In Spring 2020, Beth McCoy taught “Expulsion and the Housing Crisis,” a SUNY Geneseo literature course contemplating narratives flowing into and out of the 2008 global financial crisis.
We’re excited to announce our 2020 senior award winners and the winners of our annual writing contest.
2020 English Department Senior Awards
The end of spring semester traditionally is a time to honor, in person, the hard work and accomplishments of our graduating seniors. As believers in metaphor, the English Department won’t allow separation or measly screens to become an obstacle to celebration — for as Walt Whitman wrote, “a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” In this spirit the faculty recognize sustained excellence in literary studies through our senior awards. A couple of months not seeing these students in person remind us how much they have contributed to the vitality of our department during their time at Geneseo. Our congratulations!
William T. Beauchamp Memorial Award
Presented annually to a senior for outstanding service to the vitality of literature on campus.
Winner: Sean McAneny
Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award
Presented annually to a senior for excellence in scholastic achievement and intellectual promise.
Winners: Clio Lieberman, Margaret Pigliacelli, Brianna Riggio
Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities
Presented annually to a senior with an outstanding academic record and a strong support of the humanities.
Winners: Claire Corbeaux, Abigail Ritz, Helen Warfle
Joseph O’Brien Memorial Award
Presented annually to a senior English major who has exhibited those attributes exemplified in the life and career of our colleague Joe O’Brien: a demonstrated record of academic excellence, a spirit of volunteerism, and a sterling moral character.
Winners: Sandy Brahaspat, Julia Merante, Don Rothwein
2020 Geneseo Writing Contest
As physical journeys have narrowed during the coronavirus epidemic, many of us have become reacquainted with the power of writing to open up new spaces. The English Department has the pleasure of recognizing excellence in student critical, creative, and self-reflective writing though its annual writing contest. The contest is open to the whole campus, and this year’s winners, ranging from first-year students to graduating seniors, represent the following programs: the English Literature and Creative Writing tracks, Women and Gender Studies, Africana Studies, the Film Studies minor, Adolescent Education certification, the Edgar Fellows program, French, Philosophy, History, Anthropology, Communication, Geography, Psychology, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics. The winning entries were written for classes with ANTH, AMST, ENGL, FMST, HIST, HONR, and INTD 105 prefixes, and sometimes also produced by students writing outside class for the sheer love of language. Congratulations to all!
Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing: INTD 105
Sarah Fadlaoui, “Carlisle in the Great War”
Maria Pawlak, “Conformity in the United States and its Effect throughout the Twentieth Century”
Madisyn Pausley, “Parable of the Sower as a Warning for Climate Change”
Nicole Lallier, “Human Migration: Displacement from Disaster”
Jérôme de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies
Brianna Riggio, “Can He See the Forest for the Trees?: The Eagle Tree”
Sean McAneny, “Approaches to Teaching Age in King Lear”
Rachel McLauchlin, “Maternal Horror: Women’s Bodies as Monstrosity in Macbeth”
Claire Corbeaux, “The Threat of Greed and the Cultivation of Community”
Shannon Curley, “Space, History, and Tourism in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina”
- Ashton McCormack, “Benefits of Entomophagy”
- Alissa Moeller, “American Slavery and Historical Silences in the Journal of Women’s History”
Sean McAneny, “Addressing Slavery’s Legacy at the Academy”
Emma Short, “Fame, Fandom, & The Woman in the Spotlight”
Abigail Ritz, “This Is Paratext”
- Claire Corbeaux, “Realizing Service Learning”
- Brianna Riggio, “Ableist Constructions of Communication Disabilities and Identity”
John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay
Sean McAneny, “Against the King’s Two Bodies: Richard’s Corporeal Authority”
Claire Corbeaux, “Wuthering Heights, Quantum Entanglement, and Loving One Dead”
- Rosa Mesbahi, “Dismantling Dualisms: Exploring Agency and Victimhood in Purple Hibiscus”
- Abigail Ritz, “Disability as Doozy: Kurt Vonnegut’s Use of Disability as Metaphor in ‘Harrison Bergeron’”
Aliyha Gill, “Sisters”
Kyle Navratil, “Into Base Camp”
- Hannah Fuller, “Promises”
- Rosa Mesbahi, “October”
Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting
Patrick Donohue, “The Masque of the Red Death”
Ben Michalak, “FOLLOW THE PATH: A Twelve Day Immersive Theater Piece”
Mary A. Thomas Award in Poetry
Kayla Eyler, “THE FAIRWAY MARKET HOSTAGE CRISIS”
Aliyha Gill, “Ruminations”
Sparrow Potter, “On the Slowing of the Universe”
Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction**
Laura Gikas, “Not Greek”
Brianna Riggio, Selection from “Elodie May”
Elizabeth Roos, “The Archeologist”
Boston Review has published online “The Pruner’s Tale,”, a nonfiction piece by Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing Lytton Smith about the experience of a migrant orchard worker in Western Upstate New York. This piece is part of the Refugee Tales project, a series of walks and books in solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration Detainees in the U.K., Italy, North America, Australia, and elsewhere. “The Pruner’s Tale” first appeared in Refugee Tales vol. 3 (Comma Press, 2019).
This past December, at the annual International Yeats Society Conference in Paris, France, Professor and Chair of English, Rob Doggett, was named general editor of the Journal of International Yeats Studies.
The International Yeats Society is an academic organization that links national and other Yeats societies around the world. Conceived on the 150th anniversary of W. B. Yeats’s birth, International Yeats Studies brings together scholarship from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, and addresses Yeats’s place in world literature.
Dave Kelly was the Geneseo English Department poet from 1967-2009. This exhibit, which is sponsored by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and runs from November 8 to December 3, features works in the visual arts that were inspired by Dave’s poetry. The exhibit is at the New Deal Gallery: 4 Murray Hill Drive, Mt Morris, NY 14510.
A reception, that is open to the public, will be held on Friday, November 15, from 4pm – 7pm. There will be food, drinks, music, and a reading of selected poems, which will begin at 5:30pm.
Composer Gregory Spears will deliver the 2019 Walter Harding Lecture on Wednesday, September 25, at 7 pm in Doty Recital Hall on the SUNY Geneseo campus. His subject will be “Thoreau and Music.”
Spears’ song cycle Walden, which premiered in 2018 in a performance that the Washington Post called “gripping,” takes a series of excerpts from Thoreau’s Walden and arranges them in four structurally interconnected songs to loosely tell the story of Thoreau’s departure from and return to society in Concord, Massachusetts. Along the way we see Thoreau’s progression from anxious social critic, to passionate naturalist, to contemplative mystic.
Spears’ other compositions include Fellow Travelers, written in collaboration with Greg Pierce and based on the McCarthy-era lavender scare, and Paul’s Case, written in collaboration with Kathryn Walat and based on the Willa Cather short story of the same name. The latter was described as a “masterpiece” and a “gem” (New York Observer) with “ravishing music” (New York Times).
Spears’ music has been called “astonishingly beautiful” (New York Times), “coolly entrancing” (The New Yorker), and “some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory” (Boston Globe). In recent seasons Spears has been commissioned by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, The Crossing, Volti, BMI/Concert Artists Guild, Vocal Arts DC, New York Polyphony, The New York International Piano Competition, and the JACK Quartet among others. He is currently working on a new evening-length opera, Castor and Patience, with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and scheduled for premiere in 2020.
Spears holds degrees in composition from Eastman School of Music (BM), Yale School of Music (MM), and Princeton University (PhD). He also studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen with Hans Abrahamsen. He currently teaches composition at SUNY Purchase.
The Walter Harding Lecture is sponsored by the English department and supported through the generosity of the Harding family.
The English department has announced the winners of its annual writing contest.
Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing
Winner: Alissa Moeller
John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay
Winner: Katelyn Sullivan
Honorable mention: Sean Welch
Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies
Winner: Autumn Piletz
Honorable mention: Elyse Manosh, DongWon Oh
Winner: David Beyea
Honorable mention: Victoria Cooke
Winner: Sean Welch
Honorable mention: Katelyn Sullivan
Winner: Torie Wiley
Honorable mention: Grace Gilbert, Sean Welch
Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting
Winner: Autumn Piletz
Honorable mention: Kristopher Bangsil, Brittany Pratt
Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction
Winner: Jen Galvao
Mary Thomas Award in Poetry
Winner: Grace Gilbert
Honorable mention: Natalie Hayes, Isabella Higgins
A collaboration between SUNY Geneseo and the New Deal Gallery in Mt. Morris is updating a collection of more than 200 paintings from the 1930s, and seeing new relevance for the ecological challenges of our own times. The project, called “The Green New Deal: Art During a Time of Environmental Emergency,” is taking the form of a gallery show that opens May 2, along with a digital exhibit created by students of Associate Professor of English Ken Cooper.
The gallery’s collection owes its existence to the Federal Art Project, which “allocated” paintings to the state tuberculosis hospital on Murray Hill. They seem to have been chosen for their restful associations, however, and weren’t always typical of the artists’ more experimental or political work—an important context recovered by the project. For the past year, junior English major Abigail Ritz has been re-photographing and researching the collection thanks to an Ambassadorship through the Center for Integrative Learning. Students in Cooper’s OpenValley course this spring have continued that work and developed a series of linked online exhibits to re-evaluate paintings now approaching a hundred years old.
Why a Green New Deal? Americans already know how the Dust Bowl intensified the social crisis of the Great Depression. But new “attribution studies” by climatologists suggest that a series of record temperatures during the late 1930s probably were the first to have some Anthropogenic dimension. In other words, those past events have a direct lineage to climate change today and our own efforts to mobilize an effective response.