Elizabeth Roos and Carly Burgio received national recognition for their work at April’s annual convention of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. Both junior English majors were selected for their awards from more than four hundred presenters at the Atlanta, Georgia event, where SUNY Geneseo was represented by six competitively selected students.
Carly, who studies English literature and adolescent education, received an honorable mention for the Beth DeMeo Poetry Award, presented for excellence in convention presentations for critical work on poetry or a poet. Carly’s paper, “Redefining the Image of Emily Dickinson,” examines the correspondence between Dickinson and her long-time friend and sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, exploring how these letters support a new framework of queerness through which to study the Dickinsonian canon. Through a queer theory lens, Carly’s paper delves into the complexities of Dickinson’s personal life, the impact of editors on the literary canon, and the theme of expanding the canon to become a more inclusive space.
Elizabeth is on the creative writing track of the English major, with minors in film studies and medieval studies. She took second place in the Isabel Sparks President’s Award for Original Prose with her literary fiction “Hen Feathers.” The short story follows Leah, a young woman who lives with her husband Mitch and her three chickens: Charlotte, Gertrude, and Bernadette. When Leah finds Bernadette dead one morning, killed by a fox, she is forced to readdress how far she and Mitch have come since beginning their relationship in college, and whether her dreams for their relationship have remained the same over time. Elizabeth structures a smaller, tangible conflict to suggest a much larger, intangible conflict—in this case, the death of a beloved chicken reveals tension within a relationship.
The English department congratulates Carly and Liz on these national awards and we celebrate the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into both pieces!