Winter Social

Posted on December 11, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

The Winter Social was underway on December 11, 2013. Below are highlights from the social with a slideshow of the photos capturing the social and audio recordings of the readers' rendition of excerpted literature. 

Hear Professor Roychoudhury give her talk.

Hear Professor Yu give his talk.

Hear Professor Quillian give his talk.  

Senior Symposium: English

Posted on April 20, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

Be sure to check out the English Department's Senior Symposium presentations today: 

Read their abstracts:

Emily Chow's "The Significance of Satan..."

Rachel Czwartacky's "In Time of Strife..."

Isabelle Dienstag's "Eccentric Poet..."

Mary Hofto Grae's "Books in Mad Houses..."

Sophie Heller's "Keen Vision and Feeling..."

Katrina Kass's "Interpretation of the Shrew..."

Margaret Kelley's "Poe and Baudelaire..."

Nadia Khawaja's "The Mirror Stage and Identity..."

Kate Oberdofer's "La Historia de Cuba..." 

A sampling of the poetry of Garon Scott, winner of the 89th Glascock competition

Posted on April 14, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

Below are the three poems that conclude Garon's Glascock submission, "Staring Contest," "Would you rather die awake or asleep?", and "Cine 4." 



A sampling of the poetry of Katie Kinkle, runner-up to the Glascock competition

Posted on April 14, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

Katie has been so kind as to share a number of poems from her Glascock submission: "Social Worker," "Cixi's Boat of Stone," "Paschalia," "Genesis," and "Nocturne." Please peruse and enjoy at your leisure. 








The 89th Glascock: A Sampling of Poetry from the Poet-Contestants

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

There's always a certain mystery and perplexity when coming upon a page for such and such competition or for such and such award with such and such entries winning. It is a curious thing, to hear of someone's achievement without ever having glimpsed aforementioned achievements. Therefore, for your edification and (perhaps) lingering curiosity over the long-standing tradition of the Glascock: before you are a sampling of the poetry from the poet-contestants in order of school. 

Katie Kinkle '13, Bowdoin College

Jessica Yoo '12, Johns Hopkins College

Layli Amerson '13, Mount Holyoke College 

To read Layli's entire Glascock submission, click here. Her submission includes poems such as "Exhibits," "Museum Song," "Duet of Flute and Harp," "Tragic Bean, and "Cemetary Cinquain," as well as "My Alien, Assimilating" featured above. 

Andrew Bustria '12, Sarah Lawrence College


Garon Scott '12, University of Connecticut, Storrs


Brian Folan '12, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (TBA)

For the 89th Glascock, the English Department congratulates the winner Garon Scott and runner-up Katie Kinkle

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

The 89th Glascock came to a close Saturday, April 14 to the announcement of the winner Garon Scott (UConn, Storrs) and runner-up Katie Kinkle (Bowdoin College). Following the judges' reading, the poet-contestants and poet-judges gathered before the Stimson Room's fireplace for a commemorative photo. 

 From left to right: Top (poet-contestants) - Andrew Bustria (Sarah Lawrence College), Garon Scott (University of Connecticut, Storrs), Layli Amerson (Mount Holyoke College), Brian Folan (University of Massachusetts, Amherst); Middle (poet-contestants) - Katie Kinkle (Bowdoin College), Jessica Yoo (Johns Hopkins University) ; Bottom (poet-judges) - J.D. McClatchy (Yale University), Mary Jo Bang (Washington University), Sarah Gambito (Fordham University). Photo credit belongs to Lara Day.

The student committee composed of myself, Emma Rice, and student-assistant Lara Day organized a farewell lunch. Suffice to say, the combination of beautiful weather and the blooming flowers meant that the lunch quickly became a picnic in the garden next to the Art Museum. It probably has an official name, but it's always gone by the "Fairy Garden" in my head and now the unofficial names will only abound further now that Garon has plied me with words such as "copse" and "glen," among others. Unfortunately, by the time we all remembered to take a picture, Jessica had already departed to take her flight back to John Hopkins. 

 From the bottom left and clockwise: Garon Scott (UConn, Storrs), Brian Folan (UMass, Amherst), Layli Amerson (MHC), Glascock student-assistant Lara Day (Mount Holyoke College), English Liaison Emma Rice (MHC), Andrew Bustria (Sarah Lawrence), English Liaison Mai-Anh Ha (MHC), Katie Kinkle (Bowdoin). Photo credit belongs to Rory.

Let me thank all those who attended and participated in this year's Glascock. When an event in which so many disparate and interesting personalities winds to a close, it always sound trite to simply say, "It was good. It was wonderful. It was lovely." But it was all those things. Days later, I still find mid-murmur, mulling over the bits and pieces, odds and ends of conversation.

As poet-contestants and Glascock organizers dispersed, I stood up, awkwardly brushing my hands against my pants, muttering "Chấm Dứt," which means to sever. It's an odd phrase, but a common one in Vietnamese to announce the end of a performance or a meeting. The phrase carries an odd mixture of both regret and relief. As the time of parting neared, the ties, which had so quickly formed during the two days, were stretching and stretching, all of us about to return to the everyday of our respective colleges. "Chấm Dứt" is the phrase for the invisible hand of time coming down upon these ties, snapping them, so that the lonely ends are left in your hand: relieved from the tension of parting, full of regret because the parting has come to past. 

It was a worthy weekend, however, of the phrase "Chấm Dứt" because for a moment, poetry came alive within the disparate and various voices of poet-contestants and poet-judges.

For those of you who were unable to attend or attended, but remain in the vacillations of curiosity and nostalgia, please look forward to a follow-up post with a sampling of poetry from the poet-contestants.  

The 89th Annual Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

For the 89th annual Glascock Poetry Contest, Mount Holyoke welcomed as judges the poets Mary Jo Bang, Sarah Gambito, and J.D. McClatchy and as contestants students representing the University of Connecticut, Storrs; Bowdoin College; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Sarah Lawrence College; Johns Hopkins University; and, of course, Mount Holyoke.  

Shakespeare Symposium: Genealogy and Reception Theory

Posted on April 03, 2012 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

In farewell to Professor Brownlow, who is retiring at the end of this year, a symposium on Shakespeare was held in Gamble Auditorium. The speakers were William Carroll of Boston University and Martha Tuck Rozett of University of Albany. Professor Carroll surveyed Shakespeare's Macbeth within the historical and political context of the genealogy of the royal family, elucidating such mysteries as to whether some of the characters even existed historically and the implication of Shakespeare's construction thereof of the royal family. Meanwhile, Professor Rozett scrutinized the character of Gertrude from Shakespeare's Hamlet under the eyeglass of reception theory. Professor Rozett concentrated on two works, Updike's Gertrude and Claudius and Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman's Gertrude of Denmark: An Interpretive Romance, which articulated in different ways the ambiguity and complexity of Hamlet's Gertrude

The lovely speakers: on the left is Professor Carroll from Boston University and on the right is Professor Rozett from the University of Albany. Photo credit belongs to Mai-Anh Ha.

An audio recording of the event can be downloaded here.

Forgive the odd sounds of me adjusting my laptop or the laptop fan beginning to run. As a desperate, amateur, and (wallet-light) archivist of great English events, I can only do so much so forgive me for my technological limitations. I encourage anyone who drops by in this blog to continue dropping by since I hope to provide you all with more audio recordings of wonderful and interesting lectures.

Elephants and Bubbles: A Different Kind of Language

Posted on March 02, 2012 by Megan Bushnell and filed under Studying Abroad.

Whoever it was that referred to the UK and the US as “two countries separated by a common language” knew what he was talking about.  Normally, students study abroad to improve their foreign language skills—which makes sense, it is best to learn from the source.  However, when I arrived in Scotland, I did not expect to be further educated in my native tongue.

There are far more differences between English and American-English than I ever realized.  It is not just the different spellings (their insistence on using “o-u-r” when we would just use “o-r,” for instance, or their disuse of the letter “z” in favor for “s”), it is also their baffling slang.

Cockney rhyming slang is where a word or phrase that rhymes with the original word stands in its place, and sometimes is further shortened.  For example, the phrase “apples and pears” rhymes with “stairs,” and hence “up the apples and pears” can mean the same thing as “upstairs.”  Or, to make things more complicated, you could have the phrase “elephant’s trunk” stand in for the word “drunk,” and then shorten it to “elephant’s.”  Or to be especially complicated the phrase “bubble bath” can replace the word “laugh” and be shortened for “bubble”—or! “bubble and squeak” can stand in for the phrase “take a leak” and likewise be shortened for “bubble.”  Both are strangely apt and onomatopoetic.

Being an English major and an aspiring poet, I cannot help but find these colloquialisms extraordinary in how they relate sense with sound.  Replacing “elephant’s” for “inebriated” at first seems like a non sequitur, but when I think about it there is something certainly gargantuan and clumsy about drunken behavior which does seem in keeping with the popular conception of elephants.  The word “elephant” itself has an absurd quality which corresponds with inebriation.  But the best bit is that now whenever I find myself in a pub I imagine the heavyset gentlemen at the bar slowly transforming into elephants with every sip of lager.

The poetry in modern language is very much alive and creates a world I very much enjoy, where elephants do walk into bars and bubbles of mirth pour out of people’s mouths whenever they laugh. 

If you like the examples I have listed above, some further colloquialism you might enjoy are:

Mate (friend) rhymes with China Plate and is shortened to China.

Aspersions rhymes with Nasturtiums, forming the phrase “Cast Nasturtiums.”

To say that something “would do the job Rotten” means that it would do the job Really Well.

If you’re interested in UK slang there are plenty resources online where you can find many more examples!

A Poet’s Paradise

Posted on February 28, 2012 by Megan Bushnell and filed under Studying Abroad.

Hey guys!  Sorry to be out of commission for so long—just getting lost, found, and generally befuddled in Scotland.  However, I come bearing goodies!

For those of you interested in poetry and creative writing, you will be happy to hear that contemporary poetry is far from dead.  In fact, the University of Saint Andrews (where I have been studying for the past few months) is an oasis of poetic creativity.  In one university alone resides some of the most recognized names in poetry, and, interestingly enough, they are all native Scottish.

Scotland seems to be experiencing a so-called Renaissance of modern poetry.  If, like me, you have become frustrated by the abstruse nature of some of the writing out there, you will find sweet relief in the work of people like John Burnside, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Crawford, and Robin Robertson.  All of these poets are Scottish, and two of them are professors currently teaching at Saint Andrews—namely, John Burnside and Robert Crawford.  So, for all those English majors interested in pursuing a career in creative writing, Saint Andrews is definitely worth a look for postgraduate work!

But you certainly don’t have to take my word for it.  See for yourself.  Here is a poem by John Burnside that I am particularly fond of:


It’s moments like this
when the barman goes through the back
and leaves me alone

a radio whispering
somewhere amongst the glasses
—I’m through with love—

the way the traffic slows
to nothing
how all of a sudden
at three in the afternoon

the evening’s already begun
a nascent

By ten I’ll be walking away
on Union Street
or crossing Commercial Road
in a gust of rain

and everyone who passes
will be you
or almost you
before it’s someone else.

If you like what you see, check out Burnside’s volume Black Cat Bone.  Kathleen Jamie’s The Queen of Sheba and Robert Crawford’s Spirit Machines are also worth a look!

Oh and here's a picture of the landscape around Saint Andrews--just so you have some idea the kind of place many of these poets are drawing from.

What the dickens?

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Layli Amerson and filed under Events.

Last Tuesday, English department majors, minors, faculty, and staff gathered to conclude the semester at the annual Social. Three professors gave readings. If you enjoyed Professor Brownlow's Dickens reading from The Pickwick Papers, check out this BBC article, "Six things Dickens gave the modern world."

 Here are some photos I snapped before and during the readings.

Enjoying conversation--plus cupcakes, fruit, scones, and cheese & crackers. 

Lauren Abbate '13 and Holly Mitchell '14, co-editors of Verbosity and enthusiastic English majors.

Professor Jenny Pyke gives a rousing reading.


Time to unwrap the presents! Mai-Anh played Santa Claus, choosing gifts for our three readers: Professors Lemly, Pyke, and Brownlow.  

Feeling verbose?

Posted on December 14, 2011 by Layli Amerson and filed under Opportunities.

Last night my fellow liaisons and also my co-editors of Verbosity, Mount Holyoke's literary arts magazine, had the pleasure of attending the English department's Winter Social. I found Professor Pyke's reading, an evocative story about Christmas in Wales (correct me if I'm mistaken), especially exciting, and it made me miss writing creative prose! In this spirit of creativity, I'll put out Verbosity's annual call for student submissions. Please send us your creative work in every printable form--short fiction, poetry, photography, drawing, painting, prints--to by December 31, 2011. We'll notify you of our decision regarding publication in February; our 2012 edition will come out in April. Good luck with finals!

The sun climbs slow, how slowly!

Posted on December 03, 2011 by Emma Rice and filed under Liaisons.

The follow-up post about How I Write is still in the state of “coming soon” (just as soon as I exercise my subject and write an essay that I have been planning for awhile), but I thought I would take a quick break from my studies to share a poem.  It is not the best I have ever read, but I am quite fond of it.  I rediscovered it while flipping through an old journal of mine, and thought it perfectly applicable to and worth sharing during the finals flurry.  The poet is Arthur Hugh Clough, and I do not think there is a title.

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been, they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

There.  Read and be renewed.  I wish you all the best of luck with final exams and papers, urge you to remember that our struggle does availeth, and hope that you will come join the English department for a moment of peace and community on the last day of classes for the Winter Social.

Winter Social on Tuesday, December 13

Posted on November 19, 2011 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

Come one, come all to the English event of the year:

*All credit for this lovely flier goes to Liaison Layli Amerson.

Congratulations on winning an Odyssey gift card!

Posted on November 19, 2011 by Mai-Anh Ha and filed under Events.

The drawing for winning a $20 Odyssey gift card has drawn to a close. Thank you to all those who participated. Although the drawing is over, all you English majors out there should continue to brainstorm and snap pictures of yourselves to send in to be placed on the English majors' Rogues bulletin board. The goal is to have the bulletin board filled by the end of this year for there are many Rogues out there doing a close read, scribbling down analysis, and writing papers. Send your pictures to to be placed on the bulletin board of English major Rogues.

Congratulations to the winners of the drawing:

Anna Smith '13
Claire Frilot '13
Barbara Rotundo 'FP13
Rachel Czwartacky '12 & Isabelle Dienstag '12 (who took a leaf out of the liaisons' book and took a picture together)

Please stop by the English Department office to receive your Odyssey gift card from the Senior Administrative Assistant, Cindy Meehan.