ohio University alumna Barbara Swoyer Allushuski’s commitment to strengthening the tradition of WGSS at OHIO, as well as providing opportunities for career and leadership development. Zoë Bossiere is working with undergraduate students enrolled in WGSS courses.
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Anna Chotlos publishes essay on Raccoon Olympics

Her essay, “Raccoon Olympics,” begins: "I’m eleven years old, wearing a hand-me-down tie-dye t-shirt way too big for me, and soccer shorts—my legs riddled with welts from black fly bites. My hands still reek of snake musk from spending the morning looking for snakes in the woods around the lighthouse...."
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Upcoming events

2020 Spring Literary Festival is March 18-20

This year’s visiting writers are Lauren Groff, Melissa Febos, Ada Limon, Anthony Marra, and Ira Sukrungruang. All readings and lectures are free and open to the public.
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Arts & Sciences Student-Alumni Networking, Jan. 30

Mark your calendars for the college’s annual Alumni and Student Networking Reception on Jan. 30, 2020. You have valuable experiences to share about career choices, graduate school and internships. Come back to Athens to help fellow Bobcats get a jump on their careers.
Network with students — from first-year students to graduate students — and other alumni and key stakeholders in the “Art and Science of Networking.”
  • Bring your business cards — and expand your Bobcat network with other alumni and students.
  • Review resumes with students.
  • Post jobs and share internships.
  • Get a FREE updated photo for LinkedIn.
RSVP online, or contact Lisa Cohen, director of external relations, at
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You’re invited to Settling Ohio: First Nations and Beyond, Feb. 21-22

The first people in Ohio arrived more than 13,000 years ago. These Native Americans overcame rapid changes in climate, eventually building the state’s first homes and becoming the state’s first farmers. More than 200 years ago a series of events and actions began to shape the state of Ohio we see today — its government, its economy, and its people. Empires clashed and diverse peoples mingled.

Hear from historians, scholars and the Chief of the Eastern Shawnee. The Settling Ohio conference is Feb. 21 and 22 at Baker Center. It is free and open to the public.
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Baker Peace Conference | Religion and Peace: Global Perspectives and Possibilities, Feb. 20-21

Speakers include former State Department officer Professor Peter Mandaville and experts on religion, politics, and identity ranging from South America to sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
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Campus news

Ellis Hall awarded LEED Gold Certification

Ohio University’s Ellis Hall was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for a complete renovation of the 115-year-old building.
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