S.C. War Veterans Use Poetry for Healing in New Reading Group

Professors William Russell (English) and Bryan Ganaway (Honors College) recently established a reading group for area veterans, as reported in the Charleston Post and Courier:



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What Can I Do With an English Major?

It’s a question that all of us book nerds have asked at some point in our lives.  Contrary to popular belief, the answer is A LOT.  On Wednesday, April 29th, 6:30-8:30 in Alumni Center (EHHP), Sigma Tau Delta and the Graduate English Association present a panel of people who majored in English and used their skills to pursue diverse careers.  Here is a list of our panelists:

Michael Duvall is a professor at CofC who specializes in American literature and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is the director of the Master of Arts in English program at the college. He received his PhD in American Literature from the University of Maryland. Dr. Duvall will be discussing the M.A program as well as the process of earning a PhD (at CofC and in general).

Allyson Field was an English Major in college and is now a first year teacher at Fort Dorchester High School. She will be representing English Majors in Secondary Education.

Kasey Hayes is an alumni of College of Charleston and is a partner and co-founder of Native Collaboration. Her company, Native Collab, is a marketing positioning firm that helps organizations reach audiences through marketing, PR, and digital strategy. She is coming all the way from Richmond, VA to tell us why business corporations hire English majors.

Bret Lott is a professor at CofC and an author of fourteen books. He serves as Nonfiction Editor for Crazyhorse as well. He is director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at CofC. At the panel, he will be discussing the MFA program as well as journal editing.

Courtney Proffitt works for Benefitfocus, which is a company that provides employers, brokers, insurance carriers, and consumers with technology to shop, enroll, manage, and exchange benefits information. She, similar to Hayes, will be discussing English Majors in business.

Dustin Waters is a reporter and journalist at the Charleston City Paper. He covers everything from issues occurring on the peninsula to more controversial, global issues; such as his recent cover story on gun control. He will be discussing the fields of journalism and reporting.


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English Major Elizabeth Torpey to Present at Coker College

English major Elizabeth Torpey will present a paper this month at the Coker Humanities Undergraduate Conference at Coker College in Hartsville, SC. In her paper, “Golden Worlds: A Pastoral Paradise,” Elizabeth explores how early modern poets and writers invoked the classical trope of the “golden world” to express a variety of political and philosophical positions. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

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English Major Cathy Keaton Featured in The College Today

The College Today published a feature on English major Cathy Keaton and her success pursuing a degree as a nontraditional student.

Senior Citizen Pursues Lifelong Goal to Earn Degree

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Happy Birthday, John Keats!

We all know that October 31st is Halloween, but did you know it was also John Keats’s birthday? In English 350, Keats, we celebrated both in style by having cupcakes and reading the decidedly macabre Isabella, or the Pot of Basil.


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English Majors Garruzzo and Rink Present at the Citadel


rinkThose who teach writing often find themselves invoking analogies to try and describe a certain skill. Create a “quote sandwich” we say to students in first-year academic writing. Or perhaps the stakes of a messy quote integration are clarified when we tell them to avoid the classic “hit-and-run.” Why do we do this? And does it work? Is a quote sandwich in fact the proper response to a hit-and-run?

English Majors Anthony Garruzzo and Alaina Rink addressed this topic in their recent presentation at the annual Palmetto State Writing Center Association conference at the Citadel. Their talk–“Analogies: Building a Bridge”–described how using analogies helps clients conceptualize an idea. These “hidden commonalities,” as Garruzzo and Rink called them, guide students as they develop a transition as a crucial bridge between ideas, for example, or revise a thesis by conceiving of it as a tour guide.  As the presenters emphasized, using analogies helps make concrete and imaginable what might otherwise seem too abstract. Its also encourages students to retain the information they have learned from consultants.

garruzzo-rinkWriting Center Directors from Furman, Claflin, and the Citadel all had high praise for CofC’s student presenters. Dr. Bonnie Devet, who directs the Writing Lab here at the College of Charleston, offered high praise as well: “Anthony and Alaina were addressing a  large audience of thirty-two directors and peer consultants from across the state,” she noted. “In spite of the pressure, they were poised and polished in their delivery.”

Anthony and Alaina wanted the audience to take home with them “workable” analogies they could use right away in their consultations. During the group activity when the audience generated their own analogies, the directors and peer consultants derived some fine analogies: Ibid is like saying “ditto”; a subordinate clause is like a clingy boyfriend; paraphrasing quotations is like condensing a phone conversation that you relate to others. Analogies like this stay with us, they stay with our students, and they make us all, one hopes, better writers and better teachers.



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Student Newspaper Honors Conseula Francis and Alison Piepmeier

francisThe College of Charleston’s student run magazine–The Yard–recently published an inspiring piece on the two beloved colleagues we lost this year. Courtney Eker and Justine Hall write in “Our Wonder Women: The legacies of Conseula Francis and Alison Piepmeier” of these two women–of the extraordinary activism, scholarship, and friendship that they inspired on campus, in the broader Charleston community, and beyond. The piece begins:

Fierce. Magnificent. Activist. Inspiring. Badass. Family.

If you could sum up the legacy of two vibrant, passionate and influential women in one word, what would it be?

Alison Piepmeier and Conseula Francis were more than colleagues of the College of Charleston faculty. They were friends — family. They spent weekends and holidays with each other and their children. They published together. With their third counterpart, political science professor Claire Curtis, they formed what Curtis called a “smug writing group.” They made an impact on the College of Charleston campus community through their courses, their involvement, their compassion and their activism for social and racial justice.

You can read the piece in its entirety over at The Yard.

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Post&Courier Highlights New MFA Program

The English Department’s new MFA in Creative Writing made the front page of the Charleston Post and Courier on Sept. 12.

College of Charleston bets on its students with new creative writing master’s program


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Welcome New Faculty!

The English Department is pleased to introduce our two new faculty members–Dr. Lindsey Drager and Dr. Jacob Craig. We welcome the new energy, new knowledge, and new ideas that they bring the English Department. An expanded interview with each will be published in December in Folio, or annual English Department Newsletter. But until then, here they are:

craigDr. Jacob Craig (PhD, Florida State University ’16) is a Writing Studies specialist and his research interests include theories of composing and digital rhetoric. Working at the intersections of those issues, Jacob has published on the design of digital texts like ebooks for mobile devices and the pedagogy of electronic portfolios in research-oriented writing classes. His current work examines the composing processes that writers develop over time and across a variety of contexts.

lindsey-drager-2015Dr. Lindsey Drager is the author of the novel The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc, 2015), winner of the 2016 Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Prize and recipient of Silver in the 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in Literary Fiction. She has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference and received fully funded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Recent work has appeared in Black Warrior ReviewGulf CoastHayden’s Ferry ReviewModern Language StudiesThe Huffington Post, and the anthology Best Small Fictions 2015. A new novel, The Lost Daughter Collective, is forthcoming from Dzanc in Spring 2017. Lindsey holds a PhD from the University of Denver where she served as Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was an intern for Dalkey Archive Press.

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Woodfin Scholarships Awarded for new MFA Students

Here at the new Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at the College of Charleston, we’re delighted to announce the first recipients of the Woodfin Scholarship, Nick Plasmati and Laura Cannon. The two $5000 scholarships will be awarded annually to the best creative writing portfolios submitted by students accepted into the MFA program.

The Woodfin Scholarships are made possible through the extraordinary generosity, vision and good will of an alum of the College of Charleston, and are designed to attract the very best writers from across the country to come study writing in our new graduate program in creative writing. Each year, the Woodfin Scholarships will be awarded to the incoming writers whose creative portfolios show the highest merit. These awards, which will go to offset tuition costs, will be available for renewal for the second year of study as well.

“This is an extraordinary moment in the new life of the MFA,” said program director Bret Lott, “and this incredibly generous gift from our alum is a hallmark in the development of our ability to reward the writers who come to study with us here at the College.”

“It’s an incredible honor to receive the inaugural Woodfin Scholarship award,” said Nick Plasmati of the good news, “and it is with the sincerest gratitude that I thank all of those involved in making this scholarship possible, not only for supporting individual writers but also for promoting the arts and helping to foster a creative atmosphere in Charleston.” Plasmati, who lives in Foxboro, Massachusetts, is a 2010 graduate of William & Mary, and will soon be moving here to the Lowcountry to begin classes in the MFA, where he will be in the program’s Arts Management track.

Laura Cannon, a 2009 graduate of our very own College of Charleston, is the second recipient. “To say I’m honored to accept the Woodfin Scholarship to aid in my MFA studies is an understatement,” she said. Cannon lives in North Charleston, and is electing to take the program’s Studio track. “I am deeply thankful to all of those who have made this experience possible, and eagerly anticipate what possibilities lie before our class. Thank you, again and again!”

We look forward to next year’s applicants to the program and the Woodfin Scholarships, and urge anyone interested in the MFA program to contact program director Bret Lott at lottb@cofc.edu.

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