Call for Student Editors

The English Department is looking for dedicated English majors to work as student editors on Harmonia, our creative writing journal, and Discordia, our scholarly journal, for the 2014-2015 academic year.

If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Professor Jessica Williams at williamsJL@oldwestbury.edu

Thank you to those who have already expressed interest! You will be contacted in mid-August with details for a general interest meeting to be held at the start of the semester.

SUNY OW English Major Wins 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Alumni Award

Congratulations to Shaakirah Medford, winner of the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Alumni Award.  Shaakirah was presented with the award at the 2014 SUNY College at Old Westbury graduation ceremony where she received her BA in English with a Multicultural Literature Specialization and two minors, one in African American Studies and one in Media and Communications.  She has also served as a New York Youth Ambassador for the Youth Leadership Initiative and spoke at two White House Summits on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth, meeting with President Obama.  Read more and watch a video clip at:

http://www.rappaportcommunications.com/portfolio/bringing-youth-voice-to-the-white-house/

 

Writing Contest Announcements

Write a 6 word story and win $100.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” – Ernest Hemingway wrote this 6 word story, saying it was his best work. What can you do in 6 words? Enter your 6 word story into our 6 word writing competition and the entry with the most likes will receive a cash prize of $100.

For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/64/write-a-6-word-story-and-win-a-cash-prize-of-100/

 

Write a poem about your generation and win $100

Has the poem been left behind by tweets, memes and viral videos. That’s up to you! We want you to write a poem that embodies the triumph and weaknesses of your generation. The poem with the most likes will win a cash prize of $100.
For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/65/write-a-poem-about-your-generation-and-win-100/

 
Is the Internet taking over? Write an 800 word article and win a cash prize of $250

In under a decade, social networks like Facebook and Tinder have redefined the way we live our lives, talk to our friends, even find love. With the launch of Google Glass it seems that technology will become an extension of how we see the world. But is the social web benefitting society or hurting it? And where will the digital revolution go from here?

We’re inviting all journalists and bloggers to have their say at our ReadWave Digital Identities writing competition. Write down your thoughts in less than 800 words. The winning article will receive a cash prize of $250 with a $100 cash prize for the runner up.
For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/63/is-the-internet-taking-over-write-an-article-and-win-a-cash-prize-of-250/.

NY Times Letter Written by Dr. Hobson Quotes OW English Major

The English Department’s Dr. Christopher Z. Hobson recently had a letter to the New York Times editor published. The letter is about teaching James Baldwin and quotes one of our English majors! The letter reads: 

It’s welcome that James Baldwin’s reputation is rising again. But in focusing on early masterworks like “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Sonny’s Blues,” we risk neglecting Baldwin’s rich, deeply felt later novels, particularly “If Beale Street Could Talk” (1974) and “Just Above My Head” (1979). I teach these regularly.

College readers respond to Baldwin’s vivid language — colloquial as well as literary; to the wisdom and sorrow of “Just Above My Head”; and to Baldwin’s prophetic anticipation of today’s partial acceptance of homosexuality and America’s stalled racial reformation.

One of my seniors wrote that Baldwin “hurt me in such a beautiful way that I could not be angry with him,” and that is one mark of a great writer.

CHRISTOPHER Z. HOBSON
Old Westbury, N.Y., April 27, 2014

Click here to view the page directly (Dr. Hobson’s is the second letter on the page)

Gender, Sex, & Sauce: OW Students Serve Up Social Consciousness with Progress on the Side

“Gender, Sex, & Sauce: OW Students Serve Up Social Consciousness with Progress on the Side” by Jamel Sleem, English major.

On Monday, March 3. 2014, SUNY Old Westbury’s New Academic Building was host to The Student Symposium on Gender & Sexuality. This remarkable event – organized by the Women’s Center, Carol Quirke, Jessica Williams, and faculty from the departments of American Studies, English, Psychology and Sociology – saw the coming together of students and faculty from numerous disciplines all for the singular purpose of creating a public dialogue about an ever-important and ever-evolving issue: gender.

Five separate panels gave voice to various subject matter concerning each and every one of us. Subjects ranging from Gender Challenges, Masculinities, and Heroines, to Women & Religion and Women & Beauty helped to focus the conference and steer the discussion down productive avenues. Almost two dozen students from varying backgrounds and all walks of life brought their unique perspectives and voices to the conversation.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of program organizers and moderators – including the English Department’s Professors Williams, Emery, and Graf – the overall selection, which featured works from their combined classes as well as Professor Dissinger’s, touched on many important aspects of the ongoing and, in many cases, escalating conflicts faced by marginalized individuals the world over.

Of particular interest were presentations from English majors Alexa Bauman, Naomi Johnson, Joseph Lagalante, Jr., Jonathan Noyes, and Shakiraah Medford. Alexa presented her paper from Professor Emery’s Literature Across Cultures I class: Challenging Traditional Gender Roles in Society: Modern Female Protagonists in Ama Ata Aidoo’s Anowa and Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis. Joseph’s paper, The Dominican Model of Manhood and the Broken Sucio: Identifying Masculinity as the Unifying Theme in the Works of Junot Diaz, sprang from his work in Professor Graf’s Senior Seminar I class.  Professor Dissinger’s Literature Across Cultures I class was the fertile ground from which two presenters reaped their bountiful harvest. Naomi attacked the issue succinctly with Female Avenger: A Reading of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, while Jonathan opened eyes with his presentation, What’s Good for the Gander is Wrong for the Geese: Why the Construct of Gender is Harmful. Finally, Shaakirah Medford delivered a presentation titled Black Beauty and the Media: Redefining Our Own Beauty created for Professor Chipley’s Women and Media class.

Some students shared an event from their own past that helped to inform their present and altered their plans for the future. Others were motivated to share based on the struggles of family and friends and the impact those journeys had on their own lives. Still others were called to open up based on the influence that a specific text or work of art had on them, personally. And some simply had something important to say — and this distinct venue offered them an unprecedented platform from which to have their voices heard. Whatever the reason, each student brought something new and thought-provoking to the table.

The only thing more impressive than the tenor and tone of the discussion as a whole was the way in which it was received. Chairs ringed the hall but for much of the proceedings, the walls were lined with onlookers too engaged to leave for lack of adequate seating.

In one humble viewers opinion, this is an event that should be repeated in both form and function annually, as the length and breadth of the issues at hand multiply and shift with increased speed and readiness every day. Such a worthwhile pulpit should be maintained for future students in upcoming years.

An Interview with Professor Jennifer Person, author of new poetry book

An Interview with Professor Jennifer Person

by Destiny Rivera

Destiny Rivera is completing a double major in English and Psychology at SUNY College at Old Westbury. She spends most of her free time thinking about the implications of her continuous survival and seeks to make every moment something worth looking back on.

Professor Jennifer Person is an adjunct professor in the English Department at SUNY College at Old Westbury. Her first book of poetry, Look at Something Beautiful Every Day, was recently independently published by Xlibris Press and is available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Destiny Rivera: When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

JP: I always wanted to write a book. This was a big life-long dream of mine. I started this book three years ago and I knew I wanted it to be poetry and art work together.  I woke up one morning at 3:00am and I had this idea and it was completely formed from start to finish in my mind. I started working on it right there and then.

[The book] went through a lot of transformations. At first, I was going to not only make it a poetry collection but I wanted it to have artwork from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well since I used to work there and had favorite pieces from the collections that I wanted to use. The idea transformed and [then] I thought that what I wanted is for it to be a textbook for art and literature students. This meant that the book would have to have a lot more pictures and a lot more topics.  It turned out that the book was way too big by that point and would have had to be scaled back in a major way. Who knows, maybe it will become Look at Something Beautiful Every Day – Part Two!

So I went to thinking about a smaller book of poetry and that’s when the ideas really took off.  I had a smaller idea and smaller images to accompany them. I started going through my neighborhood walking through the different places in my community and when I found something, an image, an object, even a person I stopped and asked permission to take a picture. There is a picture of a Buddha in the book that was in the window of an art studio. I spoke to the owner and she said “if you want to take a picture then that’s great –go ahead and use it in the book.” In the book there are also pictures from St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, there is a picture of a woman in our neighborhood, there are pictures of objects that we have in our home that are particularly beautiful and we had a chance to include some nature, like flowers and trees. I am very pleased with the final format.

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