Acclaimed poet, musician, and writer Joy Harjo, who was the reader for UConn’s 55th Annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program on March 28 and 29, 2018, has been named the 23rd US Poet Laureate. The first Native to hold the position, Harjo hopes through poetry and unpoliticized dialog to bring healing and humanizing to disparate groups of people.
Chapters written by Ellen Carillo and Jason Courtmanche were featured prominently in a Higher Education Research & Development 38.1 review of Deep Reading: Teaching Reading in the Writing Classroom.
Reviewer Jessica Gildersleeve notes that Ellen’s chapter, “Preparing College-Level Readers to Define Reading as More Than Mastery,” emphasises the practice of “mindful reading” as a “holistic framework to encompass a range of reading practices.”
Jason’s chapter, “Why Read? A Defence of Reading and the Humanities in a STEM-Centric Era,” Gildersleeve finds “particularly striking.” The STEM students Jason surveyed “valued reading for pleasure in a way that college English majors did not, but … they still considered it to be intellectual work, and for this reason it tended to be abandoned when in competition with other studies and social media. However, throughout their study with Courtmanche, these STEM students did recognise through the content of their reading—including Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Lois Lowry’s The Giver—that engagement with the arts is critical in contemporary society. “According to one student, ‘In the books we read, we saw the disastrous consequences of a mentally lazy society: that as people choose to think less, create less, feel less, and form less meaningful relationships, the less of a choice it becomes.’” Jason’s intention to recruit some students to the English major gave way to a more powerful outcome: “‘future scientists, engineers, businesspeople, actuaries, pharmacists, and dentists came to the conclusion that reading literary fiction not only could offer them pleasure, recreation, and escape, but could actually improve their critical understanding of the world, deepen the emotional experience of their relationships, and foster empathy with other human beings. … Far from simply converting English students themselves to ‘the cause,’ Courtmanche’s approach emphasises the power of valuing reading for those outside the discipline and, later, the academy.”
Listen to Davyne Verstandig reading her poem “A Woman Should Carry” in the Hartford Courant.
For translating Phoebe Giannisi‘s poetry from the Modern Greek, PhD candidate Brian Sneeden has been awarded the World Literature Today Translation Prize in Poetry.
Sneeden was sponsored by Dr. Peter Constantine, director of the university’s Program in Literary Translation. Sneeden’s translations of Giannisi’s work also recently received a 2018 PEN/Heim grant.
Robert Con Davis-Undiano, World Literature Today’s executive director, applauded the skill of the winning entries, remarking: “it’s no surprise that these translators are emerging from some of the finest translation programs in the world. As a pioneer in the field of literature in translation and translation studies,” he added, “World Literature Today takes pride in fostering great talent emerging from the international world of translation studies.”
See the full prize announcement and World Literature Today‘s web site.