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Department News & Events

Once-a-decade Furious Flower conference dedicated to Rita Dove
Friday, September 26, 2014

The Furious Flower Poetry Center’s once-a-decade conference is dedicated this decade to Professor Rita Dove. This gathering of poets and scholars, held at James Madison University, features readings by many of the best established and emerging African American poets writing today—and all of these readings are free and open to the public. The conference began September 24 and continues through Saturday, September 28, with readings, open mics, lectures, and concerts.

More information about the conference and the full schedule of events can be found here: http://www.jmu.edu/events/furiousflower/2014/09/24-furious-flower-poetry....

On October 1, Professor Dove will be recording an NPR show about the conference at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Professor Gregory Orr reflects on fatal gun accident
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Professor Gregory Orr reflects in The New York Times on the recent incident in which a nine-year-old girl shot and killed her instructor at an Arizona gun range. Professor Orr, author of 12 books of poetry and a memoir titled The Blessing, accidentally killed his younger brother in a hunting accident when he was 12 years old. Professor Orr meditates poignantly on the position of children who suddenly find themselves living out the consequences of a fatal accident and trying to comprehend their part in it.

Read the Times piece here.

Professor Orr also talked to Jeffrey Brown on the PBS NewsHour about the incident; you can watch the video and read a transcript of the interview here.

Shakespeare and Politics website launched, featuring Professor Paul Cantor
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Professor Paul Cantor explains what Shakespeare can teach us about politics on a new website in the Great Thinkers series. The centerpiece of this website is a set of 25 lectures given by Cantor on Shakespeare and politics, covering eight of Shakespeare's plays. Check out the website, facebook page, and twitter feed!

Emeritus Professor E. D. Hirsch in Politico
Sunday, September 7, 2014

UVa Emeritus Professor of English E. D. Hirsh, writes Politico, can be credited with the foundation of the Common Core teaching standards, currently adopted in 43 out of 50 American states. Developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association to better prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace, the Common Core spells out learning goals for grades K-12. According to David Coleman, who is often called the “architect” of the Common Core, Hirsch’s research showing the fundamental connection between knowledge and literacy “is absolutely foundational.”

Read the Politico article here.

Author James Salter to take up Writer in Residence position
Sunday, September 7, 2014

This fall, American author James Salter will teach and lecture for the semester as the University of Virginia’s Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer in Residence. The residency, which begins with Salter’s visit, exists to create an open, unconstrained conversation between students and a literary master. Salter takes up a position first held by William Faulkner, who came to the College to consult, speak, reflect and write for the spring semesters of 1957 and 1958 - advising the library staff on American literature and working on his novel The Mansion. “With Faulkner, it was this notion of a significant person of letters coming and spending time, with maximum engagement with students. I picture a similar tone with Salter,” says Chris Tilghman, director of the Creative Writing Program. Along with other English department faculty, Tilghman has envisioned a program that’s purposeful in not prescribing specific topics or a particular approach, allowing Salter and future distinguished guests the freedom to reflect upon their art and experience. Salter, too, is keen on the idea of exploration. “I’m excited, really, about discovering [the writer-in-residence experience]. I expect interesting students,” he says.

Read the full article on Salter and the residency here.