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All the Department News

December 2021

Writing submissions for Sans Merci, Shepherd’s student-led literary and arts magazine, are open now until December 15th! Students can submit up to five pieces of their writing with a 3,500 maximum word count for each piece with no entry fee. Sans Merci accepts prose, nonfiction, poetry, and drama pieces, and submissions are to be emailed to sans.merci.mag@gmail.com. Submissions should include the student’s name, email address, academic year, and a three-sentence bio. Acceptable files are .docx and .pdf, and $100 awards will be given to Best Prose and Best Poetry pieces! Any inquires can be directed to Isabella Sager at isager02@rams.shepherd.edu.

November 2021

The Society for Creative Writing in the Department of English and Modern Languages is excited to be partnering with the Hagerstown branch of the Washington County Free Library for a writing workshop that will focus on personal essays on Thursday, November 4th, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in room 334 at the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch at 100 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, Maryland. The personal essay workshop, featuring guest speaker Sadie Shorr-Parks, Director of the Society for Creative Writing and Adjunct Instructor of English, is part of larger series of meetings with Write Here, Write Now, an ongoing writing group at the Hagerstown Library.

Our very own Sadie Shorr-Parks, Director of the Society for Creative Writing and Adjunct Instructor of English, has a new book coming out! Sadie’s poetry collection, Honey Month, will be released in early 2022. It is available for pre-order now, however, through The Main Street Rag. Congratulations, Sadie! We’re very happy for you and proud of you!

Shepherd University’s Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players will present William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet starting Friday, November 5th, in Reynolds Hall. Hamlet explores dysfunctional families, murder, and revenge, and the resulting trauma produced in Hamlet, his family, and friends.  Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 5th, 6th, 12th, and 13th; 3 p.m. on November 7th and 14th; and 8:30 p.m. on November 10th and 11th. Performances are free for Shepherd students and employees with a valid Rambler ID, $2 for all other students, and $7 for the general public. For more information, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey (bellzey@shepherd.edu).

October 2021

The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will take place on Wednesday, October 13th, at 5:00 p.m. at The Mecklenburg Inn. Stammtisch is a gathering of German speakers who meet periodically for conversation and socializing. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to native speakers. For more information, please contact Dr. Eva-María Suárez Büdenbender (esuarezb@shepherd.edu).

On Tuesday, October 12th, our very own Dr. Heidi Hanrahan will be presenting a talk on George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch. The event is part of The Scarborough Society’s Art and Lecture Series and will be held in the Scarborough Library Reading Room. Like Shepherd, Middlemarch is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The event is free and open to the public, and it will begin at 5:00 p.m. There will also be a reception after Dr. Hanrahan’s talk. Attendees will be required to follow the University’s masking policy.

On Saturday, October 9th, members of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, joined representatives from a couple of other Shepherd organizations in a tree-planting initiative. The trees were planted at Tabler Farm under a cooperative arrangement with Cacapon Institute to start a native food forest. Dr. Heidi Hanrahan from the Department of English and Modern Languages and faculty from the Department of Environmental and Physical Sciences also took part. Additional events, like another tree planting and an open house, are in the planning stages, so stayed tuned!

September 2021

On Saturday, September 18th, three English majors presented papers as part of Hood College’s 2021 Discovering the Humanities Conference. Tanner Boeckmann presented his essay entitled “An Exploration of Gender Bias in Criticisms of Toni Morrison’s Work,” which he wrote for Dr. Nixon’s seminar on the novels of Toni Morrison this past spring. Lee DiFante presented the essay “Queer Representation and the Zeitgeist,” which was written for Dr. Nixon’s seminar in Greek mythology this past spring. And Isabella Sager presented her essay “Odysseus as the Anti-War Figure: Disguise, Manipulation, and PTSD in Homer’s Odyssey,”  which she wrote for Dr. Nixon’s Greek mythology class. The conference this year was conducted virtually for safety precautions, but all three presenters expressed their enjoyment of the event. Thanks, you three, for making us look good!

August 2021

The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will take place on Friday, August 27th, at 4:00 p.m. Stammtisch is a gathering of German speakers who meet periodically for conversation and socializing. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to native speakers. The group will meet at the Blue Moon Cafe. For more information, please contact Dr. Rachel Krantz (rritterb@shepherd.edu).

Shepherd University’s Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players announce auditions for William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet on Wednesday, August 25th, and Thursday, August 26th, from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, August 29th, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., in Reynolds Hall. There are multiple roles, both large and small, for all genders and levels of experience. A diverse cast is highly desirable. Tech crew, fencers, musicians, and video artists are also needed. Shepherd students earn academic credit for acting or participating behind the scenes. Community members 16 and older are welcome to audition. Performances will take place November 5th through the 14th. Shepherd requires everyone regardless of vaccination status to wear a mask inside buildings. Masks are required for all attending auditions. For more information, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey, Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages, at bellzey@shepherd.edu or 304-876-5208.

One of our recent graduates, Fiona Tracey (creative writing, December 2020), has been busy. She recently started work as an editor at a consulting firm called Visa Business Plans. But on top of this professional milestone, Fiona has written a lot and had several pieces published! Her poems “you slept” and “telling you good morning—and hearing it back” appeared in the January 2021 edition of The Blackwater Review. Her poem “good habits, bad conscience” was included in the May 2021 edition of Better than Starbucks. In June 2021, Fiona’s poem “On Pass-A-Grille Beach” appeared in Stonecoast Review and “Consciousness” appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal. And finally, Naugatuck River Review will publish her poem “i remember everything” in September of this year. Wow, Fiona, you’re doing great work and are certainly impressing all of us here in the Department! Keep going!

July 2021

Shepherd University’s Society for Creative Writing in the Department of English and Modern Languages presents poet Hannah Dow in the latest installment of the AT HOME WITH POETRY series. This will be the final reading in the series until the fall semester. Dow is the author of ROSARIUM (Acre Books, 2018). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Image, The Southern Review, Pleiades, and The Cincinnati Review. She received the Cream City Review Summer Prize in Poetry, selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and has received awards and scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Orion. She is the editor-in-chief of the Tinderbox Poetry Journal and is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Missouri Southern State University. Dow’s reading can be found on the Society for Creative Writing’s website.

June 2021

The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will take place on Friday, June 18th, at 4:30 p.m. outside in the beer garden of The Blue Moon Café. Stammtisch is a gathering of German speakers who meet periodically for conversation and socializing. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to native speakers. For more information, please contact Dr. Eva-María Suárez Büdenbender (esuarezb@shepherd.edu) or Dr. Rachel Krantz (rritterb@shepherd.edu).

Shepherd University’s Society for Creative Writing in the Department of English and Modern Languages presents award-winning poet Annie Kim in the latest installment of the AT HOME WITH POETRY series. Kim is a poet, lawyer, and violinist. Her books are Eros, Unbroken (2020), winner of the 2019 Washington Prize and recently named as a finalist for the 2020 Foreword INDIES Poetry Book of the Year, and Into the Cyclorama, winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2016). Kim’s poems have appeared in venues such as Beloit Poetry Journal, The Cincinnati Review, Four Way Review, Kenyon Review, Narrative, and Plume and Pleiades. A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. program for writers and the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Hambidge Center, Kim works at the University of Virginia School of Law as the assistant dean for public service. She teaches law students about public interest lawyering and writes essays for DMQ Review. “Annie Kim is not only a wonderful poet and reader but is a great ambassador for poetry in her video readers,” said Sadie Shorr-Parks, the Director of the Society for Creative Writing. “I think the audience will enjoy her discussion of poetry and writing poetry.” Kim’s reading is available on the Society for Creative Writing website at https://www.shepherd.edu/societyforcreativewriting/at-home-with-poetry-2.

April 2021

Shepherd University’s Common Reading program has selected this year’s winners of the annual essay contest based on the common reading book Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel. The student winner is Carter Warhurst, an English major from Harpers Ferry, and he is being recognized for his essay “He’s Sure Walkin.” Carter will receive a $350 gift certificate to the Shepherd University Bookstore to purchase of textbooks. Way to go, Carter! We’re all happy for you and proud of your recognition.

On Thursday, April 22nd, the Department of English and Modern Languages met with students, family, and friends to recognize this year’s student award recipients. All of these individuals are so very deserving of the recognition they received that evening, and they make our programs an exciting and impressive component of Shepherd University. The award recipients for 2020-2021 include

The Catherine Fix Essay Contest awards were also given out that evening. The Catherine Fix Contest recognizes outstanding essays from first-year writing classes. First place was awarded to Krystal Rosario Cruz, whose essay was nominated by Dr. Valerie Stevens. Second place went to Emily Baker, whose essay was nominated by Ms. Yildiz Nuredinoski. And third place was awarded to Kaitlyn Warren, whose essay was nominated by Dr. Tony Schiera. Congratulations to all of this year’s meritorious students!

The Sans Merci Editorial Staff is excited to announce that they will be hosting a live reading and release event for Sans Merci Volume 45 on Zoom on Wednesday, April 21st at 7:00 p.m. Please come out to hear our wonderful authors read a selection of their work! For more information, contact Fiona Tracey at ftrace01@rams.shepherd.edu.

The Department of English and Modern Languages is proud to announce that this semester’s English Capstone presentations will be held on Tuesday, April 20th, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and on Thursday, April 22nd, from 4:45 to 6:00 p.m. Out of a concern for health and safety, this semester’s presentations will be held virtually in on-line events. Tuesdays presenters are

The presenters on Thursday will be

Friends, family, and community members are welcome to attend the presentations. They will be via Zoom. The Meeting ID is 201 930 2288, and 2pcccz is the Passcode.

This Friday, April 2nd, the Society for Creative Writing in the Department of English and Modern Languages will share the latest installment of the AT HOME WITH POETRY series. This week’s video will feature Moroccan beat poet El Habib Louai. El Habib Louai is the author of Mrs. Jones Will Not Know: Poems of a Desperate Rebel and Rotten Wounds Embalmed with Tar, which was a finalist for the 2020 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry. Louai traveled widely to meet some of the Beats who were still alive and performed his poems at Moe’s Book in Berkeley, Oxford Modern Art Gallery, Spoken Word Paris, Tottenham Chances in London, and Exiled Writers Ink in London. His articles, poems, and Arabic translations of Beat poets have appeared in Big Bridge Magazine, Ragged Lion Press, Illanot Review, and Arab Lit Quarterly, among several others. His reading will available on the Society for Creative Writing’s website: https://www.shepherd.edu/societyforcreativewriting/at-home-with-poetry-2. Upcoming installments of the AT HOME WITH POETRY series will feature Annie Kim, author of Eros, Unbroken and Winner of the 2019 Washington Prize, and Hannah Dow, author of Rosarium. 

The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players will present three plays written by Shepherd University English majors in Reynolds Hall in April: The Bird by Abigail McClung, The Dream Girl by L Harvey, and Wishing You Were Here by Frank Santiago-Cabrera. The schedule of performances is:

Shepherd University students in the cast and crew include Courtney Bell, Trey Criner, Victoria Fairchild, Brynae Harrod, L Harvey, Lydia King, Dannah Lohr, Sean Miller, Olivia Stevens, and Jack Shackleford.

Safety Protocols. There is no charge for tickets, but reservations are required.  Audience members must wear masks at all times, and seating will be socially distanced, with no more than 24 audience members per performance.  Audience members must arrive outside Reynolds Hall 15 minutes prior to the performance.   Latecomers will not be seated.  Running time for each performance is approximately 70 minutes.  To make reservations, email Dr. Betty Ellzey (bellzey@shepherd.edu).

March 2021

Four Shepherd University English majors led a roundtable discussion titled “Metamorphosis and the Female Voice in Literature and Culture” during the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention, which took place virtually this year on March 26th. Ashley Hess and Sarah Seibert, both of Martinsburg, Isabella Sager of Harpers Ferry, and Vivienne Wells of Charles Town participated in the event. The students prepared a pre-recorded video presentation where each introduced her particular critical take on the topic. Hess focused on the female voice in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Sager examined Cassandra, a novel by Christa Wolf, while Seibert looked at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Both showed how female characters used silence strategically to access a new kind of voice and power. Wells focused on contemporary stand-up comedy, including Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, and illustrated how that medium can be used to open up new conversations about voice and gender. Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, Professor of English and chapter sponsor, said with the shift to an all-virtual, all roundtable format, the application process for this year’s convention was particularly competitive; nevertheless, the audience was impressed with the students’ work. Well done Ashley, Isabella, Sarah, and Vivienne! You make us very proud.

The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will take place on Thursday, March 11th, at 3:00 p.m. Stammtisch is a gathering of German speakers who meet periodically for conversation and socializing. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to native speakers. For safety the meeting will happen online. For more information or to get the Zoom link, please contact Dr. Eva-María Suárez Büdenbender (esuarezb@shepherd.edu).

February 2021

On Saturday, February 27th, four Shepherd students took part in the 29th annual West Virginia Undergraduate Literary Symposium. Fairmont State University hosted the event, and students from colleges and universities across the state presented their scholarly work. The Shepherd students who presented include Shelby Daugherty, Isabella Sager, Madison Sites, and Celine Wilson. Out of safety concerns the symposium was held online this year. Congratulations students! We’re very proud of you.

January 2021

The Rude Mechanicals announce auditions for the spring production of three plays written by Shepherd University students. The three plays include: The Dream Girl by L Harvey, The Bird by Abi McClung, and Wishing You Were Here by Frank Santiago-Cabrera. The auditions will be held on Tuesday, January 26th, and Wednesday, January 27th, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Reynolds Hall. Masks are required! There are roles (large and small) for all genders and all levels of experience. Tech crew, video artists, and artists are also needed. Shepherd students can earn three credits by participating and enrolling in ENGL170 (CRN 40723) or ENGL470 (CRN 40724). Community members aged 16 and over are welcome to audition, too! For more information, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey (bellzey@shepherd.edu or 304-876-5208).

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