One of our own has received a prestigious award this year. The Caucus of Emory Black Alumni has given Dominick Rolle the Dr. Herman Reese Award for Community Service in Education for his role as the graduate assistant in Emory’s Men Stopping Violence Initiative, which involved his TA-ship in Emory’s Men Stopping Violence Course–”Male Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Critical Issues and Concepts.” Dominick wishes to thank Drs. Mark Sanders, Paul Kelleher, Peter Wakefield and others for supporting his work in this course. Way to go, Dom!
Fourth-year PhD candidate, Richie Hofmann’s poem, “Idyll,” had been published in The New Yorker. It appears in the issue dated January 28, 2013.
The entire department sends its congratulations and best wishes.
The Cohen Prize committee of The Melville Society has named Dominic Mastrianni (PhD ’08) the winner of the 2012 Hennig Cohen Prize for his article, “Revolutionary Time and the Future of Democracy in Melville’s Pierre,” ESQ 56.4 (2011): 391-423.
In announcing the award, the committee wrote:
The Melville Society¹s Cohen Prize committee is pleased to announce the winner of the Hennig Cohen Prize for 2011 is Dominic Mastroianni for his article, “Revolutionary Time and the Future of Democracy in Melville’s Pierre,” published in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance. Mastroianni’s essay is a provocative, brilliantly managed reading of Melville’s novel as a political allegory concerned with the nature of revolution and the question of “whether a permanent democracy can result from revolution.” In this extraordinarily original, illuminating essay, Mastroianni reveals Melville to be engaged in a heady and sophisticated exploration of “the time of revolutionary foundation,” one where democracy is shown to require “a structural impermanence driven by a call for social and economic equality” that goes beyond the calls for fraternity in the French Revolution of 1848 to include a call for sisterhood and equality for women. The members of the Cohen Prize committee believe this is an essay that will challenge readers not only to rethink the political dimensions of Melville’s novel but to move politics to the center of the author’s concerns in this narrative.
The English Department congratulates Dominic on this achievement.
Yoshi Furui’s article “‘Secret Emotions’: Disability in Public and Melville’s The Confidence-Man” will be published in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies in 2013.
In recent years, disability studies scholarship has led critics to notice the cultural and historical significance of disability represented in Herman Melville’s works. This essay interrogates The Confidence-Man’s engagement with disability by focusing on its situatedness in public space. Through the examination of public space, language, and sympathy, he argues that at issue in The Confidence-Man is less the visible exteriority of disabled bodies in public than the hidden interiority—or what the narrator calls “secret emotions”—of those regarded as disabled.
Yoshiaki Furui is a third-year Ph.D. student in the English Department. As a Fulbright scholar from Japan, he is studying nineteenth-century American literature with a focus on Herman Melville. He has another publication on Melville: “‘No One Is His Own Sire’: Dead Letters and Kinship in Melville’s Pierre.” The Journal of the American Literature Society of Japan 8 (2010): 1-17. His advisor is Professor Benjamin Reiss.
See the entire article by Katy Waldman at Slate Magazine:
On Thursday night, Trethewey addressed a packed crowd in the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson building. She was opening the 2012-13 literary season. So many fans came to celebrate that a group of us had to watch her on TV in an “overflow room.” The audience was younger than I expected, and more diverse. I saw kids in lanyards snapping pictures on their iPhones, scruffy loners in thick glasses, girls in leggings, women in headscarves, married couples in jackets and heavy jewelry. In line for a seat, I spoke to a researcher at NIH who studied false zeroes in data sets and wrote poetry on the side. Her favorite author was Louise Glück. Behind us stood an English professor at a nearby university, who said he was looking forward to the wine at the reception afterward. When we finally sat, the middle-aged blonde behind us whipped out a device and spent the rest of the event jabbing furiously at its screen. She was shushed—to no avail—by a silver-haired lady in pearls. (“Ma’am, that is distracting.”)
Trethewey emerged from a magical-seeming contraption that slid open at the back of the auditorium. (The librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington, just walked on stage from the wing.) She wore a conservative black dress and smiled a lot. When she began to speak, her voice, like that of the beautiful companion in “Adam’s Curse,” was sweet and low. Also like that woman, she was preoccupied by the costs of loveliness—the gemmed portraits of mixed-race families in a Mexican taxonomy book, the siren song of a father’s affection. (Trethewey feared that her white dad loved his half-black daughter primarily because he felt he “made [her] better.”) “Always there is something more to know,” she recited, before laying out a critique of the quest for limitless knowledge and control. She prefers the mysteries of negative space, the “white … hovering beneath the words, silent, incendiary, waiting.” And she embraces humor as a subversive tactic: “This poem comes out of a photograph of me as a child, sitting on a mule,” she explained at one point. “That’s funny, but I’m not going to explain the joke.”
Afterward, the crowd streamed upstairs for wine, cheese, crackers, and copies of Thrall, the 19th poet laureate’s newest book. Here are some words people used to describe her reading:outstanding, powerful, moving, dense, too lengthy, too short, repetitive, special. “She took me to places I hadn’t been before,” said a woman with a coffee complexion in a long evening gown. Another man looked quizzical and then smiled. “I liked it,” he said. “But what do I know? I’m an economist.”
An Emory News post by Elaine Justice:
As Natasha Trethewey gives her inaugural reading as 19th U.S. Poet Laureate on Sept. 13 in Washington, D.C., Emory students reflect on the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s approach in the classroom:
“You always hope to work with people who are really well recognized within their fields, so when the opportunity presented itself to work with Natasha Trethewey, it was incredible,” says Hannah Blakeley, a sophomore at Emory who took Trethewey’s freshman poetry seminar last year. “Just being in her classroom and feeling her positive and encouraging energy inspired me to be open-minded to poetry and learn to love it.”
Rachel Bottoms, a senior majoring in English, says that reading poems in Trethewey’s class can be intimidating, “but I enjoy her style in class. She’s direct, she’s communicative, she’s honest, and I think honesty is really what we all need as aspiring writers … it’s really what helps us grow.”
Trethewey is director of Emory’s Creative Writing Program and is serving a four-year term as Poet Laureate of Mississippi.
From Emory Blog, Quad Talk:
The Before Columbus Foundation was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature. The goals of BCF are to provide recognition and a wider audience for the wealth of cultural and ethnic diversity that constitutes American writing. In 1978, the Board of Directors of BCF (authors, editors, and publishers representing the multicultural diversity of American Literature) decided that one of its programs should be a book award that would, for the first time, respect and honor excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or even genre.