One Book, One Chicago Neverwhere Literature Contest Winners

The winners of the One Book, One Chicago Neverwhere Literature Contest, as judged by Kate Bernheimer, are:

1st Place: Megan McKeon (for “Attenuating”)

2nd Place: Erica Walker Adams (for “A Very Fine Thing”)

3rd Place: Richard Rodriguez (For “Exterior Decorator Feeling Restless in a Dead Room”)

Please join us in congratulating the winners at the Awards Reception and Reading at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1st, at the DePaul University John T. Richardson Library, Room 300 (The Rosati Room), 2350 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614.

E.G.S.A. Publishes Proceedings of Spring Conference

E.G.S.A. hosted its second annual Spring Conference on April 15, 2011. The conference featured student presentations of academic papers and creative work to fellow graduate students, faculty, and undergraduate students. The event concluded with keynote speaker Hannah Pittard.

This year, the conference organizers published a proceedings of the event. This proceedings (and all student work published therein) will be available on Ex Libris soon in the E.G.S.A. section.

In the meantime, you can read the proceedings in .PDF format by downloading them here.

Please join the English Graduate Programs office in congratulating all student presenters and students published in the proceedings. This is a great accomplishment. We look forward to future events and announcements from the E.G.S.A.

Alumna News: Rita Leganski

Are you an alumni or current student of the M.A.E. or M.A.W.P. with news of your own? Please send announcements to Molly Tranberg at mtranber@depaul.edu. A warm congratulations goes out to Rita on her accomplishments.

Rita Leganski’s (M.A.W.P. ‘09) novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, was recently acquired by HarperCollins. The last class she took before graduating was Dan Stolar’s Short Fiction offering. It was there that she first tried her hand at magical realism. Professor Stolar encouraged her to continue to develop the story, and this debut novel was born.

Rita also published an article she’d originally written in Ted Anton’s Writing for Magazines class. Her article on Utah’s Antelope Island appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Sierra magazine. Read the article here. She is currently a member of DePaul’s visiting faculty in the School for New Learning as a writing workshop instructor.

Opening Reception for Faculty Fellow Jeff Carter’s “The Common Citizenshi​p of Forms”

The Humanities Center invites you to the opening reception for Jeff Carter’s new exhibition, “The Common Citizenship of Forms,” on Thursday, June 2, 5:30-8:00 p.m., at Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall, on the main campus of IIT (3360 S. State Street).

Jeff Carter is Associate Professor of Art, Media and Design at DePaul, and a 2010-2011 Faculty Fellow of the Humanities Center. His exhibition presents a series of large-scale architectural models using altered IKEA products such as tables, desks, shelves and flooring. The models and their arrangement are based on the eight buildings at the Michael Reese Hospital campus designed between 1947 and 1959 by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus. In the past year, these buildings have been destroyed by the City of Chicago (under the false pretenses of preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games), drawing worldwide outrage.

English Graduate Student Association (EGSA)—Join Us!

Now, let’s face it: as graduate students, we are all pressed for time and there are never enough hours in the day to do everything that we hope to accomplish. However, when I look back on my time spent at DePaul, the moments I have filled with EGSA activities have always been worth it. How often is it that you can say that about a group that you are involved with?

EGSA is special because it is student-run and dedicated to enriching the experience of being a DePaul graduate student (we want everyone to have a wonderful time at DePaul). We have planned social and cultural outings like visits to museums, comedy clubs and bars (Halloween parties!) and have also held two successful conferences for students. This year’s conference was a wonderful affair with thirty-seven total participants, graduate and undergraduate students, who read pieces in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary criticism and theory. Please read Steve Bogdaniec’s post on the event for more details.

EGSA membership is open to all current students in the Master of Arts in English (MAE) and Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing (MAWP) at DePaul University. In the past, we have held meetings about once a month and also communicated with one another weekly via email to plan events. Thankfully, if you are really busy, but still want to help out in some way, there are many levels of participation. We need someone tech-savvy who would enjoy maintaining a website and Facebook page. We also need someone who enjoys being creative and wants to design advertisements or programs. There are many options, and we welcome anyone and everyone to join us.

That being said, if you would like to participate next year, we are having a general meeting this Sunday, May 22 in the Schmitt Academic Center (in the general student area). The group will be meeting at 8 pm to inform anyone interested on the joys of being an EGSA member and to discuss next year’s plans. If you are unable to attend and would like to hear more information about EGSA, feel free to email me at btonner@depaul.edu.

I hope you will join us!

Brianna Tonner

My Night as a Writer/Performer

by MAWP student Marianne Chrisos

Last Friday, I attended and read at the Threshold Literary Journal 2011 Launch Party. My piece, a creative nonfiction essay called “Solving for X,” was published in the back of this bright and shiny bound-up creature. I am honored and excited. Threshold is a pretty neat thing. And it was a pretty neat night.

I had two drinks because they gave me two drink tickets at the door, and I felt it would be wasteful to not use them. I also had to read an excerpt of my piece on stage, using a microphone that was taller than me (though I did ask the editor to point that out to someone so I would not be wildly and horribly shamed, and it was lowered to a reasonable height). I felt this would help me feel more comfortable about my first public reading – I was excited to be reading, but very nervous. I somehow forgot I’m not a particularly coordinated person when sober, but still managed not to go boom. I also forgot that you can’t actually see anyone in an audience when you are standing on a stage and there is a yellow light in your eyes. Still, I read, I didn’t stutter or rush, I didn’t trip, I couldn’t see anyone, the mike was at a good height, and then I watched the rest of the staff picks and then the winners of the excellence awards read. A beautiful and successful literary evening.

Threshold is not a national publication – it is extremely local, community, Chicago, university. Still, I’m delighted to reside within its pages. Additionally, it’s a beautiful journal, and I will read it cover to cover, not just out of respect for the other authors, but because the other authors are good authors, and I’m grateful to be published alongside them. One of the things I appreciated about last night was the grateful tone that everyone had for everyone else. People rarely went onstage without thanking someone. I think this is so important, because writing and production do not occur in a vacuum. I don’t think any author should ever forget the hard work that goes into putting their writing onto a page. In turn, the Threshold staff made us all feel very welcome, deserving and talented.

So why was I so nervous? I believe it has to do with the idea of performing versus the idea of being an artist. I have a huge personality – I am loud and witty and say things without thinking sometimes, but this has never been an attempt to gain attention. This is my genuine personality, the McDonough-Chrisos genes, some kind of flair for drama or a DNA of sarcasm. The idea of standing on a stage reading something I’ve written and having people watch as if I deserve some kind of attention for simply writing – that is different. To me, that feels like a performance. And while I am learning that does come with a professional artistic lifestyle and am even grateful for it, I do not feel deserving of any kind of attention.

It’s not a confidence issue – I can hand anyone a piece of mine at any time and have them read it. I’m not a shy person in any regard. But there is a disconnect in my head between standing up and reading my own work to a group who could be anywhere else doing anything else and asking them to pay attention, to care, versus their choosing to read my work on their own time. It feels like a performance and I had not yet connected that to professional writing.

However, all other art forms seem have some kind of performance aspect. My best friend in New York is a photographer and is showing her work in a gallery this weekend. A coworker of mine has written and performed in several dramatic works and plays. Essays, short stories, poetry. It is not that I forget that these are meant to be read aloud. Perhaps it is that writing and reading are so private, so solitary. It’s not that I forget that oral storytelling is a rich part of literary history – I simply didn’t think I would get a chance to partake.

So what do you think – how much “performance” do you think goes into art? Do you think there is always a correlation between the two, at least professionally?