ProfTalks: Rhetoric and Poetry

Last week, I was absent and therefore missed the first ProfTalks session, so this Monday’s talks were my first foray into seeing other disciplines in the English Department. That being said, I was not disappointed. Both of the visiting professors, Dr. Rusko and Dr. Warnick, had fascinating discussions about their fields of study. Though I had some idea of the breadth of English, I did not know that it encompassed this much material

Dr. Warnick’s essay initially confused me somewhat, as I felt it sort of launched me into “expressivism” and discourses surrounding pedagogies, but his actual talk helped clear it up. Honestly, I had considered the field (or at least, what I knew of it) to be dry and bland, but it actually has more depth than I thought. I had no idea that Composition and Rhetoric involved so much; the focus on theories of writing was particularly interesting to me, as my final research project analyzes how fan fiction writers produce fan fiction. So, without even knowing it, I am actually writing a paper that would best fit in this field!

Although I am no great fan of poetry, Dr. Rosko engaged me in her talk. I liked her essay on complaint poetry, and the provided poems flowed well and provoked deeper questioning. However, I most enjoyed her breakdown of where creative writing falls within the English department. In addition, her interactivity was fun, and it was interesting to see how our class identified good writing. I am not about to switch gears and become a poet, but Dr. Rosko’s talk was certainly fascinating.

In this introductory English class, we are building the skills necessary for our later careers in English, which are no doubt useful. However, seeing the breadth of the English department is something that I had not anticipated from this class, so these visiting professors are a true enjoyment for me. Learning about all these possibilities within the field gives me hope that maybe I didn’t choose a fun, but altogether useless degree and can actually manage to make something out of it.

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