Reimagining the Beach: Artists Interpret the Poetry of Dave Kelly

Flyer Advertising Exhibit

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.



Spencer Crew to deliver 2018 Walter Harding Lecture September 28

Spencer Crew Harding Lecture poster

The 2018 Walter Harding Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Spencer Crew, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University, on September 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in Doty Recital Hall on the campus of SUNY Geneseo.

Dr. Crew’s lecture is titled, “Civil Disobedience, the Underground Railroad, and Thoreau.”

A distinguished public historian, Professor Crew served for six years as president of the National Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and for nine years as director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he curated, and wrote the companion volume for, the exhibit Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration 1915–1940 (1987). He is also the author of Black Life in Secondary Cities: A Comparative Analysis of the Black Communities of Camden and Elizabeth, N.J. 1860–1920 (1993) and co-author of both The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden (2002) and Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (2002).

The Harding Lecture, which is sponsored by the English department with support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President, is free and open to the public.

You can download and print the poster for this lecture.

Kenneth Asher Publishes Book on Ethical Criticism with Cambridge University Press

Dr. Kenneth Asher, who is jointly appointed in English and Philosophy departments at Geneseo, recently published a book on literary criticism titled Literature, Ethics and the Emotions with Cambridge University Press. His monograph examines the longstanding connection between literature and our interpersonal ethical understanding of emotions. According to Cambridge University Press, “Asher argues that literary scholars should locate this question in the long and various history of moral philosophy. On the basis of his own reading of this history, Asher contends for the centrality of emotions in our ethical lives and shows how literature – novels, poetry, and drama – can each contribute to crucial emotional understanding.” Asher’s analysis is supplemented by chapters on T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and George Bernard Shaw to provide a detailed exploration as to how modernist authors approach the issue of ethical understanding and formation of self.  You can find more information on Asher’s publication here.

Professor Asher has been a member of the English department since 1986. His previous publications include T.S. Eliot and Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 1995)  and “Emotions and the Ethical Life in D.H. Lawrence” (Cambridge Quarterly, 2011).


Zach Muhlbauer Selected For Phi Beta Kappa Writing Internship

Recent Geneseo graduate Zachary Muhlbauer (’17) has been awarded a six month writing internship with the national office of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors society. As part of the internship, Zach will be writing articles for The Key Reporter, an integrative online newsletter run by Phi Beta Kappa.

During his time at Geneseo, Zach served as a Writing Learning Center tutor, a Writing Course Fellow, and president of Sigma Tau Delta. He graduated magna cum laude in May 2017 with a double major in English Literature and Philosophy.

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Geneseo Students Present at Annual Sigma Tau Delta Convention

Eight Geneseo students represented the English Department in March in Louisville, KY at the annual convention for Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors society. The students—Marissa Bellusci, Kate Collis, Zach Muhlbauer, Amanda Saladino, Kristen Seaman, Veronica Taglia, Amanda Wentworth, and Melissa Whyman—were accompanied by Dr. Gillian Paku, who serves as faculty sponsor to the Geneseo chapter.

During the convention, students presented their critical essays or creative pieces as part of a panel of related topics (for instance, Gender and Drama in Oscar Wilde, or Cultural Theory in American Television), followed by a dialogue between the panelists and audience. The convention offered many opportunities for students to attend panels or workshops that caught their interest and to engage in conversation with fellow English majors from across the country, plus allowing some free time to explore the attractions of Louisville. Geneseo students were also able to attend a talk given by the convention’s featured speaker, the Booker prize-winning author Marlon James, whose fiction spans across several genres to explore Jamaican history and mythology.

At the convention’s student meeting, Geneseo’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta was awarded a prize in recognition of the chapter’s involvement in the society for 45 years.

All students who are members of Sigma Tau Delta are eligible to submit to the convention: for the 2017-2018 academic year, it will be held from March 21-24 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submissions are usually due at the end of October, and the Sigma Tau Delta student e-board is always happy to help students prepare essays to continue Geneseo’s longstanding involvement with this valuable event.

Nick Friedman appointed Jones Lecturer at Stanford University

Geneseo English Department alumnus Nick Friedman has been awarded the highly prestigious Jones Lectureship at Stanford University. In March 2014, Nick was appointed a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. As a Jones Lecturer, Nick will teach courses in creative writing while also working to complete his first book of poetry. Previous Jones lecturers include Tobias Wolff, ZZ Packer, Nan Cohen, Ehud Havazelet, and Skip Horack. Two years ago this week, we reported on Nick’s selection for the Stegner Fellowship and reminded readers of his appearances in the New York Times’ T Magazine and on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Spend Mother’s Day at the tenth annual Peace Poetry Reading

The tenth annual Genesee Valley Peace Poetry Reading will be held this Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the campus of SUNY Geneseo. Over 1,500 area students in grades K-8 submitted poems on the theme of peace for this year’s Peace Poetry contest, and over 60 of those students were selected as winners. They’ll read their poems on stage and receive prizes. Cuteness is guaranteed.

The event is free and open to the public.

According to English professor Dr. Rob Doggett who has run the Geneseo contest since its inception, “The goal of the contest is to give students the opportunity to reflect creatively on the theme of peace at a time when so much of what they encounter in the media is dominated by images of violence.”

Professor Doggett, aided by student judges and organizers at SUNY Geneseo, has grown this event into a major feature of the community calendar within the Genesee Valley: a Mother’s Day celebration at which contest winners read their poems to an audience that includes family, teachers, and area residents.

Peace_Cover2015“I honestly feel that this contest can help change the lives of students because it helps them to discover a talent that they didn’t know they had,” says Doggett. The contest has helped thousands of young people explore, reflect on and communicate about large ideas that shape their daily lives: What does peace mean to them? What brings them peace in their lives? How might young people help to create a more peaceful world? At times the students’ poems deal with domestic strife, or loved ones in war zones; at times they elegize hunting trips or calm moments with friends. The Peace Poetry Contest sparks conversations on all these topics, with the presentation chapbook a memorial for students to take home—and an inspiration to their peers.

2015 English department scholarships and graduating senior awards

Our previous post listed winners of the 2015 writing awards in English and Africana/Black Studies.

We’re also pleased to announce this year’s winners of the English department’s scholarships and graduating senior awards:


  • Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship: Meghan Barrett
  • Rita K. Gollin Senior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Jeremy Jackson
  • Rita K. Gollin Junior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Thomas McCarthy
  • Hans Gottschalk Award: KiayaRose Dilsner-Lopez
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Transfer Scholarship: Sarah Smith
  • Don Watt Memorial Scholarship: Kristen Druse

Graduating Senior Awards

  • William T. Beauchamp Literature Award: Christina Mortellaro
  • Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award: Sean Neill
  • Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities: Rebecca Miller and Liam Cody
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Memorial Award: Harrison Dole

We’ll be celebrating winners of scholarships, graduating senior awards, and writing awards today at 2:30 p.m. today in the Walter Harding Room, Welles 111.

2015 English department writing awards

Congratulations to the SUNY Geneseo students who took first, second, and third place this year in the categories of critical essay, diversity studies, first-year critical writing, research, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. Congratulations as well to the students who won in each of three categories for work in Africana/Black studies.

John H. Parry Award: Critical Essay

  1. Sean Neill, “Towards a Theory of Auto Horror”
  2. Sarah Simon, “Erupt/Endure”
  3. Liam Cody, “Repurposing Bodies in ‘The Grauballe Man'” and Zachary Muhlbauer, “Tom Wolfe’s Never-Never Land (What?)”

Jérome de Rômanet de Beaune Award: Diversity Studies

  1. Meghan Kearns, “No Magic Here: Archival Violence and the Body”
  2. Kyle Parnell, “Disability as Metaphor in Curricular Literature: A Case Study on Of Mice and Men
  3. Emily Ercolano, “Kramer vs. Kramer: The Subversion and Affirmation of Masculine Hegemony in the Male Mother”

Irene E. Smith Award: First-Year Critical Writing

  1. Noah Chichester, “We Shall Overcome: Ferguson and the History of Black Protest in America”
  2. Sophie Boka, “Destabilizing Definitions”
  3. Halee Finn, “Optimism Can Influence Perspective”

Research Paper Award

  1. Harrison Hartsough, “Constitutional Rights as an Unfunded Mandate: The Problems with the Implementation of Gideon v. Wainwright in New York State”
  2. Connor Valvo, “The Place of Theory of Mind in The Catcher in the Rye
  3. Sean Fischer and Benjamin Wach, “United We Stand: An Ethical Framework for Literary Criticism, A Case Study Analysis”

Creative Non-Fiction Award

  1. Erin Koehler, “The Phototroph”
  2. Kathryn Waring, “Open Diary”
  3. Lara Elmayan, “Scavengers”

Lucy Harmon Award: Literary Fiction

  1. Katie Soares, “Kill the Carrier”
  2. Sophie Boka, “To Know One”
  3. Marissa Canarelli, “The Magpie”

Mary Thomas Award: Poetry

  1. Chrissy Montelli, “Aftermath of: Twin Mental Health Evaluations”
  2. Lara Elmayan, “Last Prayer to Mack Wolford”
  3. Codie Hazen, “[Unspecified Endocrine Disorder]”

Africana/Black Studies Award

  • Best Critical/Analytical Essay: Sean Neill
  • Best Research Paper: Cassandra Nicol
  • Best Creative Writing: Devon Poniatowski