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Department News & Events

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On Monday, March 11, English PhD student Joanna Swafford will launch the pre-release of Songs of the Victorians, an archive of parlor and art song settings of Victorian poems, and also a scholarly tool to facilitate interdisciplinary music and poetry scholarship.

It will ultimately contain four songs: Michael William Balfe's "Come into the Garden, Maud" and Sir Arthur Somervell's "Come into the Garden, Maud" (both based on Alfred Lord Tennyson's monodrama, Maud), Sir Arthur Sullivan's setting of Adelaide Procter's "A Lost Chord," and Caroline Norton's "Juanita," although for this limited release, it only includes "Juanita."

The archival portion of this site includes high-resolution images of the first edition printings of each song integrated with an audio file so that each measure is highlighted in time with the music. The scholarly component for each work includes an article-length analysis of the song's interpretation of the poem. Whenever this analysis references a specific section of the piece, the reader can click to view the score and hear the audio for this excerpt, again with the measures highlighted in time with the music. In this way all scholars, regardless of their ability to read music, can follow both the score and the thread of the argument.

Joanna has been developing this project with the generous support of a Scholars' Lab Fellowship. To learn more about the creation of this site or to receive updates on its development schedule, please visit and subscribe to her development blog, "Anglophile in Academia".

Upcoming 18th-century symposium featured on UVa Today
Monday, February 25, 2013
Professor Alison Booth awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship
Friday, February 1, 2013

The ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships are intended to support an academic year dedicated to work on a major scholarly project that takes a digital form. Projects may:

  • Address a consequential scholarly question through new research methods, new ways of representing the knowledge produced by research, or both;
  • Create new digital research resources;
  • Increase the scholarly utility of existing digital resources by developing new means of aggregating, navigating, searching, or analyzing those resources;
  • Propose to analyze and reflect upon the new forms of knowledge creation and representation made possible by the digital transformation of scholarship.

ACLS will award up to six Digital Innovation Fellowships in this competition year. Each fellowship carries a stipend of up to $60,000 towards an academic year’s leave and provides for project costs of up to $25,000.

And here is our Fellowship Winner's project:

                                                The Practice and Theory of Digital Prosopography:

Collective Biographies of Women and Biographical Elements and Structure Schema

The ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship (January-December 2014) supports ongoing development of the Collective Biographies of Women project, a collaboration with IATH (UVA) and Suzanne Keen (Washington & Lee).  Our database and online bibliography of 1271 books collecting some 13,000 short biographies of women demonstrate ways to study what we call documentary social networks of historical women.  Our XML markup schema, Biographical Elements and Structure Schema (BESS), applies narrative theory to nonfiction and experiments with large-scale, team interpretation of narrative, between big data and the techniques of textual editing and close reading.  During the fellowship, we will extend BESS analysis to biographies of four disparate personae types, Frances Trollope, Caroline Herschel, Cleopatra, and Charlotte Corday, to amplify our current work on the networks surrounding Sister Dora (saintly nurse) and Lola Montez (adventuress).  In addition to work on web design, functionality, and visualizations of the site, I will be beginning a book related to the project, tentatively called “Facebooks: Prosopographies in Print and Online.”

 

Charles Wright Wins $150,000 Bollingen Prize for His Poetry
Sunday, January 27, 2013

Charles Wright, professor emeritus of the English department’s Creative Writing Program in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, has won the 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. Wright taught at U.Va. for almost 30 years, retiring in 2011, and is one of America’s most celebrated poets.

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry is among the most prestigious prizes given to American writers. Established by Paul Mellon in 1949, it is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The prize includes a cash award of $150,000.

The judges awarded Wright the Bollingen Prize for his 2011 book, “Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems,” describing it as “an extended meditation in which we sense ‘splinters of the divine’ in the phenomena and cyclic changes of the natural world, and in the elusive reaches of memory, myth, and history.”

“A poet of remarkable scope and ambition, Wright’s lyrics are like verbal scroll paintings, considering a vast landscape but exploring every aspect in exquisite detail, a stylistic combination that properly figures both the significance and insignificance of the human,” the three-member judging committee noted. “In poems that render the poignancy of moving time, the constancy of the landscape, and the mystery of the invisible, Wright binds the secular and the sacred in language charged with urgency and grace.”

While stationed in Italy during four years of service in the U.S. Army, Wright discovered the work of Ezra Pound and began to write poetry for the first time. His first collection of poems, “The Grave of the Right Hand,” was published in 1970.

Wright said he was delighted to have won the award. “I always fantasized about winning the Bollingen Prize because it's the only prize Pound ever won,” he said. 

Wright’s recent books include “Outtakes” (2010); “Sestets: Poems” (2009); “Littlefoot: A Poem” (2008); “Scar Tissue” (2007); “The Wrong End of the Rainbow” (2005); and “Buffalo Yoga” (2004). His two volumes of criticism are: “Halflife” (1988) and “Quarter Notes” (1995). He has translated the work of Italian poets Dino Campana and Eugenio Montale.

Wright, the Souder Family Professor Emeritus of English, has received numerous awards during his career, including the National Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Prize, the American Book Award in Poetry, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

The Bollingen Prize has honored the literary accomplishments of poets whose work continues to be a force in shaping contemporary American letters. Early Bollingen Prize winners –Pound, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and e.e. cummings – are widely considered writers whose work defined a new American literature of the 20th century. More recent winners – John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Louise Glück, John Hollander, Gary Snyder, Jay Wright and Adrienne Rich – represent “exciting stylistic diversity in American writing,” note the prize organizers.

This year’s judges were poet Susan Howe; poet, critic and editor Geoffrey O’Brien; and literary scholar and cultural critic Joan Richardson.

# # #

After it’s over, after the last gaze has shut down,
        Will I have become
        The landscape I’ve looked at and walked through
        Or the road that took me there
                                                        or the time it took to arrive?

            — excerpt from “Sprung Narratives” by Charles Wright

UVA’s Rita Dove Speaks at The Peace Ball in Washington January 20
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Rita Dove was one of numerous luminaries to briefly speak at The Peace Ball on January 20, 2013, one of Washington, DC’s more creative big parties over the weekend to celebrate the presidential inauguration. The Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance took place in Washington DC’s historic Arena Stage at The Meade Center For American Theater.  This event paid tribute to the continuing struggle for peace and justice here in the United States and throughout the world.  After a few initial comments, Dove entertained the large crowd by reading two of her poems particularly well suited to the event, “Umoja” and “Lady Freedom Among Us.” (Watch the reading here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiYenuchOAg)
 
Joining Dove, other artists, activists, speakers and organizations participating in the evening’s comments, musical entertainment, dancing, and other festivities were: Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), noted journalist Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation), TransAfrica, The National Council of Negro Women, Institute for Policy Studies, The Pacifica Foundation, Progressive Democrats of America, Julian Bond, Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, Dick Gregory, Marian Wright Edelman, Farai Chideya, Ralph Nader, Van Jones, Dave Zirin, Etan Thomas, Barbara Ehrenreich, Medea Benjamin (Code Pink), Danny Glover, Rev. Lennox Yearwood (Hip Hop Caucus), and Zainab Salbi (Women for Women International), among many others. Musical performances were by Mos Def and Sweet Honey in the Rock.
 
Four years ago hundreds of peace loving activists gathered at the first Inaugural Peace Ball in Washington, DC to celebrate the election of the first African American President of the United States and to wave the banner of peace during that historic moment.  The times are different today, but the commitment to ensure that peace and justice remain on our national agenda has not wavered.
 
Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia where she teaches poetry writing.

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